Melton Centrals have closed the gap on the Riddell District Football League’s top sides if Saturday’s result against Diggers Rest is anything to go by.
The Centrals have been touched up by the Burras in coach Mathew Sproule’s time at the club, but Saturday’s performance was a different story.
While it never looked like the Burras wouldn’t come away with the win, Centrals showed they couldn’t be taken lightly in their 16.10 (106)-11.8 (74) loss.
Sproule said the match was a good indication of where Centrals were in the scheme of things, with the two teams entering the match undefeated.
“It was a free kick for us, as no one expected us to win, especially without having Dylan [Weir],” he said.
“We were hopeful of seeing where we fitted in and how much we had improved and if we had closed the gap. It showed we are heading in the right direction.”
Sproule said Centrals had moments in the game when they could have put more pressure on the Burras.
Diggers Rest looked like it would run away with the game in the first half, at one stage kicking nine goals out of 10.
But Centrals steadied to keep themselves in the game at half-time.
“The third quarter was a missed opportunity,” Sproule said. “We missed three or four sitters that would have put us close to level.
“And as good sides are, they took their opportunities. We played well in the last quarter.”
Four players kicked two goals apiece for the Rams, while Cole Laurie kicked four goals at the other end for the Burras.
Sproule said a positive sign for the centrals was two youngsters were among their best three players.
“I can’t understand how Lachlan Phillips isn’t getting a game for the Western Jets,” he said. “Jarrod Spry has been good in the back line and is owning his position. Mick Callus was the other stand-out.”
Sproule said he and his players were not getting too comfortable, despite sitting in second place.
He said they faced a tough seven-week period that would involve playing a lot of the finals contenders.
A scalp or two would be required if Centrals were to make the finals.
“We’re going into every game now believing that we can win it if we play our best football,” he said. “We’re not going in thinking we will be blown out – it’s more about that belief in the side.
“We still have a lot of improvement and our recruits keep getting better. We think we are good enough.”
Centrals have this weekend off due to interleague before they face Rupertswood the following week. Leading goal-kicker Dylan Weir will return after serving a one-game suspension.
In other results, Macedon found some form against Woodend-Hesket, winning 14.15 (99)-7.3 (45).
Riddell beat Wallan 21.12 (138)-9.8 (62).
Rupertswood smashed Rockbank 43.21 (279)-0.1 (1). Nick Grigg kicked eight goals.
Mitch Jensen and Jack Jedwab kicked seven goals each in the Redbacks’ 32.25(217)-0.0 (0) win against Lancefield.
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