Extract from our own Connor O’Learys article at on nfl.org.au
Lower flew out of the gates with two goals in as many minutes through Dillan Ronalds and Blake Poyser. Despite Kroussoratis responding shortly after for Eltham, Julian Soccio goaled either side of a Clint Monger set shot to leave the Panthers stunned.
With Patrick Flynn dominating the ruck, Lower Plenty was smashing Eltham around the stoppages and able to move the ball into its forward 50 with speed and precision. Matt Barden’s major pushed the margin to 36 points late in the term, however Josh Merkel’s booming effort from 55 metres ensured Eltham headed into the first break 29 points in arrears.
Eltham’s effort was far greater after quarter time, with Kroussoratis drawing a free kick and goaling from the resultant set shot early in the second quarter. With the Panthers pressing, Debri Kutrolli was the benefactor of some poor Eltham discipline and goaled from the square following a 50 metre penalty against the run of play.
The game was being played increasingly in Eltham’s forward half and eventually it was able to capitalise; Kroussoratis and Merkel goaled again before youngster Sam Zito finished in traffic from close range to cut the margin to just 10 points at the main break.
Kroussoratis and Doug Morris traded goals to start the third term, however Darcy Vallance and Stephen Witkowski both converted to give Eltham the lead for the first time in the match. When Chris McCabe kicked truly from 50, Eltham looked likely to run over the top of Lower Plenty.
However, the Bears dug deep with a goal through Ronalds, and a brilliant snap by Soccio from the boundary was enough for Lower to hold a slender two-point advantage at the final change.
Kroussoratis arrested the lead back again for Eltham after Tom Rogers’ quick kick forward in the opening minutes, but Vasilevski’s clearance from the restart in the middle set up Darcy Barden to give Lower Plenty the lead back for good.
The Bears continued to run and move the ball quickly, with further goals to Di Stefano, Barden, Flynn and Tom Keys extinguishing the Panther challenge.
Daniel Coffield was able to pull one back for Eltham late, however it was not enough.
We will play host to ladder-leader Macleod at Panther Place this Saturday.
Full article is at nfl.org.au
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