What happens if all of a sudden your first tier is not only great but your next tier is also good and the tier below that are all working with the tiers above? Apart from a wonderfully constructed wedding cake, you have the makings of a pretty good football side. Old Carey has that at the moment. Whilst Old Xaverians didn’t fire a shot for three and half quarters, Old Carey was superb. Credit where it is due must go to all at the club for the change in fortunes since the last time the Panthers graced the top flight. Glenn Cox has added a steely resolve to the playing group and whilst the elite talent shines, it’s the improvement in the rest of the list that had Carey playing some of the best football we have seen this year last weekend. Take note, Old Carey are a threat, they may still have their down days, but as William Buck Premier showed last weekend, that can happen to any side. Injuries are playing a part in shaping Uni Blues season. St Bernard’s ability to kick straight and Old Trinity’s fragility in the middle of the year are all still to play out. The die is not cast yet and that is a good thing. Although we are no closer to working out just who might rise, and for that matter who might fall.
Sources tell me that Beaumaris players had a line in the sand moment in the lead up to their game against Old Scotch. Whilst they didn’t follow the path of the unsociable Hawks, they did apply themselves to playing four quarters of football at Old Scotch. The Cardinals have gone from inspired to confusing in a couple of weeks. Player absences have played their part but it’s still 22 versus 22 each Saturday and the Cardinals were found off the mark against the Sharks. Heading into the final quarter at Camberwell trailing by 16 points against the winless Sharks, the Cardinals were primed for a final term overhaul. Instead it was Beaut that played the better football. Old Scotch look great in transition, but too often there were poor decisions in the back half allowing the Sharks to strike. Well done to Brayden Haynes and the team, the Sharks are back amongst it.
University Blacks returned to their bullocking best from last year and reminded the competition that they will not be a one-season wonder. In the match that pitted top against bottom it was Black’s ability to kick 8 goals to Old Trinity’s 4 into what was a strong breeze that was the difference. The fact Old Trinity lost arguably their best player in Harry Tinney to a sickening concussion in the first quarter would no doubt have played its part, but Blacks broke the game open with a five goal second quarter, out scoring Old Trinity who had the wind advantage. Here’s to the health of Tinney as he has become one of the reasons to watch William Buck Premier footy in the past 18 months. To Blacks, it was an important win and one Luke O’Connell will be pleased with. Particularly given they withstood what loomed as a serious T’s comeback in the final term.
St Bernard’s forwards have come under the spotlight in recent week’s for their inability to hit the side of a barn door when shooting for goal. Well a return of 13.3 for the afternoon put paid to the notion that the Snowdogs are an inaccurate side. De La Salle will be disappointed this one got away from them, but should be bullish about their form in general. The La Sallians were superior to their showing a fortnight ago, but again wasted chances sapped the team of confidence to go on with it. St Bernard’s move to top and while Alex Boyse only managed one goal this week, up stepped Tom Gleeson for a lazy Michelle.
For the second time in a fortnight Blues lost by five points at home. Whilst not crippled by injusries this time, instead they were crippled by their inability to win the clearances in the final 10 minutes of play. Sam Hibbins was a key reason for this in the middle of the ground. Blues could have put the game to bed earlier in the quarter but Collegians hung tough and kicked the late goals that got them a second consecutive win of the year. Nick Corp looked in excellent touch and Zander Croft worked hard at both ends of the ground. Slow starters they may be, but the Lions are coming again.
How much of Xav’s poor showing was Carey’s doing or were the visitors just that fraction off, thus allowing Carey to take the game away from them with too much ease? Regardless of how you saw this one, Old Carey were certainly impressive. Whilst their skills on the outside and ball movement was at times delightful, it was their tackling pressure on Xavs at stoppages that was equally as important in this result. With Michael Hannan out for most of the season, Xavs seemed a key defender (or two) short. Jarrod Reid (8 goals) and Morgan Evans (4) capitalised. Half way through the last, the Panthers led by 97 points (19 goals to 3) before they seemingly put the cue in the rack. Xavs almost walked in their last seven goals to add some respectability to the score. Dennis Symeopoulos was best for the red and blacks, whilst it was hard to find a Panther that didn’t do their job. Julian Rowe and Jacob Murphy with the forwards were the standouts.
Just like that, the season is alive. Three of the bottom four beat three of the top four. Every game an eight point game now. My tipping has been horrendous this year, hovering at 35%, so I have flipped a coin on each game.
Old Xaverians v University Blues
University Blacks v Beaumaris
Collegians v St Bernard’s
Old Scotch v Old Carey
De La Salle v Old Trinity