Published on Friday, March 30, 2018

Author : Ben Pascuzzi

Eltham got its 2018 season off to the perfect start, with a dominant second-half setting up a 59-point win over Diamond Creek in the Good Friday match at Eltham Central Park.

Holding only a 14-point lead at half-time, the Panthers slammed home ten goals to the Creekers’ three in the second half to run away with a 17.19 (121) to 9.8 (62) win.

In what many predicted as a potential A Plus Solutions Division 2 top-two clash, the Panthers sent a clear message of intent to the rest of the competition with the runaway victory in front of a huge crowd.

Diamond Creek had the Panthers’ measure early in the match, getting off to a positive start and kicking two goals clear after ten minutes, courtesy of majors to Bryce Adams and Tyler Barnes.

Hugh Kavanagh was extremely lively in defence for the Creekers. He started a lot of their run from the backline through his superb reading of the flight of the ball and made it very hard for the Panthers to get any good forward-50 entries.

Eltham clawed its way back however, as Diamond Creek began regularly turning the ball over in its defensive half. The Panthers slammed home four goals in the space of five minutes – including a remarkable checkside by Luke Wachinger on the boundary – to open up a 15-point buffer.

A late Daniel Shallard goal stemmed the flow for the Creekers, as they headed into the second term trailing by just nine points.

The second term was one filled with two clear moment swings. The Creekers dominated the early part – outscoring the Panthers three goals to one to take back the lead, before the Panthers finished with two goals to Anton Woods to take a 14-point lead into half-time.

Diamond Creek was lucky to still be in the game at the main break, with the Panthers’ inaccurate kicking at goal allowing their opponent to stay in the match – recording nine more shots in the opening half.

Even though they kicked more behinds than goals in the third term, the Panthers asserted their dominance and extended their advantage to 26 points, with Wachinger kicking two of his five goals for the match in the term.

A late goal to Jacob Booth gave the Creekers a glimmer of hope heading into three-quarter time, but there would be no comeback story, as Eltham took complete control in a barnstorming final term display.

They slammed home four unanswered goals in the opening half of quarter and ended the term with seven goals to the Creekers’ two to run away with a percentage-boosting win.

Anton Woods was prolific for Eltham in both in the midfield and up forward, and was joined in the Panthers’ best by Wachinger, Tim Currie and Jesse Freeman.

The best in defeat for the Creekers were young defender Nicholas Barro, Danyon Kambouris, and Hugh Kavanagh, who was instrumental down back.

Both sides will be back in action in two weeks’ time, with Eltham hosting the newly-promoted Epping, and Diamond Creek returning home against the Fitzroy Stars.

Final score: Eltham 17.19 (121) def Diamond Creek 9.8 (62)

Photo by Nathan William Media