After some fortunate results in Round 7 that saw the Tigers and CYs slip up, De La Salle have now taken command of a top 4 spot, sitting two games clear of fifth and a matchup with the struggling AJAX to follow. Despite sitting big names in Darren Minchington, Fraser Cameron and Antony Forato, De La made short work of the winless Vultures on the back of 12 individual goal kickers, coming out on top by 90 points in what was their largest winning margin since Round 6, 2018. The Jackas’ scoring issues once again caused them problems as they managed just 34 points on the afternoon in their 44-point loss to Uni Blacks, their second lowest total for the year. AJAX average just 51 points per match, ranked ahead of only Parkdale. The omission of forward Brandon Joel from their Round 7 side certainly did not help their scoring issues and will need him back if they’re any chance of stealing a win from the streaking De La. Look for David Madigan and crew to control this one from the outset and avoid the Jackas grind-it-out style of play, as a free-flowing game led by Hugh Nicholson will lead De La to the four points.
As stated above, the University Blacks got back on the winners list as they downed AJAX by 44 points to keep pace with ladder leaders Haileybury. Missing key pieces Matt Dea and Alastair Robbins, the Blackers were unaffected as they piled on 28 scoring shots to nine en route to their fourth 40+ point win on the year. Goal kicking accuracy has been a slight issue developing over the last month for Uni, going 42.61 over the last four matches, a problem they’ll tidy up come seasons end. Travelling to Uni Oval this weekend will be Old Carey, who currently sit in ninth spot and with three straight losses in tow, it’s fair to say 2021 hasn’t gone to plan so far for Simon Pasinati. Running into the buzzsaw that is Beaumaris, the Panthers were big outsiders with the loss of key-big Harrison Bean during the week, a loss that could be felt from the outset as they were held goalless in the opening term for the first time since round seventeen 2019. If Bean can’t return this weekend for Carey, look for Uni Blacks to take control early and push the Panthers to their fourth loss in a row.
Winners of six straight and by an average margin of 45 points during that span, Old Haileyburians are absolutely scorching right now. The ladder leaders took home a comprehensive 60-point victory over the CYs on the weekend, their third win by over ten goals so far this year. As it has been all season for the Bloods, their ability to convert inside-50 remains an elite trait for this side, averaging a league best 97 points per match led by Durras Seccull, Samuel Loewe, Corey Connelly and Noah Gawn. As Haileybury travel down the Nepean Hwy to Gerry Green Reserve, Parkdale Vultures will attempt to re-enact David & Goliath and knock off this unstoppable locomotive. Averaging 31 points per match and conceding 117, the growing pains for Parkdale are well and truly apparent as they continue to gallantly compete.
After coming up short in their Round 7 clash with Haileybury and a win by De La, Williamstown CYMS now find themselves in sixth spot and two full games off the pace of the top 4. The loss of Brad Tucker prior to their Round 7 clash put the CYs on the backfoot from the outset, and despite holding firm heading into the main break, they were blitzed by a 13-goal to 3 effort in the second half, going down by an even 10 goals. Going through the year LWLWLWL so far, it’ll be up to Fitzroy to break the trend and give the CYs their first set of back-to-back losses since 2018. Under the lights of Brunswick Street Oval, the Roys’ ended their four-game losing streak with an incredible game-winning goal after the siren by Donovan Toohey, kicking truly from 45m out and celebrating accordingly with the Roys’ faithful flooding the park. An incredible moment that could be a major turning point for their second half of the year. This clash should be a beauty, with both sides sitting around average in scoring and defence, this’ll be a clash won in the midfield, with the likes of Tom Johnstone and Dylan Jones going against the hero Toohey and Ted Clayton.
Our final clash for Round 8 will see Beaumaris return to Banksia Reserve for a clash with the reeling St Bedes/Mentone Tigers who had their heart-broken by the virtuosity of Toohey and Fitzroy. The Sharks brilliance so far this year can be predominately chalked up to their backline who, led by Lewis Diggins, week-in and week-out continue to put opposing forward structures in the grinder, conceding just 46 points a clash. On top of this, Chris Grigoriadis and company at the other end of the ground trail only Haileybury for most points per match at 84. This is a well-oiled machine that can beat almost anyone when they are on. The Tigers led pretty much the entire evening after Q1 in their round seven clash and if it wasn’t some late-game heroics from the home side, they would have been staring at three on the trot and in line for a top 4 spot with a win this weekend. I’m eager to see how Bedes respond after last weeks finish, we all know the classiness of Michael Barnes, Zac Calvez and James Mangoni will shine through, but they will need a performance from all 22 if they wish to knock off Beauy at Shark Park.