Division 1: Crystal Ball Persuasion

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By William Balme – @balmey21

 

Coming out of the bye and into the final third of the season, it is the appropriate time to get out my handy-dandy notebook out and hypothesise the eventual state of the wonderfully challenging landscape of Division 1 in 2015. With 12 rounds in the book, I must say that my initial prediction, which fortunately for my dignity and standing in the community (not that it is particularly high anyhow), was not posted publically. I envisaged NOB/St Pats to be in the top 2 with Ormond, with a mixed bag of the new kids on the block (Kew and St Mary’s Salesian) and the old firm of Prahran Assumption and Old Geelong to be pushing top 4.

 

As we have seen, Prahran Assumption will likely look upon 2015 as the year that could have been. Kew sit on top at 12-0 and St Mary’s Salesian is the hot and cold side that will likely fill that awkward 4th spot. NOB/St Pats is a side that has simply not produced against the best and with their percentage the 2nd worst in the comp; it is unlikely that they will bother the scorers in September, despite sitting 5th. Old Geelong has had a wonderful season and seems to be hitting their straps at the right time. I maintain that Kew and Ormond are the teams to beat and will come 1 and 2, but I would not be surprised come preliminary final time if Old Geelong pulls one out of the hat to become a Premier C team.

 

Last weekend, Bulleen Templestowe and Whitefriars played off in a virtual final to remain in the Division. I expected BT to win but the young squad comprehensively smashed them. I reluctantly am condemning the Bullants, alongside Yarra Valley, to Division 2. My tip for the LS Pepper Medal? Colby O’Brien from OGs, followed by Sidney Jones (SMS) and Kyle Margaritas (Kew). Andrew Brazzale (Kew) to win the goal kicking.

 

Round 12 wasn’t a particularly satisfying round of footy. It was cold, miserable and the results reflected a round of pretty uneven contests. The only game that lived up to the bill was Prahran Assumption and Old Mentonians at Toorak Park, a reissue of the earlier season clash where OMs came out by 1 point. This time, Prahran Assumption said goodbye to the relegation zone and jumped into 6th spot with a 16-point win. Paul Donahoo was at his bullish best for the home side, enforcing himself on the contest and allowing Timmy Maya to snag a couple in his 101st game for the club. The hyphenator, Smith-Cameron was at his blistering best off halfback and Edgeworth kicked 3 in Dustan Mills’ absence on tour with the VAFA, but it wasn’t enough to halt the improving Two Blues.

Kew maintained their winning streak with relative ease, despite another strong start from NOB/St Pats who led at quarter time. From that point on, in wet conditions at Alec Gillon Oval, Kew kicked 15 goals to 3 to win by 77 points. After a slow start in the middle, the Bears found winners in ressies captain Will Delbridge, the rugged Ethan Roberts and an effusive display from utility Max Waters. They were too strong up forward for NOBSPC, with the usual suspects chiming in for 7 between them. I’m talking VAFA reps Brazzale and Maibaum of course. For NOBSPC, Chris Ford was dangerous up forward and Gerrard Bence was strong down back, but the Kew juggernaut was too much to handle.

It was a bizarrely similar story at Doncaster Reserve, as Yarra Valley started strongly only for the class of Old Geelong to engulf them from that point on. The second most dominant forward combination in the comp (on goal tallies) in Wood and McMeel joined up for 6 goals, setting up a most enticing battle between the two duos in the Como Park derby. Colby O’Brien firmed as the LS Pepper Medal favourite with another bullocking performance as the OGs midfield unit dominated contested ball. Simon Donald kicked 5 of Yarra Valley’s 9 with Pask and Pollard again the dominant mids for the winless Bushrangers.

In an anticlimactic Clive, Ormond monstered the undermanned St Mary’s Salesian at E.E. Gunn to come away with a steady 50-point win. Matthew Martinov was superb with 4 goals, supported by Chisholm and Tahana with 2 each. Blair Atkins continued his sparkling form in the middle, simply smashing the St Mary’s side missing Jones, Strangward and Tanner amongst others. Ben Andrews thrived with his greater role in their absences, but their forward line inefficiency cost them any chance of staying with the Monders. Minus their aberration against Kew, Ormond remain in the eyes of many punters to be the side instilling the most fear in the rest of the competition.

In the most interesting result of the round, Whitefriars may have just secured their place in Division 1 next year with an inspired smashing of Bulleen Templestowe by 88 points at Whitefriars College. BT only had two goal kickers all afternoon, and couldn’t manage more than one a quarter. Whitefriars on the other hand appeared confident and potent in attack. Andrew Daou kicked 6 and was surrounded by a host of quality mids in Sean Currie and Jason Spencer who were part of the unit that simply dominated first ball use. Bulleen relied on Cherbakof and Considine for their goals but they couldn’t inspire a higher work rate from the rest of the side. It was a particularly disappointing afternoon for a side that generally thrives in the wet. Their prospects for survival have become that much more difficult with this result.

 

Willie Bee’s Clive Waterhouse MOTR for Round 13

Although Clive likes an underdog battle, it is impossible for the big fella to avoid the pull of the Como, a couple of (post-game) tins, and a clash between 1 and 3 between Kew and Old Geelong. It is Brazzale and Maibaum taking on Wood and McMeel. How scrumptious. US band Haim calls ‘down to the wire’ and so does Clive.

Kew by 8 points.

 

Round 12 matches

Old Geelong v Kew

St Mary’s Salesian v Whitefriars

Bulleen Templestowe v NOBS/St Pats

Prahran Assumption v Yarra Valley

Old Mentonians v Ormond