Spearhead Jason Cloke was the toast of Parkside after notching his 100th goal for the season on Saturday.
Cloke kicked seven goals in the Magpies’ 100-point mauling of finals contender Sunshine Heights in the Western Region Football League division 3 at Henry Turner Reserve on Saturday.
“It’s a fantastic achievement for Jason and the club,” Magpies coach Nick Condos said.
“It’s great for the competition to have a player of his quality in it.”
Cloke is easily the most high profile player to have been part of the division 3 competition. The 35-year-old played 76 games for Collingwood in the AFL, including the 2003 grand final.
His career in the big league came to an end in 2006, but he has continued to build a memorable career in the suburbs.
Cloke played for Williamstown and Bendigo in the VFL before moving to play with Spotswood and Craigieburn. With Spotswood, he was a playing assistant coach and played in a premiership.
Cloke signed on with Parkside as a playing assistant, but the lure was to play alongside his brother-in-law Justin Dorward.
He has fitted into the Magpies line-up seamlessly.
“Jason’s obviously a big focal point, but we try to share it around,” Condos said.
“Everyone thinks we just kick the ball to him, but he gives it off just as much as he gets it too.
“He brings back his knowledge from playing at a higher level and inserts some of that knowledge back into the group.”
Aside from Cloke’s milestone, Parkside had an important game to win against a tough opponent that moves it closer to securing top spot for the finals.
Condos was pleased with the Magpies ability to withstand the physical heat offered up by Sunshine Heights. Once the Magpies won the contested ball and released to their running brigade, they were hard to curtail.
“They’re a real contested ball side, so for us to get the win like that was real good for our confidence going into next week,” Condos said.
Luke Gauci, Thomas Deutschbein and Stephen Campbell were the chief ball winners for Parkside, while Jack Collard continued his goalkicking form with three majors, taking his tally to 24 in 14 games.
Parkside can wrap up the minor premiership against second-placed Wyndham Suns at Henry Turner Reserve on Saturday.
Condos reckons the Suns, who beat them first time around, will be the team to beat in the finals.
“They’re the yardstick,” he said. “We’re coming up against the best side in the comp and see how we’ll fare.”
Elsewhere in division 3, Laverton only kicked one goal against a powerful Wyndham Suns, losing by 90 points at Goddard Street Reserve, while Braybrook could not spoil the 50th anniversary celebrations of North Sunshine, going down by 98 points.
In division 1, Altona moved back into the top five after a 116-point thrashing of Wyndhamvale on the road.
Daniel O’Leary kicked three goals in a best-on-ground performance for the Vikings.
Spotswood could only manage three goals in a 70-point loss to Hoppers Crossing.
In division 2, Yarraville-Seddon found its best form in a 107-point hammering of West Footscray on a day when Scott Krakouer jagged six goals.