Bell Post Hill maintained its momentum in the run to the GDFL finals, taking a well-deserved 14-point win over ladder-leaders Thomson at Myers Reserve on Saturday.
The Panthers started strongly and held off the Tigers’ mid-game challenge, finishing with a determined four-goal final quarter, to win 13.7 (85) to 10.11 (71).
This is the second time Bell Post Hill has beaten Thomson this season, the previous occasion by one point at the Tigers’ home ground in Round 7.
Panthers’ best players were Tim Barton, who stood in for missing ruckman Renn Lovitt, and top goal-scorer Will Ford.
“Tim Barton really stood up in the ruck”, Panthers’ senior coach Justin Tarr said.
“He had a big challenge in front of him, as Andrew Jarvis from Thomson is a real quality player and I think Tim did a good job for us in the ruck,” Tarr said.
“Will Ford stood up at full forward as well, kicking six goals and he kicked really straight.”
The win gives the Panthers confidence going into the finals next week against last year’s runners-up Inverleigh, but Tarr is being cautious not to get too confident.
“The home and away season’s done and it’s a completely different ballgame in the finals,” he said.
“It’s just good to be playing somewhere near our best coming into the finals.
“So, a little bit of momentum at the moment, but it’s a huge challenge against Inverleigh this week, who are also playing some really good footy.”
Bell Post beat Inverleigh the last time they met, in Round 9, but the Hawks have won every one of their rounds since, finishing the home-away season on a high thrashing Werribee Centrals by 106 points (21.15 to 5.5) on Saturday.
Tarr’s main concern is that star Panthers player Boe Collins has been reported and his fate is yet to be decided.
“We’re just waiting to hear back from the umpires, which will be in a couple of days, but he’s one of our best players,” Tarr said.