From Ben Pascuzzi

ELTHAM produced a scintillating final term against West Preston-Lakeside to claim its fourth win of the season and move into fourth place on the Division 1 ladder.

The Panthers erased a 19-point three-quarter time deficit to win by eight points at J.E. Moore Park in a 10.14 (74) to 9.12 (66) result.

The win was Eltham’s fourth from its past five starts and eclipsed its three wins for the entire 2014 season. Meanwhile, West Preston-Lakeside missed an opportunity to claim what would have been a third successive victory.

The home side held the lead for the majority of the day, with the 19-point lead at three-quarter a game-high advantage.

However, the Panthers came home with a wet sail in the final term and were not to be denied the win, as they slammed home 4.6 to three behinds.

West Preston-Lakeside generally had control of the ball for most of the day, but appeared to run out of legs in the final term, as Eltham finished full of running to continue its stunning rise.

The Panthers got off to the better start, kicking the first goal through co-captain Joshua Merkel who nailed his shot hugging the boundary line. But the Roosters hit back through Aaron Willitts to tie proceeding early in the match.

Only four goals were kicked in the opening term as West Preston-Lakeside took a one-point advantage into the first break.

The contested footy continued in the second term, but Eltham’s Matthew Williamson broke the deadlock as he kicked a goal out of nothing. The major made amends for several earlier missed opportunities for the Panthers and gave them a seven-point buffer.

Competition leading goal scorer James Kroussoratis soon joined the party as he kicked a second in quick succession to open up a 13-point lead midway through the term.

All was not looking good for the home side, however a stunning turnaround was to follow. The Roosters were able to rally late in the quarter and kicked the final four goals of the first half to head into half-time with all the momentum and a handy 11-point advantage.

West Preston-Lakeside continued its form late in the second term into the start of the third quarter, producing the first goal through Nathan Valladares.

But Kroussaratis and Bradyn Taglieri each kicked goals in reply for the Panthers to reduce the margin to just eight points with only five minutes remaining in the quarter.

Just as looked like the Panthers were gaining some momentum, Willitts and Michael Tilmouth-Turner each booted superb goals to see the Roosters hold a game-high 19-point lead at the final break.

However, that would be the last time West Preston-Lakeside would see the ball sail through their goals as the Panthers ran rampant in the final term.

A last quarter brace from Kroussoratis and goals to Harrison Burns and Taglieri saw the Panthers claim a famous eight-point win, making up for a heart-breaking loss at the same ground in 2014.

Matthew Evans, Tom Rogers and Chase Caulfield were the most influential players for Eltham, while Joel McDonald, Willitts and Jacob Ramaekers produced good performances for the Roosters.

Eltham will look to further consolidate its place on the ladder when it takes on Bundoora in Round 7, while West Preston-Lakeside will be looking to get back onto the winners’ list when it takes on bottom-placed North Heidelberg.

West Preston Lakeside 2.4-16 6.6-42 9.9-63 9.12-66
Eltham 2.3-15 4.7-31 6.8-44 10.14-74


Goal Kickers: J. Kroussoratis 5, B. Taglieri 2, J. Merkel , H. Burns , M. Williamson
Best Players: , M. Evans , T. Rogers , C. Caulfield , H. Burns , B. Taglieri , D. Vallance


The reserves led throughout to score their sixth win and are now undfeated in as many starts to sit at the head of the ladder. Owen Robinson and Jamie Doukas kicked 5 and 3 goals respectively while others to standout for us were Josh Anderson solid in defence and Luke McCreery in the ruck

West Preston Lakeside 1.1-7 2.2-14 6.2-38 6.5-41
Eltham 4.2-26 8.4-52 12.6-78 14.10-94


Goal Kickers: O. Robinson 5, J. Doukas 3, T. Owen 2, J. Lorey 2, K. Keane , M. Jessop
Best Players: , J. Doukas , J. Anderson , L. McCreery , K. Keane , B. Ryan , B. Sharwood

Under 19s

The Under 19s were quickly on the board with the first three goals, but that were it ended as West Preston ran rampant. Although we came back in the later stages of the game, the damage had been done. Kyle O’Sullivan was a standout on the day for us,  while French, Pettigrove and Jye Lorey were solid contributors

West Preston Lakeside 3.1-19 5.7-37 15.10-100 16.11-107
Eltham 5.1-31 5.5-35 11.8-74 14.9-93


Goal Kickers: K. O”Sullivan 4, T. Burns 2, L. Russell , J. Mallard , C. McCormick , N. Gavillucci , J. Dell , N. Eggleton , T. Carafa , P. Turnbull
Best Players: , K. O”Sullivan , D. French , N. Pettigrove , J. Lorey , T. Burns , P. Turnbull