By Lance Jenkinson
Sunshine Heights over-ran Albanvale and completed a whole set of wins over the rest of the sides in the Western Region Football League division 3 this season.
The Dragons produced daring attacking football in the last quarter to overcome a 22-point three-quarter time deficit and run out nine-point winners in one of the matches of the season at Robert Bruce Reserve on Saturday.
Dragons coach Damien Farnfield can sense that confidence is growing in his squad.
“The boys have got some belief that they can really cause some damage this year,” he said.
“Having now beaten every side in the competition, it gives them real belief they can go far in the finals.”
It was like chalk and cheese what Sunshine Heights served up this round compared to the game prior.
Seven days earlier, the Heights saw their five-game winning streak snapped in a listless performance against Wyndham Suns.
In stark contrast, the Heights were full of energy against Albanvale and kicked away to an 18-point lead at quarter-time.
“To be honest, if we won last week, I don’t think we would’ve been up for the contest for four quarters like we were this week,” Farnfield said. “It was a big wake-up call for our guys last week.”
While Albanvale wrestled back control with a stunning six-goal-to-one second quarter, the Heights were able to re-group at half-time and produce a second half to remember.
The Heights chipped away at the deficit in the third and slowly regained momentum.
A goal from Matthew Serafin on the three-quarter time siren was a real team lifter.
Farnfield’s message to his players at three-quarter time was to simply go for broke and they followed his instruction.
“I just told the guys, be exciting, we’ve got nothing to lose here, take the game on and let’s give our forwards a chance,” he said.
“That’s exactly what they did.”
Dalton Tonkin was one of the most influential players on the ground.
The Sunshine Heights ruckman consistently gave his onballers first use. Once his duties in the ruck were complete, he starred in a kick-behind-play role, halting a number of Albanvale forward charges.
“He gives the mids a nice advantage because he’s a very good tap ruckman,” Farnfield said.
David McKinley capped an outstanding game for Sunshine Heights with three goals.
McKinley worked both as an inside midfielder winning clearances and was dangerous resting across half forward.
Roger Cini had a massive impact late in the game with his rebound out of defence.
Matthew Gauci continued his goal kicking form with three majors.
Sunshine Heights will host North Sunshine in the local derby at Ainsworth Reserve on Saturday. North Sunshine had its most competitive showing in some time in a 67-point loss to Laverton.
In division 1, Sunshine capped its 60th anniversary celebrations with a 116-point win over Albion. Livewire Daniel Castellano was a star on the Kangaroos big day with five goals.
Deer Park is back up to third after ending a two-game losing streak with a 32-point win over Werribee Districts.
St Albans’ finals hopes took a blow with a 37-point loss to Spotswood.