DIVISION 3 SCRIBE

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It’s fair to say that the quote “finals footy brings out the best in football teams” is an overstated one. So I’ll change it up a bit. I can only liken the brilliance that has been served up so far in the Division three finals campaign to a delicious lamb cutlet, served with a side of minted potato salad and a glass of heavily malolactic fermented red. Easily the best game was played between Uni High and Aquinas. It came down to the final kick of the day. No matter the amount of rubbish I write in my column this week, nothing will come close to describing exactly what went down.

 

Regrettably time has come to send Aquinas on their way, while Yarra Valley would want to be careful, a repeat of last seasons finals performance may just tip a few over the edge. I feel the Bushrangers can take solace in the words (Aerial Pink) Rosenberg blurted, in his 1999 classic ‘Round and Round’ “I’m afraid, you’re afraid. And we die and we live and we’re born again, turn me inside out”. What can I say? 

 

And so under bright-lit blue skies Uni High and Aquinas competed in one of the better games of the season. I’m sure no one would have predicted the game to come down to the final kick of the day, but as so often happens in finals neither team could land a fatal blow until the very end. Aquinas’ John Jess lined up. The kick had a lot riding on it. One team was to go through to a preliminary final and the other to ‘Mad Monday’. This isn’t life and death, but sometimes, in games like this it sure feels like it. Unfortunately for the Bloods JJ hooked it to the left, leading to jubilant scenes from the Uni team. 

 

Ironically it had been a day that had started so accurately for Aquinas. They flew out of the blocks kicking eight goals straight in the first quarter, while Uni could only manage 4.4 from their eight scoring shots. It was more of the same in the second, Uni wasting opportunities, while Aquinas kicked truly. The game was well into the second half before Uni began to peg back the substantial difference that the Bloods had put between them and they managed to get within a kick at the final change.

 

The last quarter was a finals classic. Both sides had a chance to sink the other, but couldn’t get the job done. The lead changed several times and when Jack Price kicked his third it looked as though the Bloods would hang on. But a few behinds from Uni pinned the lead back their way. Thus, a final kick was taken and the rest, history. 

 

I should’ve known by now that Uni High would be on my list. The pundits had been spruiking them for a while, “let me show you, how much I care”, they said. I hope they’re not too offended by my Port Adelaide circa 2001 comments last week. 

 

In the other game Ivanhoe re-wrote the script with an amazing final quarter. Yarra Valley have been the flag favourites from about round four, but on Saturday, their seemingly untouchable status took a hammering. It was pretty stock standard Yarra Valley up to three quarter time. They lead at the half by 23-points and held Ivanhoe to a four goal to two third quarter despite Ivanhoe kicking with a three to four goal breeze. 

 

The Bushies looked for all money to be sailing to a grand final and a promotion to Division 2. But the Ivanhoe boys had other plans. Kicking into that disadvantageous breeze in the last the Hoers rallied, but with only ten minutes to play they were still two goals down. Brandon Flowers once sung, “when your chips are down, when your highs are low, joy ride”. Whether the Ivanhoe boys have heard that tune or not, joy ride they did, they managed to use these words to overcome the giant that is Yarra Valley. Two quick goals saw Ivanhoe draw level and then another saw them take the lead when the last whistle blew. It really was amazing stuff. 

 

With usual suspects Close, Harris and Harty firing, Ivanhoe will be very hard to beat in two weeks time. 

 

This week: What can I say? I can’t see Yarra Valley getting beaten, even though UHS-VU has been so impressive through this finals series. 

7/9/2012 
In the suburbs I, I learned to drive. And you told me we’d never survive. You always seemed so sure, that one day we’d fight in a suburban world. In a suburban world, your part of town gets minor. 
Sometimes I can’t believe, that these suburban worlds are already colliding, the four sides that battled it out this weekend showed how valuable suburban wars can be.
In what was possibly the nicest Melbourne afternoon in about four months, a sizeable crowd gathered at Northcote’s Bill Lawry Oval to see two suburban giants battle it out. Yarra Valley, waiting for the victor.  Ivanhoe came ready to start, while it took their opponents UHS-VU a while to get going. The Hoers set about their task with open minds and it seemed as though it would be a blowout from the outset. Moose Close and Lachie Roberts headed the early assault, at quarter time Ivanhoe lead by a handy 19-points. 
After a lack lustre opening term Uni High’s big guns, Mark Temming and Declan Barlow, stood up and gave the Uni a bit of much needed dash through the middle of the ground. Uni High managed to draw the margin to within a couple of good kicks. 
Unfortunately that was as close as they got as Ivanhoe’s midfield took charge. Justin Harty and Paul Harris began to dominate the centre clearances, the former doing some of his finest work up forward. The late second quarter surge set the wheels in motion for what was to be a real confidence-boosting win for the Hoes. 
The second half started in a similar style to the first as the Hoes continued to push. Uni High could only watch as the game as the lead drifted away from them. The margin blew out to 40 plus and that’s where it remained for the rest of the match. The always-impressive Moose jagged seven and as usual looked dangerous all day. Ryan Fort was excellent in the ruck, putting in a real old school performance, taking just about every contest without a rest. A closer game was held at another suburban arena, only a few postcodes over. Aquinas and Kew had arguably more on the line, the battle that ensued was indicative of that. 
Aquinas started the match better; their structures through the middle of the ground standing up under the immense pressure of finals football, not allowing Kew any time or space to play their running brand. The Bloods’ forward line was moving well and creating space, goals came easy as they skipped away to four-goal lead at the first change of ends. Kew having wasted vital opportunities in front their own big sticks found it difficult, but didn’t look out of it. 
In every game every team gets its chance. The difference between winning and losing, so often, is taking those opportunities – especially when they come early in the match. Unfortunately for Kew the second quarter brought more of the same inaccuracy, but at least they managed to break even with the rampaging Bloods. 
The second half was one of the best of the year as both sides threw themselves at the football, showing no fear. Kew finally managed to put their constant forward forays into something meaningful, when they kicked four goals to Aquinas’ one in the third term, setting up a classic final quarter of division three football. 
It was hardly a shootout, but the pressure on the ball carrier was huge, which made for an entertaining conclusion to the first elimination final. Kew got close and at one point looked like stealing the match, but all credit must go to Aquinas who managed to outlast a very classy outfit by five points. 
This Week: Despite Ivanhoe’s great performance this week, you can’t go past Yarra Valley, and I just get the feeling, that Uni High will do a Port Adelaide circa 2001 and go out in straight sets.   

 Saturday September 1
After 18 weeks the final five is set. So, if the Bears beat the Bloods and Ivanhoe beats Uni High in the Amateur Division 3 elimination final, then Kew goes to the Grand final, unless Aquinas can upset Yarra Valley and Ivanhoe ties Uni, then Kew would play Aquinas and the Bushrangers in a blind choice round robin. And if no clear winner emerges from all of this, a two-man sack race will be held on consecutive Sundays until a champion can be crowned. Alas into last week’s fixtures.
22.20 plays 6.4 read the Brens Oval Scoreboard at half five on Saturday afternoon. Another annihilation Division 3 has witnessed. Fitting I suppose that it was Old Westbourne getting a footy lesson from the Uni lads. It was a non-event really. Uni High was too good from start to finish. 
 Yarra Valley’s search for that heart of gold was in no way dissolved, as they sent Aquinas packing with their tails between their legs. The powerful Bushrangers led at every change. The game being over at halftime when they pulled away to a 43-point lead.  However there’s no time for dreaming, Yarra must still get up and do there thing when it counts.
Albert Park hosted Richmond with only pride on the line. The two teams played a very competitive game under the circumstances, as it was not as if the world was going up in flames for the loser. Richmond has shown they belong in Div three and while Albert Park had a disappointing season, both sides will be better for the run in 2012.
Elsternwick needed a win to keep their finals hopes alive. It was always going to be a tough ask against Ivanhoe though. It proved a mountain to high for the Wicks, as Ivanhoe cruised home to an 11-point win. After being named in the team of the year, Ryan Fort’s head has grown a substantial amount, but when he booted a real dirty drop kick bung from 50 metres out and it dribbled through about 25 players to score the maximum, his head almost blew off.
Powerhouse caused an upset of sorts when they defeated Hawthorn. After 16 rounds of singing “Why is it so hard, to make it in D3”, they have come out and won two of their last three.  Too little too late for the House, they will still be relegated to D4 where they should have more success. Hawthorn will be joining them, this game is sure to spark some fire in the belly for 2013.
There was more heartache and pain for St. Francis Xavier. After a brilliant start to the year they have fallen away substantially. This week it was Kew that inflicted the damage. To be honest Kew had so much more to play for, with a finals birth on the line. The Bears played accordingly, after a tight first quarter they flew home. 
This week: As you can probably tell I still haven’t figured out how the top five finals system works. What I do know is that Ivanhoe will be facing UHS-VU in a qualifying final, while Aquinas play Kew in the elimination final.
Both games are absolute pearlers. I have spent a lot of time this weekend going through piles and piles of data to try and find a winner. After hours of tossing and turning thinking about each side’s strengths and weaknesses I came up with this at about 3am last night, Ivanhoe will have too much firepower up forward for Uni and Kew to cause a massive upset over Aquinas. I don’t know why.
Again to the teams departing, thank you for a great season of football. Good Luck next year. 

At the completion of this week, seven teams will be eliminated from season 2012, due to certain events,  Old Westbourne benefit as Power House and Hawthorn take a final look at Division 3 for at least a year; I too take one last good look around my writing space, so many unusual sounds and again I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground.Elsternwick kept their slim finals hopes alive with a hard fought victory over Hawthorn, at Elsternwick Park Oval 2 on Saturday. The game was like most over the weekend, very muddy and wet. But the two teams maintained an amazing quality throughout. Again the Wicks could have done more damage to the scoreboard had they kicked straighter. It’s still mathematically possible for the Wicks to make the top five, but they must win this week and rely on Kew losing.It was a big game for Kew, after coming off an amazing win against Ivanhoe they were fired up to the hilt. 
Unfortunately for the Bears they were demolished by a fierce Aquinas outfit. The Blood’s furious attack on the ball was plain to see, it was a real spectacle. Kew’s finals hopes now hang in the balance, they’ll have to lick their wounds and get up for next week if they are to have an impact in September.With finals not a possibility for the X-men they were purely playing for pride, when they met the ever dangerous Uni High. Winning the toss and kicking with the breeze, ensured the Xers got off to a grand start. However as the teams changed end so did the momentum. Uni seized control of the game and never gave it back, running out four goal winners. Congratulations to Jarred Day who now retires from serious footy.
After an entertaining road trip, Ivanhoe were met with a very heavy deck, when they finally arrived at Ross Gregory Oval.  It was less of a spectacle than some other games played over the weekend. In fact for the most part the game resembled a low grade rugby match, with scrimmage after scrimmage. Ivanhoe’s inspirational skipper Paul Harris came off the dirtiest man on the ground, his kit was pretty muddy as well, regardless he was easily best on ground. 
Last week Old Westbourne was defeated by the bottom side, a side that had not saluted all year. It must have cut them deep. The boys from the West proved that a week is a long time in footy. The Warriors played their best game of the year and smacked Albert Park to the tune of 52 points. Don’t ask me why they haven’t been playing like this all year, they are probably asking themselves the same question. Mind you, there could be a legitimate reason.It was more of the same, condition wise out at KB Oval. From all reports the oval was in a career low form, the week’s downpour making sure of that. The game was a strange one, with neither team taking their opportunities in the first half. 
Yarra Valley came out after half time and showed why they’re the best team in the competition, having a great third quarter kicking five goals and setting the match up. Richmond had no comeback and it was game over. 
This week: UHS-VU will keep counting their wins, Yarra Valley will follow suit, Elsternwick have got more to play for then Ivanhoe and will cause an upset, Richmond will finish off a good year in D3, the Hawks will be dancing over Power House and X-men to beat Kew. Thank you: As this is the last week that all clubs will be reading the record I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who kept me in the loop for season 2012, also a personal thank you to Moe Town.  And to my loyal readers, the VAFA have said that they would rather leave contract negotiations until the end of the season (probably doesn’t bode well). So I guess until next time, remember “my sugars sweet, so attainable, misbehaviour so unexplainable, the days just slip and slide, like they always did. The trouble is my head, won’t let me forget”. 

Team of the year:
FF Angus (Rich) Close (Ivanhoe) Pritchard (Hawthorn)
HF Thornton (Wicks) Steven Donald (Yarra) Brazzale (Kew)   
C Kingsford (Ivanhoe) Harris (Ivanhoe) Sam Savage (Yarra)
HB Butterfeild (St Fran) Amos (Yarra) Foster(Aquinas)
FB Hayes (Wick) Michael Cochrane (Kew) Firman (Rich)
Foll Toomey(UHS-VU) Tremewen (Hawthorn) Bedingfield(Wicks)
INT Fort (Ivanhoe) Burns (St Fran) Brick (Albert Park) Pagan (Yarra)

Have you people ever loved somebody? Sometimes it comes very quickly, very easily, as easy as the way Moose Close puts his two fingers on top of his head after booting ten. Sometimes it disappears just as quick. You wake up one morning, the butterflies stop fluttering, but you want it back and you want to fight for it, you want to breathe that fire again. So you call for it, you call out. It seems that at Elsternwick, the things they are fighting for more than anything are hair follicles. In 2004 David Grace saw the writing on the wall and shaved his head. Some six years later Skull Christian followed the great man’s lead. On Saturday these great skulls combined (although the latter was dominating the two’s) to keep the wickers finals dream alive and helping them to retain the Tom Brain Challenge Cup, with an emphatic 46 point victory over Albert Park. 
With one deep breath, and one big step, Elsternwick now move a little bit closer, they move a little bit closer (to the finals). It seems they have finally caught their stride, flew and flied. If destiny’s kind, well they’ve got the rest on their mind. It’s hard to say what Ivanhoe love this week. Certainly Ash Close’s performance this year, and again on the weekend his efforts would be up there. The ’big man’ booted his 100th on Saturday, albeit in a losing side. Oh, have you ever seen the lights? That was the question being asked by the Hoers at full time, after they watched one of Kew’s more vintage performances.
 It was a muddy affair and it was often hard to tell the two teams apart – the game resembling more of the Egyptian version of female jelly wrestling at times, but the victory puts the Bears into fourth spot on the ladder. The feeling certainly has not disappeared out at Yarra Valley. The visitors in St. Francis were brave early, but could not match the might of the Bushies, despite the 100 game milestone of club legends Anthony Pryor and Jarrod Leaworthy not a bad effort considering St Francis as a Club have only played 112 games to date. After another comfortable victory the Bushies were heard singing ‘Bling’ (Confessions of a King) instead of their usual anthem. It went something like “Higher and higher, were gonna take it down to the wire, we’re gonna make it out of the fire, higher and higher. Higher and higher, were gonna take it down to the wire, were gonna make it out, out, out, higher and higher. It ain’t hard to hold when it shines like gold you’ll remember me”.I pack my case, I check my face, I look a little bit older, I look a little bit colder. With one deep breath, and one big step, I move a little bit closer. 
For reasons unknown it would cost you $65 to attend the VAFA Umpires Association dinner this year; and for reasons unknown I tipped Uni High to beat Aquinas this week, hence why I’m having a GHL (good hard look). Aquinas showed that they are real chance to go deep into September. The Bloods showed glimpses of their best football, and they took full advantage of an ‘off the boil’ Uni to run out 26-point victors. 
Its funny how you just break down, waiting on some sign. I pulled up to the front of Power House’s drive way, with magic soaking my spine. Power House never really gave up on, breaking out of this two star town, when they got the green light, they got a little fright, they said “we’re gonna turn this thing around”. And they did, recording their first victory of the year. This great club has had a very tough season, but it seems things may finally be turning for them. They led the lad’s from the West at every break in a dominant display. Michael Chylinkski was man of the match while big gun Paul Edwards was photo for second, kicking six. No more restless hearts, just thoughts of the Promised Land for the House. 
Finally it was that old rivalry again between Richmond and Hawthorn that completed the round. While neither side can make the finals, this game was played in high spirits and was of high quality. Richmond was far too good for the second time this year defeating the Hawks by comfortable 31-points. Seb Angus was back for the Snakes and booted six, while for the Hawks it was again David Pritchard that stood up.
This week: They say the devils water it ain’t so sweet, you don’t have to drink right now, but you can dip your feet, every once in a little while. Who will dip their feet this year? Two weeks left. Time will tell.Aquinas will keep their winning form going, Elsternwick will read my mind and get a positive result, my list says Yarra Valley again, Power House will keep dancing in a huge upset, Uni will beat the Xers and Albert Park will make it and sing an exiltude for Old Westbourne.
This week in Division Three, Nick knows Ray Warren.
Since the Olympics started I’ve been waiting for a word, whilst looking at the milky skyline, I’ve been waiting for something to inspire me. Rabbits has, his calls have wrapped me in his blinding twilight.  
Ray’s latest calling was to the London Olympics, where he did a terrific job of commentating the swimming – and in the true “Hackett and Thorpe, Thorpe and Hackett” style, even if the great Aussie hope Jimmy Missile (or whatever his name is) doesn’t deserve to carry the great Thorpedo’s shopping bag. Either way, Rabs was so good that he had me in tears on more than one occasion. 
Like Ray, Elsternwick are lucky to be alive in season 2012. A hard fought 12-point victory against St Francis Xavier on Saturday made sure of that. For a second consecutive week inaccurate kicking cost the Wickers dearly, as what should have been a comfortable victory turned into a game that was in the balance to the very end. The Wicks opened up a five goal lead midway through the second quarter. But St Francis fought back strongly to narrow that lead to 12 points at half time. Elsternwick then dominated for most of the second half and got the result they so desired.
A little known fact about the Warren family is that Ray has a brother, who also has a passion for calling. When Reg was told that he sounded exactly like Ray, he would say “Turn it up, I do not”.  I said something similar when I heard of this result. Uni High turned around a disappointing showing last week with a three-goal victory over Richmond Centrals. The Snakes started the game well, kicking away to a three-goal lead. However the advantage was short lived and Uni struck back with five, including one after the halftime siren. The second half was a tight tussle, the lead changing numerous times, before Uni consolidated the win.
Ray “Rabbits” Warren was supposedly so amazed by the ability of race-caller Ken Howard to paint such a perfect picture of a racetrack, that he used to roll marbles down wooden slopes and call them as horses. Apparently large crowds would gather to watch him calling his marbles. Probably not as large a crowd that gathered to see Kew continue their strong form out at Rathmines Reserve. In a dominant display, they managed 44 scoring shots to 12, which resulted in a 107 point win.  Apparently it was as easy as the Twitter excuse some athletes are offering up these days.
It was another poor display for the Warriors. They really struggled to cope with Ivanhoe’s three tall forwards – Close, Roberts and Richardson.  Brett “The Reason” Richardson was BOG, Eddie Paynter was excellent applying pressure up forward and Bill Jackson was superb on the wing. Moose is now just four goals short of the ton so look out this week. Fortunately for Old Westbourne relegation will be avoided but it won’t stop a post season review from the AOC and John Coates about the lack of medal winning performances this year. 
Aquinas consolidated a top four position against a hapless Power House. With only three games to play in the regular season, the House are still sitting on only two points. With big power forwards Williams and Prince kicking 15 between them, the Bloods were never going to lose this game.
Albert Park versus Yarra Valley was similar to watching the great Micahel Phelps go stroke for stroke against Eric the Eel, a non-event really. Yarra Valley amassed an amazing 34 goals, with five players kicking five goals or more; it was a very well rounded team performance. The Bushies are looking more unstoppable than ever. 
This week: Uni High to thrive in their reunion with Aquinas, Yarra Valley will win in a bright flash, Elsternwick will steamroll Albert Park, Richmond will be to splendid for the Hawks, will the House get a win over Old Westbourne? Probably not, finally Ivanhoe will create another wave over Kew.  
2/8/2012
This week in Division three, Nick knows predictability.Predictable is something all teams strive to be. Let’s take Yarra Valley for example – each player in that side knows exactly what the other is doing. Well drilled, professional and disciplined are cliché’s thrown around loosely in Divvy three, but the Bushrangers, have all of these in spades. To add to that, they’re more predictable than Smokey Dawson turning up to a free Glen Eira luncheon and giving it some, “I’ll give you a mention in my column this week”. He said it himself last week “I love a lunch or three”. From all reports, the man can eat.
Alex Turner said this of predictability: “It’s like a well-dressed lady in a night club looking good on the dance floor, and you always fall for those well dressed ladies”. Some advice, when you do fall, just suck it and see, you never know. Yarra Valley is my well dressed lady. The Oxford thesaurus sights some other words for predictable as “unsurprising, humdrum, banal, expected and conventional”. Any one of those words could describe the result in the UHS-VU, Yarra Valley game. I know I’ve probably thrown enough ropes over the Bushies in my opening par, but they are seriously good. A 96 point hammering of the third placed side doesn’t bode well for any other team with premiership aspirations, but as I said before, suck and see.
Abraham Lincoln was said to be an extremely predictable man, and he was able to successfully lead his country through its greatest constitutional, military and moral crisis. Suds Larkins is an equally predictable man. You can always count on him to bring the soap on a rope, which is brilliant. Hence being called a predictable football team is a good thing, right? Yes. Power House, for example, is a great football team, and they are predictable, unfortunately at the moment it’s because they continue to lose. This week was no different. They lost to a razzed up St. Francis Xavier, who had their season on the line. From the get go it was the powerful X-men midfield that did the damage. Power House managed to get their noses in front midway through the third quarter, but they couldn’t maintain the pressure and succumbed to the X-men in the final stanza.    
Some of the results this week proved that I’m out of place, and I’m not getting any wiser, in fact most of the time, I feel like a Sundance Kid behind a synthesizer. Mind you, I did pick this result – Hawthorn over Old Westbourne. In tough conditions, both sides fought bravely. Old Westbourne didn’t begin as well as they would have hoped, kicking into a gale force breeze they only managed two goals. In the second quarter the Hawks, with assistance of the wind, managed to kick away to a five goal lead and a strong second half saw them hold that lead until the end.Looking abroad, distinguished Professor of Physics, Albert-László Barabási, said that unpredictability can be a good thing. Albee’s point was proven when we saw Aquinas make Elsternwick pay for their sloppy goal kicking. The Wickers kicked 5.14 and squandered many more opportunities. While they started well, they were eventually over-run by the Bloods in the last. Aquinas will be ecstatic with the win as it means they have all but wrapped up a top two spot. Back home and being an individual in Melbourne is considered hip and cool. However, supposedly 93 percent of human behaviour is predictable. 
Therefore is it against human nature to be radical? I don’t know the answer to that, what I do know is, you can try too hard. On the topic of trying too hard, I have a feeling it may have been the case for Albert Park. They were in their game against Ivanhoe right up to the end. It was outstanding sport, with the majority of the play being contained between the two fifties. A couple of straight kicks from Moose and his sidekick Lachie Roberts were the difference in the end. In another very close game, Richmond took on Kew. After a real slog and in the lowest scoring VAFA game of the day, it was Kew who just got up. The loss puts paid to any finals hopes that Richmond may have had. While the scoreboard at the end of the game looked more like that of a soccer game than a game of Aussie rules, both teams played a very committed brand of wet weather football and should be commended on what was a very exciting and hard fought game.    
This week: ‘Well now then Mardy Bum, oh I’m in trouble again, aren’t I. I thought as much. Because you turned over there, pulling that silent disappointment face, the one that I can’t bare. Why can’t we laugh and joke around, remember cuddles in the kitchen, yeah, to get things off the ground’. This could be it loyal readers, viva poor journalism. I digress, Aquinas will get on their dancing shoes, Elsternwick will make amends in their riot van, Ivanhoe will send a pile driver through the West, UHS-VU beware, Snakes are coming, Bushies will waltz and Kew will dismantle the Hawks, brick by brick.  
28/7/2012 
It’s been a long season to date and many a good game has passed us by. It’s like we’ve been driving down the super highway all alone. A chopping bag full of broken bones. Sick and tired of hearing telephones, now I’m stuck in futuristic drones. 
Meaning, I’ve had enough of looking back, time to move forward. Finals football is nigh and there are still a number of sides in contention. 
Power forward Nelson ‘Smooth’ Pollard ensured Yarra Valley a comfortable victory with his six-goal performance. The Bushrangers were at their scintillating best, dismantling the Hawks and leaving them well and truly out of the finals race. The Hawks recent good form unfortunately could materialise this week despite David Quamil’s efforts booting five, while Dale Mitchell’s rare vain of form continued, despite the heavy defeat.
Continuing the theme of lopsided margins, Richmond Central got a hiding out at Ivanhoe Park. Like a number of Ivanhoe’s games this season, they managed to finish off the Snakes by half time. I don’t ever recall seeing one of David Attenborough’s brilliant nature documentaries where the snake’s natural known predator is the Moose, but on Saturday it was – with the Hoer’s very own beast helping himself to a bag of nine. He was close to ten, but missed one from the goal square. While Richmond had a few of their better players on the sidelines, they will be disappointed that they only managed to kick five goals, three of them coming in the last quarter when the game was shot.
Not for the first time this year, there was a severe power outage at Ross Gregory Oval. This time it was Albert Park inflicting the damage, by just fewer than ten goals. It was Muscat’s at dawn at the Falcon’s Sunday morning recovery, because Dylan Muscat had an absolute blinder. It’s hard to see Power House’s season having too many more highlights. You should never underestimate a House however, especially when they are in a volatile market. 
Kew has had an up and down season, until now they have not beaten anyone of note, but on Saturday they made inroads into a potential finals birth. In one of the Bear’s best performances to date, they defeated third placed UHS-VU by 33 points.  Timothy Allman was brilliant, as was Tom Leeds after recently coming back from a leg injury.  Again on the Attenborough theme it is rumoured that in their assault on a finals berth in 2012, Kew called upon a nature consultant to realise and release their inner “bear” in the upcoming games.  The hibernation may have concluded and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the players frolicking together in the muddy waters of Kew in the weeks ahead. 
Elsternwick celebrated Craig Mahony’s 300th senior VAFA game in style, with a hard fought 31 point win over Old Westbourne. The game was played in ideal conditions with Old Westbourne taking the early initiative and kicking the first three goals. The Warriors were winning the ball consistently through the middle and the Wicks were looking a little sluggish. Half way through the second quarter Old Westbourne had managed to kick away to a 20 point lead. At this point Irish Ruckman Andy Molloy and onballer Lachie Bedingfield lifted their efforts and the Wicks were able to kick five unanswered goals to lead at half time. After halftime it was all Elsternwick, they cruised home leaving them a game out of the top five.  
Finally, the game of the round – maybe even the game of the season. It was an eight point game in the true sense of the words when the Xmen (sixth) battled Aquinas (fifth). From the opening bounce the intensity matched the sense of occasion, both sides locking horns in an epic battle. Aquinas’ attacking run and carry out of defence saw them take a 39 point lead into halftime. I don’t know what St. Francis have in their oranges at the break, but what ever it is, it works, because they came out again after halftime breathing fire. They cut into the Aquinas deficit and a goal with 30 seconds left in the game saw the lead reduced to one point. Fortunately for Aquinas, they were saved by a centre square infringement, a costly mistake that handed them a much-needed victory.     
This week: Aquinas will defeat Elsternwick, not a problem, Bushrangers will have dirty hands after beating up UHS-VU, Ivanhoe will narrowly beat Albert Park, St Francis to have a day out against Power House, Kew should get the job done against Richmond and The Hawks will be feeling happy when they get a victory over the Warriors.  
Bradford Cox wrote this in one of his darkest moments. “To go away and not look back and think of what the others say. To go ahead and change your life without regard to what is said, and everyone must do the same, you find yourself lost again. Forget the things you’ve left behind, through looking back you may go blind”. 
Like Bradford, I’m a realist. I’m well aware that the season for a handful of teams in this division is probably over, but unlike others I’m not going to publicly write them off. I also realise that the number of people that read this article is probably in single digits (not including the poor guys at VAFA headquarters that have to edit it). Alas I just want to say thank you to those that read it week in week out. Like good old Daniel Byrne, who was thoughtful enough to say a few kind words about my column the other week, it really razzed me up. The point of this little opening is to encourage those that may have been written off to keep on fighting, you never know who you may inspire.       
It was a much better result for Ivanhoe this week, defeating UHS-VU in a semi-decent display of Australian Rules football. The Hoes managed to apply more frontal pressure than Uni have become accustomed to lately, and it showed. Uni weren’t going forward with any sort of authority, when they did the dour Ivanhoe defence were there to stop every foray. Big Moose got a handful (What’s going to happen when he kicks his ton?), while it was great to see Tim Williamson at his best. 
Last time these two teams met, Hawthorn got their pants pulled down. In a horrid display, they couldn’t manage a major. It was a different story on Saturday. Hawthorn pulled out all the stops. From the outset it was clear that they would use any tactic at their disposal to get a favourable result. While it was a scrappy game at times, it was the inaccuracy of the Xmen that was the story of the day. St Francis had more scoring shots then the Hawks, but they still went down by five goals. Disappointing. 
Richmond hosted Aquinas, in what was a ripping game of Division 3 football. The game was always in the balance. In the end, it was Aquinas’ two late goals just before the final change that was the difference, turning a manageable eight point deficit into 20 at 3 quarter time. However Richmond, who were without leading goal scorer Seb Angus, tried hard in the last, but just couldn’t get over the line. At the last whistle, Aquinas led by 11 points.Skull returned to the Elsternwick seniors this week, and low and behold a victory ensued. After a lengthy stint with the twos, the return of the Skull was well received by teammates and fans alike. It also resulted in a 78 point drumming of Power House. Last time these teams met they drew, in one of 2012’s great games. Fair to say it was a different game this week, the Wickers were never challenged, after kicking nine goals in the first quarter. In the absence of skipper Justin Hunter, Aaron Thornton stepped up and kicked nine big ones, right up the bracket.
Top of the table versus second bottom is never going to end well. Today was no different. I know it’s a terrible cliché, but it was like a train wreck… The Warriors did not act like their name sakes and they were so very, very disappointing, only managing to kick four goals for the game. Considering they were kicking around in near perfect conditions up in beautiful Victorian wine country, there was no excuse. This game reminded me of the story of the two Eskimos. They were sitting in a kayak freezing, so they lit a fire in the craft. It sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too. Not hard to guess which team are the Eskimos.
It was another close game to finish off Round 12, Albert Park and Kew battled it out at Beaurepaire Pavilion. The Falcons were too slick for Kew, who left feeling pretty flat. The scoreboard fluctuated considerably throughout the game, and both sides had their chances. In the end Albert Park managed to get on top in the midfield, winning clearance after clearance in the second half thanks to the likes of Michael Boyd and Josh Strawczynski. For Kew, Wristy tried hard all day, as did Will Balme and Mick Henderson, but like an episode of the Shire, there was low expectations and not even anything really that good to look at.       
This Week: Hawthorn will be the light that fails this week against Yarra, Ivanhoe may give Richmond the shakes when they defeat them, what Albert Park do to the House this week will be criminal, Xmen will retain their halo against Aquinas, Uni will bounce back against Kew and the Wickets, compliments of the Skullman will get a win out in the west.  

Real Estate
What you want is just outside your reach, you keep on searchin’. You’re walking down that Pensacola beach, you keep repeatin’. While you’re waiting for that sound, apparatus to the ground, you’re stealing, from the lost and found, but what you find, ain’t what you had in mind. Until you find your Rolex in the sand, you won’t be stopping, until that solid gold is in your hand, you won’t be happy. 
While my opening prose may be more about a beach comer than a footballer, I can relate. It’s cold and dark outside, and while the wind continues to slide, so does the search for that elusive premiership, that Rolex in the sand. 
Yarra Valley took another step forward in their premiership aspirations, when they easily accounted for a disappointing Ivanhoe. It’s fair to say if you ventured to this fixture in the hope of seeing a quality encounter and getting that feeling of satisfaction from a quality output, you would have been underwhelmed by the game that transpired.  Much like the feeling you get when you finish skimming over one of Smokey’s columns, hoping for something of note.  Actually it’s not really like that at all, because you become accustomed to not expecting much from those pages. I guess one thing’s for certain; he definitely is the ‘Real Deal’. Anyway, Ant Russell and Cherry Pollard were terrific in their 150th and 50th game respectively, while Batman and Robin (Steve Donald and Chris Hodgens), all innuendos aside, were having a good old time up forward. Ivanhoe were never really in it. Disappointing, because I expected more from this game, alas it’s not as if I choose, to be saddled by these fake blues and Yarra Valley are looking so very scrumptious at the moment.
Power House were again battling well above their weight, when they took on UHS-VU at home. Power House managed to go toe to toe with the visitors for most of the day, but fell at the final hurdle. The House will be rueing their final quarter fade out, as Uni High managed to stage a three goal to one final term to come away with the Budweiser, sprites, and I can assure you, they were feeling alright. The House may have taken a leaf out of Yarra Valley’s style of play, all out attack, unfortunately it’s not working. Apparently imitation is the highest form of flattery, but when the imitation is worse than a “Rolllex” watch from a Bali street stall, there’s nothing flattering about it. The great Hum could learn a lot from the aforementioned sentence. Hey Green River what can I do? If it’s alright I’ll walk next to you. Sit in the shade of your shady trees, don’t you know these days, I’m not hard to please. Green River of course being Old Westbourne, have not won a game in some time. Considering I picked them to be one of the contenders this year, it is devastating to see them struggling. While I am not embarrassed to sit with them just yet, one can only suffer the ribbing for so long. This week it was Aquinas who inflicted the pain. The Bloods were marvellous from the opening bounce; next minute they were up by 44 points at the change of ends. It was smooth sailing from there. 
It was a fascinating game of two contrasting halves between St Francis and Richmond. In the first quarter Richmond held their own into the slight breeze and then kicked five to two in the second, and had the run of the play. I can’t be sure what was said in the Xmen rooms at half time, but I can be sure whatever it was, it will be used again, because after the half time break it was all St Francis. They used the wind to their advantage in the third, and were classy enough to finish the game in the last, with some great team goals. Their reward is a spot in the top five, outstanding. 
Arabia Mountain
Time is moving on, but you keep on crying, crying oh so long, so I keep on moving, moving, moving right along. I say this because the footy season is dissolving before our eyes and so many emotions have been brought to the surface thus far. The top five will be filled with great excitement, while I get the feeling the middle of the range sides may be feeling a bit like Cole Alexander when he sung “I want to laugh and I want to cry, I want to spit, but my mouth is dry, I want to run but I can’t cause my legs don’t go! Where did they go?” As for the bottom sides, well, I reckon they would be feeling a bit like bone marrow, pretty gross. They’ll need to look in a new direction, and round eleven is as good a time as any. 
Raw oysters, Texas Pete, Sea urchin on the reef, sour cheeseburger fit to eat and a whole lot of other meat was being cooked up out at Ivanhoe when Aquinas ventured west, full of confidence after their regal performance last week. Unfortunately for the Bloods it seems instead of planning an assault on the second best side in the comp this week, they were too busy stoking each other’s egos – Ivanhoe inflicting an almighty drilling. It was in the second half that the Hoers did most of the damage, kicking 17 goals to four.  Apparently the Moose came out again. This time there were genuine antlers involved. Outrageous fun. 
Richmond has lived in the same mould as God in 2012. I say this because in some biblical transcripts he/she was described to have lived like a devil dog, a goddamn mad mad dog. Not much was expected of the Centrals, but we are halfway through the season and they now sit a game clear in fourth. This week they defeated Albert Park, in what was a dogged affair. Both sides had their chances, but it was not until the last quarter when Centrals seized momentum that a clear winner could be determined. 
It was a game right out of the box down Ringwood way on Saturday. Yarra Valley, the competition front runners, hosted the Wicks who needed a win to bolster their finals hopes. Yarra Valley were back to their best and managed to hold off a fast finishing Elsternwick side. A positive for the Wicks is the way they fought back in the final term. After being five goals down early in the last they managed to hack the lead down to five points at the final siren.  But the effort came without the reward of four points and in the end it was too little too late.  Some reports suggest that the Wickers had that weird feeling you get when chasing down that tram you desperately need to get – you put all your mighty efforts in, carrying bags and laptops on heavy shoulders, just in hope that the driver will see you, re-open the doors and let you in as reward for your embarrassing run in between moving cars on a busy morning carriageway.  But then you hear the ding.  The dreaded ding, accompanied by the rye smile of the driver as he pulls away.  And as you stagger to a slow walk and pretend you weren’t even trying to get on board, with the sweat permeating from a furrowed brow, all you’re left with is that pre-teen schoolboy laughing at you from the back window.  You failed.
It was supposedly a battle for the ages with UHS-VU firing up against Hawthorn. Uni were ultra impressive and a ten goal lead at halftime meant that the game was well and truly over. So after half time I went out dumpster diving, found some dirt painted gold, I kept some dusty silver, all covered up in mould, it was really great. From what I saw Rhys Kirk was brilliant kicking seven while David Pritchard was best for Hawthorn. This game may as well have been called A Massacre off Fitzroy Street (sorry, that was a zinger Gabelich sent me). Kew thumped Power House to continue a horrendous start to the season for the House. The Bears dominated all day and eased to a 106 point lead by the end of the game. Andrew/Tony/Adam ‘Wristy’ Brazzale, was brilliant jagging 12 majors.  He was so pleased with his efforts that he headed to the closest McDonalds, jumped in the freezer where he did some more damage.
It was a more competitive affair in the West, where the Warriors and the Xmen did battle. Old Westbourne had all the run early, but the effort could not be maintained throughout the day. The Xmen got on top late in the third and never looked like losing it after that. James Van Dam was good in the guts for the Xers while Troy Farrell was monumental up forward booting four. Scott ‘Steven’ Morrissey was best for the Warriors. This Week: Aquinas will place Spidey’s curse on the Warriors, Ivanhoe will defeat Yarra Valley this time around, Albert Park to keep Hawthorn running, UHS-VU won’t mess up against Power House, Richmond will go out and get it and Elsternwick will have to delve into their family tree, but will get the job done against Kew.   
All the Little Lights 
The next 14 weeks are all about taking chances. And so I share this little parable (which you will note is not as clichéd as an Einstein quote): “I know a man with nothing in his hands, nothing but a rolling stone, he told me about when his house burnt down, he lost everything he owned, he lay asleep for six whole weeks, they were gonna ask his mother to choose, when he woke up with nothing he said son I’ll tell you something, when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. Now I’ve got a hole in my pocket, a hole in my shirt, a whole lot of trouble, he said, but now the money’s gone, life carries on and I miss it like a hole in the head”.
Aquinas had nothing to lose on Saturday. And didn’t they make the most of it, toppling the most impressive side in the division. The Bloods led most of the day and managed to pull off the upset of the season so far. It was a day for the Cal’s with Callum “Chips” Cormack sensational in booting three goals, while the Bloods would not have got the job done without the likes of Callum “Bruce” Willis and Russ “Jodie” Foster. I have not jumped off the Yarra Valley bandwagon yet, but this boat may sink, but I’m not going to rock it, because the sea doesn’t know my name.
I think a lot about Division Three football on a day to day basis. On Monday I thought about why Ash Close is called the Moose and on Tuesday I decided that this game was the one to watch in Round 9. On one hand, Ivanhoe have been in dominant form; and on the other, Centrals have produced upsets aplenty in season 2012. Alas I may have chosen the wrong game. Ivanhoe showed they were by far a superior side.  With the likes of Moose, Paul Walter and Paul Harris, they made light work of the Snakes in the first half and that was that.
For those, like I, that have an affection for the follicly challenged, (which I’m told is humorously politically correct, euphemistic, of a person that has difficulty growing hair) it is a must that you get down to the Wicks early game as there are more skulls running around then you would find in an elephant’s graveyard. In the later game it was more about UHS-VU then the Wicks who managed to get a vital away win. In a tight contest the two goal deficit could have been larger had the Uni boys kicked a tad straighter, but they will be happy with the win nonetheless. Mark Temming and Cheyne Kelly were great for Uni, while Lachie Bedingfeild was again best for the Wicks. I’m calling for a skull revolt if the Wicks are to improve next week.      
It seems Old Westbourne have been running in the wrong direction all season, so to get a convincing win under the belt must be a huge relief. It was only their second salute of the year and while the scoreboard may flatter Hawthorn, it was definitely The Warriors day. Scott Kidd was instrumental in the victory as was Francisco Pavez who not only had the ball on a string, but jagged a couple of goals as well. That’ll teach me for tipping the Hawks.
My intimate knowledge of this competition failed me again when Kew upset the X Men out at Beaconsfield. While it was a beautiful day, the track was declared dead and from the opening bounce it was evident that it was going to be tough day. I was shocked when a rumour fluttered across my desk early Sunday morning that put an integral member of Kew FC at the ground in the early hours of Saturday, apparently doing burnouts on the centre wicket, so that conditions suited the Bears.  A trick, I am told, the same man may have picked up from his days at Moorabbin circa the early 90’s. Kew apparently love the slop, and it showed.
And it was another sloppy day for the House who are still yet to register a win, my advice to them is to tie a scarf on real tight, it’s to be a cold night. Albert Park are hitting a slight purple patch at the midpoint of the season, and after the win last week are within reach of the final five. Joshua Strawcynski the man with possibly the hardest name to pronounce in the VAFA was fantastic for the Falcons and Jason Murchie kicked a bag.This week: UHS-VU are going to stop Hawthorns finals dreams, Yarra Valley will keep on walking and defeat Elsternwick, Ivanhoe to put holes in the Bloods defence, life’s for living and Centrals will show us why against Albert Park, Power House may fancy their chances against Kew, but they shouldn’t, and the Warriors will continue staring at the stars with their feet in the mud against the Xers.  
22.6.12
BLOOM
I put this to you, loyal reader of this article, and follower of Division Three . . . If you can’t keep hanging on, to what is dead and gone, can you then use the past to motivate you to greater heights? I reckon that if you built yourself a myth, you’d know just what to give, materialize, or let the ashes fly. But what comes after this, momentary bliss? Help me to name it.Lapis Lazuli is a rare and semi precious stone (I liken it to Elsternwick’s form line, close to impossible to find) and if you do find it, impossible to resist. They make it very difficult to slip on by when they are at the top of their game. While they weren’t at the pinnacle on Saturday, they still managed to defeat a much improved Albert Park. It was a very important game for the Wicks after club legend Col Page passed away during the week. Elsternwick showed amazing guts to get over the line by five points. And it was a fitting tribute to a wonderful man. RIP Col.
Yarra Valley kept its amazing run intact with an impressive display against the in-form Centrals. It was a shoot out for a half, but after the break the wine swillers of Yarra Valley proved why they’re the benchmark side of Div 3, piling on nine goals to four in the second half making Richmond suffer, like no other. Jack O’Callaghan was sensational in his second game for the Bushies and Steve Donald dominated up forward gobbling up anything thing that resembled a footy. He even managed to inhale an over sized ping pong ball that had somehow made its way from Bangkok and into the Yarra Valley pointy end. The X-men were keen to put a traumatic two week period behind them when they travelled to Parkville on the weekend. While they didn’t start too well, losing the toss and kicking against a five goal breeze, they trailed by only two goals at quarter time. Like any sort of traumatic experience there is always a face to remind you, some day out of the blue it will find you, but Saturday was not that day for the Xers. It was evident through their intensity at the ball they were not going to lie down. It resulted in a season defining two and a half goal victory on the one hand and on the other, the trauma was there for all to see.  The sullen faces of the defeated comrades were likened to that of the “Hummer-Man” from Div 2 who, when reading this fine publication in the grandstands last week, identified a clear typo in his prose.  The ears of the VAFA editors are still ringing, but have assured the great Hum that it won’t happen again.
And on the topic of traumatic experiences, it was definitely the case for Old Westbourne, which was smashed again, this time by a rampant Ivanhoe, who were led by the Moose who bagged another 12 goals. While the moose-head celebration didn’t come out, you could tell he was pretty pleased with his work. Victoria Legrand sings about "the moment when a memory aches." It might be tempting to call that feeling nostalgia, or in Old Westbourne’s case the beginning of 2012.
It was a different story at the Bear Cave though; an amazing upset saw Kew finish all over Aquinas in the second half. Timothy Allman was easily best on ground for Kew, amassing a huge amount of effective disposals. Unfortunately for Aquinas, Sam Porter could not repeat his heroics from Wednesday, when he saved a St Kilda local from drowning at the Beach Baths. He was not selected in the side this week – a week when Aquinas could have used a lifesaver.
Speaking of swimming, some have likened Hawthorn to swimming in the lake; we’ll come across a snake. It is real and then it’s fake, feel its heartbeat. Feel what you heat, far so fast it feels too late. Are the Hawks too far gone? Or will those that wrote them off be made to eat their words? Another sensational come from behind victory sees them climb up the ladder. The John Travoltas of Division 3 are really developing a habit of surprising everyone and coming from behind these days.  But the question still remains – are they real, or are they fake? I guess time will tell.
This Week: Yarra Valley will be far too wild for Aquinas, Elsternwick will cause too much trouble for UHS-VU, Ivanhoe make the hours miserable for Richmond come Saturday arvo, Albert Park to be too good on the sea and Hawks will have their wishes come true and make it three on the trot. 
16.6.12
Day and Age
There has been a lot of chat about aliens during the week. I myself have never got too caught up in that sort of stuff, but a strange incident occurred not long ago. It started with a low light, next thing I knew they ripped me from my bed,and then they took my blood type, it left a strange impression in my head.You know that I was hoping, that I could leave this star-crossed world behind, but when they cut me open, I guess that changed my mind. I share this story because I feel this mantra fits Division 3. It goes to show that anything can happen and there is still hope for all teams as we break. That being said it may be that this time I’ve just flown too far from the floor. I wonder, however, into the footy.
Richmond Central made in five and two after defeating a gallant Kew – in what sounds like the start of a nursery rhyme.  Centrals hosted their Past Players Luncheon in what was a massive pre-game and Richmond Tigers President Gary March supplied some ‘cracking chang’, so it was no surprise when the Snakes came out breathing fire, which I will add, is rare for snakes to do.  Richmond maintained the carnage for most of the game and led by ten goals as they broke for the final furlong. Dylan Nicholson and Luke Walsh had been outstanding all day, however when they and a few of their teammates ducked into the function mid way through the last quarter, it allowed Kew to seize momentum and get back to within eight points. But that was as close as they got.
Unfortunately for The Warriors the word “close” was not in any sort of vocabulary spoken, by anyone, anywhere, on Saturday. Whilst it was an injury ravaged Old Westbourne which faced the might of Yarra Valley, you can’t help but think it could have done more. A special moment occurred early in the game, when Hayden Iannacone, fresh from the U16s kicked the first two goals for the Warriors. However that was about the only positive to come out of the game for them. Yarra Valley dominated all day and made it a straight seven, running out to a semi-comfortable 24 goal victory. 
It was a better game out at De Jong Oval where the Wicks got hold of the Xers. In a unique game of football, both teams dominated at stages, but neither could put the other away. In the end it was the Wicks who prevailed. St Francis will be disappointed with the amount of simple skill errors they made during the game; alas it gives them something to work on over the break. Elsternwick now jump into sixth position on the table and will be looking to make a late charge when play recommences on the June 16. 
From all reports there be some real swagger out Ivanhoe way at the minute. After another great win over the House, it’s looking like a very high finish for them. One man, Ash “Moose” Close, dominated the game. He was going so well that as he was lining up for number 10 a humorous spectator asked Ash to “kick one with your pants down”. Sensational stuff.  
It was also brilliant to see Hawthorn notch up victory number one, by one point as well. No doubt joyous scenes ensued after the thrilling victory. It was a marvelous match. The Hawks came from three goals down at the final break to snatch a well-deserved win. “Filthy” Phil Avery and David Pritchard were great for the Hawks and Dan Lauletta played inspired football, jagging five. The beverages no doubt tasted a little sweeter over the long weekend for the Hawks, and it’s about time they did.
The same cannot be said for Aquinas, who lost another game at home, this time to UHS-VU. I took a close look at this game through my new Leica Geovid binoculars; they’re so damn great that you can deadset see the players changing their minds. I also saw big Eddie Pearson boot six of his finest and Nick Devereux play one of the games of his life. It will be very interesting to see how Aquinas goes after the bye. As one I predicted to be right up there, at the moment they are letting me down. How about Uni High though? Delicious!
This Week: UHS-VU will have the X-men losing touch, Richmond will prove Yarra Valley human, Elsternwick will deliver Albert Park a crippling blow, Aquinas will get back on the winners list and Hawks to make it two in a row against Power House. 
2.6.12
Days
I don’t know who’s behind, the wheel. Sometimes I feel like that I don’t know, the deal. When I tell you how, I feel. Believe me when I say, it’s real.
It could have been a lot worse on Saturday for the Power House, who travelled to the Zoo on Saturday. UHS-VU had 29 scoring shots to their 11, but unfortunately for the Uni boys they couldn’t take a leaf out of President Berlusconi’s book and put them away. It was still quite a sizable win for Uni High which consolidates its position in the top two. Mitch "Pistol" Pearce and Mark "Fridge" Roberts were both brilliant all day. For the House, the defeats are starting to pile up. And while the darkness of winter begins to creep closer, a few wins are vital before a late charge up the ladder is possible.
The only creeping going on at Yarra Valley this week will be from Jordy Canham who was so razzed-up by his mark of the year contender that later that night he made the Ringwood RSL dance floor his own and was again seen flying high. Sam Savage was everywhere for the Bushrangers in his 200th game, kicking four goals. It was fitting that he saluted with a long bomb after the final siren to make it a 103 point victory. 
Kewcouldn’t match the endeavour shown by the numero uno and got beaten in all aspects. For the Grizzly Bears making the finals this year may be as tough as salmon fishing in the Yemen.
And speaking of swimming, what about Grant Hackett, what an effort by him last October! We’ve all had a few sherbets at the races before, but I doubt anyone would be able to flip a grand piano over with one hand – and with his baby allegedly in the other. Must be strong I guess. So it does prove then, that following that damn black line all day every day in the monotonous, repetitive efforts of chasing the end of the pool will get to you eventually. Thankfully for Grant’s kids, they’ll be 12 months older when the next Spring Carnival comes to town. But I digress – how about those Hoers?
Ivanhoe made their way up to third spot in what was a funny game of football. In the dry conditions early, St Francis X were very good, used the ball cleanly and were able to break away to a 30 odd point lead.  Then the rain came half way through the second and things completely changed, Ivanhoe kicking 6 straight and leading at half time. From the point the rain fell, Ivanhoe kicked 18 goals to the X-men’s one. It was a disappointing effort from the Xers who were sprayed away in the wet easier than the tyre marks on a Greek man’s concrete driveway. Glen "Barrel" Francis was busy on the ground and took it to another level off the ground Saturday night winning the "Miss Universe in Reverse" crown with his stunning dance moves to Ginuwine’s "Pony". 
Speaking of dance moves, Seb Angus was pulling a few of his own down at KB Reserve. "The Big Marn" Angus finished with 9.1 – an amazing conversion rate. The Warriors were in the game early, but after quarter time Richmond put on the after burners and cut through Old Westbourne like a hot knife through some pretty miserable butter. 
This is a case of me not trying to be cool, because I only wanna be kind, but it is difficult with the way the Hawks are travelling at the moment. While they’ve had a tough draw, they just can’t seem to find a win. It feels as though the wonder years have passed them by, and if something is not done soon they could find themselves in Division Four. That being said, Elsternwick was terrific. Turning around from a disappointing loss last week to come together in what was a real team effort. From all reports the camaraderie in the showers after the game was at an all time high. Scotty "Suds" Grace brought the Dove on a stick to ensure cleanliness all round. 
And it was a very clean and sharp performance by Albert Park, who finally seem to be hitting their straps. In a somewhat surprising result, they smashed Aquinas by 44 points. Albert Park got off to the perfect start kicking four goals to zip in the first quarter. They were never headed after that, making it look as easy as building a shelter, for green beings, in the sun. James "Red" Brick was sensational for the Falcons. Fossil Toomey’s shoulders must be getting sore from carrying Aquinas. Someone will have to step up and share the load if they are to improve.
This Week: UHS-VU will do it easy against Aquinas, Ivanhoe to stay in green aisles and beat Power House, Richmond will keep it real at home and defeat Kew, Albert Park won’t be kind to Hawthorn, X-men will be back in tune again the Wicks and it will be all the same for Yarra Valley when it defeats Westbourne. 
Ignorant people liken a season of football to running a marathon. I disagree. In my opinion it’s more like the aforementioned lyrics. For example we are now one third through this season and the only thing we have really learnt is that, it’s real.
26.5.12
SmotherTearjerker, shadow lurker, wonder worker, reach a bit further. Will you by any chance? Remember the olive branch? Just a word of advice, because as we all know, what goes around, comes around.Hayden Thorpe sang that the “end comes too soon, it comes too soon” and that’s exactly what the Aquinas boys were thinking in their game against Hawthorn.  In an impressive display, the Bloods put together their first four quarter performance for the year and Hawthorn was no equal.  Hawthorn will be disappointed with another crushing defeat and will need to reach a bit further to find a win.  It was such an enjoyable win that Aquinas big guns Messrs Morrison-Storey and Perret decided to continue to kick around long into the evening. It wasn’t until the next morning when they were roused by the U/9 exclamations of ‘holy mackerel’ or words to that effect that they were moved on. Ivanhoe went on their merry way, notching up another win against Elsternwick.  Again without Skull Christian and with fiery Al Patey doing a substantial amount of time on the pine, it was quite the scalp for the Hoes who have now only dropped one game and sit well within reach of a finals berth.  It was a dynamic second half from Ivanhoe that split the two sides.  It must have been a solid team effort as Ashleigh Close, who slotted eight, didn’t even manage to wander into the best.  For Elsternwick, it was back to the Nepean hwy Macca’s for a debrief and re-evaluation of Season 2012.  Apparently some home truths were raised over a banana thickshake or two and the best laid plans for the year have been documented on the back of a Big Mac wrapper.  But maybe the problem lies within that wrapper?Richmond bounced back after a below par game last week to beat Power House by plenty.  Power House fought hard all day and eight minutes into the last quarter found them leading by a goal, but they collapsed like a House of cards in the end.  Fortunately for the Snakes, the coaching staff had taken control and made a few wise moves that resulted in a comfortable victory.  Seb Angus was again brilliant kicking six while Paul Edwards matched him for the House.   It was the clash of the titans at St Francis Xavier College and a huge crowd gathered to watch the top of the table clash.  The X-men players must have been sleeping in a bed of nails all week, because they jumped out of the blocks and stunned Yarra Valley.  The Bushrangers managed to fight their way back though and in an arm wrestle ended up winning by four points.  ‘You’re my boy blue’ Blewonski was brilliant in his first game of senior footy and Coach Drew, who donned the boots for the first time this year, was inspirational for the Bushies. Forget now, how many must I forget now, how many must I forget?  For the Westbourne Warriors it’s getting to the stage where they will be asking themselves this question over and over.  After being demoted from Division 2 last year, they have only snaffled the points in one game from five.  This week it was an in form UHS-VU who took the four points from them.  Uni High dominated from beginning to end using Westbourne as a plaything, rag dolling them throughout the day. It was another draw for Division Three this weekend – amazing stuff!  In old football parlance, drawing a game is like kissing your sister. and at the moment, some Divvy 3 sides are at a family dinner dance and everywhere they turn, they’re staring relatives in the face.  But alas, even in the dim lights, that is no excuse to lock lips.  Who will be next??  Albert Park will be kicking themselves with another inaccurate week in front of the sticks costing them dearly. The fact that they had a 20 point lead at three quarter time wouldn’t have helped the burning feeling inside.  After the game, I saw all 44 players vanish one by one, turning invisible in attempts to avoid a spray from their respective coaches.    This week: UHS-VU will crack Power House’s vault. The way is dark to Yarra Valley and hand will grab at Kew. Ivanhoe will take the lion’s share against the X-Men, just because they know that it’s there. Richmond knows the Warriors are woozy and will take advantage. Aquinas over Albert Park and Elsternwick will get a much needed win over the Hawks. Thickshakes on me after the game if the Hawks get up.  
19.5.12
FuneralFor a change I’ve decided a bit of self indulgence is a fitting way to begin R5. Throughout the opening rounds I’ve found some games are harder to pick than a broken nose. However after picking six from six last week I feel that now my lightning bolts are glowing, I can see where I am going, I can see where I am. So you’d better look out below. 
There was more wind down at Old Westbourne than under the Mother’s Day tables around the country this weekend; and the visitors in Aquinas won the flip and chose wisely to kick with it in the first. Backing up from their worst performance of the year last week, the Bloods’ endeavour at the ball was noticeable from the get-go. According to one interested observer, the boys hadn’t shown this much intent since the canteen ran out of hot dogs in the infamous 2010 “hotdog-gate affair”.  
Luckily, however, the weekend’s ferocity ended in fewer casualties.  The visitors started accordingly and kicked eight goals to be well ahead at quarter time. The Warriors battled hard all day with injury depleting their side, but Aquinas was well in control mastering the tricky conditions to cruise home to a valuable away win.  
The Duck’s 200th last week may have turned Ivanhoe’s season around. It seems that the great man has injected some real professionalism back into the group and like any great Duck, it was a cool and calm persona above the water, but the legs were working at fever pitch below the surface.  While I can’t say for certain it was all the Duck’s influence, what I do know is that Ivanhoe had another enormous win over the Hawks who wish they could find the same pizzazz as their opponents.  In a sometimes spiteful encounter, the Hawks were in it up to their heads at half time, but couldn’t hold on to elevate them off the bottom of the ladder. Harrison Ford was terrific all day with some raiders of the lost ark style run out of defence. 
The grand final rematch kicked off with more physicality than a Steve Aoki rave party.  Both Division Four teams from last year have looked more than up to it at the higher level and for Richmond it was time to exact some revenge.  Unfortunately for the Snakes they just could not get the job done. While it was tight for a half of footy, the X-Men came out dominating after half time with their big guns, the Van Dam boys, coming to life.  Richmond never gave in, but could not break the fourteen point buffer and like a grown man fighting a midget, the X-Men held Richmond at arm’s length and the flailing punches were in vain as the separation couldn’t be reduced, nor the punches landed.
There is no worse feeling than drawing a game that you should have won, and it was a week of soul searching at the Wick for all concerned.  John Cesario flogged the boys on the track during the week and like Eliot Ness many years ago, enforced the alcohol prohibition. There were a few causalities after the tie last week – rumours of players being caught out on the town.  However none of this helped the red and blacks and Yarra Valley was too good.  Simon Yeo kicked nine for the Bushrangers.  With shouts all day of ‘someone fill the hole’ you can only imagine the result could’ve been different if Skull was on the park.  But alas he was in the stands, apparently enjoying a couple of cold ones.
UHS-VU again showed why they are firming as premiership contender defeating an ‘up and about’ Albert Park.  After a disappointing loss to ladder leaders last week, Uni were very impressive with big name players Nick Rowland and Ed Pearson causing headaches all day for the Falcons.  Albert Park will need to get its act together if they are to make the finals this year as they are currently sitting well out of the final five.  
A chorus of “I woke up with the power out, not really something to shout about” could be heard at Power House’s morning recovery session at South Melbourne beach last Sunday. After coming off an extremely disappointing game last week, Power House tried to make amends against Kew. It looked a more sizeable unit to take the field this week, with a few big inclusions bolstering the ranks.  The upsize made no difference and the Grizzly Bears ate them up for a Saturday afternoon treat. No doubt if the House had kicked straighter, it would have been more competitive, but that is not taking anything away from Ian Aitken’s finest ensemble who outplayed the House all around the ground.    
This week: Aquinas will smash Hawthorn, Skull will surely slot back into the Elsternwick side and they’ll be too strong for Ivanhoe, Richmond to beat Power House in a close one, Yarra Valley to knock off the X-Men in the game of the round, Kew will do in Albert Park and UHS-VU will add to Old Westbourne’s misery. 
12.5.12
God, bad, not evil.
Oh Katrina! Why you gotta be mean? Hurricane Katrina that is, she was definitely the bad this weekend. She said ‘let it rain’ on Tuesday and four days later it hadn’t let up, producing tough playing conditions come 2pm Saturday. 
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the greatest of them all. Well at this point it’s Yarra Valley, which left UHS-VU with cold hands after they had very little action. In fact they were not even in the same suburb as the Bushrangers. The top team made light work of its opposition at home to make it a perfect start to the season. Sam Savage and James Amos starred in the difficult conditions. 
St Francis Xavier gave Hawthorn an absolute strafing on home soil. The X-men certainly lived out their mantra of the day which was to start well. Not only did they start well, but they dominated the middle and then came home with a wet sail. A disappointing day for the Hawks was compounded by the fact that they now sit at the bottom of the table. Hawthorn, surely the bad.
The good was the game between Albert Park and Old Westbourne. In an old fashioned slug-fest at the Peanut Farm, there was hardly a kick in it all day until Albert Park drew away towards the end. Westbourne were first to adjust to the stormy conditions and started accordingly, kicking away to a slight lead at quarter time. However it didn’t take long for Albert Park to get into the swing of things and when they did they ran right over the top of the boys from the West and took the four points.   
In the clash between Ivanhoe and Kew it was all about Duck Wood who played his 200th game for the Hoers. Despite an early cock up (the banner being destroyed before the Duck ran through it) the day could not have gone better for Ivanhoe. They led at every change and claimed an easy victory. Ash Close was in the minority in terms of mastering the conditions and finished with six goals and six equally dramatic celebrations.  
In a huge upset Richmond Central defeated Aquinas by plenty. While the Snakes had to make six changes from their team that defeated Hawthorn last week, it didn’t prevent them coming out with a fierce attack on the ball. Aquinas didn’t fine-tune their game plan to suit the surroundings and were unable to attack with any real swagger opposed to Richmond who went long at all costs hitting up their tall forwards.    
And finally the ‘not evil’ or is it just evil? A draw! Elsternwick and Power House could not be split in the storm. In agonising scenes, both teams scrambled to get that final point that would divide the two, but it wasn’t to be and Division Three had its first tie of the year. The House staged a remarkable fight back in the final term to almost steal a win, but the Wicks who were without stars Lachie Bedingfield and Brian Mahoney managed to hang on. 
This week: UHS-VU to bounce back after they were a ghost of their best last week. Yarra Valleywill be like bad kids, showing no respect for the Wicks or authority. I feel St Francis Xavier will make it a repeat of the Div 4 grand final last year and defeat the Stationmasters. Ivanhoe should account for the Hawks who won’t be able to get their heads off the block. Kew will be too good for the House at Victory Park and Aquinas will bounce back from a shock loss to defeat Old Westbourne.