Collegians pounce on Tonners Blue afternoon

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Jake Morris

In what was described as the ‘Game of the Year’, University Blues have outlasted a gritty Old Brighton by eight-points at Uni Oval, sending the Tonners back outside of the four. Holding a slim five-point lead midway through the last and Brighton pushing forward, a match-saving tackle from Marshall Rippon sent Ben Jakobi’s shot at goal wide, keeping his side ahead. Despite not kicking a major in the final term, the Blues managed to endure their counterparts run and keep themselves locked in atop of the William Buck Premier table. Rippon and Ross Young, who had nine touches in the last quarter, finished with 29 disposals each while Ayce Cordy dominated in the ruck with 61-hit outs. Despite letting their opportunities in-front of goal slip, the Tonners lost no fans from their fantastic performance against the ladder leaders. Nick Pavlou was outstanding once again with 29 disposals while Harry Hill had 26.

After dropping out of the top-four last weekend in their loss to the Blues, Collegians have reclaimed their hold on fourth spot after fending off a gallant St Bernard’s by four-points at St Bernard’s College. Much like the Tonners, the Snow Dogs had their chances to grab the lead late but failed to convert on their opportunities, most notably Oliver Liberatore’s snap from 15m out at the 18-minute mark which drifted right, keeping the Lions’ noses ahead. The visitors would hold on to that lead the remainder of the day, grabbing win number nine and leaping back above Brighton. Taylor Hunt led Collegians with 30 touches while Lachlan Ferguson bobbed up for two pivotal majors in the low scoring affair. Despite the loss that puts a line through the Snow Dogs finals aspirations, Nathan Kazuro was outstanding in his first game back with 34 touches and seven inside-50s.

Bouncing back from a unfavourable outcome last weekend was Old Melburnians as they toughed out a 14-point win over St Kevin’s OB at Elsternwick Park to keep their slim finals chances alive. A 3.4 to 0.2 final term from the OM’s saw them overturn SKOB’s six-point 3QT lead, with Gus Borthwick’s snap at the 16-minute mark in the last giving them a lead they wouldn’t squander. OM’s forward Justin DeSteiger booted a career-high five goals to give his side the edge on the scoresheet, while Thomas Paule gathered 24 touches. Nick Wood had 32 disposals including 10 in the last for SKOB, while Philip Edgar kicked three in a result that sees them fall agonisingly short for the second week in a row. Now holding a half-game lead over fourth placed Collegians, SKOB are starting to reveal some chinks in their armour as September draws near.

Continuing their late season push to stave off relegation was De La Salle as they grabbed their second win in a row by taking down Old Carey by 21 points at Carey Sports Complex, putting them on equal footing with Trinity in eighth. An overwhelming 33 scoring shots to just 17 tells you all you need to know as De La controlled play for most of the afternoon but failed to fully capitalise on their opportunities in-front of goal, leaving some valuable percentage points on the table as they look to lift out of the bottom two. Callan Wellings had himself a day out with 39 disposals and two majors while big man Antony Forato provided a silver service to his on-ballers with 60 hit-outs. Daniel Clarke (4) and Guy Dickson (3) carried much of the scoring load for the Panthers, with Kristian Jaksch failing to get on the scoresheet for just the third time all year, while Marc Lock gathered 30 disposals to lead his side to another close defeat.

A season-high six-goal haul from Matt Handley has guided Old Xaverians to a percentage boosting victory over Old Trinity at Toorak Park, running out 108-point winners to put any talk of a slump to bed. Conceding just 16 points for the afternoon, it was the lowest total the Xavs have allowed on record, boosting their percentage a full 10% to move within just 6% of ladder-leaders Uni Blues. Chris Margin gathered 37 disposals in the compelling win, while Marcus Stavrou helped himself to 30 with a game-high eight tackles. Harry Tinney had 24 touches for Trinity, who were thoroughly outclassed by their opponents. Despite having less wins than De La for the year (2 draws – Rd12 v Collegians, Rd6 v Old Brighton), the T’s still sit ahead in eighth by 14% on 20 premiership points.