A numbers game: 3 fight for 2 spots in the top-4

Posted on - Latest News, Division 3, Featured

Alisha Min

Canterbury have notched win number seven for the year after besting North Brunswick by 52 points at Canterbury Sportsground in Round 16. Charging out the gates with four majors, followed by another three in the second quarter, the Cobras were poised for victory early and held a 27-point margin at the major break. Continuing to build their score in the latter half, thanks to four majors to Nathan Hicks and three to Martin Astbury, the Canterbury side snagged an additional eight goals to put the result beyond doubt. Four individuals contributed to the Bulls 51-point total for the afternoon, including three from Dominick Lo Presti and one to their side’s best, Andrew Ramzy. Thomas Lowden and Rohan Walmsley were standouts for the Cobras in what was their first win since Round 10.

Aquinas remain one of the teams to beat in Division 3, particularly following their 70-point victory over Richmond Central last weekend. After an evenly matched opening term, where both sides slotted two goals apiece, the Bloods went on to outscore the Snakes 12 goals to two in the remaining three quarters – a credit to Billy O’Loughlin (4) and Michael Di Donato’s (3) combined seven goals. Cameron Spence was the only multiple goal-scorer for the Richmond side, dobbing two for the afternoon, while teammate Jared Goldsack was deemed best. With a string of contributors, Anthony Mattioli (2) topped the Aquinas’ list as man of the match.

Setting the tone early, Manningham Cobras were unassailable in their clash against Emmaus St Leo’s – taking the match by  52 points at Koonung Reserve. Holding the Animals scoreless in the first quarter, the men from Manningham stretched a 17-point lead at the first change of ends, which further extended to 21 points at the half. Despite Emmaus’ best efforts, particularly from milestone player, Michael Davis (200 games), and Harrison Davis (1), the Cobras’ momentum continued as Kane Maghamez (4) and Jake Cawsey (4) kicked a collective eight goals, and Michael Muller was deemed best.

Preview

Nonwithstanding the Bulls solitary win for the season, a number of clashes between then and now have gone against them by acutely reversible margins – including a five-point loss to their opponents this week (Richmond Central) back in Round 4. On that occasion, Michael Salloum (5), Andrew Ramzy (2) and Dominick Lo Presti (2) were on song in front of goals, and if a similar effort can be mustered at Allard Park this weekend, they could certainly walk away with their second win on the trot.

Similarly to North Brunswick, the Snakes four wins for the year could also have been greater if not for some narrow losses, epitomised by their first three rounds where they went down by an average losing margin of two goals. Two games remain for the Centrals 2019 season, and a repeated win over the Bulls this weekend will secure their place in Division 3 in 2020. If they continue in the same vein as the past month, where they’ve claimed just one victory (Parkside) in four outings, they could leave themselves somewhat vulnerable to relegation if other results go against them.

A match-up against ninth placed Parkside would be a welcomed fixture for Emmaus St Leo’s following their Round 16 shake-down by Manningham, even more so considering their 55-point ascendancy last time they met (Round 1). If the Red Devils can sharpen their tridents this weekend, they could just be in a position to avoid relegation – but they’ll need Richmond Central to stumble and to back it up with a consecutive victory in the final round over 2018 Division 4 Grand Final rivals, North Brunswick.

Coming off a double-bye, Westbourne should be primed to take the remaining two rounds of the home & away season by storm and earn a subsequent place in finals action – and they’ll need all the fight they can muster to topple Manningham this weekend.

The Warriors (3rd) have the Animals (4th) and Canterbury (5th) hot on their heels, and with Canterbury’s scheduled bye in mind, as well as Emmaus’ favourable draw against Parkside, it is probable all will be on the same amount of premiership points come the close of Round 17 (44pts). Should this occur, Westbourne’s lesser percentage would see them drop to fifth, and their final home & away game against Canterbury could be a direct battle for a place in the top-four.