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NFNL Round 14 Div 3 preview

St Mary’s and Panton Hill were the big winners last weekend in Round 13 of the Northern Football/Netball League (NFNL) Division 3 competition.

Panton Hill took a huge step towards claiming the double chance with a 40-point win over South Morang at A.E. Cracknell Reserve.

The Lions pegged back a sizable lead with four late goals in the second term to trail by six-points at the main break and a thriller looked likely. But Panton Hill came out firing after half time, led by Nick Parks who helped the Redbacks score a runaway win.

Up forward, Rhys Boyden and Matthew Byron combined for eleven majors. Boyden’s six sees him lead Myles Guldon by just one on the goal kicking ladder.

“Really ecstatic with the response after half time,” Panton Hill coach Steve Layt said. “The team got better as the game went on.”

Reservoir hosted Mernda at Crispe Park. The Demons flew out of the blocks and led 8.3 to 0.2 at the first break. But the Mustangs fought it out well later in the contest and eventually went down by 89 points.

Lachlan Shaw excelled and looks on his way to back to back best and fairest for Reservoir. Riley Black impressed with five majors for Mernda – who now have the bye.

Heidelberg West kicked a goal less than Kilmore at Heidelberg Park but still managed a five-point win in an 8.17 (65) to 9.6 (60) result. The Hawks dominated the game but failed to finish in front of goal.

Kyl Ewart – playing his first senior game for the year – had plenty of chances but booted a series of behinds.

“To win ugly, with poor kicking, well, it keeps out chances alive,” Heidelberg West coach Gary Cutler said. “We just need to back it up next week at Laurimar.”

Heidelberg West’s Lachie Reinke did a good job blanketing the dangerous Shane Skidmore, while Michael McCulloch booted four for Kilmore.

A young Laurimar outfit was no match for St Mary’s at Whatmough Park. A dominant second term by the Burra put the game beyond doubt and they careered away to win by 74 points.

23rd man Connor Kissane more than justified his inclusion for St Mary’s and was named among the best.

St Mary’s is now three games clear of Panton Hill and Mernda. The Redbacks and Demons both have eight wins, with Panton Hill having a game in hand on other teams in the top-four.

South Morang is a game back in fourth place – a win and percentage ahead of both Laurimar and Heidelberg West. The Lions have a 21 percent break on the Power, with the Hawks a further 18 percentage points back.

Round 14 action of Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 is highlighted by a top of the table clash between St Mary’s and Panton Hill at Whatmough Park.

The Burra’s only loss for the year came in the previous clash between these teams at A.E. Cracknell Reserve in Round 5 – which the Redbacks won by 23 points.

In form tall forward duo Rhys Boyden and Matthew Byron secured nine goals between them that day. While containing that pair will be a challenge, the midfield duel could also prove crucial to the outcome.

St Mary’s will be out for revenge, while Panton Hill could go a long way to securing the double chance with a victory.

Lalor comes off the bye and travels for the first time to J.J. Clancy Reserve to take on Kilmore. Their only previous meeting resulted in a 21-point victory to the Blues at Lalor Reserve.

And while Kilmore are likely to be the tipsters’ choice, the Bloods will be boosted after snapping a nine-game losing streak against Reservoir before the bye.

South Morang will be a huge favourite against the winless Reservoir when they meet at Mill Park Lakes Reserve. The Lions won their Round 4 encounter at Crispe Park by 52 points and will be looking to eclipse that margin this weekend.

The Lions could climb as high as second place after the weekend – depending on other results.

The round is completed with an encounter between Laurimar and Heidelberg West at Laurimar Reserve. It shapes as an early elimination final – with the loser likely to be two games and percentage outside the four.

Their most recent clash at Heidelberg Park in Round 8 resulted in a huge 63-point win by the Hawks. This time, the result is expected to be much closer after a good recent run of form by the Power.

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