Preston once again have sent a massive statement to the rest of the competition as they used a final-quarter flurry to breeze past Oakleigh. UHS-VU and Kew both steadied to remain two games clear of third, while St Mary’s Salesian and Peninsula both returned to the winners list to remain in striking distance of the top four.
Holding a handy 15-point buffer entering the final stanza, Preston Bullants were in a spot where they could put it in second gear and cruise to victory. Instead, the Bullants amounted seven goals in the last quarter while holding Oakleigh to just one-behind, running out 56-point winners and sending a message to the rest of the competition that they are a legitimate threat come September. Jack Sammartino and Matt Holmes combined for nine goals during the afternoon, while James King put in an inspirational performance to help etch his side’s fourth-straight victory. Liam Gillard and Emal Thaning were named Oakleigh’s best but overall, a disappointing outcome for a Krushers’ side hellbent on keeping their top-four spot. Percentage is now the only thing separating these two sides, with the Krushers hanging on for dear life as the Bullants continue to mount victories.
Much like the Bullants, UHS-VU produced a final-quarter masterclass to overrun Therry Penola and snatch victory by 22 points. Trailing by 26 points at half-time, and 19 points at the final break, the Vultures launched out of the gates in the last to pile on seven unanswered goals to grab the four points and end the Lions three-game winning streak. It was a full-team performance from UHS-VU, as 12 different players got on the scoresheet, and Esubalew Ramsay grabbed BOG honours. The Lions were in the driver’s seat to grab back-to-back victories over ladder leaders after dispatching Kew last weekend, but it wasn’t to be. Jarrod Bannister booted four while Kane O’Halloran had three, with Mitch Trimble best-on for the Lions. Despite the win, the Vultures fall to second after Kew returned to the top, while the Lions fell back to 7th, but are still in striking distance of an unlikely finals berth.
No final-quarter fightback was needed for Kew as they downed West Brunswick by 69 points. Leading from the outset, the Bears were clinical in dismantling the Westies, limiting their ball-use and making the most of their opportunities when they went forward. The win allows the Bears to return to the winners list and re-claim top spot in the process. After going goalless last weekend, Nathan Sambevski bounced back to bag three while Max Waters and Paul Brough were fantastic across the paddock. Dylan Dos Santos was the lone bright spot up forward for West Brunswick as he kicked three while Jye Lewis was named his sides best in what was the Westies eighth-straight defeat.
Putting an end to their two-game losing streak, St Mary’s Salesian downed Old Paradians by 56 points. Trailing by three points at quarter time, the Saints would proceed to kick 13 of the final 17 goals of the game, putting the Paradians to the sword and grabbing the much needed four-points. Louis Holmes was unstoppable up-forward, kicking five majors while four of his teammates each had two apiece, with Flynn Siassios awarded best afield honours. Two goals each from Matt Luciani and Michael Boundy wasn’t enough as the Paradians dropped their sixth consecutive game, with this 56-point defeat being the lightest of the losses during that span.
Our final clash of the round saw Peninsula return to the winners list and keep tabs on the top-four as downed Prahran Assumption by 31 points. The Pirates held a slim half-time lead but proceeded to kick seven of the last ten goals of the match to put the result beyond doubt and snag a handy victory. Tom Feldgen was named best-on for the Pirates as Mikey Mclellan, Will Harbinson and Sam Glenn all chipped in with two majors apiece. James Musster was named the Two Blues best with James Falcone being the only multiple goal-scorer with two on the day. The loss for the Two Blues pushes them a game behind the pack with a 4-6 record, while the Pirates join the Saints and Lions at 5-5, just one game behind the 4th placed Bullants.