By: Samuel Zito
Friday, March 25, 2016
GREENSBOROUGH sent an ominous early warning to its Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 rivals, smashing Eltham in its Good Friday season opener.
The Boro were ruthless from start to finish, running away with a 13.20 (98) to 6.9 (45) in front of packed crowd at Eltham Central Park.
Wayward kicking denied the Boro an even bigger winning margin, with the 2015 runner-up wasting many gettable opportunities in front of goal.
David Ellard spent most of his debut match for Greensborough inside forward 50m and finished with a game-high four goals, while Tristan Stead enjoyed his first game as co-captain, booting three goals.
Michael Hooper was the best big man on the ground, winning plenty of touches and provided his midfielders with first use of the football from the ruck.
Greensborough’s impressive midfield depth was on display with Stead, Lachlan McQuilken, Matthew Fowler, Ricky Mullins and Nick Carnell winning the midfield battle.
Josh Griffiths fitted neatly back into the Boro line-up and provided plenty of dash from half back, teaming up well with Matthew Hyde.
The only concern for the visitors was a concussion sustained by Josh Callaway, with the speedster taking no further part in the game after receiving a head knock during the first quarter.
Billy Glasgow was Eltham’s best and again displayed the form that saw him selected in the Division 1 Team of the Year for the past two seasons.
Josh Merkel was used in both defence and attack and fought on gamely all day, while Mikael Avramov was fierce in his pursuit of the ball.
Greensborough made a positive start, with Stead kicking the opening goal of the season from a set shot directly in front.
The Boro continued to pepper at goal, but couldn’t convert. Avramov soon converted a goal for Eltham against the run of play, cutting the margin to just two points halfway through the term, despite his side being outplayed.
Greensborough finally turned its dominance into scoreboard pressure late in the opening quarter, with Josh Riddle converting a clever snap before Ellard kicked consecutive goals from free kicks.
Trailing by 22 points at quarter time, Eltham made a positive start to the second term – but was unable to manufacture a goal until 11 minutes in, when veteran Lachie Richardson kicked truly on the run.
The game continued to be played between the two 50m arcs thereafter, with Greensborough’s Jason Rogers breaking the deadlock after running into a vacant goal, giving his side a 24-point lead at half-time.
Eltham’s struggle continued into the third term, with the home side unable to generate any significant attacking threats.
The Panthers were contained to just two behinds for the term, while two goals to Ellard and another to Stead helped stretch Greensborough’s lead at the last change to 44 points.
Bradyn Taglieri finally ended Eltham’s goal drought early in the last term, with the midfielder’s move forward paying immediate dividends.
Any hopes of a miracle comeback were soon dashed, with Andrew Stellas getting a quick reply at the opposite end, before follow up goals to John Desmond and Josh Grubb saw the Boro race to a 58-point advantage.
Eltham was able to hit the scoreboard late in the contest, booting three goals to Greensborough’s two in time on.
The two sides both face a three-week break before their Round 2 outings, with Greensborough to host Northcote Park at War Memorial Park, while Eltham will go back to the drawing board ahead of its road trip to reigning premier Macleod.
The Panthers will hope to regain a host of key players for the clash, with Gavan Connelly, Matthew Evans and Lewis Glasgow all in line to return from injury after missing the season opener.
Final score: Eltham 6.9 (45) def by Greensborough 13.20 (98) at Eltham Central Park.