SOUTH Croydon took a major step towards staying in the Eastern Football League division 1 competition with a win over East Ringwood on Saturday.
The Bulldogs had fallen into second-last place leading into the match and hung just ahead of bottom team Croydon, but with division 1 survival on the line the Bulldogs put together one of their best performances of the year to win by 25 points.
Bulldogs coach Damien Franken, who took over the role from Ben Delarue two weeks ago, scored his first win as senior coach but said the victory was for everyone at the club.
"It was very pleasing, obviously," he said. "There had been a lot of build-up into this match and it was very important for the club to get a win. It will go a long way to secure our future in division 1."
Franken said several factors led to the win, including a much stronger attack on winning contested play and the work of the midfield and defence to push the ball into the forward line, where key forward Trent Zomer kicked eight goals.
"Winning the contested footy and the stoppages gave the guys a chance to win the inside-50s and find Zomer at full forward," Franken said. "The delivery was really good into him and he had space to lead into."
While the Bulldogs celebrated a much-needed win, the Roos will rue a chance to get another win on the board in what has been a disappointing season.
Franken said he wasn't content with one win and wanted his side to push for more in their remaining matches. "We'd like to win one or two more games," he said. "These last few games give us the ability to play positive football and get some good results."
Zomer was named best on ground along with Cam Stone, Blair Allan and Nick Molnar.
Croydon put on a tough performance in muddy conditions at Hughes Park on Saturday before going down to Noble Park by 45 points.
The Blues won praise from Bulls coach Mick Fogarty for their determined play. "Croydon was pretty good and had a real crack," he said. "It was a pretty tough day and that boggy mud was really heavy on the players' legs. It took it out of the guys."
EFL division 1: Norwood 48 points, 130.44 per cent; Balwyn 44, 147.55; Vermont 44, 130.92; Scoresby 44, 129.67; Noble Park 44, 124.47; Lilydale 28, 101.29; East Burwood 28, 99.03; Knox 24, 85.39; East Ringwood 20, 87.38; Blackburn 20, 82.61; South Croydon 12, 69.33; Croydon 4, 64.58.