MULGRAVE is on the verge of holding its place in division 2 after a stirring win over Bayswater in their must-win Eastern Football League game on Saturday.
The Lions’ 11-point win was their fourth victory in succession and moved them up to eighth place with two matches to go.
With their last two matches against Mooroolbark and Montrose, the Lions aren’t completely safe but they are tied with Waverley Blues and one game ahead of last-place Doncaster.
Coach Ryan James said the win over the Waters came from the desire to prove themselves to former coach Neil Winterton, who left the club after accepting the Lions’ coaching job during the off-season.
‘‘I let it be known to the boys that they had a bit to prove,’’ James said.
‘‘The boys’ effort on the day was massive and it was the best win I’ve been involved in apart from our grand final wins, especially as Bayswater had a bit to play for as well.’’
After taking their future into their own hands, James said his side wouldn’t fear facing two finals sides to end the season.
‘‘We haven’t spoken about it [relegation],’’ James said.
‘‘We are in control of our own destiny at the moment. We have two clubs below us and the pressure will be on them as well.’’
‘‘Mooroolbark is a good team but last time we took it up to them in parts and we are in good form.’’
Lions key forward Adam Booth stepped up for the big occasion kicking seven goals in the win while also kicking his 400th goal for the club in his 143rd Lions match.
‘‘The boys love playing with him,’’ James said.
‘‘Even when he doesn’t come down with the mark he takes the whole pack down with him and brings the ball to ground.’’
In division 3 Glen Waverley Hawks scored an impressive 41-point win over fourth-placed Boronia on Saturday with Andrew Azzopardi kicking nine goals.
The Hawks look assured of getting a double-chance in the finals and might still steal top-spot as they trail North Ringwood by percentage.
EFL division 2: Rowville 56 points, 174.81 per cent; Montrose 52, 180.04; Mooroolbark 52, 132.64; Donvale 34, 99.07; Bayswater 32, 115.47; Doncaster East 26, 81.84; Upper Ferntree Gully 24, 76.98; Mulgrave 16, 74.66; Waverley Blues 16, 67.01; Doncaster 12, 70.42.