Lions win 10 straight to close in on double chance

Ash Perkins played a starring role in Pakenham’s big win over Belgrave on Saturday. 417825 Picture: EUAN POULTON PHOTOGRAPHY

By David Nagel

Top-of-the-ladder Pakenham has celebrated the 50th game of vice-captain Courtney Stephens with a commanding 9.11(65) to 0.2(2) victory over Belgrave at Toomuc Reserve on Saturday.

The Lions have now won 10-straight games since losing their opening-round fixture to Upwey-Tecoma and sit one win away from securing a top-two finish and a coveted double chance in finals.

The speedy Tianah Vandesteeg opened the first-quarter scoring for the Lions, before Aiesha Kolaritsch opened up a 15-point lead at quarter time.

Classy youngsters Abby Hobson and Ava Deszcz then extended the lead to 27 at the main break, with Ash Perkins, Abbey McKenzie, Annalise Ryan and Bonnie Williams playing great games across half-back and centre wing.

The spring-heeled Sarah Ventura was on top in the ruck, allowing Stephens, Bianca Moody and Chloe Nagel to have strong impact through the midfield.

Hobson kicked two in the third quarter, and Moody one, before Deszcz started the final quarter with a bang.

Stephens then put the finishing touches on her milestone game, drifting forward from centre to nail the Lions’ final goal for the match.

Perkins was a standout for Pakenham, with the talented left footer turning Belgrave’s attacking moves into scoring opportunities at the other end with her agility, run and carry.

The Lions this week head to bottom-placed Berwick Springs.

Belgrave was held goalless, but Francesca Alves was magnificent for the Magpies across half-back, while Shelby Hauler, Lauren Sultana and Amber Drummond were influential figures around the ground.

The Magpies face another tough challenge this week, heading to Healesville after the Bloods made a one-act affair of a fiery clash with Berwick Springs.

The Bloods exploded out of the blocks, kicking 4.6 to 0.0 in the opening term, and finished off in style with a 6.4 to 0.0 final quarter on their way to a 13.17(95) to 0.0(0) victory.

Reigning league-medalist Scarlett Potter kicked two for the Bloods, with Paisley Stock and Isabelle Watson matching that total, while Perry Byron, Paula Pavic and Brylee Anderson were serviceable contributors around the ground.

Olinda Ferny Creek and Upwey-Tecoma both had the bye.

In Division Two, a 53-point win over Seville has given Emerald the edge in the battle for fourth spot.

Scores were locked at quarter time before the Bombers unleashed a 4.2 to no score second term to take control of the match.

Molly Webb snagged four goals for the winners, while Amber Brierley kicked three and Caitlin Ellis two in impressive displays up forward.

The fourth-placed Bombers now sit two games clear of Wandin in fifth place.

Officer’s finals hopes also appear shot after the Kangaroos went down by 36 points to Woori Yallock.

Chelsea Barkwith kicked two goals for the Kangas in a losing cause, while Breanna Granger, Lauren Langeveld and Taya Rob were best players around the ground.

In other games, Warburton-Wesburn remain on top after a 53-point win over Wandin, with Jasmine Enever (5), Madi Ward (4) and Kristy Flett (2) kicking multiple goals for the winners.

And Monbulk is keeping the pressure on in second spot after 51-point victory over Thornton-Eildon.

Jade McCormick and Madeline Vouvopoulos kicked two each for the Hawks, while Maddi Dodd was again best player on the ground.