By Jason Bast – @Jason_Bast
Division 4 started with a week of blowouts with only one margin under 50 points coming from Manningham defeating Elsternwick (21). To add to those big wins, there were some big bags kicked; Aquinas’ Liam Whelan getting an early lead in the Sharpshooter tally, booting nine in their 94-point win over the Rams.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the dream return to the senior sections that St Francis were hoping for in Round 1, going down to the Bulls by 66 points at Allard park. A six goal to nil opening term set the tone early for North Brunswick who never looked to take their foot off the pedal. By three-quarter time, the game was all but done as North Brunswick held a commanding 72-point lead. Max Coutts and Chris Gregory were great for the Bulls, while John Tiernan and Tom Falconer were also prolific, combining for eight goals. Scott Haughton was a shining light for the X-Men who will be hoping to bounce back in round two as they take on Mt Lilydale.
One-way traffic would be the best way to describe the clash between the Bloods and the Rams at Aquinas College. With 17 scoring shots to two in the first quarter, the new-look Aquinas went into the first break with a 61-point lead. Despite Tyson Spencer’s admirable efforts, Mt Lilydale struggled to stop the offensive power coming their way as Aquinas recorded an emphatic 94-point win. Philip Dyck and Jesse Butcher had great games the Bloods while key-forward, Liam Whelan, kicked an impressive nine goals to assert his dominance on the game.
Manningham started their season on a high note, defeating Elsternwick by 21 points away from home. The Cobras started well with eight scoring shots to two in the first term, to lead by 21-points at quarter-time. The final three quarters were a tight battle, and despite James Biviano’s best efforts for Elsternwick, Manningham never relinquished their lead. The Cobras kicked three goals in each of the last three quarters ending the game with the same lead they took into the first break, 21 points. Ayden Sukkel lead the way on the scoreboard and collected best on ground honours with four majors followed by teammate Nicholas Somerville who kicked three of his own. Justin Hunter showed good signs for Elsternwick also kicking three goals.
An inaccurate first term stopped the Sharks getting away to a large early lead but it didn’t bother them too much, as they controlled the game from start to finish and ran out 52-points on top. Parkside had a good third quarter, finishing with six goals to Eely Parks four, but the Sharks hit back in the final term with five goals to two. Connor White and Jayden Pritchard were on the end of some brilliant midfield performances and finished with five and four goals, respectively. Jesiah Mcgarvie finished best on ground after a dominating display for the sharks. Matt Soligo and Isaac Romano tried their best for the Red Devils kicking four goals apiece.
Round 2 starts off with Masala’s first game of the season after the bye where they’ll test their strength against the in-form North Brunswick who will be looking to build on their impressive performance. Two of the Division 3 teams from 2016, Elsternwick and Aquinas, will reignite the rivalry at Elsternwick Park. Manningham meet Parkside who will be doing everything they can to register their first win of the season after a disappointing loss to Eley Park. And finally, in what I’m picking to be the match of the round, Mt Lilydale take on St Francis Xavier OC who will both be looking to bounce back in round two and open their account in season 2017.
Round two tips in bold
Masala Fc vs North Brunswick AFC
Elsternwick vs Aquinas
Manningham Cobras AFC vs Parkside FC
St Francis Xavier OC vs Mt Lilydale OC
Eley Park Sharks BYE