by Dylan Waghorne
After a forgettable loss to St Kilda City last week, the Bentleigh under 19s made the trek to Hallam, grinding out a hard fought win 5.6 (36) to 4.6 (30).
Yet to regain star players from a long injury list – including skipper Spencer Daly – the Demons started slow against the middle of the table Hawks who were downed by Bentleigh in the reverse fixture by 10 goals. Being led to the ball for most of the first half, Bentleigh trailed Hallam by 12 points at the main break, failing to register a goal as space seemed impossible to find inside 50.
Coach Rob Lawford spoke with intensity at the break as the Dees clearly needed a lift, still to recover from the previous week’s loss, the first for the Bentleigh under 19s since 2013.
Coming out with a renewed sense of purpose and desire, the Demons’ work rate and fortunes lifted in the third term. Like Ken Hinkley’s mantra ‘you get what you deserve’ suggests, Bentleigh’s willingness to run and attack the football saw them kick four unanswered goals to win back the lead, with two coming through Tom Brooks whose attack on the football was manic. Other goals came through Murat Pekin and Josh Mondano who produced an electric solo goal, breaking what looked like 10 would-be tacklers and bursting towards goal like a prime Byron Pickett.
The last quarter was a low scoring affair, but Bentleigh held on through the efforts of Snorta Yenofkian, Josh Mondano, Lachie Dickson and Liam Nixon, among others. Snorta slotted the sealer after taking advantage of a holding the ball decision deep inside 50, sending the Demons into raptures. The Bentleigh defence held off late charge from the gallant Hawks to secure a one goal victory.
Bentleigh’s under 19s will be at home to Cheltenham on Saturday, looking to retain equal top spot.
Goal Kickers: T. Brooks 2, M. Pekin, J. Mondano, C. Yenofkian Best Players: C. Yenofkian, J. Mondano, L. Nixon, T. Brooks, L. Dickson, R. Aitken