Winners are grinners

Pakenham goal shooter Leilani Pokia nails one of her 24 goals in the Lions' loss to Mt Evelyn. 348938 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Marcus Uhe

The heavyweights of Premier Division continue to go from strength-to-strength, as one gets back on the horse following a tricky few weeks.

Olinda Ferny Creek’s current winstreak has reached five matches, claiming another scalp in Beaconsfield this week to move into fourth place on the ladder.

Led by Brodie Smith and Ava Van Leemput, a dominant second half from the reigning champions saw them outscore the Eagles 34 to 16 in the second half to win 59-41, after scores were tied at the long break.

Elizabeth Murphy’s goal scoring exploits were no match for Hayley Howard at the other end of the court, who could only muster 29 in the face of Howard’s 40.

Jaime Quinn and Millicent Utber were among Beaconsfield’s best.

Not to be outdone, Narre Warren have now reached six wins on the trot, accounting for Berwick at Kalora Park.

A rapid start from the Magpies saw them lead by seven at quarter time and never look back, but saved their best until last with a 19-9 final quarter to finish 59-34.

Clare Vearing (34) and Jemma Osborne (20) shared scoring duties for the Magpies as Brittany Mashado played a captain’s game in the middle of the court.

Mashado went head-to-head with fellow skipper Holly Moulday, who was a standout for Berwick.

Pakenham gave Mt Evelyn a fright at Toomuc Reserve, taking a six-goal lead into the first break before the Rovers turned up the heat.

Pakenham outscored the visitors 13-7 in the first quarter showing the best of what its defence could offer, but scores were tied by the long interval as the Rovers showed why they have been so dominant all year.

25 goals to 17 saw them pull-away 47-39 by the final whistle, on the back of Rory Barr’s 38 goals, but a far cry from the 100 they scored the week prior against Gembrook.

Mid-courters Steph Crilly and Montana Wallis led the fightback for the Rovers, while Leilani Pokia scored 24 for Pakenham.

Eliza Molino also scored four as she showed her versatility, playing at both ends of the court.

At Wandin, the Bulldogs shook-off a three game losing streak with a strong 25-goal win over Monbulk.

A four-quarter performance from the Bulldogs saw them get back to their best after a worrying mid-year form slump, extending the lead at every break, finishing 68-43 winners.

Emmalia Blake’s 58 goals stretched her lead over Howard on the goalscorer’s list to 119, while supported at the other end of the court by Ruby Tidd and Charlotte Sparks.

Peri Reid did the bulk of the scoring for the Hawks with 33 goals.

At Gembrook, the Brookers managed their equal-highest score of the season against Upwey Tecoma, but the quest for the first win continues, as their opponents achieved the same feat.

For the fourth time in 2023, Gembrook Cockatoo scored 32 goals, but for the 13th time, tasted defeat, this time by 24 goals.

Mary Miles, Hollie Burton and Rebecca Christie continue to fight the good fight for the Brookers, but struggled against the defensive pairing of Charlotte Davies and Bethany Hosking.

With the top five appearing safe for the remainder of the campaign, the battle for sixth between Monbulk, Upwey Tecoma, Pakenham and Berwick appears set to go down to the wire, with only six points separating sixth to ninth.