By MICHAEL HABER
IT was a cold and wet day at Goonawarra Reserve.
Moonee Valley were set to warm up the crowd early against East Sunbury. They attacked hard throughout the whole quarter, hitting up their big man, Josh Covelli, a multitude of times.
Covelli looked unstoppable in the quarter, taking on his opponent and beating him every single time.
East Sunbury found it difficult to get the ball into their forward half early on and when it did get down there, Moonee Valley easily cleaned it up.
The Valley managed to find loose men everywhere as the Thunder looked nervous, fumbling the ball and making costly mistakes. This performance gave Moonee Valley a 30-point buffer at the first break.
East Sunbury were more lively in the second quarter, attacking hard but not being able to convert a goal.
Rhys Gardener provided a lot of attacking pressure but to little avail as Moonee Valley struck first in the quarter.
It then became a goal-for-goal affair as both teams scored almost as soon as the other did.
East Sunbury looked to be mounting a comeback but Covelli made sure his opponents were kept at bay with his own goal right before the siren.
East Sunbury looked a different team in the third quarter. They came out with determination and hunger but converting goals was still their biggest problem.
They attacked well and were rewarded eventually as they significantly cut down Moonee Valley’s lead.
The Valley looked to be fading but when their defence managed to get the ball out of danger, they found it easy to take it forward and convert a goal despite the best efforts of the already overworked Thunder defence.
Four goals to East Sunbury cut down the margin to 20 points going into the last quarter.
East Sunbury yet again came out all guns blazing at the beginning of the final term.
They stacked on immense attacking pressure and finally broke the Moonee Valley defence, which had previously looked as though they weren’t letting anything through.
A goal to Jason McMahon got the crowd roaring as he brought his side within 12 points but it was all downhill from there for East Sunbury.
Costly turnovers and the inability to take a clean mark hurt the Thunder as the Valley kicked six unanswered goals.
Tom Galea scored the final goal of the match after the siren but it was much too little too late as the Valley seemed to have returned to their sparkling form with a new king up front in Covelli, who booted nine for the day.
EAST SUNBURY | 9.12-66
Goal Kickers: T. Galea 2, R. Gardener 2, K. Mokbel, L. Shaw, J. Bell, J. McMahon, K. Ogilvie
Best Players: K. Mokbel, J. Bell, M. Kuric, J. McMahon, J. Gilbertson, A. Aquilina
MOONEE VALLEY | 17.11-113
Goal Kickers: J. Covelli 9, N. Wilson, C. Ahern, S. Aberdein, J. Noonan, B. Fennell, C. Needs, J. McKenzie, A. Ciancio
Best Players: J. Covelli, T. Gleisner, J. Moussa, B. Padmore, S. Gales, B. Fennell