DIVISION 4 SCRIBE

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 Sept 15
THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE WINNER
After eighteen home and away rounds, three finals and a total of ninety three matches, we have finally reached the two hours that matter most. We know what many of us thought all year South Mornington and Swinburne Uni were by far the best two sides in Division Four. Regardless of what happens on Saturday, they will both be promoted into Division 3 in 2013 come the final siren. These two sides have already battled on three separate occasions in 2012 with the most recent only being two weeks ago in the first semi final where the Tigers got the job done by only six points. For the majority of the year, South Mornington has been the front runners. Seemingly unbeatable after winning the first twelve games of the season. Yet after two losses in the final six games, the boys in yellow and black from down the Peninsula looked a little bit fragile. Whilst they have seemingly reclaimed their ascendancy after their win in the semi final, the Tigers form is not quite as devastating as it was earlier this season.
As for their grand final opponents Swinburne University, the Razorbacks have appeared to gather momentum as the season progressed. Not simply by the number of victories they accumulated but rather by the manner in which they chalked up their wins in the second half of the year.
In Saturday’s preliminary final, the students ran over the top of Eley Park in the second half to book their place in the grand final. The Razorbacks led by only two goals at half time before kicking away in the premiership quarter. Seven goals to just two behinds was enough to do the damage. Another five to one in the final stanza was simply the icing on the cake as the Sharks simply had no more to give in a disappointing display.
The 86 point belting doesn’t do the Sharks justice for the sort of season they have had. In fact, they have transformed from an inconsistent side capable of producing moments of brilliance into a consistent four quarter team that can match it with anyone. Unfortunately it just wasn’t their day and I’m sure they will return next season and be a massive premiership contender.
South Mornington and Swinburne University have met three times this season. In round nine, the final round of the home and away season and in the first semi final. The Tigers hold the edge over the Razorbacks with two victories to one. In their first meeting back in June, the unbeaten Tigers knocked off the students in a comfortable fashion by 44 points down at Citation Oval. It was a different story in round eighteen but only by the smallest of margins. By the end of the home and away season, the Tigers form had begun to waver and they were caught out at St James Park. After leading by as much as five goals in the opening term, the Tigers were left to lick their wounds on the way back down the coast.
In the semi final, only a week after their final round showdown, South Mornington got the better of their rivals in a tight tussle at Scammell Reserve. Inaccurate goal kicking almost hurt the yellow and black on that day but they were good enough to get over the line by a kick to advance straight to the grand final and earn the week off.
The Division Four season has been very predictable. It appeared very early in the piece that these two sides were heads and shoulders above the rest of the competition and were on a collision course to the big dance. Finally, we get the opportunity to see both sides put it all on the line in a do or die clash to determine the premiership. It doesn’t matter what has happened previously, Saturday is where it will count.
TIP
South Mornington
FINALS TIME
After eighteen weeks of a long arduous winter campaign, we are finally on the eve of the division four final series. As predicted a few months ago, the best four sides in the section will battle it out in September starting this weekend. South Mornington who suffered just their second loss of the season on the weekend, Swinburne Uni, the side that defeated the Tigers in a nail biter, Point Cook and Eley Park are the four sides whose seasons are still alive.
For the remaining six sides of Division Four, their off season’s are probably already in full swing with plans of travel and Saturday’s spent away from a football ground more at the top of their wish lists. With the fate of our final’s aspirants sealed a long time ago, there was not much to play for in the final month of the season. 
The home and away season has been predictable at times, but as I’ve mentioned throughout season 2012, football is a funny game and the seemingly unpredictable can happen. Less than two months ago it appeared that there was only one team that could win the flag in 2012. South Mornington had won the opening twelve games and looked unstoppable. After the weekend’s one point loss to the Razorbacks, the Tigers have lost their aura. No longer are they feared. Swinburne Uni are the form side entering September and South Mornington will have to rekindle their best form if they are going to even reach the Grand Final and ensure promotion into the next grade.
In one of their more impressive outings of the year, Chadstone booted sixteen goals before eventually going down to Box Hill North by 40 points. The Synners remained in the contest until the beginning of the final term, where the Demons kicked away from the home side with six goals to two in the final quarter. Dan Penny continued his rich vein of form to finish the season on a high with a bag of six majors which included a little bit of everything including a miraculous snap over his right shoulder with his back facing the goals. Damon Cuming was the stand out for the home team with four goals and a mob of contested marks to go with them. Heading into next year, the Synners will be determined to build on their impressive second half of the season. 
In the battle for fifth spot, Manningham blew a four goal lead to go down in one of the games of the year by two points. With bragging rights at stake, the Bulls were determined to finish the season on a high and a four goal (and eight behind) last quarter ensured that they would. The Cobras have been one of the stories of the year after climbing from ninth spot last year to be a genuine challenger week in week out. Whilst consistency has been their downfall at times, no one could question their flair and entertaining brand of football played. Steve Rose was best afield for the home side and Tarek Moughanie was brilliant up forward with five majors. Tom Leary got the job done for the boys in green and gold.
A 155 point victory should be just the medicine to bring some confidence into the finals series for the Bulldogs. Saturday’s demolition of Mt Lilydale highlighted Point Cook’s capacity to score heavily and could be a sign of things to come. Bags of goals from Ricky Munn 6, Brayden Lucas 5 and Aaron Marsh 5 were the main reasons for the annihilation. In what has been a very disappointing season for the Rams, Russell Strong was once again one of too few to get his hands dirty. I’m predicting a tough pre season will be meeting the Mt Lilydale outfit as they lick their wounds after a disappointing 2012 campaign.
For the opening rounds, Swinburne Uni and South Mornington have put their hands up as the two teams most likely to reach the big dance and not much has changed since then. On Saturday, South Mornington jumped out of the blocks to lead the home team by five goals at the first break. From there onwards things were much tighter, however the Tigers remained in front up until the final term as the students stole a victory that shouldn’t have been theirs. The result ensures that next week’s game, where they meet for a spot in the Grand Final, will be fiercely contested and could be the game of the season. 
Eley Park finished the home and away season in devastating form, knocking off West Brunswick by 78 points in sensational fashion. The Sharks victory was never in doubt as they got on top of their opponents early and never looked troubled in their rout. David Bennet was in scintillating form for the home side and he fed the footy to Jon Edlich on several occasions who finished the game with five majors. Jimmy Forbes and Joel Beer were everywhere for the Magpies collecting disposals at will. 
Today: The time has finally come and we have known who is playing who for a long time now. Swinburne Uni and South Mornington will fight first to determine who goes through to the Grand Final. It’s hard to read much into last weeks form but winning form is good form and the Tigers have been shaky of late so I’m predicting the Razorbacks to get the job done in a tight tussle. In the elimination final Eley Park should have the Bulldogs covered but deciding finals can deliver inspired efforts. Time will tell whether or not either of these predictions were on the money. 
TIPS
Swinburne University
Eley Park
17 August
CHADSTONE, VICTORS AT LAST!
The hottest topic in the Amateurs this week had nothing to do with the trials and tribulations of the top flight or of the other higher grades. Instead, the main focus was on the inspirational story of the Chadstone Football Club. A club that in recent times has endured an onslaught of week in and week out humiliation.In the feel good story of the year, the Synners won their first game in just over four long and torrid seasons against Mt Lilydale. After a recent push by the Triple M Football Team there has been an evident increase in morale and competitiveness from the Chadstone outfit in the second half of the season. And on Saturday the dam wall was finally broken as the Synners led from start to finish to dispose of a shocked Mt Lilydale side by 20 points. A staggering seventy home and away games have come and gone between their most recent victories. A painful memory not lost on those who have remained a part of the club through this difficult patch. Holders of the last four wooden spoons in division Four, Chadstone will not avoid this trend at seasons end, however a newfound faith should spur the club on to bigger and better things in season 2013.
In an amazing round of action, Box Hill North continued their impressive recent form holding finals bound Point Cook to a thrilling draw. Whilst two points isn’t the four, the Demons would have been happy to split the points after coming from fourteen points behind at the final break. Ethan Doney found plenty of the ball for the home side and he was well assisted by big man Steve Harrison. The Bulldogs would have to be disappointed with their final term as they seemingly had the game in control before a last quarter lapse.
In sloppy conditions at Koonung Reserve, Swinburne Uni grinded out a six goal victory against Manningham. In amazing circumstances, the Cobras jumped out of the blocks booting five goals to just one behind in the opening term. From there on the Cobras only kicked another three goals for the game in a disappointing performance. After a big rev up at quarter time the Razorbacks responded to close the gap by half time, before going on to take the ascendancy in the third term.Damon Green was the difference in the end with six goals in a commanding performance out of the goal square. Phil Wild and Nick Mauran were also instrumental in the victory. Sean Leonard continued his sensational second half to the season with another quality four-quarter effort for the Cobras.
Without being dominant, the South Mornington Tigers were back to somewhere near their clinical best with a routine five goal victory over West Brunswick on the weekend. There have been some question marks raised recently over the Tigers form and their performance on the weekend did little to stamp out the doubters. However a win is a win, but the yellow and black do need to lift a gear before September. Kade Woodruff collected more than his fair share of disposals, as did Tom Mitchell. For the Magpies Tim Henderson was their standout player on the ground.
In the game of the round the Sharks stole victory over the Bulls at the death. The two point victory highlighted Eley Park’s ability to conjure up a win even on a dirty day. The finals bound Sharks were tested from the opening bounce where North Brunswick trumped the home side seven goals to five in an entertaining opening stanza. From there, a wasteful Eley Park outfit almost kicked themselves out of the contest with fifteen minor scores. David Viola’s five goals was a standout performer in a business like performance by the Sharks.Uri Pech’s disposal by foot was clinical for the visitors and Sahand Ghasimzadeh’s five goals almost stole the show from the finals bound Sharks who might just go all the way come September.
Today: The impressive Bulls host an out of form Point Cook line up in what stands as an important game for the travelling Dogs. Chadstone will get a taste of reality when they travel down to face South Mornington. Box Hill North will be no push over for the Sharks at Elgar Park in another local derby. The lackluster Rams will be up against it when they host Manningham. At West Brunswick, the Razorbacks will be looking to ramp up their form heading into the finals.
TIPS:
North Brunswick, South Mornington, Eley Park, Manningham, Swinburne Uni

10 August
SWINBURNE ARE COMING
Just weeks after claiming that South Mornington has all but sown up the premiership, there appear to be some chinks in their armour. Only two rounds ago the Eley Park Sharks defeated the seemingly unbeatable Tigers. On the weekend, whilst they weren’t on the end of another loss, the yellow and black snuck home by the smallest of margins. What’s going on down the Peninsula? Whilst South Mornington are napping, their greatest threat, Swinburne Uni, have lifted a gear. Almost as if they can sense that an opportunity to gain a mental ascendency on their rivals is present. Other finals bound sides Eley Park and Point Cook both enjoyed routine victories on the weekend; a positive sign of things to come in the remaining home and away games of the season.
One thing is for sure down at Chadstone, the pain of loss is becoming more and more bearable as the Synners draw closer to the end of the season. I’m sure the red and blue will be looking forward to hanging up the boots for the warmer months and setting their sights on a big pre season and a more fruitful 2013. It has to be said though that their last month has been an improvement since the beginning of the year. 
If North Brunswick hadn’t been so wasteful in front of the sticks they could have walked away with one of the biggest upsets of the season. The Bulls hosted South Mornington on the weekend and kicked themselves out of the game before going down by a solitary point. The Tigers were once again without the injured Jesse Albrecht and they missed the deadeye dick greatly. In astonishing scenes at Allard Park, the Bulls booted 6.6 to no score in the final stanza to pull up agonisingly short against the competition’s trailblazers. The looks on the faces of the North Brunswick players post game summed up the day, pure devastation. Pat Notaro was best afield with six goals, whilst Tom Mitchell battled hard for the victors. Are the wheels falling off the Tigers juggernaut?
At Jordan Reserve, Eley Park had the game won by the first break. The Sharks nailed eight goals to three in the opening quarter to blow the Synners out of the water early. After quartertime the Sharks were purely business like in their disposal of the competitions cellar dwellers. The Viola brothers put on a clinic at Chadstone’s expense with David booting six goals and Michael finding plenty of the ball across the ground. For the long-suffering Chadstone fans there wasn’t much to enjoy, although the knowledge that a long winter is coming to an end shortly should bring them some relief.In the local derby between Manningham and Box Hill North the Demons produced their most complete performance of the campaign to dispose of the Cobras by 10 goals. In a game where most pundits predicted the Cobras to hand out comfortable belting, onlookers were seeing the most consistent four quarter performance all year by the Demons. On a dirty day for the home side, Sean Leonard was one of only a few who put his hand up. For the victors it was Tim Ryan and Cam Liston who led the way.
An inefficient Point Cook line up made hard work of an impressive West Brunswick. Twenty one behinds was inaccurate but at least the Bulldogs didn’t let the victory slip form their grasp. On a near perfect day down the highway, the Dogs went into the main break with a comfortable buffer, but inaccuracy made their task a little more difficult in the second half of the game. Jordan and Jessi Lampi were once again prolific ball winners for the home side, whereas Jeremy Barnard’s four goals weren’t enough to hurt the Dogs.
At quarter time of the game between Swinburne Uni and Mt Lilydale no one at the ground could believe what they were witnessing. The Rams had booted seven first term goals to lead the Razorbacks at the end of the first stanza. Finally the Rams had proven that they could match it with the big four sides. Unfortunately this form didn’t last much longer as the students took control of the affair before destroying the underwhelming Rams by 65 points. The reality is the margin could have been far uglier if the Razorbacks had not of been so wasteful in front of goal. 22 goals 21 behinds is hardly an ideal ratio but it does highlight Swinburne Uni’s dominance on the day. It appears at this stage with South Mornington’s shaky form that the Razorbacks may be taking the strongest form into September.
This week Eley Park will beat North Brunswick, although nothing is certain for the Tigers at present, South Mornington should be able to handle West Brunswick. Mt Lilydale will defeat Chadstone and Box Hill North will scare Point Cook but not be able to hold on. Swinburne Uni will continue to march towards September with a win over Manningham. 
TIPS
Eley Park, South Mornington, Mt Lilydale, Point Cook & Swinburne Uni.
3 Aug 2012 
THE RAINS ARE ERE
The only positive that can be derived from wet weather football is that it usually ensures that the contest is closer than usual. And with rain falling at regular intervals across all games on the weekend, this theory couldn’t be more insightful. Whilst the football was far from pretty, the contests were predominantly tight tussles that may have been far greater blow outs if it weren’t for the dismal state of grounds and degree of difficulty that is part and parcel of wet weather football. Melbourne Winter’s don’t usually come and go without more than a handful of inclement Saturday’s. Last Saturday was always going to be one of those days where you would much rather remain in the car with the heater blaring and the windscreen wipers in overdrive.
Yet, it appears that it was the teams that came to play early that made the best of the bad conditions.
South Mornington was coming off the first defeat of the season and as expected came out all guns blazing in the opening term. In miserable conditions down the Peninsula, the Tigers jumped out of the blocks and never looked vulnerable against Manningham who appeared at times like they wish they had not had to make the trip down the coast on such an unfortunate day. In the absence of leading goal kicker Jesse Albrecht, Kyle Gascoigne stepped up to the plate and booted three majors to lead the Tigers to victory. David Gibson was a standout for the Cobras collecting a mass of clearances.
At Mt Lilydale, the underwhelming Rams were once again a disappointment. Hosting Box Hill North, Mt Lilydale wasted an opportunity to gain some much needed respect in the competition.  To the Demons credit, they led from start to finish in one of their better performances for the season. Club stalwart Dan Penny was one of the shining lights for the visitors, and he was well assisted by Mike Causer’s three goals.In the game of the round, premiership contenders, Point Cook and Eley Park, battled it out to determine who would take the extra layer of confidence into September. The Bulldogs, who have made their home ground a fortress this year, were stunned by the Sharks whose premiership favoritism is shortening by the week. In blustery conditions down the highway, the Sharks went home with the four points after defeating Point Cook by four goals. David Viola’s five goals were telling, and Al Renshaw was once again everywhere for Eley Park. For the Dogs, Tristan Furr was back to his devastating best in the middle of the ground.
In the Brunswick derby West and North met for the second time this season. The weather meant that only the diehards were present, but the ill feeling between the two sides was obvious for all to see. With only five goals kicked in the first half, goals were always going to be hard to come by. On a soggy Ransford Oval, the Magpies three goals to one in the final term was enough to take not only the points but the bragging rights from the disappointing Bulls who only managed four goals for the game.
Chadstone were probably the happiest of the ten teams when they woke up on Saturday morning. Wet weather over night and the promise of more downpours during the day would mean hope of a close game. But then again, they were playing the second placed Razorbacks away from home. By 5pm the Synners were brought to the realisation that regardless of the weather, they weren’t good enough on the day to knock off a team of the class of Swinburne Uni. Chadstone have improved significantly recently, but they are still a little way off that drought breaking victory. Chris Kilmartin did the damage for the students with four goals, whilst Marty Leahy appeared to bring his on football on the day, collecting possessions at will. Dan Field and Ian Bingham were two who made their presence felt for the struggling Synners.
Today: South Mornington travel to North Brunswick where they should make light work of the Bulls and continue to regain some form after their recent shock loss. Things don’t get any easier for Chadstone when they host the inform team of the competition, Eley Park, in a game that should be over very early. Manningham take on Box Hill North in the local showdown, which should go in the Cobras favour. Down at Point Cook, the Bulldogs host West Brunswick in a game that the home side will be hoping gets them back onto the winners list. Finally, Swinburne Uni return to St James Park where they should make light work of the continually disappointing Mt Lilydale outfit.
TIPS
South Mornington
Eley Park
Manningham Cobras
Point Cook
Swinburne University

THE UNTHINKABLE
The unthinkable has finally happened. South Mornington has somehow been defeated. Although this result breathes life back into this seemingly predictable competition, I’m sure that there are plenty of people who are somewhat disappointed with the end of the Tigers phenomenal run. Twelve wins in a row is an impressive accomplishment.But it did seem unlikely that they could go the entire season without escaping defeat. Unblemished seasons don’t occur too often and I have no doubt that South Mornington would rather a loss now than on Grand Final day.
In what was one of the most action packed weekends of football this year, Chadstone almost put together four quarters of scintillating football against tough opposition in Point Cook. The Synners are no strangers to defeat with the club not having tasted victory in over five long, hard seasons.
Fellow cellar dwellers in recent times, Manningham Cobras, also demonstrated their strong resurgence this season with a comprehensive victory against West Brunswick.However, in the game of the year so far, Eley Park pulled off one of the greatest upsets in recent memory. The Sharks led from start to finish at Whitehorse Reserve, racing to a six-goal lead at the main break. But the Tigers wouldn’t go down that easily, dominating the second half booting six goals to two. In fact, if South Mornington hadn’t been so wasteful in front of goal, the result may have gone the other way. Twelve-second half behinds didn’t help the ladder leaders in their pursuit to keep their unblemished record in tact. Credit must not be taken away from the very impressive Sharks who have established themselves now as the Tigers biggest threat in September. Matt Corstorphin and Tim Miller played vital roles in leading the home side to victory, whilst Kyle Gascoigne’s four goals was the highlight for the Tigers who were sent home licking their wounds.
North Brunswick continued their good recent form with a comfortable victory in front of home fans on Saturday. The Bulls took control of the contest against Mt Lilydale in the second term before running out eventual victors by 45 points. The Rams will have to review what went wrong for them after matching the Bulls in the opening term before slipping away from the contest drastically after the first break. Four goals in the final three stanzas will rarely be adequate to take away the four points.
At Jordan Reserve the red and blue put in their best performance of the season. Alas it wasn’t quite enough to take home the chocolates against a lacklustre Point Cook outfit. Shocked on lookers couldn’t believe their eyes when Chadstone went in to the quarter time huddle with a sixteen point lead. If it weren’t for the Bulldogs seven goal last quarter, the margin would have been even closer. The Synners third quarter was their most impressive for 2012 with five goals against one of this seasons greatest threats to the premiership. Club stalwart Cisco George put on a show for ecstatic home fans, whereas Ben Cox was the standout for the less than impressive Dogs.With South Mornington’s loss demonstrating that they can be beaten this year, clubs like Swinburne Uni will be fuelled with extra confidence heading into the business end of the season. The Razorbacks dispatched of Box Hill North in a rather comprehensive manner at Elgar Park. The Demons remained in touching distance of the students throughout the contest but it took up until the last quarter for the victory to be confirmed. Six goals by Richie Lugg went a long way to putting the Razorbacks’ demons to bed. Dan Penny led the way for the home side with four majors.
The much-improved Manningham Cobras were once again out to prove to the competition that they could compete with anyone on any given Saturday. West Brunswick was the latest team to experience the new brand of football being successfully carried out at Koonung Reserve.
The Cobras, led by spearhead Scott McPherson who nailed nine goals in a best on ground performance, led all the way in this contest to put the Pies away by five goals. Josh Melican was instrumental in West Brunswick’s engine room but his effort was in vein, as West Brunswick couldn’t stick with the Cobra’s.
Today: South Mornington will be even more difficult to beat than usual when they host Manningham in a game most opposition would rather not like to have after the Tigers defeat last week. In the game of the round Point Cook host Eley Park. The Dogs are coming off a lacklustre performance and the Sharks are coming off the big win over the Tigers, should make for an enthralling contest. At Mt Lilydale, Box Hill North will be keen to put in another high scoring performance against the battling Rams. The big derby between the Brunswick clubs will be another tantalising game to watch. And things could get ugly when Swinburne Uni takes on the improving Synners.

July 20
TIGERS ON FIRE
As we progress into the final third of season 2012, it appears that the level of interest in Division Four football has rapidly increased across the Amateurs. And this can be attributed to one reason. The unblemished season that the South Mornington Tigers are having and look likely to have continues to spark a wide level of interest in their games each week and in turn the fortunes of the competition. Twelve games down and the Tigers are still yet to taste the sour venom of defeat. It’s quite difficult to see any side knocking them off as they stroll towards a top two finish and therefore a double chance in September. Swinburne Uni are two games adrift the chart toppers and loom as the only realistic chance of testing the Tigers on game day.Undefeated seasons are a rarity in any level of football. Teams have off day’s, that’s the nature of the beast. But this beast, South Mornington, appear increasingly likely to not let an off day result in anything short of the four points. The Tigers twelfth straight victory of the season was chalked up against fellow top four certainty Point Cook on the weekend. The Bulldogs made arguably the toughest road trip in the Amateurs. The 110km road trip to the Peninsula didn’t seem to strain the Dogs too badly in the opening term as they remained in touching distance at The Tigers fortress. However, a five goal to one-second term sent Point Cook into the rooms at half time deflated and made the task of dethroning the kings even harder. By the final siren a seven goal victory could have been far greater if the wayward Tigers had of made the most of their opportunities in front of goal. Nathan Brodie led the way for the home side with more than his fair share of disposals. For the Bulldogs, Mark Pozzuto and Keith Kavanagh were two of the visitor’s standouts.Swinburne Uni is the only side capable of stopping the South Mornington juggernaut. But for three and half quarters on Saturday, the Razorbacks were made to look anything but a genuine premiership contender. North Brunswick negated the students’ usual free flowing style and appeared likely to grind out one of the upsets of the season at Allard Park. After kicking just six goals up to the final break, Swinburne Uni were able to pull the rabbit out of the hat and boot five goals to just two behinds to come from seemingly no where to grab the points over the Bulls. Phil Wild and Nick Mauran led from the front all day for the Razorbacks and both played pivotal roles in the final term. For the home side, Phil Gagliano was damaging by hand and foot.The recent hype surrounding Chadstone seems to be proving beneficial as the Synners produced one of the best performances in recent seasons. Although another loss is not what they were after, Chadstone fought gallantly all day long against one of the most improved sides in the competition. Five goal losses aren’t usually glorified, but in the Synners case, this is hopefully another sign that they are on the right track. We all know how inspirational a breakthrough victory will be for them.West Brunswick began this season as one of the premiership favourites. Two thirds of the season later and they look very unlikely to challenge for a finals position. However, on Saturday against a lacklustre Box Hill North outfit, the Magpies demonstrated why they can be so highly regarded. The Magpies handed out the Demons an 80 point drubbing in a performance that reeked of a team who are sick and tired of underperforming. Bill Irving inflicted the most damage for the Pies with a best on ground five-goal performance. For the losers, Luke Vandenakker was their only shining light on a disappointing day for the red and blue.Similarly to West Brunswick, Mt Lilydale has been one of the biggest disappointments of 2012. They appeared every chance of going straight back up to Division Three in the pre season but nothing has gone right for the Rams this year. Injuries to critical big men haven’t helped their cause but that’s where the excuses end. On Saturday, premiership aspirant Eley Park was made to fight all the way for the four Points against a spirited Rams side. The four goal victory doesn’t tell the full story as the game was in the balance deep in to the final term. Today: North Brunswick hosts the improved Rams and will be keen to make amends for letting slip last weeks game against Swinburne Uni. The Razorbacks will be looking to regain some strong form and should do so out at Box Hill North. The improving Chadstone Synners will take on finals bound Point Cook in a game that could get quite ugly for the home side. Manningham face West Brunswick back at home in a must win game for both sides as the attempt to keep alight their finals aspirations. In the game of the round, Eley Park hosts the rampaging South Mornington juggernaut. TIPSNorth BrunswickSwinburne UniversityPoint CookManningham CobrasSouth Mornington
Final Contenders  

With only seven rounds remaining for the year, it’s safe to say that the four sides in the top four positions currently, will be the four teams who play finals football come September. In what has been a very predictable season in Division Four, the only question marks surrounding the finals contenders is: Who will finish where? It appears more than likely that South Mornington will complete the unthinkable and achieve a perfect season. However, stranger things have happened before so who knows who will end their supremacy. As for the other three sides inside the four, Swinburne Uni, Eley Park Sharks and Point Cook, the battle is heating up for the lucrative double chance position. In the best conditions experienced all season, Melbourne finally put on some sunshine. And not just in patches but for the duration of the day. In fact, an abnormal amount of zinc-clad footballers were spotted around the amateurs on the weekend. At Elgar Park, the visiting Bulls blew Box Hill North out of the water in the opening term racing to a five-goal lead by the end of the first stanza. North Brunswick remained in control for the games entirety thanks largely to the contribution of Pat Notaro who booted eight goals for the visitors. The Demons were less than impressive on their home deck and if it were not for Daniel Penny’s seven majors the margin would have been far worse for the Dees. It has to be said, no one can stop the South Mornington steam train. Another week and another demolition. This time by the tune of 141 points against the hapless Rams. It took Mt Lilydale into the second quarter before they even registered a score. From there on things didn’t get any easier with the Tigers piling on seventeen second half goals to crush the Rams in front of their own supporters. Jesse Albrecht was once again the architect of the victory with six goals and his partner in crime Will Spencer who slotted five of his own assisted him. Luke Hockey dominated from the opening bounce, collecting possessions at will to go with his three goals and countless score assists.  The much improved Manningham outfit travelled down the highway to Point Cook to battle the Bulldogs. After leading from the opening bounce to the beginning of the final term, the Cobras dropped their bundle as the Dogs came from behind to run over the top of Manningham. The Lampi’s, Jesse and Jordan, put on a clinic for the home side, and Aaron Marsh’s four goals were decisive in the outcome. Damian Sullivan was everywhere for the fast starting Cobra’s but his efforts were all in vein as they went down by twenty-nine points. The continual support from Triple M for the Chadstone Football Club has helped lift desire and spirit within the club, however the Synners are still no closer to snapping their embarrassing losing streak that is quickly escalating towards the eighties. West Brunswick were handed the gift of hosting Chadstone on the weekend and they didn’t waste the opportunity to get back into form, running away with a fifteen-goal victory. Wendell Vagg put in his best performance yet for the Magpies, whilst Mick Handscombe was once again exceptional.  In the game of the round, premiership contenders, or should I say Grand Final contenders because lets face it, no one is going to be able to beat the Tigers on current form, Swinburne Uni and Eley Park went toe to toe at St James Park for four quarters. And in the strongest sign to date, the Razorbacks demonstrated why they are widely regarded as the main challenger to South Mornington, knocking off the Sharks by fourteen points in a scrappy affair. Dan Hassaballa was extremely classy for the home side with his disposal by foot, and he was well supported by Kane Fitzpatrick. For the Sharks, Al Renshaw once again highlighted why he is so dangerous with the ball in hand. Today: Swinburne Uni head out to battle the boys from Brunswick’s North in what should be a comfortable game for the Razorbacks. In the game of the round Point Cook will have to overcome the massive car ride to the Peninsula before the take on the unblemished Tigers. Manningham get the opportunity to play themselves back into form when they take on Chadstone. The Magpies should easily account for Box Hill North at home and the Eley Park Sharks will get back on the winners list when they host the Mt Lilydale Rams.

 

 

Final Contenders 

With only seven rounds remaining for the year, it’s safe to say that the four sides in the top four positions currently, will be the four teams who play finals football come September. In what has been a very predictable season in Division Four, the only question marks surrounding the finals contenders is: Who will finish where? It appears more than likely that South Mornington will complete the unthinkable and achieve a perfect season. However, stranger things have happened before so who knows who will end their supremacy. As for the other three sides inside the four, Swinburne Uni, Eley Park Sharks and Point Cook, the battle is heating up for the lucrative double chance position. In the best conditions experienced all season, Melbourne finally put on some sunshine. And not just in patches but for the duration of the day. In fact, an abnormal amount of zinc-clad footballers were spotted around the amateurs on the weekend. At Elgar Park, the visiting Bulls blew Box Hill North out of the water in the opening term racing to a five-goal lead by the end of the first stanza. North Brunswick remained in control for the games entirety thanks largely to the contribution of Pat Notaro who booted eight goals for the visitors. The Demons were less than impressive on their home deck and if it were not for Daniel Penny’s seven majors the margin would have been far worse for the Dees. It has to be said, no one can stop the South Mornington steam train. Another week and another demolition. This time by the tune of 141 points against the hapless Rams. It took Mt Lilydale into the second quarter before they even registered a score. From there on things didn’t get any easier with the Tigers piling on seventeen second half goals to crush the Rams in front of their own supporters. Jesse Albrecht was once again the architect of the victory with six goals and his partner in crime Will Spencer who slotted five of his own assisted him. Luke Hockey dominated from the opening bounce, collecting possessions at will to go with his three goals and countless score assists.  The much improved Manningham outfit travelled down the highway to Point Cook to battle the Bulldogs. After leading from the opening bounce to the beginning of the final term, the Cobras dropped their bundle as the Dogs came from behind to run over the top of Manningham. The Lampi’s, Jesse and Jordan, put on a clinic for the home side, and Aaron Marsh’s four goals were decisive in the outcome. Damian Sullivan was everywhere for the fast starting Cobra’s but his efforts were all in vein as they went down by twenty-nine points. The continual support from Triple M for the Chadstone Football Club has helped lift desire and spirit within the club, however the Synners are still no closer to snapping their embarrassing losing streak that is quickly escalating towards the eighties. West Brunswick were handed the gift of hosting Chadstone on the weekend and they didn’t waste the opportunity to get back into form, running away with a fifteen-goal victory. Wendell Vagg put in his best performance yet for the Magpies, whilst Mick Handscombe was once again exceptional.  In the game of the round, premiership contenders, or should I say Grand Final contenders because lets face it, no one is going to be able to beat the Tigers on current form, Swinburne Uni and Eley Park went toe to toe at St James Park for four quarters. And in the strongest sign to date, the Razorbacks demonstrated why they are widely regarded as the main challenger to South Mornington, knocking off the Sharks by fourteen points in a scrappy affair. Dan Hassaballa was extremely classy for the home side with his disposal by foot, and he was well supported by Kane Fitzpatrick. For the Sharks, Al Renshaw once again highlighted why he is so dangerous with the ball in hand. Today: Swinburne Uni head out to battle the boys from Brunswick’s North in what should be a comfortable game for the Razorbacks. In the game of the round Point Cook will have to overcome the massive car ride to the Peninsula before the take on the unblemished Tigers. Manningham get the opportunity to play themselves back into form when they take on Chadstone. The Magpies should easily account for Box Hill North at home and the Eley Park Sharks will get back on the winners list when they host the Mt Lilydale Rams.

 

 

 6/07/12

 A MIXED BAG 

After completing the full circle of the fixture the previous week, on Saturday we were seeing teams come up against sides for the second time this season. And like season 2012 has proven all year, things are very predictable down here.

There was an extreme mixed bag of results on the weekend with a couple of beltings handed out, as well as some games going down to the wire. 

Rain appeared likely to be a factor throughout Saturday’s games after it poured during the week making the groundsmen’s job even more difficult than what it already is. However, in most games the rain didn’t play a massive factor with several passing showers being the most we saw on the day. After ten weeks the question still remains: Can anyone topple South Mornington? It appears increasingly unlikely as the season progresses. Is a loss a help or a hindrance to their chances of taking out the ultimate prize? Some would think that the longer their streak grows the more pressure will mount. How will the Tigers carry that pressure into September. However, winning form is good form so let’s just see how long they can sustain this staggering run of domination. 

North Brunswick was like a little kid with the bat belting a piñata on the weekend. They played host to Chadstone who thanks to a recent push from Triple M (see this week’s FTLOTG), appear to be on the verge of a breakthrough victory to end their drought which has now crept into the seventies. Despite this the Bulls were able to account for Chadstone comfortably, handing them a 115-point loss. With eleven individual goal kickers, the boys from Brunswick’s North shared the load on the day, but Pat Notaro’s six majors was a feature. 

The South Mornington juggernaut rolled on for another week when the Tigers faced off against Box Hill North at Elgar Park. Keen to extend their unblemished record, South Mornington blew the Demons off the park in the second quarter. After a slow start, the Tigers kicked thirteen goals in the second term to Box Hill North’s three behinds. 

Jesse Albrecht put on a show for the visiting fans with another bag of eight, and he was well supported by bags of six and five by Will Spencer and Matt Blackmore respectively. For the home side, Mike Causer was one of only a handful that didn’t have his colours lowered on the day. 

In the last five weeks we have witnessed one of the shocks of the year. Manningham have transformed themselves from a walkover to a genuine top four contender. After four victories form their last five starts, the Cobras have become no easy beat in this competition. Weeks ago, Eley Park would have pencilled in Saturday’s fixture as a comfortable win. However, the Sharks were pushed all the way to the final siren before they snatched the valuable four points by just over a kick. Al Renshaw enjoyed a return to form after a lean month with a bout of leather poisoning. The Cobra’s should now have the belief that they can match it with the top four sides. Although, three games outside finals contention means that it is going to be a tough task for them to sneak into the top four by September. Time will tell how successful they will be. 

In the clash of the two relegated sides from last season, many would have predicted a more entertaining affair. Yet, in less than ideal conditions the Magpies led from start to finish, dispatching Mt Lilydale on their home deck. The game was decided in the premiership quarter after West Brunswick came out after the long break to pile on six goals to two and all but seal victory. Louis Martin was impressive again for the victors, whilst Haydn Moyes was everywhere for the Rams. 

Swinburne Uni versus Point Cook was the match everyone was looking forward to this week. After bridging the gap to third earlier in the season, the Razorbacks seem to be back amongst the other top four sides fighting for the double chance. Saturday’s game would go a long way to determining who will get the opportunity for two guaranteed finals in September. In arguably the game of the year thus far, the students came from behind at three quarter time to run over the top of the Bulldogs by just eight points. It appears now that whilst there is daylight between South Mornington and everyone else, the rest of the top three are almost inseparable. 

TO SKI OR TO PLAY? 

In conditions better suited for the snow, football was graced with weather that made even the very best sides look average on the weekend. Melbourne was treated to a wet week leading into Saturday’s game, which left most grounds in a state of saturation. Low scores were common across the amateurs but a few of our division four sides were able to produce scores that would beat most sides on any given Saturday. After eight weeks of football, we were finally treated to the game that pundits widely predict to be a grand final preview. South Mornington hosted Swinburne Uni down the Peninsula with many sharing the view that the Razorbacks would be the only side that could push the rampaging Tigers this year. By the end of the day there now appears to be a clear premiership contender in 2012. Now, it’s a case of who will join them in the big dance. Nine rounds in and there is a gaping hole between fourth and fifth. Point Cook round out the four with seven wins, whilst the ever impressive Manningham Cobras are a position behind but find themselves three wins adrift of September contention. At Allard Park on Saturday, the inconsistent Bulls put in one of the better performances of the year to bring the Manningham juggernaut to a grinding halt. After an exhilarating month of four-quarter football, the Cobras were run down in the last quarter by North Brunswick. Phil Gagliano and Dean Gee were prolific ball winners for the victors, whilst Sean Leonard was the standout for the Cobras who were sent home to lick their wombs. In the game of the round and arguably game of the season, South Mornington showed the competition why they are deservedly premiership favourites by holding the students to just five scoring shots on Saturday. In bitterly cold conditions, the Tigers grinded out a hard fought forty-four point win in front of joyful home fans who braved the less than inclement weather. Goal scoring ace, Jesse Albrecht, was well held at his fortress, booting just the two majors this week. For the Razorbacks, Michael Manning continued his purple patch of form with another swag of disposals and Aaron Pettifer was another of the visitors to star. Tiger on baller Nathan Brodie was a clear best on ground as he took control of proceedings after the long break. Chadstone have been belted from pillar to post in recent times but their performance on the weekend, albeit another loss was a significant improvement on recent form. Hosting Mt Lilydale, the Synners didn’t throw the towel in after half time, instead matching the Rams in the final term out at Jordan Reserve. Justin Roberts’ nine goals was the difference in the end between the two sides, and Russel Strong’s composure around the stoppages was also decisive. For the home team, crowd favourite Cisco George showed his class. Point Cook travelled into town to take on the Magpies in a clash that could have had ramifications on their top two aspirations. However, after a slow start the Bulldogs found themselves in control of the game and kept West Brunswick at arms length for the remainder of the affair. Mick Handscombe and Louis Martin were influential for the hosts from the opening bounce. For the Dogs, Ricky Munn was everywhere and Jordan Lampi continued to show why he is one of the better plays in this competition. In Saturday’s local derby between Eley Park and Box Hill North, the Sharks highlighted the gulf in class between the haves and have nots in this competition. By half time the Sharks had all but sealed the game against a less than impressive Demons outfit. Damian McCabe booted five for the victors, thanks largely to some pristine supply by Zaal Khariwala and Grant Deacon. Today: North Brunswick gets an opportunity to build ion their strong performance from last week when they host the Synners. South Mornington should have no problem making it ten from ten when the make the trip down to Elgar Park to take on Box Hill North. Manningham will find it tough to respond to last week’s disappointment when they come up against the Eley Park Sharks. In the clash of last years relegated sides, Mt Lilydale and West Brunswick go toe to toe. In the game of the round, Swinburne Uni will be out to prove a point against fellow top four side Point Cook. 

TODAY’S SELECTION IN BOLD 

North Brunswick v Chadstone 

Box Hill North v South Mornington 

Manningham v Eley Park 

Mt Lilydale v West Brunswick 

Swinburne University v Point Cook 

 

 

NO SURPRISES

Round 8 contests saw all results going to the favourites in a rather convincing fashion. It may seem that things are already set this year in Division Four, with the gulf between the top four sides and the rest of the field continuing to widen. However, with ten rounds remaining in the home and away season, nothing can be certain. Players can sign, come out of retirement, head overseas or move away. So, we’ll have to wait and see if things change as this winter unravels. 

In the meantime, South Mornington appears almost unbeatable. After threatening glory in recent years, it looks like the Tigers have put it all together and on the back of a strong summer on the track, are every chance to complete the unthinkable by going through the season undefeated. On Saturday, in less than pristine conditions, South Mornington made it eight wins from eight starts against West Brunswick on the Peninsula. Jesse Albrecht continued his rich vein of form with another big bag. This week his nine majors helped belt the Magpies by ninety-seven points. A fourteen goal to two second half once again highlighted the Tigers high level of fitness as they ran over the top of the hapless West Brunswick outfit. Sam Wright and Jake Dade-Bell ran riot through the middle, whereas Jeremy Barnard did likewise for the disappointing Pies. 

Manningham, winless but a few weeks ago, have stamped themselves as a genuine finals contender in 2012. In a danger game for the Cobras, they scraped over the line by sixteen points over Box Hill North. In the local derby, the Cobras found themselves in a game that they were expected to win. With this added pressure, it wasn’t until deep into the game that they were able to kick away from the relentless pressure heaped on them by the impressive Demons who haven’t had a very fruitful season to date with only two wins to their name. Damian Sullivan and Tarek Moughanie’s four goals were the highlights for the victors. 

Swinburne Uni is in a similar position to South Mornington. Both sides have shown signs that they are capable of taking out the premiership in recent years but for one reason or another haven’t been able to do so. Yet, with just one loss to their belt, the Razorbacks look every bit like a side capable of going deep into September. On the weekend, they made the journey out to Mt Lilydale to take on the Rams. Ben Higgins and Richie Lugg were once again prolific ball winners for the Students, whilst Pulka brothers, Jesse and Mitch, were standouts for the hosts. 

North Brunswick made one of the toughest trips in the Ammos on Saturday when they headed down to Point Cook to take on the rampaging Bulldogs. And for three and a bit quarters, they looked half a chance of pinching the four points away from home. But seven final term goals were enough to comfortably get the Dogs over the line and maintain their strong position in the top four. Andrew MacLean was everywhere for the home side, racking up massive numbers. The Bulls would be thrilled with their first two and half quarters, but know they have to put together four quarters to knock off one of the top four sides this season. 

Eley Park made light work of Chadstone. After a slow start, the Sharks raised their intensity heading into half time before disposing over the Synners by 142 points at home. For the home side, Jon Edlich but on a clinic with eight goals. Keith Biggs and Sean Scenery were serviceable for the Synners, but it is hard to see where they are going to get their goals from with only three contributors on the weekend that all kicked only one goal each. 

Today: After eight weeks, finally the game we have long awaited. Swinburne Uni faces the formidable challenge of topping the Tigers down in Mornington. It appears that the Razorbacks are the only side capable of coming close to the devastating Tigers. North Brunswick host Manningham in another test for the Cobras. Mt Lilydale find themselves with the opportunity to find some elusive form with their game against Chadstone. Point Cook travels to West Brunswick in what should be a comfortable occasion for the Bulldogs. In the Box Hill derby, the Sharks take on the Demons and should be strong enough. 

15.06.12

BREAK OR BREAK DOWN?

 

It took seven weeks but finally Melbourne put on some pristine football conditions. The sun was out, the wind was non-existent and if you were lucky you might have even got a little bit of colour. Leading into the Queen’s Birthday weekend break all teams were on a mission to get to the rest with the points in the bag.

 

The top four had an opportunity to extend the gap on the field, and the unbeaten South Mornington outfit was out to keep its unblemished record intact.

 

At this time of the year footballers across the Amateurs look forward to the week off to refresh the mind and body. However, it always presents an element of danger as teams can lose concentration and drive.

 

At Allard Park, North Brunswick hosted the Eley Park Sharks in a crucial game for the home side. Lose and fall back with the peloton. Win and keep in touch with the finals bound sides that are beginning to open up a break on the field. But right from the opening bounce it was the Sharks who did the damage. Nine goals to two at half time meant the game was all but over. Whilst the Bulls won the second half, they were too far behind at the main break to ever be a chance, going down in the end by six goals. Dean Perkins (5) and David Bennett did the damage on the scoreboard for the visitors, whilst Davor Lucevic’s class was on show again for North Brunswick.

 

When top versus bottom in any competition it means that things could get ugly. In Division Four, this means that things could get beyond ugly.  In the end, South Mornington got home by 138 points after Chadstone put the big wall up in the first quarter to restrict the damage to just four goals. After that, the scoreboard went to prediction and the Tigers went to town on the hapless Synners. The Tony Lockett of the Amateurs, Jesse Albrecht, nailed an incredible thirteen goals to take his tally to forty-seven from the first seven rounds. Surely the ton is on the cards for the peninsula spearhead.

 

Who would have thought that Manningham would be the team challenging the top four for a slice of the finals pie? But the Cobras form improvement continued on Saturday thanks largely to another bag by gun forward Scotty McPherson who slotted ten goals. After going down by sixty-three points, many would be close to putting a line through Mt Lilydale’s season. In a game many expected them to not be troubled, they were never in it after quarter time. Luke Young was the only shining light for the very disappointing Rams.

 

With forty-eight goals in one game of football, you would expect the score-line to be far more lopsided than this one. Point Cook’s thirty-three goals were only enough to win by 108 points over Box Hill North’s fifteen goals. Twenty goals to nine in the second half told the story out at Point Cook.  Brendan Lucas’ eight goals for the home side was the hero and Travis Cassidy seemed to have the ball follow him around all day.

 

Well, if we are putting a line through last season’s relegated side Mt Lilydale, the same can be said for the other team on the slide, West Brunswick. Their demotion to Division Four has been far from easy and Saturday’s loss to the rampaging Swinburne Uni did their chances of promotion no help at all. In fact, the Students went to town on the Magpies to the tune of 104 pints. The Razorbacks have been one of the stories of the year so far for their free flowing style of football and consistency. The Manning brothers (not Peyton and Eli) inflicted most of the damage on West Brunswick with ten goals between them and a bevy of classy disposals.

 

Today: South Mornington host the Magpies in a clash that should seethe Tigers remain undefeated. The Cobras travel locally to Elgar Park to take on the Demons in what should be the game of the round.  Swinburne Uni heads out to Mt Lilydale in an important game for the Razorbacks. Point Cook should account for North Brunswick quite easily at home, while the Sharks get Chadstone at home in what should be a victory for the home side.

 

Tune into 96.5 Inner FM after 10am on Saturday to hear me talk of matters pressing in Division Four.

 

Tips: So Morn, mann, swin, point cook, eley park

2.6.12
TIGES DO IT AGAIN.
In a taste of things to come this winter, Melbourne put on one of those days that you’d rather spend indoors by the fire. It rained in patches across the day making conditions just that little bit more difficult. The teams that got a handle on the weather ultimately got handle on the game with most matches being decided early.
We were all reminded on the weekend that football isn’t black and white. Things happen that many predict won’t happen. West Brunswick found themselves on the receiving end of one of the biggest boilovers in Division Four history. The much-maligned Manningham Cobras knocked off the Magpies in front of disbelieving home fans, who went home bewildered.
South Mornington remains the only undefeated side in the competition after another convincing performance. The top four appears already settled at this stage of the year with only Swinburne Uni snapping at the Tigers’ heels. Point Cook and Eley Park round out the four currently but there are some question marks surrounding their consistency and potential to knock off the top two.
At Elgar Park, Box Hill North couldn’t hold off a fast finishing Mt Lilydale line-up, which stormed home with an eight goal to one final quarter. The Demons were in the ball game up until the three quarter time thanks to six majors from spearhead Dan Penny. But it was the Rams who took the much needed four points back to Lilydale. And didn’t they need it after a less than impressive start to the season. Russel Strong and Mark Gower were the standout performers for the visitors, whilst big bustling forward Matt Fernando kicked four.
It may be stating the obvious but the Tigers are the real deal this season. After showing promise in recent years, South Mornington has the team on the park to go all the way in 2012. In fact, there’s a case to argue that they could go undefeated throughout the year. It is a tough task in any competition, but one that could gather momentum the further the season unravels. On Saturday, the Tigers brushed aside North Brunswick by a comfortable ten goals to keep themselves one game adrift at the top of the ladder. Jesse Albrecht kicked another seven goals to redeem himself for last weeks single and take his tally to a whopping 34 from the first six rounds. Could a ton be on the cards for the peninsula boy? Time will tell.
If Melbourne Football Club thinks they were in a bad place at the moment, they need to look at Chadstone and realise that they could be worse off. The Synners were on the end of another hiding, this time at the hands of the Razorbacks. Swinburne Uni made light work of the bottom placed home side winning by an easy 133 points. Chris Kilmartin (8) and the Manning brothers, Mick (6) and Jackson (5), were amongst the goal scorers in the avalanche victory.
Manningham came to play in the first quarter against West Brunswick in the weekend. Seven goals to two will tell you that much. However, you’d think that by adding only four more goals to their score wouldn’t be enough to take home the chocolates. Think again. In less than ideal conditions, the Cobras ground out an impressive fifteen point victory. Led by onballers Brett Fisher and Damian Sullivan, Manningham was always going to be given plenty of chances to kick a winning score. For the home side, Michael Handscombe continued his good form on a disappointing day for the Magpies.
In the game of the round, Eley Park sent a strong message to the top teams – they can turn it on in the big games. Point Cook was very lucky that the final margin wasn’t worse. Forty-eight scoring shots to twenty-four would usually mean a far greater loss than forty-nine points. However, the wasteful Sharks didn’t make the Bulldogs pay.
David Viola’s seven goals could have been more if he’d kicked straighter. His brother Michael racked up massive numbers in the middle and was well supported by Mitch Saunders. For Point Cook, Ricky Munn kicked five and Tristan Furr was once again dangerous.
Today:

26.5.12
BREAKAWAY
Five weeks in and there now appears to be a few brackets forming among teams in this competition. The top three that many predicted would feature right at the top are beginning to break away from the pack and fight out a battle for the double chance at the business end of the season. The bottom two right now might possibly remain the bottom two and it’s just a matter of whether or not they will pinch any wins off teams above them. Then, you could throw a blanket over the middle tier, which will sprint to the line like the peloton in the Tour de France, fighting for the last position in the top four.
As we almost conclude the first third of the season, the writing is well and truly on the wall for many teams. Whether you’re up and about or down and out after this week’s fixture is completed, we will all know the path your side is headed on for season 2012.
In the first Battle of Brunswick for some time the Bulls hosted the Magpies in a colossal battle that went down to the wire. The seesawing affair included several lead changes but Wests held on in the end to take the bragging rights.  Dane Sisic kicked four goals for the away side in a commanding performance, whilst Bill Irving and Mick Handscombe won plenty of the ball in the middle. Adam Jeffrey was the brilliant for North Brunswick and Davor Lucevic continued his blistering start to the season with another four-quarter effort.
The boys from the peninsula are now five from five for season 2012 after putting Eley Park to the sword in front of a parochial home crowd. The game was in the balance at half time before the Tigers booted ten goals to two in a second half demolition. Luke Fitzsimmons and Ben Price were impressive for the victors and James Spencer nailed five goals to keep the Tigers undefeated. For the Sharks David Bennett was one of only a few shining lights after a lacklustre performance by the highly rated Eley Park outfit.The competition’s cellar dwellers went toe to toe on Saturday at Koonung Reserve and the gap at the bottom couldn’t be wider. Manningham, who were winless, pulverised the hapless Synners by a whopping 109 points.  It’s hard to see light at the end of the tunnel for Chadstone after this week’s crushing loss. Many thought that they might finally break their losing drought against the Cobras but they were never in the contest after quarter time.  Twin towers Tarek Moughanie (11) and Scott McPherson (7) combined for mammoth eighteen goals. Cisco George and Keith Biggs fought admirably all day for the visitors and Nick Boothman nailed three majors.
Another loss for Mt Lilydale has made any chance of a 2013 return to Division 3 very difficult. The Rams hosted Point Cook on Saturday in a massive game for the football club. However, the Bulldogs made the trip to Lilydale with a message to send to the rest of the competition – they will challenge any side on any day this season. Jordan Lampi was everywhere once again for Point Cook. For the home side, Max Hampton’s four goals kept the Rams in the contest and Greg Finkemeyer fought valiantly all day.
Swinburne Uni bounced back from last week’s disappointing loss to Point Cook with an almighty bang against Box Hill North. The Razorbacks were out for vengeance and made their presence felt early with a nine goal lead heading in to the main break. The Demons added only one more goal to their tally, as the second half got very ugly.  Dan Hassablla provided plenty of run for the students and Chris Kilmartin’s five goals highlighted his dominance of the forward line.Dan Penny added another four majors to his goal tally but unfortunately he didn’t have much support from any one else on the day.
Today: South Mornington hosts North Brunswick in a game that should see the Tigers undefeated start to the season continue. Mt Lilydale has a chance to redeem itself against Box Hill North, which is terribly out of form but on its home deck. Swinburne Uni is back on the winners’ list and could make things really ugly out at Jordan Reserve against the winless Synners. West Brunswick is fresh off a derby win and could inflict some pain against the Manningham Cobras. In the game of the round, Eley Park hosts Point Cook, which this year is winning on the road.
19.5.12
THE SEPARATION CONTINUES
Just one undefeated side remains in Division four for 2012. Swinburne Uni couldn’t keep its unblemished record intact whilst South Mornington’s massive victory means it is now the clear ladder leader. In less than ideal conditions for football, all games were played in overcast weather and some patches of rain and wind.
The Chadstone Synners and Manningham Cobras remain winless after being on the receiving end of thumpings by North Brunswick and South Mornington respectively. Season 2012 doesn’t appear to be improving for these two cellar dwellers.
The weekend saw flag fancies Eley Park strengthen its credentials and Box Hill North demonstrate why some pundits believe that they are a big chance to feature in September. Whilst on the flip side, Swinburne Uni’s loss to Point Cook has put the spotlight on the Razorbacks, as some cracks in their game plan were evident.
In the game of the round, Box Hill North just held on against West Brunswick  in an absolute nailbiter. The Magpies kicked seven final term goals to just miss out on claiming the four points. Box Hill North highlighted how an even spread of contributors will ultimately get the job done. If they can build on performances like Saturday, they will be hard to beat. Toby Manning collected disposals at will, whilst Luke Vandenakker was damaging with the ball in hand. Warwick Baker continued his excellent start to the season for the Pies.
At Jordan Reserve, North Brunswick easily disposed of Chadstone. The Synners were belted from the opening bounce a piñata at a party. Unfortunately for Chadstone, inaccuracy cost them any chance of putting some respectability into the score line. Club stalwart Cisco George was one of only a handful of Chadstone players who could hold his head high as they walked off the field. Davor Lucevic and Robert Santacroce dominated through the middle of the ground for the Bulls, whilst Pat Notaro and Chris Temperley booted six goals and five goals respectively.
Eley Park is a genuine chance to win this year’s flag. Saturday’s demolition of Mt Lilydale finally showed that if it can put together a consistent four-quarter effort, it will be capable of matching any team in this secton. The Sharks immaculate ball use punished the Rams right from the beginning of the game. Al Renshaw and Dean Perkins once again racked up massive numbers and their disposal efficiency was impressive. Sean Barry’s five majors unearthed another avenue to goal this season for Eley Park. For Mt Lilydale, Matt Fernando was the clubs only shining light on a disappointing day for the relegated side.
Swinburne Uni’s impressive start to the season was met be a rapidly improving Point Cook outfit. The students headed down the highway to be met head on by a Bulldogs line up, which has shown already that it will be no easybeat this season. The Razorbacks were just a point down going into the main break but a second half disaster, which saw them run over by five goals, will be heavily scrutinised. Jason Brun and Ben Higgins performed admirably for the visitors. Bulldog Justin Lampi was damaging in the forward half, whilst Tristan Furr was simply everywhere in another polished performance.
Fifty-one scoring shots to just thirteen paints the picture perfectly. South Mornington destroyed Manningham from go to whoah! The win highlights the massive gulf in class between the top and bottom of this competition. It appears already that it will be a long winter for the Cobras this season, whose only wins may come against the equally deflated Chadstone Synners. The Tigers had fifteen individual goal kickers on Saturday, highlighting how its off-season emphasis on team-first football is paying big dividends for the boys from the peninsula. Jesse Albrecht added another four goals to his season tally and Mitch Duff ran riot around the ground for the duration of the two hours.
THIS WEEK: “It’s now or never” is playing on iPods around Manningham and Chadstone this week as the two cellar dwellers clash. South Mornington is at home to Eley Park and is favoured to beat away another challenger. The battle for Brunswick is on and I’ll stick with the Pies in this one. Mt Lilydale host Point Cook and if the Westerners win here, they are looking good. Swinburne Uni should be back on track, but BHN won’t be easy.
12.5.12
For the first time this season the weather came into play in a big way. Melbourne’s unpredictable weather on Saturday saw most teams wake up to bright blue, clear skies, which would have brought with it much optimism for the two hours that count on any given Saturday in winter.
However, by 2pm the weather had taken a major turn for the worse and all grounds across Melbournewere sopping wet and still copping a hammering of rain. The forecast earlier in the week predicted wet weather football so coaches would have selected their teams accordingly. Yet, there would have been some coaching panels wondering if they’d made the right decision earlier in the morning.
The five games on the weekend may have been played in less than ideal conditions, but the teams that will feature prominently at the business end of the season stamped their authority on the competition. Consistency is critical in this competition, and it is was no more evident than on the weekend when runaway leaders South Mornington and Swinburne Uni continued their convincing start to the season with comprehensive victories. At the other end of the spectrum, whilst they are improving by the week, Manningham and Chadstone continue to carry the tail.
South Mornington has started the season like a steam train. Ninety point winners in round one, followed by ninety-five point victors in round two, the Tigers have stamped themselves as the team to beat this season. Box Hill North made the trip down the Peninsula on the weekend for the toughest trip in the division. And Despite holding South Mornington to six first quarter goals with the wind, the Demons were never in the ball game and the floodgates opened. By the end, the Tigers had run out 101-point winners, finally breaking the ton barrier that had narrowly eluded them in recent weeks. Jesse Albrecht continued his devastating start top the season booting 8 majors to take his tally to 22 for the season.
West Brunswick hosted Mt Lilydale in the battle of the two relegated teams from last season. At the beginning of the season the collective feeling was that these teams could be a cut above the rest of Division Four. However, the first two rounds have told us that they will be nothing but one of the many contenders in this competition. Coming off last weeks hiding, Mt Lilydale lead this clash from start to finish sending a statement. It appeared as if the Magpies didn’t even want to be out there at times. Several undisciplined off-the-ball incidents could come under scrutiny with the Match Review Panel this week. Either way I’m sure that there will be some changes down Brunswick way. Jesse Pulkka and Daniel Cerra were instrumental for the Rams in the win.
A team with a win-loss record over the past couple of years like Chadstone may be forgiven for having the weekend off rather than making the big trip down to Point Cook on the weekend. However, the Synners came out of the blocks with all guns blazing on the weekend, playing with a pizzazz and a flair that haven’t been associated with Chadstone for a long time. Point Cook was stung into action after quarter time, kicking twenty-one of the last twenty-six goals to blow the Demons away. Encouraging signs though for Chadstone and maybe that elusive victory isn’t too far away after all. Aaron Marsh dominated the forward fifty with a bag of seven goals, whilst Tristan Furr continued his rich vein of form picking up disposals at will across the ground.
Swinburne Uni has firmed in some premiership markets after another telling performance on the weekend. The Razorbacks are yet to be challenged this season and appear to be making up for their finals meltdown last season. The Pigs hosted North Brunswick on Saturday and found themselves down at quarter time against a highly competitive outfit. However, the Razorbacks shifted into overdrive in the second half to put the Bulls away by seven goals in the end. Jason Brun was everywhere and Aaron Pettifer collected a swag of possessions and potentially some votes.
Eley Park Sharks were many pundits’ premiership tip at the start of the season but their shaky form continued on the weekend with another less than convincing performance. Taking nothing away from the vastly improved Cobras, the Sharks wasted plenty of opportunities before just sneaking over the line in a tight last second half. Zaal Khariwala was the Sharks shining light, as was David Viola who chimed in with half a dozen goals. For the maligned Manningham side, Scott McPherson continued his outstanding start to the season with a best on ground performance, which included three goals and a mountain of telling touches around the ground.
TODAY: Mt Lilydale hosts Eley Park in what might quickly become a waterlogged affair. Box Hill North is at home but may have trouble holding off the Magpie invasion. Chadstone welcomes North Brunswick – is this THE week? (Ed: It’s already been quite a week) Manningham Cobras face the travelling South Mornington, who won’t need a map once at the ground. Point Cook must prove its mettle at home against the Razorbacks.

South Mornington travel to Chadstone in a game that will not be close. The in-form Sharks are at North Brunswick in a game that might show how consistent Eley Park will be this season. Manningham hosts Mt Lilydale at Koonung Reserve as the battle for mid-table positions heats up. The Demons make the long trip down to Point Cook to take on the Bulldogs who will be out to avenge their disappointing showing against the Sharks. Swinburne Uni goes toe-to-toe against West Brunswick in what could be the game of the round.