Cheltenham jumps to the top of the ladder

Another test, another pass for Cheltenham.

And coach Des Ryan marked it a distinction after his Rosellas grabbed a three-point victory over Dingley in the SFNL Division 1 top-three clash at Souter Oval on Saturday.

A free kick for a high tackle to Dylan Weickhardt and then a 50m penalty that took him to the goal line put the visitors in front close to the final siren and they held on for an 8.15 (63) to 9.6 (60) win.

Former Richmond player Ryan is in his fourth season at Chelt and it was the first time the Rosellas had beaten the Dingoes under his watch.

He said he was most pleased that Chelt recovered the lead after losing it in the final quarter.

 “I think in the past Cheltenham sides who fell behind would have said, ‘Oh well, we’ve done our best, good effort’,’’ he said.

“But there’s belief and talent in this group, a bit of confidence that they can handle a situation like that, and we got back in front.

“So I rated it (the victory) pretty highly.’’

The Dingoes kicked clear with a howling wind in the first quarter and held the visitors goalless when they used it in the second.

Cheltenham performed a similar shut-down operation in the third term, outscoring Dingley 2.3 to 1.3.

It set the Rosellas up for a wind-assisted five-goals to-one last quarter and a tense victory that hauled them to the top of the ladder.

Big Sean McLaren was a dominant figure with three goals, and skipper Jack Worrell was outstanding on the wing against Dingley star Lucas Walmsley.

Daniel Harrison was a strong contributor from centre half back, continuing his fine season, and young Luke Garnaut held Dingley spearhead Dan Farmer to one goal.

“When Farmer kicks goals for Dingley they generally win, so Luke was really important,’’ Ryan said of the Sandringham Dragon.

“He’s a good player. He’s held down a key defensive post every game. He’s not overwhelmed by any job you hand him.’’

Ryan said Dingley remained one of Division 1’s best sides.

“They’re good. They structure up well, they use the ball well, they lead themselves really well,’’ he said.

Former Sandringham VFL player Robert Iudica, an inside midfielder, is expected to make his debut for the Rosellas in the next round.