Great Western and the Ararat Eagles have made a pair of strong statements as the MDFL and MDNA returned to action for round 14 on Saturday.
One of the key matches of the round was between third-placed Great Western and fourth-placed Glenthompson Dunkeld, with the Lions putting on a stellar display at home.
It was a high-scoring, free-flowing football game at Great Western, with just three goals separating the sides at the half-time break.
The Lions were inaccurate in front of goal, but they could still gather the momentum in the second half and run away to a convincing win, 16.20 (116) to 12.7 (79).
After another strong performance, Great Western senior coach Will Bell said he was confident his side are the best team in the MDFL.
"I think we are the best team in the competition," he said.
"I have had a good look at all the other clubs now, and I feel like our best is really, really good. I think we have a team that can attack and score a big score in a big game.
"We probably didn't play at our best on the weekend. We missed a lot of opportunities we could have a 50-60 point win, but we'll take it. We are just happy that footy is back."
Up forward for the Lions, it was Damon Folkes who again led the way bagging six goals.
Lachlan Malloy kicked a goal of his own and was named best on ground, while Tom Cairns was also one of the Lions best on the day.
It was a crucial win for the Lions, who now move clearly into the third spot on the ladder, almost assured of the double chance, barring a misstep in the final two rounds.
Glenthompson Dunkeld will need to regroup ahead of their final two home-and-away matches after heavy defeats to Tatyoon and Great Western in consecutive contests.
Meanwhile, the Ararat Eagles completed a 132-point demolition of Wickliffe Lake Bolac, enough to vault the Eagles back into the top five.
The Eagles were mighty defensively, conceding just one goal for the afternoon on their way to a 20.19 (139) to 1.1 (7) win.
Up forward, 10 different Eagles got in of the goal scoring action, with Aiden Graveson booting four, while Ryan Weppner, Cori Corrigan and Jayden Wright scored three apiece.
Ben Robertson also showed no signs of rust, backing up his best on ground display against Penshurst with another influential performance.
In the other round 14 results, Lismore Derrinallum were well and truly outclassed by Tatyoon, going down 10.4 (64) to 18.16 (124).
SMW Rovers, despite some inaccurate goal-kicking, scored a big win over Caramut 23.27 (165) to 1.1 (7).
Inaccuracy also cost Penshurst, who narrowly went down in a tight tussle against Hawkesdale Macarthur, 6.6 (42) to 4.12 (36).
Finally, Woorndoo Mortlake kept on their winning roll with a comfortable victory over Moyston Willaura 19.16 (130) to 2.2 (14).
Round 15, the penultimate round of the Mininera season, shapes as a crucial one, with a series of finals shaping contests.
The top of the table clash is the highlight, with the winner of Tatyoon and Woorndoo Mortlake to take the crucial top spot on the ladder.
While the Eagles will have the chance to cement their finals place if they're good enough to take down SMW Rovers on the road.
Round 15 MDFNL-MDNA fixtures
- Caramut v Hawkesdale Macarthur
- Great Western v Lismore Derrinallum
- Wickliffe Lake Bolac v Glenthompson Dunkeld
- SMW Rovers v Ararat Eagles
- Penshurst v Moyston Willaura
- Tatyoon v Woorndoo Mortlake
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