Undeated Therry Penola showed why it is the raging hot favourite to win the VAFA Division 1 premiership after being severely tested, then brushing aside a Prahran Assumption challenge at Toorak Park on Saturday.
The underdog Two Blues, keen to salute the 150 games milestone of captain Jack Matherson, showed their intent from the first bounce with a fierce attack on the ball.
Kicking with the aid of a four to five goals northerly breeze, Therry Penola was held to 0-6 in the first quarter, its first goalless quarter of the season.
The arm wrestle continued in the second quarter.
Therry Penola posted its first goal seven minutes into the term, then Adam Sleight quicky replied with a strong mark and long goal.
Further late quarter goals to Michael Radywonik and then Josh Hogarth gave the Two Blues a nine point half-time lead and the prospect of the upset of the season loomed.
But it proved to be a false dawn. The Two Blues would have to wait until the 20 minute mark of the last quarter for their next goal courtesy of Jamie Robbins.
In the meantime Therry Penola slipped up a gear and slammed on 8-6 while holding Prahran Assumption goalless and eventually cruised to a 38 point win to extend its unbeaten sequence to 16 wins .
Simply the Two Blues could not sustain their supreme first half pressure.
The better skills, physical and mental strength and fitness of Therry Penola came to the fore.
Frustrated, the Two Blues gave away a rash of free kicks in the third quarter, gifting three successive goals as the game slipped away.
For the Two Blues Sleight was dominant in a ruck and resting forward role, Trent Rogers excelled on ball and Blayne Dempsey and Matherson led an under siege defence.
After threatening a top two position mid-season the Two
Blues have slumped to sixth on the ladder and are still to face finalists
Williamstown CYMS and North Old Boys/St Patrick’s in the final two rounds.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 1-2 4-5 4-6 6-7 (43)
THERRY PENOLA 0-6 2-8 7-13 11-15 (81)
Goals: Rogers, Harris, Sleight, Radywonik, J Hogarth, Robbins.
Best: Sleight, Dempsey, G Hogarth, Anglin, J Matherson, Robbins.
Top-of-the-laddder status will go on the line next Saturday when the Reserves clash with ladder leader Williamstown CYMS.
An undermanned Two Blues unit tried hard but were unable to match third placed Therry Penola.
With Williamstown also beaten last Saturday by fifth placed Yarra Valley leaving it level on 48 points with the second placed Two Blues, the prize for the winner will be top of the ladder .
A loss could see the Reserves tumble to third.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 3-2 3-2 5-5 5-5 (35)
THERRY PENOLA 2-2 6-5 6-7 9-10 (64)
Goals: Ellis 3, Burton, Rice.
Best: Bremner, Delahenty, Parsons, Ancrum, Burton, Watkin.
CLUB XVIII FIRST SEM-FINAL SUNDAY