By RORY O’NEILL
EAST Keilor and East Sunbury lined up at Overland Reserve on Saturday to commemorate the memory of Cougars club legend Kris Pisani, who passed away after a three-year fight with cancer.
Kris was the first East Keilor player to reach 300 games, and both teams remembered him with a minute of silence.
In the first quarter, the possession count was equal but East Sunbury were cleaner in their ball movement.
Con Grampsas and Sean Curtis attacked hard but were constantly repelled by the Thunders’ defence, in particular, Kamen Ogilvie.
East Keilor’s defence also stood up, allowing East Sunbury to score only three goals. At quarter time, the visitors led 3.3.21 to the Cougars’ 1.2.8.
The second quarter was a real lockdown.
East Keilor increased their intensity but missed targets, and the only goal kicked in the quarter by either team was from Scott Eldridge, who took a strong contested mark in the goal square.
The halftime score – with East Keilor having two goals on the board and East Sunbury three – looked more like a soccer score with both defences coming out on top.
In the third term, there was a shift in momentum and the Cougars briefly hit the front for the first time in the match.
However, a 60-metre, after-the-siren bomb from the Thunders’ Ashley Fleming saw the scores tied up at 6.7.43 apiece.
East Keilor kicked the first three majors of the final quarter, but then Lucas Shaw pulled one back for East Sunbury.
After this, it was all one-way traffic, with the Cougars kicking another four unanswered goals to run out 39-point winners, 13.11.89 to 7.8.50.
David Battistella, coach of East Keilor, was particularly happy with the hard running and work rate of his team in the last quarter.
He felt that up to that time, the Cougars had struggled with the accuracy of their disposals and he believes that the key to their future success is to improve their ball usage inside forward 50.
East Sunbury coach Steve Grey saw that his young group are going forward and he is trying to improve their self-belief.
He said that against an experience team like East Keilor, his ball carriers felt pressure, and this affected their decision-making and kicking efficiency.
He believes his team plays best when they move the ball with speed and accuracy.
EAST KEILOR | 13.11-89
Goals: C. Grampsas 2, P. Tsavdaridis 2, R. Balla 2, J. Madden, S. Eldridge, L. McCormack, S. Curtis, J. Napoli, G. Whelan, M. Castaldo
Best: C. Bryant, D. Lysaght, P. Tsavdaridis, J. Madden, J. Pickering, S. Eldridge, C. Grampsas
EAST SUNBURY | 7.8-50
Goals: T. Galea 2, A. Fleming, M. Johns J. King, J. Mobilio, L. Shaw
Best: L. Brne, D. Johnson, J. Gilbertson, J. McMahon, J. King, L. Shaw, K. Ogilvie