Caroline Springs has put a tumultuous lead-in behind it to create a club milestone in Western Region Football League division 1.
The Lakers improved to 3-2 – and moved ahead of the win-loss ledger for the first time since its promotion to the top flight – with a 214-point shellacking of Albion at Town Centre Oval on Saturday.
The win came after a tough week for the Lakers in which star key position player Brian Lake was de-registered for an accumulation of suspensions.
Even without Lake, the Lakers found alternative avenues to the big sticks, piling on 35 goals against the hapless Albion.
Lakers football manager Marc Raak said the margin represented success in terms of the challenge faced by the Caroline Springs players.
“The score represents what we had to do,” he said. “Obviously Albion aren’t at full strength, but we still had to go out there and play good footy.
“Brian Lake didn’t play this week due to suspension, so we had to find some other avenues to goal and we did that really good today.”
It was all one-way traffic from go to whoa.
Cody Raak and Luke Edmondson helped themselves to seven goals apiece for Caroline Springs.
Raak, the son of Marc, was named best-on-ground for his tireless efforts across half-forward.
Edmondson played more as a deep forward, but was just as effective for the Lakers.
Frank Campisi chimed in with five goals.
“The forwards all got a bit of a taste for it today, which is good,” Raak said. “The pressure in the forward line was really good as well.”
The Caroline Springs midfield delivered a power-packed performance.
Captain Keenan O’Shea, star recruit Stephen Brewer, Max Tessari, Jerome Caterino and Beau Naim dominated, continually pumping the ball into attack for the Lakers.
While Caroline Springs is in rare air on the ladder, a word of caution will be delivered to the players this week at training about not getting ahead of themselves.
For the Lakers, there are tough games against Altona, Hoppers Crossing, Werribee Districts, Spotswood and Deer Park ahead.
“It’s a huge month for the footy club,” Raak said.
“We’re excited and want to play these sides and see where we’re at.”
As for Lake’s de-registration, Caroline Springs will exhaust all avenues to see one of its marquee players back on the field.
As it stands, it will likely be a forlorn task – but the Lakers will not die wondering.
“The right of appeal is normally 12 months’ time,” Raak said.
“We’ll look into it with the AFL Players’ Association and see if there’s any other avenues where we can speed that up.
“We’ve got to remember, this [Lake’s suspension record] goes far back to when he was a 17-year-old kid playing for an Adelaide club.
“It’s a harsh penalty when you’re a 17-year-old and you got suspended for two weeks and it carries over 20-odd years later.
“We’ll do the best for Brian, as we always do as a club, and if we can get to the table and state our case … we’ll see what happens.”
Caroline Springs playing coach Brodie Holland was also recently de-registered for exceeding the threshold.