Eltham picked up a crucial four points in their Melbourne Greyhounds Division 1 clash with Bundoora, finishing 25-point victors at Eltham Central Park.

It was a close contest throughout the opening three quarters with the Panthers leading by eight points at three quarter time, before a five-goal to two final term sealed a 12.17 (89) to 9.10 (64) triumph.

Their first Division 1 home victory in almost 2500 days, Eltham now gain a four-point gap on the ninth placed Bulls and tenth placed Macleod ahead of a big second half to the 2024 campaign.

Returning for his first game since Round 5, Jesse Donaldson finished as the home side’s best and starred up forward with four majors.

Jaden Collins and Jason McCormick were also effective in front of the big sticks and finished with three apiece, while Ben Quaynor was excellent in the defensive end, working hard to move the ball out of his side’s defensive half efficiently.

For the Bulls, Jesse King and Peter McEvoy were the standouts in their side, also kicking three goals each and proving pivotal in keeping their team in the hunt all afternoon.

Lachlan East and Sam Green also continued their solid seasons despite the defeat, with East being named in his side’s best for the seventh time in 2024.

The visitors produced the perfect start to the game when Nathan Phillips kicked the opening goal of the match inside the first minute.

Bundoora would kick the second goal of the afternoon shortly after as they took early control of the contest. Eltham were working hard to move the ball forward, but the Bulls’ defence was too strong, taking possession from contested marks by constantly getting in good spots.

The Panthers were eventually able to gain repeat inside 50 entries but managed five straight behinds before finding their first major of the match courtesy of a great passage of play from Harry Downes and Luke Wachinger which ended in a Jaden Collins goal.

Tim Bongetti’s men continued to build momentum, with two important majors from Matthew Byron and Jesse Donaldson within a matter of minutes giving the hosts a 10-point lead.

Just before quarter time, Jesse King hit back for Bundoora with an important set shot conversion to reduce the deficit to three points by the first change.

The opening 10 minutes of the second term belonged to Eltham, who managed to kick 3.2 to 0.1 to extend their advantage to 22 points.

Collins, Donaldson and Jason McCormick were all getting involved while Cooper Dahms was starting to find plenty of the footy, putting Bundoora on the backfoot.

But to the Bulls credit, they were able to fight their way back into the match, with King and McEvoy finding the big sticks to make it a 10-point game at the 21-minute mark.

The last 10 minutes of the term was an arm-wrestle with a lot of the ball played between the arcs and both sides struggling to convert their inside 50 entries.

Each team traded majors to end the term to settle the margin at nine points in Eltham’s favour at half time.

If the second quarter saw a flurry of goals, the third produced a mess of behinds with only one goal between the two sides. It came from McEvoy which helped the Bulls keep within touching distance by three quarter time.

The Panthers particularly struggled in front of goal, kicking six behinds for the term with two points courtesy of inside 50 marks.

Bundoora weren’t unable to capitalise completely at the other end either and could only manage two behinds after McEvoy’s goal at the three-minute mark.

The home side had an eight-point lead heading into the final term and unlike the previous quarter, they came out red-hot to start the last stanza.

A scintillating 13-minute patch saw Eltham boot five consecutive goals, ballooning the margin out to 39 points before the Bulls could even hit the scoreboard.

Donaldson would end the match with four majors, while Cooper Dahms again shone in the term, making the Bulls work for every possession.

The Panthers were winning every clearance and Bundoora’s inability to gain possession gave Tim Bongetti’s men the breathing room they needed to run away with victory.

King and McEvoy were able to give the Bulls some late majors but Eltham’s aggressive opening to the final term paid off, as they prevailed by 25 points in front of their home fans.