By Colin MacGillivray
KILMORE senior football coach Nathan Phillips says Saturday’s 171-point demolition of Reservoir is ‘a good starting point’ as the club attempts to springboard towards the Northern Football Netball League division three finals.
The Blues ran all over the Mustangs at JJ Clancy Reserve, holding the visitors to only two behinds, one of them rushed, in a 26.17 (173) to 0.2 (2) hiding.
Bolstered by the return of star midfielder Chris Ryall, Kilmore pressured its opposition mercilessly and shared the ball in attack, with 10 individual goal scorers including six multiple-goal kickers.
Onballer Chris Barton was best afield with three goals, senior debutant Michael Fenech also kicked three, and forwards Marcus Webb and Grant Paxton booted five apiece.
With Pete De Sousa, Chris Jackson, Mick Marrett and Kieran Moran in line to return for this weekend’s clash with Mernda, Phillips said there was plenty of upside for the Blues.
“We still had nearly 10 blokes out of our side, so we were pretty inexperienced again,” he said.
“They had a few out at well, but it was promising defensively to hold them to only a couple of points, and I think one of those was rushed.
“It was always going to be a little bit easier against Reservoir, but we’ve got to make sure when we come up against Mernda that we’re willing to take the game on and play that way when the opposition puts a bit more pressure on us.”
Mernda upset Kilmore in round seven at the outset of what proved to be an up-and-down patch for the Blues, but Phillips said his team would be better prepared to face the Demons on Saturday.
“They beat Heidelberg West last week so they’re in some good form. We’ve got to make sure we’re willing to match their physicality and their run,” he said.
“Last time they were harder at the ball and at the man than we were and we allowed them to dictate what was happening. We know that if they try to do that again we’re willing to absorb it and fight back.
“If we’re able to do that I think we’re able to match them for skill, so hopefully the boys come prepared.”
Phillips said Kilmore would attempt to keep banking wins as it integrated injured players back into the line-up.
“Bailey Taylor-Egan is still a few weeks off and Hayden Phillips the same,” he said.
“Hopefully as the weeks go on, we’re able to get one or two back each week and get some games into them before the finals.”
Whittlesea was left to rue a slow start against Macleod in an 11.7 (73) to 15.8 (98) division one loss on Saturday.
The visiting Eagles went goal for goal with the Roos in the second half but could not overcome a 25-point half-time deficit, dropping to last place on the ladder in the process.
Paul Higgins was a standout for Whittlesea, booting four goals from a forward pocket, while fellow forward Matthew Atta played a key role despite going goalless.
Young ruckman Sam Indian continued his breakout season while Brody Bell played well across half back.
The loss puts the Eagles at risk or relegation to division two, with a tough game against second-placed Montmorency looming at home on Saturday.
Whittlesea’s run includes matches against second-last Northcote Park and eighth-placed Hurstbridge, giving the Eagles hope of avoiding the wooden spoon and relegation.