By Tom Feldgen – @tfeldgen
After the 16th round of Division 1 action the top four is far from decided and the battle to avoid relegation is also heating up. Following a crucial win over Therry Penola, PEGS have all but locked in finals action, leaving the Lions to fight it out with St Mary’s Salesian who will hope to come home with a wet sail. At the other end of the ladder Brunswick NOBSPC come up against Old Paradians this weekend in a clash that will go a long way to deciding who joins Prahran-Assumption in Division 2 next season. This weekend looms as a big one.
Back to round 15 action now. St Mary’s Salesian gave their percentage a major boost with a 125-point trouncing over Ivanhoe. Unfortunately, now that finals are out of the picture, the wheels look to have fallen off down at Ivanhoe. The Saints lit up Ferndale Park, especially in the second half where they slotted 15 of their 26 goals. Ben Andrews produced a scintillating five-goal performance and was aptly supported by Luke Dykes and Jos Op’t Hogg who nailed three each. Conor Mitchell and Mitch Lovell tried their best for the Hoes. Now only percentage separates the Saints from the top four, who have a massive encounter against PEGS this weekend.
Old Geelong helped themselves to another high-scoring win as they accounted for Old Paradians, finishing 75-points to the positive. The Ogs started strongly and lead by 22 at the first interval. It could have been more if not for some errors in front of goal. Luckily it never looked like costing them as they increased their lead at each break and never let the Raiders into the game. George Burbury did what he does best, starring with a bag of five, which was matched by Callum Wood who was named best afield. Will Sloss also played a starring role. Michael Boundy held strong for the Raiders with three majors and Chris Kandilakis had his best game for the season. The Raiders will face a fired up NOBs outfit in the battle to avoid relegation this weekend.
The much-hyped encounter between fierce rivals Therry Penola and PEGS lived up to all expectations as PEGs recorded a vital 10-point win. PEGS now sit comfortably inside the four and can smell finals footy. PEGS held a slender three-point lead over the Lions at the final interval and proved to be more clinical in the final quarter as they kicked three goals. In no uncertain terms the Lions squandered the majority of their chances to take the ascendency as they butchered the sherrin in front of goal, kicking only 1 goal and six behinds in the last. Trent Skurrie was phenomenal with six goals as he makes a late charge for the goal kicking honours. While Robert Baddeley backed up his dominant performance last weekend with an equally as important effort against the Lions. Aaron Bell also impressed. For the Lions, the Bannister boys were held to two goals each and Joel Costello continued his fantastic recent form.
Brunswick NOBSPC turned an eight-point three quarter time deficit into a 12-point victory over Prahran-Assumption as they set up a relegation-defining blockbuster against Old Paradians. NOBs teased their supporters as they looked to breakaway and control the game on a couple of occasions, but were unable to do so and then had to survive a flurry of goals from the Two-Blues. Coach Mahoney pleaded with his charges to dig deep in the last and that is exactly what they did. Their best players on the day were their most improved this year in Cameron Fox and Danny King, who played a vital tagging role. Gerrard Bence kicked all three of NOBs’ last quarter majors to finish with four. The Two Blues were left to rue a disastrous last quarter that undid their efforts earlier in the day. John Stocker and Jon Simonetta defended valiantly all day and were strong contributors for the home side.
Old Mentonians have maintained their position on top of division 1 after an enthralling 31-point win over Whitefriars. It was a familiar outcome for the Friars as they fell short in yet another exciting, high scoring game. The Panthers fitness and extra class was clear to see throughout the second half as they finished strongest with nine second half majors to five. Darcy Brown made it 49 goals for the season as he rammed home five, Mark Gledhill helped himself to four, as did Kyle Conlon and Angus Hill showed his polish once again with a best on ground display. Jason Spencer was the most prominent forward for the Friars with three majors, while Sean Currie never gave in.
Round 17 promises to be an absolute ripper as we have season defining matches at both ends of the ladder. Old Paradians and Brunswick NOBSPC will fight it out to avoid relegation, I’m backing the Raiders to finish off the strongest and continue their strong mid to latter season form. Whitefriars look set to continue Ivanhoe’s disappointing form of late and Therry Penola will hope for a percentage booster against the Two Blues who will look to fight it out as best as they can for the rest of the season. Old Mentonians and Old Geelong are set to lock horns in what could be one of the games of the year. A win for Old Geelong would seal a top two finish and I think they have the firepower to record a season-defining win. PEGS come up against St Mary’s Salesian in a do or die clash for the Saints. A win will give them every chance of making the finals, while a loss confines them to the likelihood of missing out. Unfortunately for them I think PEGS will be too strong at home. Strap in folks, round 17 looks set to answer some of the big questions within Division 1.
Brunswick NOBSPC vs Old Paradians
Ivanhoe vs Whitefriars
Old Mentonians vs Old Geelong
PEGS vs St Mary’s Salesian
Prahran Assumption vs Therry Penola