By: Jarrad Conron nfl.org.au
Sunday, July 26, 2015
ELTHAM claimed arguably its biggest scalp of the 2015 season, fighting off a fast-finishing Greensborough to claim a four-point win at Eltham Central Park in Round 14.
The Boro kicked the only four goals of the final term but a wayward shot after the final siren meant the Panthers held on for a 9.12 (66) to 8.14 (62) win.
The result pushed Eltham up into fourth place on the Division 1 ladder, just percentage behind third-placed Northcote Park in the race for a double chance in September.
Mario Bandera’s side has now beaten each of the top three teams at home this season, having previously accounted for the Cougars in Round 2 and ladder-leader Macleod in Round 5.
James Kroussoratis once again starred up forward for Eltham, slotting four majors to take his total to 62 for the season. His tally is 15 better than North Heidelberg’s Shane Harvey and Greensborough’s Rhys Boyden, who are tied in second place on 47 goals.
Boyden was able to slot two of his own against the Panthers, and had a helping hand on the score card from Jordan Perry, who also kicked two goals.
Eltham came out of the blocks firing but wasn’t able to convert its early chances, registering four behinds before Darcy Vallance was finally able to break the deadlock.
Shortly after, the Panthers went a man down when James Reid was stretchered off the ground with what looked to be a leg injury.
However, the Panthers continued their barrage of forward thrusts and kicked another three goals for the term to go into the first break 23 points ahead.
The Boro were able to restructure at quarter time and came out a stronger unit in the second term.
Early goals to Boyden and co-captain Lachlan McQuilken put the Boro within 10 points with momentum slowly starting to shift.
The Panthers’ backline was able to hold steady though, allowing just two behinds for the remainder of the quarter.
Up forward Kroussoratis showed his class, slotting two goals in as many minutes to push the margin back out to 21 points heading into the main break.
Early in the third term, neither side was able to gain ascendancy.
It turned out to be Kroussoratis who again broke the game open, once again kicking two goals in as many minutes to help extend the margin to a game-high 38 points.
A late goal to Matthew Haynes – in his first senior game for Greensborough – steadied the ship for the Boro, who were showing no signs of backing down from the big task ahead of them.
Two goals to Michael Hooper and Joshua Riddle within the first four minutes of the final quarter set the tone for the reigning premiers as they mounted their comeback.
Ensuing goals to Boyden and Perry put Greensborough within striking distance, as the Panthers tried their hardest to keep the ball out of their defensive 50.
But time was the Boro’s worst enemy as they suffered just their third loss of the 2015 season and, in the process, fell to second on the ladder for the first time since Round 9.
Eltham co-captain Bradyn Taglieri was named best afield for the Panthers, while reigning best and fairest winner Billy Glasgow was also named among the best as he continued his stellar season.
Best Players: , B. Taglieri , M. Evans , H. Burns , B. Glasgow , J. Merkel , S. Brazzale
The reserves held slight advantage for most of the game, but were down on rotations when Tom Snell and Matt Jessop left the field with injuries late in the game, as Boro overhauled us in the last quarter.
Best Players: , K. O”Sullivan , B. O”Sullivan , M. Lillie , S. Zito , B. Taglieri , L. McCreery
A top effort to be within 9 points of the top side at the last break, just fell away over the final stages, the side has shown great improvement over the course of year, and will be looking to a couple of wins at least before season end.
Best Players: , T. Carafa , A. Bennett , P. Turnbull , J. Biddle , D. Charisis