Vermont has made it five wins on the trot as the Eagles maintained third place on the ladder after recording a 34 point victory over a dogged Knox at Terrara Road in the round seven clash. After putting on a sublime footballing clinic against a hapless opposition seven days earlier, the home side in boxing terms laid plenty of jabs in the first half before finally “decking “the opposition in the third quarter with five unanswered goals.
Knox made a slight attempt to arise from the canvas early in the final term but simply did not have enough sting left in their tail.
Dean Millhouse and defensive partner in crime Grant McCarthy were once again rock solid. Millhouse with 29 disposals and nine marks constantly repelled Knox’s forward “thrusts while McCarthy continued his outstanding season to date with another near perfect display on the last line of defence. Also well worthy of a mention in the back half as well were both Tim Johnson (24 disposals) and David Barton (20). Young winger Ryan Wilson by far put in his best game of the season to date with a solid four quarter performance. Gathering 25 possessions Wilson gave some outstanding run and carry through the middle of the ground.
With Ash Froud on the sidelines due to injury Justin van Unen shared the main forward duties with Matt Greig. Van Unen has progressively got better as the season has warmed up and his return of 5.4 again signalled that when he does finally hit his straps a major haul is only just around the corner. On the down side, promising youngster Shane Davidson did not return back onto the field after going down with a leg injury mid way through the second term.
Van Unen got the Eagles off to a flying start in the opening quarter kicking two goals in the opening eight minutes. His opening goal coming from his now custom hop, skip and jump approach to a set shot, while the second was a cheeky banana kick deep in the forward pocket at the Terrara Road end of the ground.
But not to be denied Knox dug in their heels and clawed their way back into the contest with goals from James Morris and Liam Kenny to be trialling by a slender two points at the quarter time break.
Qtr Time: Vermont 2-3-(15) Knox 2-1-(13)
Paul Chadwick gave the Eagles some breathing space three minutes into the second term when he rammed home a goal after running on to a loose ball.
Knox began to get some great carry through the middle of the ground and when goals from Scott Davis via a free kick then an opportunist rolling goal from Joel McGown ten minutes in saw the visitors take a two point lead. Kris Bardon then put the Eagles back in front only for Paul Tredrea to once again give Knox the lead on 18 minutes by just a point after again making the home side pay after being rewarded a free kick.
But the Knox momentum took a major blow late in the term when Ben Crowe fired home a long range bomb to win back the lead which was then extended to 11 points when Nathan Henley ran into an open goal for the easiest of conversions.
Half Time: Vermont 6-6-(42) Knox 5-1-(31)
Henley the goal scorer turned goal provider with two crucial assists in the opening six minutes of the third quarter. Matt Greig made no mistake from 30 metres out after collecting a pin point pass and van Unen screwed the ball home after gathering another slick pass as the lead moved out to 22 points.
Tom Schneider, who was getting a pounding with no great protection from the officials, extended the lead out to 28 points with eight minutes on the clock after easily converting a down field free kick from close range. Daniel Mendes then got into the act with a nice goal on the run and when skipper Ryan Mullett let fly with an exquisite shot from 50 metres on the run the Eagles had blown out the lead to 42 points going into the last break.
Three Qtr Time: Vermont 11-8-(74) Scoresby 5-2-(32)
Having watched the contest slip away, the visitors rolled the dice one more time kicking three unanswered goals through Liam Kenny, Matt Smyth and Reyne Harris in the opening seven minutes of the quarter to cut the margin back to 25 points.
Mendes extended the breathing space back in Vermont’s favour with a clever snap shot but Knox once again hit back just shy of time on when Ben Healy made no mistake from close range. Van Unen then put any slender chance to bed when he kicked his fourth of the afternoon courtesy of a fine pass from Lachie Johns.
Down but still breathing, Knox kept up their fighting spirit and at the 22 minute mark defender Jake Castricum took an absolute screamer over a congested pack and deservingly rounded it off with a goal.
But the final say would come from van Unen who nailed his fifth for afternoon latching onto a Henley pass and coolly converting from 35 metres out.
Final Score: Vermont 14-12-(96) Knox 10-2-(62)
Vermont Goals: J.van Unen 5, D.Mendes 2, N.Henley, R.Mullett, T.Schneider, K.Bardon, P.Chadwick, M.Greig, B.Crowe 1.
Vermont Best ( Watson’s choice) : D.Millhouse, R.Wilson, G.McCarthy, T.Johnson, R.Mullett, J.van Unen
Next Saturday the Eagles venture out to last placed East Burwood whom is still searching for their first win of 2013.