By Colin MacGillivray
KILMORE could be bolstered by the return of as many as six senior players for its showdown with Northern Football Netball League division three ladder leader Laurimar after dismantling Lalor at the weekend.
The Blues were clinical in a 26.24 (180) to 3.5 (23) drubbing of the Bloods on the road, with inaccuracy in front of goal and a brief lapse in the final quarter the only hiccups.
Michael Fenech got reward for effort with seven goals, while 17-year-old debutant Ryan Eyre kicked five and key forward Bailey Taylor-Egan slotted back into the side with three after an injury-induced stint on the sidelines.
With Scott Swindells also booting three and Grant Paxton likely to return from a rolled ankle against the Power this week, Kilmore coach Nathan Phillips said the Blues were spoiled for choice up forward.
“[Fenech] created opportunities and was able to make the most of them, which was pleasing. He gives us something different in our forward dynamic,” Phillips said.
“To have [Eyre] kick five on debut was really pleasing. He complemented Scott and Bailey. He’s tall but he can play small, so we were probably taller than we have been in the forward line but we were able to make it work.
“It gives us the option going forward to go a bit taller if we want. If you’ve got guys who are good in the air but good at ground level as well, it gives you a bit of an edge.”
Midfielder Chris Ryall played at his usual high standard in a best-on-ground performance, while big man Jaxson Kinnear and Luke Chapman also stood out.
With experienced defenders Steve McIntyre and Adam Milne and midfielders Mick Marrett, Ciaran Barton and Hayden Phillips all looking as possible inclusions alongside Paxton for Saturday’s game at Laurimar Reserve, Phillips said it would be a good test of where his side stood in the lead-up to finals.
“Everything would have to go horribly wrong for us not to make finals now, but we still want to test ourselves against the best and we have to put up a strong performance so that as a group we believe that we can beat them if we happen to come across them in the finals,” he said.
“We want to respond from the last time we played them, because we were good for three quarters and then let it slip in the last. The boys were a bit disappointed with their effort then.”
In division one Whittlesea lost no admirers despite failing to come away with four premiership points, going down 13.6 (84) to 17.11 (113) to second-placed Montmorency.
The Eagles, playing at home, were only 10 points adrift of the Magpies at half time and captured the lead during a five-goal third quarter, but were brought undone in the last as the visitors ran over the top of them.
Jaron Murphy kicked a season-best four goals in the Whittlesea forward line, while Mitch Wild played his best game for the year, kicking two.
Mitch’s brother Jake Wild gave the team plenty of drive in the midfield and wingman Blake Fitzgerald was also damaging with ball in hand, with utility Clancy Bland and defender Brody Bell also chiming in.
The result sets up an intriguing clash with Northcote Park in Northcote on Saturday.
The Eagles are at the foot of the division one ladder with the Cougars ahead of them only on percentage.
With only four rounds to play in the season, the winner of Saturday’s match will have a leg up in the race to avoid 10th place, and relegation to second division.