Heidelberg Tigers' celebrate a goal. PHOTO: Nathan William Media/NFNL

Heidelberg has once again asserted itself as the team to beat in the 2023 Northern Football Netball League’s Division 1 competition, after defeating Bundoora by 78 points in a statement performance at Warringal Park.

The Bulls came out charging with energy and pressure but were quick to falter once the Tigers started finding their form through their handballing passages and goal accuracy.

With the first half testing both sides ability to handle swarming pressure, the Tigers broke away from intense battle in the second half on their way to a massive 17.13 (115) to 5.7 (37) victory.

Sam Gilmore was dominant in a blockbuster ruck battle against the Bulls’ Hamish Shepheard, particularly in the second half where he was able to set many clearances and open up the ground.

Tigers that followed suit were Matthew Smith, Brody Tardio and Dylan Clarke, who all played a role in most score involvements. Smith and Tardio particularly set an explosive tone heading down the middle of the ground.

While Jedd Longmire was a breath of fresh air for the Bulls, performing as a constant momentum maker with his kicking ability and poise around pressure.

Kain Proctor, Lachlan East and Joel Lamotte were among the bests for the Bundoora, producing many entries inside-50, whilst at the same time preventing entries from the opposition charging through.

Heidelberg remains with a six-point gap on top of the ladder, but Bundoora has been knocked out of the third spot, having lost over 15% due to the heavy loss, and is now behind North Heidelberg on percentage.

The Bulls would get the scoreboard ticking first, with Kain Proctor slotting one through from a set distance, followed by Jedd Longmire kicking from 40-out to gain an early two-goal lead.

Though Vin Dattoli’s side wasn’t going to allow any more distance between them after a major from Brayden Sier closed out a defensive-orientated first term.

Peter McEvoy got things back on track for the Bulls, after lining up for goal and kicking true to extend their lead to nine points.

Jordan Smith would respond for the Tigers and kick off his own three-goal game with a snap from the boundary to flip the scoreboard switch back to his side.

However, the Bulls midfield would find its way inside-50 through skipper Luke Collins, who topped off a dominant clearance quarter with a shot that sailed between the big sticks to increase the lead back to that nine-point margin.

But the Tigers would finally pounce on the attack, with majors from Kane Veliou and Brody Tardio snatching back the momentum and the lead.

The goal wave would continue with Sier sidestepping his way to a kick that slotted through truly, finishing a Tiger-only passage of play and increasing the margin to nine points heading into the break.

At the start of the third, Heidelberg picked up where they left off in the second and pounced to the largest lead of the game thanks to the likes of Zane Barzen and Matthew Smith, stretching the advantage to 21 points.

The Bulls found some territory up forward and got results from a kick by Daniel Younan in set-shot fashion to reduce the margin within 15 points.

Barzen would strike true again at goal and would quickly be followed by a snap from Tom Schnerring thanks to an intercept mark from Dylan Clarke at the kick-in, resulting in a then game-high 27-point lead.

Heading into the final quarter, the Tigers took their play to another level and started to overwhelm the Bulls backline with goals from Jess Gedi, Jonathan Tomasiello and Sier to suddenly burst to a lead of 48-points.

The Tigers were simply outworking and outplaying the Bulls by gaining territory fast through handballs from marks and attacking the forward-50 through the boundary.

Jed Rule would kick two majors in a similar fashion, while Gedi, Clarke, Barzen and Smith all converted on their attempts to claim a 78-point victory.

HEIDELBERG:   1.3    5.5    9.8    17.13 (115)
GOALS: J. Smith 3, B. Sier 3, Z. Barzen 3, J. Rule 2, D. Clarke, J. Tomasiello, M. Schnerring, J. Gedi, B. Tardio, K. Veliou.
BEST: S. Gilmore, M. Smith, B. Tardio, J. Smith, J. Rule, D. Clarke.

BUNDOORA:   2.0   4.4   5.5    5.7 (37)
GOALS: K. Proctor, L. Collins, J. Longmire, P. McEvoy, D. Younan.
BEST: K. Proctor, J. Longmire, L. East, D. Younan, J. Lamotte, H. Bolzon

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