TOUGH conditions all around Melbourne on the weekend had only the skilful players kicking straight and hitting targets.
Plenty of them came out to play in the game down at Canning Reserve.
A high-scoring first quarter showed the pace that both the young squads of Avondale Heights and Maribyrnong Park had.
Cameron Wood dominated in the ruck for the home side, so it was surprising to see Maribyrnong Park win the clearance battle.
It was a big factor as the Lions established a five-goal-to-two lead to start the game.
The visitors had flash and pace about them, but the Lions’ defensive work as a team was a major highlight.
Their defensive setup, forward pressure and attack of the footy out of defence really shone through during the middle portions of the game.
The Lions adapted better to the windy conditions and none more than the agile youngster, George Abboud.
His forward pressure, vision and pure skill set up many of the Lions’ shots on goal and he was even able to snag one for himself.
It was credit to Heights, though, who despite struggling to impact on the scoreboard, took risks with many successful switches and used defensive wall tactics well to lock the ball in their forward line at times.
Although his impact was not as high as it could have been given his standards, a real highlight was the third quarter effort of former Blue, Dennis Armfield.
After struggling up forward, Armfield was inserted into the midfield, immediately injecting some life and toughness the home side needed.
He gained four bursting centre clearances in the third term alone as he tried to will Avondale Heights back into the game.
Scott Russell sparked the home crowd with an inspiring contested mark and goal to start the fourth, but inaccuracy and many missed tackles earlier cost Heights dearly and it was too late to get back in the game.
Maribyrnong Park’s Connor Maher was classy in front of goal, slotting three majors to help set up his team’s win when everyone else looked lost kicking for goal with the extreme wind.
The fitness of Maribyrnong Park was something to behold, finishing the game off with countless inside 50s and four more goals to seal a 40-point win.
AVONDALE HEIGHTS 4.9-33
Goal Kickers: S. Russell, C. Nastasi, M. Cravino, D. Armfield
Best Players: M. Darby, C. Sheehan, B. Robb, C. Wood, D. Armfield, J. Cutri
MARIBYRNONG PARK 10.13-73
Goal Kickers: C. Maher 3, K. Baker 3, J. Cornell, G. Abboud, J. McKenzie, Z. Keogh
Best Players: C. Maher, K. Baker, G. Abboud, S. Clarke, J. McKenzie, N. Linto