Sunshine Heights is no longer that speckle in the rearview mirror of the finals contenders in the Western Region Football League division 3.
The Dragons are very much a part of the leading pack, sitting a game-and-a-half clear inside the top four and just a game-and-percentage off top spot.
If you needed any more convincing of the Dragons’ might after they beat top side Glen Orden, it came on Saturday in a stirring 33-point win over Braybrook on the road at Pennell Reserve.
“It was a pretty good win,” Dragons coach Damien Farnfield said.
“It was a bit of an arm wrestle in the first half.
“We were on top early in the first quarter and then Braybrook piled on a couple of goals and then a similar thing happened in the second.
“After half time we were able to kick away.”
In the past five months, Sunshine Heights has undergone a dramatic transformation.
In February, there were fears that the Dragons might not even have enough players to field seniors and reserves sides.
The Dragons are one of the few clubs who do not pay their players, so pulling out the cheque book to top up their list was not an option.
Every single player who laces up the boots for the Dragons is doing it for the love of the game.
Farnfield praised the players for helping with recruiting and bringing friends and former teammates to the club to create depth on the list.
“We don’t pay anyone, we’re one of the few clubs that don’t pay, so recruiting is pretty hard on our end,” he said.
“It goes back to the players, who actually got friends down and guys they used to play with in juniors and they’re just starting to click together now.”
The late start to preseason for a lot of the playing group really hurt Sunshine Heights in the opening month.
The Dragons lost two of their opening three games, with both losses by 11 goals or more.
The cohesion they lacked in April is no longer an issue because Farnfield and the players have got their hands dirty on the training track and hit top gear.
The Dragons have claimed all the big scalps not named Albanvale, who have beaten them twice in quite brutal fashion.
It is a signal that the Dragons are one of the teams to beat in the race for the premiership.
“It’s down to the players,” Farnfield said.
“They’ve done an awesome job and need to be acknowledged for the hard work they put in to make us competitive this year.”
After a competitive first half against Braybrook on Saturday, Sunshine Heights took the ascendancy with a four-goal-to-two third quarter and never looked back.
The damage was done for the Dragons by half back flankers Leo Eliepa and Roger Cini, who not only defended strongly, but also created offence from the back half.
Jeremy Angelowitsch was given the task of marking star Braybrook forward Paul Cutajar-Milosev and the full back took the honours.
Cutajar-Milosev went into the game averaging 4.27 goals per game and Angelowitsch kept him to two, which was a win for the Dragons.
Ruckman Steven Walters-Kepada was influential around the stoppages for the Dragons, while Mathew Serafin snared three goals, taking his tally to 34 for the season.
A third win in succession has spirits high in the Dragons lair.
“The reserves were able to get up as well and that slides them into fourth place, so things are looking good around the club at the moment,” Farnfield said.
Sunshine Heights will host Laverton at Ainsworth Reserve on Saturday.
Elsewhere in division 3, Albanvale stand firm in second place after a 29-point win over Laverton on the road.
North Sunshine copped a 287-point hammering from Glen Orden, who kicked 49 goals for the game.
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