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Grovedale (1st) vs. Leopold (10th)

Burdoo Reserve

Saturday, April 29, 2:10pm

Grovedale star Brad Surkitt attempts to shrug the tackle of Leopold’s Marcus Thompson. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

LEOPOLD has narrowly avoided becoming the first reigning premier to start the following season after holding off Grovedale by seven points to win the inaugural Let’s Kick Cancer Cup at Burdoo Reserve.

The victory over the previously unbeaten Tigers was full of merit, with the Lions missing former skipper Jai Thompson, veteran Jye Walker and young defender Jye Cross through injury, while premiership duo Jeremy Larcombe and Ben Carmichael started their seasons in the reserves.

Coach Steve Clark was happy with the way his team fought it out.

“The group really needed it,” he said of the win.

“We didn’t speak about being 0-3 or anything like that. There’s 18 games, you need x amount (of wins) to get there (finals).

“It was more that we were confident that our best footy would get us back on track if we kept working hard enough.”

Leopold got the jump despite kicking into a slight breeze in the opening term, to take a 20-point lead into quarter time.

The visitors extended the margin in the second quarter to as much as 31 points, with Alex Moloney proving to be a handful for the Grovedale backline.

However, a Jordan Erskine’s second goal just before the half-time siren gave the Tigers some momentum heading into the main break.

When the teams returned after half time, the Tigers made the most of the wind advantage, piling on seven goals to three to take a two-point lead at three-quarter time.

But, despite some wasted chances in front of goal, where they kicked 2.7 in the final term, Leopold was able to regain the lead and hold off Grovedale.

Moloney finished with three goals for the Lions, while Simon Close and Brandon Howarth each kicked two.

Skipper Matt Pitt, young defender Trent Thompson, who had the job on Erskine, Nick Bourke all impressed, while Kevin Bourke won the medal as best-on-ground.

Erskine finished with four goals and fellow key forward Luke Delaney kicked two for Grovedale, with Matt Boag and Cam Delaney their best.

Leopold will look to square its win-loss ledger when they host Geelong West Giants, while the Tigers meet St Joseph’s in a mouth-watering clash at Burdoo Reserve.

Leopold  3.4, 7.5, 10.5, 12.12 (84)

Grovedale  0.2, 3.4, 10.7, 11.11 (77)

GOALS, Leopold : A. Moloney 3, S. Close 2, B. Howarth 2, M. Patten, L. Wagener, S. Scott, M. Pitt, G. Hardy

Grovedale : J. Erskine 4, L. Delaney 2, D. Kee, N. Deans, A. Donohue, L. Ellis, M. Costello

BEST, Leopold : M. Pitt, T. Thompson, N. Bourke, L. Wagener, J. McHenry, K. Bourke

Grovedale :  M. Boag, C. Delaney, D. Witney, L. Headlam, L. Ellis, P. Waldron