Doves continue scoring freely despite loss

Doveton's front-half potency has improved. 399551 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS.

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Southern Football Netball League Division 2 side Doveton went down in a high-scoring affair to premiership favourites Murrumbeena on Saturday 16.22 118 to 15.10 100.

Ruck Dylan Chapman and midfielder Harley Primrose’s absences were significant, given the currency on winning contested footy and clearances on small grounds such as Murrumbeena Park.

Closing to within 18 points was a testament the Doves’ unwavering resilience, after falling behind by 44 points at the main break.

The score after halftime was 10.4 to 4.14 in favour of the visitors.

Ash Brown, Cam Williamson, Sam Muirhead and Brodie Howie all scored multiple goals as Doveton crossed 100 points for the third consecutive week.

Last season, the Doves reached triple figures just once – against the now relegated Black Rock.

“It was definitely the front half of the ground we wanted to get better in and at this point in time, we’re the second highest scoring team,” said coach Matt Stapleton.

“It’s a good start, we’ve been able to address a couple of areas that we wanted but there are still challenges for us.”

Cam Williamson remains a scoring threat, but has this season been aided by Sam Muirhead (4.4 goals per game) and Max Sheppard (1.8), while Matt Clarke is another Stapleton is keen to bring in soon.

“It’s about them finding the synergy with each other – as good as it is to have goal kickers, they still need to work together to give each other space so that will continue to develop,” the coach said.

Muirhead, swung from defence in preseason, is playing as the deepest forward, while Sheppard is getting higher up the ground and pinch-hitting in the ruck at times.

“Sam is a talented player and he’s shown he can do it at the other end of the ground so there’s no reason he can’t do it up forward,” Stapleton said.

“You always want to be competitive and Sam is certainly that.

“Our backline has typically been fairly strong so we identified he could go forward and if we were clear about how we wanted to move the ball, then our forwards can hopefully be the beneficiary of the ball movement.”

Meanwhile, Hampton Park, Doveton Eagles and Hallam all tasted victory on the weekend.

Hampton Park prevailed 10.16 76 to 6.6 42 over Endeavour Hills in skipper Liam Myatt’s first game for three weeks.

Winger Tanner Stanton, midfielder Jayden Weichard and defender Luke O’Brien were among the standouts as Hampton Park built on an early buffer they created.

Defenders Ricky Boccari and Luke Peters were staunch for the Falcons, while John Rafferty and Liam Hasler fought hard in the midfield.

Doveton Eagles netted its second win of the season, staving off a second half fightback from Dandenong West to prevail 14.9 93 to 12.7 79.

Leigh Tannahill and Jacob Flannery led the way for the visitors at Greaves Reserve, while Zac La’Brooy and Jason Loomes kicked four each.

Brock Jenkins and Isaac Braaksma did their best to keep Dandenong West in the contest.

Matt Neve and Harry Sharlassian led Hallam’s 17.12 114 to 4.5 29 victory over the struggling South Yarra.