Kilmore ruckman Mick McCulloch, pictured earlier this season against Laurimar, was one of the Blues' best performers in a win against Lalor.

KILMORE is readying itself for a potentially season-defining clash against Heidelberg West in the Northern Football Netball League’s third division after easily accounting for Lalor at the weekend.

Despite the absence of eight regular senior players, the Blues were relatively unchallenged in a 23.17 (155) to 3.4 (22) road win at Lalor reserve.

While Kilmore’s midfield was depleted by the absence of Leigh Irons, Chris Ryall and Ciaran Barton, with Pete De Sousa and Steve McIntyre also missing from the back line, the visitors were able to restrict Lalor to only two behinds in the first half.

A tricky breeze made kicking for goal difficult beyond about 35 metres, and with Lalor stacking its backline with nine defenders at times, Kilmore coach Nathan Phillips said the Blues needed to work hard for their goals.

“We had a lot of experience missing, so our focus was just to play to our structures, and the boys did that,” he said.

“It meant we might have sacrificed a higher score, but it was about being disciplined and doing the right things so that when we come up against the better sides later in the year and hopefully in the finals, we’re aware of how we need to be playing.”

Ruckman Mick McCulloch had his best game of the season, dominating hit-outs and collecting plenty of ball around the ground.

Defender Ethan Derrick pushed forward for the second time in as many weeks and kicked four goals in an eight-minute purple patch that included a spectacular mark, while Bailey Taylor-Egan and Grant Paxton kicked five and four goals respectively.

Phillips praised senior debutants Cole Isbister and Jake Beattie for the roles they played.

“Cole played on ball and had a really good game. We wanted him to be accountable in the middle and he stuck to his task. He snuck forward and got a goal at one point,” Phillips said.

“Jake worked his way into the game and played well in the second half.

“We feel like we’ve identified a couple more players who will give us a bit more depth in the future.”

Phillips said this Saturday’s away game against Heidelberg West had big finals implications.

“If we beat them down there we go three games clear of them in fourth place, so it’s important for both of us,” he said.

“It’s just going to be about work rate and whoever is cleaner.

“We’ve butchered the footy a bit in the past few weeks, so we want to make sure our possessions are clean and we’re willing to work hard.”

Phillips said he expected McIntyre and Irons to return for the clash, while the other senior players who missed against Lalor will be assessed during the week.

Whittlesea

Whittlesea was unable to contain Bundoora in their second meeting of the NFNL division one season, losing 7.10 (52) to 17.22 (124) to the powerful Bulls.

For the third straight week young ruckman Sam Indian was a standout, while wingman Blake Fitzgerald and defenders Steven Dempsey and Lachlan Beattie were also among the best performers for the undermanned Eagles.

Christian Prestopino and Mitch Wild kicked two goals apiece up forward, while Clancy Bland played a solid game at centre half-forward, finishing with one.

Whittlesea will host West Preston-Lakeside – a team it sensationally upset in round two – at Whittlesea Showgrounds on Saturday.

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