Undermanned Demons step up

Mernda got its first win of the season. (NWM Sports)

Tara Murray

An injury riddled Mernda is on the board in the Northern Football League division 3 season.

Last season’s runners-up have been hit hard by injuries early on with about 10 players from their best side out injured.

With some more injuries on Saturday, getting wins on the board without a full side is important for the Demons.

Demons coach Robert Fletcher said it was nice to get a win on the board.

“We played really well the first week, but we weren’t able to get the win,” he said. “We have a lot of people out at the moment.

“We lacked that little bit of experience in round one. We should get most of the guys back over the next eight to nine weeks.

“Some others are getting opportunities and getting to play in different positions and we just go from there.”

On Saturday, the Demons faced Heidelberg West.

After what Fletcher described as a ‘terrible’ start, the Demons were able to steady and come away with a 17.13 (115)-10.9 (69).

“Heidelberg came to play,” Fletcher said. “They were up in our faces and they were good with their pressure.

“After quarter time we responded really well.”

Travis Keating and Bryce Kimuliatis kicked five goals each for the Demons.

Fletcher said Josh Mazzarella and Jesse Guelfo were good along with the two main goal kickers.

Fletcher said the arrival of Keating from Craigieburn would help them up forward.

Other key recruits, Jake Bennett and Brent Marshall missed the game. Fletcher said Marshall would likely return about round eight.

He said with the outs they just need to keep getting wins on the board as they push for a second straight grand final.

He said there was plenty of motivation among the group following the grand final defeat last year.

“We understand that it is a long season,” he said. “We need to do the right things now to have the opportunity to redeem ourselves later in the season.”

The Demons face Reservoir in round three. The Mustangs are yet to win a game.

In other matches, Old Paradians’ start to life in the NFL has continued on a winning note, beating fellow new side, Ivanhoe.

It was tough going under lights, with the Paradians winning, 6.6 (42)-5.8 (38). Marcus Nolan kicked three goals for the Paradians, while Sam Gilmore and Jack Nicolo were named among the best with Nolan.

Epping fell just short of a second straight win, losing to the Old Eltham Collegians, 11.8 (74)-9.18 (72).

The Pingers kicked 2.6 in the final quarter.

Lalor remains without a win, losing to the Fitzroy Stars, 15.15 (105)-6.2 (38).

In division 2, Whittlesea made it two from two against St Mary’s, Laurimar lost a thriller against Lower Plenty, South Morang beat Watsonia and Thomastown lost to Diamond Creek.