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IT’S been a big month in football for the Warrandyte Football Club and with six games remaining in the EFL season the Bloods sit on top of the Division 4 ladder which has been thanks to some red-hot form, including a hard fought 24-point win over Forest Hill on Saturday.

Two weeks earlier Warrandyte Reserve was a hive of activity as almost 3000 people attended the big clash against Silvan with Glenn Archer and Campbell Brown lining up for the Bloods – and they certainly didn’t disappoint the big crowd by booting 10 goals between them (Brown 6, Archer 4) as Warrandyte romped home with a big win over Silvan.

Along with a packed house for the lunch time function where 200 guests enjoyed a lunch and guest speakers including Brown, Archer and former Magpie and Hawk John Hassall, there were visitors from far and wide, with many former Bloods returning for the big event.

Long-time resident and Warrandyte Sports Group secretary John Chapman told the Diary: “It’s the biggest sports event I’ve ever seen in Warrandyte – and I’ve been here a long, long time.”

Club legend Lawrie Sloan echoed those sentiments. “This club’s never seen anything like that, it was a fantastic day, the best turnout the club’s seen. The new clubrooms have impressed everyone too, we’re very lucky to have them.”

Club president Stephen Bell said the day was a big success.

“To walk around the ground and see so many familiar faces in the crowd was sensational,” Bell said.

“The highlight was to see so many children enjoying the day. It was a fantastic look at half-time when the Auskickers and tackers were playing and then to see them run out to Browny and Arch at the end of the day was just brilliant.”

The success of the day obviously rubbed off, because the Bloods haven’t looked back ever since with big wins all month. But the weekend’s game proved to be a better test for the Warrandyte lads as Forest Hill had the early ascendancy, kicking the first two goals of the match before the Bloods registered their first through Luke Dunn. Two further goals to Forest Hill saw it skip away to a 19-point lead before Josh Eyre goaled late for Warrandyte to reduce the quarter time margin to 13 points.

Some choice words from coach Michael Tout at the quarter time huddle seemed to have an immediate effect as the Bloods came out firing in the second term. A second goal to Luke Dunn from a set shot was followed by a clever snap from young gun James Appleby, before a trademark Tim Hookey bomb from the centre square gave the Bloods a five point lead. A late goal to Forest Hill in a low scoring quarter made it a one point half time lead to the Zebras, 34-33.

From there the Bloods completely shut down their opposition. Warrandyte talls Sam Tansley and Lee Evans were having an impact in the air with veteran Todd Holman and first year Blood Steve Harris dominating across the half back line. Despite dominating the quarter the Bloods were wayward in front of goal, finishing the term with just the one goal, another to Luke Dunn.

It was the Bloods by eight at the start of the final term, and that lead was soon 14 points after a strong mark and goal from 30m out from Dave Hand. Appleby Junior found himself on the end of a chain of clean possessions that started with Daniel Large deep in defense and goaled with poise to extend the lead to 22 points at the 12 minute mark and the game looked to be won. A late goal to the Zebras gave them a glimmer of hope before Lee Evans sealed the win with a long bomb just outside the arc.

Impressive defensive pressure from the Bloods restricted Forest Hill to just two goals in three quarters of footy and set up an important win. Warrandyte now sits on top of the EFL Division Four ladder after 12 rounds, equal on points with Park Orchards and Silvan, with the Round 14 clash with Park Orchards looming as a huge game for the Bloods.

Warrandyte’s Reserves side also defeated Forest Hill on Saturday, the Bloods maintaining a narrow lead from start to finish, eventually running out winners by 11 points.

Best were J Prelorenzo, N Prelorenzo, Munro, Jurey, Taylor and Konrad.

The Reserves also appear destined for finals action, having lost just one game to date.

Warrandyte’s Under 19 side has found some form, defeating Forest Hill 9.14-68 to 6.11-47.

Best players for Warrandyte were Hentschke, Mifsud, Philip-Owen, Ternes, Martin and Frowd. The young Bloods still have a possibility of playing finals despite losing five of their first six games – they have since won four from five and sit in sixth spot on the ladder just a win away from fourth.

Warrandyte has two big Saturdays at home coming up including the big battle against rivals Park Orchards at Warrandyte Reserve on July 19 while past players and supporters are invited to a luncheon on Saturday August 2 at Warrandyte’s new sporting facility when Warrandyte hosts Ferntree Gully in Round 16. The lunch will kick off at Noon and will feature a special guest appearance by Hawthorn legend Gary Buckenara. Just $40 per ticket inclusive of drinks, lunch and entertainment – contact Dale Vitiritti 0439 733 437 or Kimberley O’Connor 0400 399 248 to reserve your seat by July 20.

By CHRIS CHAPMAN
and SCOTT PODMORE
Warrandyte Diary – Issue 2014_7