By DAVID NAGEL
CASEY Cardinia football had its calm before the storm on Saturday with five predictable results belying what’s sure to be a four-week frenzy leading into the finals.
Berwick’s Edwin Flack Reserve hosted the match-of-the-day, where the Wickers gave perennial powerhouse Cranbourne an almighty scare before conceding late goals to go down by 39 points.
Berwick started brightly, but a 6.6 to 1.4 second term saw the Eagles take a 26-point lead into half time. The home side cut the margin to 13 at the final break and, with a freshening breeze in the last quarter, looked a mighty chance of victory.
The margin was just 17 at the 20-minute mark before a late Cranbourne rally blew the margin out of proportion.
Michael Theodoridis returned from two weeks on the sidelines to kick five for the Eagles, and skipper Marc Holt and youngster Michael Thompson contributed four each.
Mat Fletcher and 200-gamer Luke Martin were superb for the winners while Mitchell Johnson, four goals, Madi Andrews and Jack Opteynde were best for Berwick.
NARRE Warren took its unbeaten run to 30 after a solid, but unspectacular, 39-point win over Doveton at Robinson Oval.
The reigning champs struggled to break free of the Doves, who made life difficult by playing a few behind the ball. Chris Collins topped off his best game for the year with three goals for the Magpies, while young-guns Ben Giobbi and Jack Soroczynski were among a host of others to shine. Michael Henry and Shaun Semmens put up a fight and Jarrad Boumann kicked three for the Doves.
BEACONSFIELD showed a real killer instinct as the Eagles pounded a flat-looking Tooradin into submission by 130 points at Westernport Oval.
Percentage could determine whether the Eagles gain a double-chance in September, so it mattered that they piled on 9.1 in a devastating final term. The Johnston brothers, Damien and Daniel, were everywhere for the winners who had Michael McPhie chip in with four goals up forward. Adam Galea and Jake Genoni were best for the disappointing home side.
ROC jumped a spot on the ladder, from ninth to eighth, after a strong second-half secured a 20-point win over Keysborough at Starling Road.
The Burra had all the momentum working into half-time, after a 5.5 to 2.2 second term saw them take a five-point lead to the break. ROC responded, and with Ben Tivendale, Ryan Hendy and Aaron Unsworth leading the way, kicked 8.4 to 4.3 in the second half to score a comfortable win in the end. Keysy captain/coach Chris Bryan played a blinder while Glenn Hawthorn and Chris Capsalis were others to be effective.
PAKENHAM remains in third position after an 86-point win over Hampton Park at Robert Booth Reserve.
Coach Steve O’Bryan led the way with six for the Lions while Beau Wheeler, Joel Gibson and Russ Lehman were driving forces all afternoon.
The winless Redbacks managed their highest score for the season with Nathan Allen, four goals, Michael McDonald, Danny Cortese and Aaron Holden the best of the beaten brigade.