Have finals nerves crept into round 14?

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Eliza Wright

With only a few more rounds left the pressure was certainly on around the grounds. The hotly contested footy made for some interesting score lines in round 14. The Sharks showed their teeth, defeating Williamston by 70 points meanwhile, Uni Blacks overcame AJAX by 23 points. In a final quarter dash, Fitzroy won their arm wrestle against St Bedes Mentone Tigers by a solitary point and Old Haileybury were too strong for Old Carey, overpowering the Panthers by 131 points. 

Williamstown headed to Banksia Reserve, unable to hold onto their lead against Beaumaris. A scrappy first quarter saw the Sharks scoreless and Williamstown up by two points. An uncharacteristic opening term from the Sharks, unable to take clean possession of the ball. Despite hard work from Nathan Bazzani and James Taylor, CY remained in the lead as Harrison Carter and Thomas Johnstone’s strength and composure allowed them to capitalise in their forward half. After a half-time regroup, Beaumaris got to work, clawing back a 19-point deficit. Sam Gibbins rose to the occasion with two crucial goals as did Oscar Mcmaster and his 1. From there, the Sharks saw no signs of wavering, returning to play their hard-contested brand of footy. The Sharks stretched their lead to a further 70 points, taking home another win for the season. Next week Beaumaris are up against Old Carey at the Carey Sports Complex, meanwhile, Williamstown will be challenged by the Uni Blacks. Having come close to Beauy this week, can Williamstown continue this pressure against the Blackers? 

Despite exceptional pressure from AJAX, the Uni Blacks secured themselves yet another win. AJAX started well early, hitting the lead by 8 points in the first quarter. Jordan Cohen and Nicholas Lewis were firing on all cylinders, providing essential momentum for the Jackers at every stoppage. Uni Blacks were quick to respond, as Harrie Lahy and Henry Bennett worked tirelessly to grapple the lead. Charles Hamilton and Toby Lipton were determined to keep the Uni Blacks from running away with the game as the Blackers headed into the final quarter ahead by 1 point. As the game came to a close it was the might of forwards James Sansom and Hugh Curnow that got the Uni Blacks over the line by 23 points. Uni Blacks face Williamstown next week. With CY hot off a close battle, they will need to start off strong to keep them at bay. There is no denying that AJAX are knocking on the door of finals, sitting one victory outside the final four. The Jackers will have their eyes closely on Old Haileybury and Fitzroy, hoping the four handy points thanks to the bye round can launch them into a top spot. 

A heated battle took place at Brunswick Street Oval with Fitzroy defeating St Bedes Mentone Tigers by 1 point. With their finals hopes on the line, the Tigers came out swinging, securing themselves a 12-point lead at the halftime break. Michael Barnes’ hunger for the ball coupled with forward line pressure from Christopher Mangoni saw St Bedes have the momentum of the game. Jack Wotherspoon’s determination for the ball and handy goal kept the Roys in the match. SBMT’s intensity continued into the third term as Thomas Tyquin and Nick Grech demanded the ball through the middle. Hard work from Ted Clayton and Nathan Ligris allowed the Roys to wrestle back the score line, with Fitzroy ahead by 1 point. In the end, the brick wall defence Rhys Seakins and Jock Green locked down the Roy’s backline, keeping SBMT from sealing the victory. This victory has a major impact on the leader board, with the Roys retaining 4th position on the ladder and keeping The Tigers out of the finals race. The challenge for Fitzroy is not over just yet as they are up against De La Salle in round 15, fresh off their break. Having defeated Old Haileybury by 4 points in round 5, can The Tigers go 2 from 2 next week? 

Old Haileybury recorded a huge 131-point win over Old Carey at Princes Park. Old Carey remained competitive in the first quarter, chasing Old Haileybury by 20 points. Jonathan Marsh worked hard to win the ball around the ground as did Luca Anderson, providing vital pressure at stoppages. Old Haileybury brought the backline pressure in the second term, keeping The Panthers scoreless and extending their margin to 74 points. Lachlan Riley played a pivotal role on ball. Jack Lonie, Jack Mchale and Durras Seccull had no trouble hitting targets, recording 6 goals each. The second half saw Old Carey increase their score by 19 points but, in a similar fashion, Old Haileybury answered swiftly. With a final score of 26.14-170 to 6.3-39, this game is a crucial percentage booster for the Bloods, with spots in the finals still up for grabs. In round 15 Old Haileybury are up against St Bedes Mentone Tigers, looking to settle the score as for Old Carey, they face the front runners in Beaumaris.