One third of the season is now in the books and we can now definitively tell which sides are playing for points and which sides are playing for pride. North Brunswick, South Melbourne Districts and St Francis Xavier continue to flex their muscles, rolling right through the competition and towering above the rest. After a strong start to the year, Parkside have come back to earth after two consecutive defeats, the Rams continued their strong play of late, while the Dees outlasted the Wickers for their second win of the year. The competition is taking shape as we look ahead to Round 7.
Featuring ladder leaders North Brunswick and the resurgent Mt Lilydale, Allard Park will play host to arguably the match of the round featuring two of the in-form sides of the competition. The undefeated Bulls made light-work of fellow top-four hopeful Parkside last weekend and will be looking to do the same this week as they welcome the Rams to town, who are fresh off two confidence building wins. North Brunswick led from start to finish in their 62-point rout of Parkside. Led by the always reliable forward combo of Jake George (5) and Michael Salloum (3), the Bulls showed once again why they deserve that top spot on the competition table. The Rams have played a better brand of football recently, conceding just six goals in their past two games while booting 30 of their own, showing flashes of play that may see them feature in Finals football. Their 90-point drubbing of Masala was a good percentage booster, lifting them to fifth position and tying them with Parkside with three wins and three losses apiece. The Rams were able to muster a season-high 35 scoring shots, largely thanks to the midfield dominance led by Aaron Potter and Troy Rimando, and the scoring power of Daniel Perry (5). Bulls to win and make it seven in a row.
After an impressive victory over Parkside in Round 5, Elsternwick were given every opportunity to jumpstart their season and string together their second win a row in a matchup with the struggling Dees. Despite having 10 scoring shots to six in the final term, the Wickers converted on just two of their opportunities which saw them go down by 11-points. The usual suspects for the Wickers continued to impress with Julian Yeatman and Justin Hunter both strong in front of goal, while star Andrew Oldfield featured among the best in their sides’ difficult afternoon. Their opponents this weekend in St Francis Xavier got back on the winners list after their tough loss to the Bloods in Round 5, making light work of South Mornington in a 91-point win at home. The X-Men secured a 33-point lead at three quarter time, and extended this with a nine-goal to none fourth quarter which inflated the home side’s outstanding percentage to 291.63. First-gamer Harrison Coe impressed with an eight-goal haul up-forward, while James Arundale and the reliable Dylan Alexander popped up for three of their own. Daniel Chin racked up his second BOG performance in a row, and fifth game named in the votes. St Francis Xavier to stay hot and make Elsternwick’s finals aspirations very difficult.
The unbeaten South Melbourne Districts, fresh off another demolition job over the Eley Park Sharks, will turn their attention to a trip down Eastlink and a matchup with the South Mornington Tigers. The Swans have been impressive in their first season back in Division 4 since the early 2000s. Fit with a high powered forward line led by Ryan Chirgwin and Jordan Heis, they hold an average winning margin of just over eight goals a game and look well on their way back towards Premierships in higher divisions. Their 56-point win over the Sharks may have been a lot closer if their opponents could convert up-forward, but a five goal lead at quarter time and an eight goal final term put the result beyond doubt. Toby Parish (4) and John Eastman (3) were the main contributors’ up-forward, while Chirgwin booted two and Heis went goalless for the second week in a row after a fast start to the season. The Tigers were gallant for three quarters against St Francis Xavier, trailing by just 33-points at the final change, but a final quarter lapse and show of complete class from the X-Men blew the final margin out to 91-points, handing the Tigers their fifth and heaviest loss of the season. Travis French pushed his goal kicking total for the year to 20 with four majors, while James Renwick and Craig Turner were impressive across the ground. Look for the Tigers to show some real heart and do their best to keep it close, Swans to win and stay perfect.
Fresh off their second win of the year, Box Hill North are ready to move into striking distance of the top four as they travel to Fotheringham Reserve to tackle Masala Football Club. A shock 11 point win over Elsternwick may have kept them in eighth position on the table, but their matchup with Masala and fellow sides Elsternwick (6th) and Eley Park (7th) coming up against tough opponents, the Dees may find themselves in a potential top four birth. Despite the omission of Lachie Silby from the side, Eamon Stewart’s four majors was key as the Dees ran past the Wickers. Stephen Keenan, Cameron Lee and Lachie Paterson were all instrumental in the victory. Masala once again struggled to convert on the scoreboard when they played the Rams. The Tigers converted only two goals from their 10 scoring shots for the afternoon, registering their second lowest score for the year (20) and their sixth consecutive loss. Janahan Kumaralingam and Jesse Yarde were their only goal scorers while Sam Freeman and Dale Gibb were both named their side’s best for the day. Box Hill North to win, and make it two on the trot as they start to climb the competition table.
After two consecutive defeats, a reeling Parkside will look to right the ship as they welcome the traveling Eley Park Sharks to Pitcher Park for a matchup that could spell disaster if the Devils put in another lacklustre performance. Despite being a top-four hopeful, Parkside were made to look second rate against ladder leaders North Brunswick after a goalless first term and managing only five for the entire match. Three of Parkside’s four leading goal scorers were kept to 0 on the day, leaving Matt Soligo as the only multiple goal scorer on the afternoon. Jacob Heritage and Marco Creek also stood out on what was a dark day for the Devils. Despite the heavy loss to the Bloods, the Sharks biggest evil on Saturday was their goal-kicking. 8.20 (68) was by far their most inaccurate day in-front of goal for the year, and while this may not have impacted the final result, the scoreboard would have looked a lot kinder. Josh Balon, Jesiah Mcgarvie and Daniel Edwards all had two goals each for the Sharks, while Terrence Dingeldi followed on from a strong showing last week to be named BOG. Parkside should get the points here, but don’t be surprised if Eley Park snatch an upset victory if the Devils put in another lacklustre performance.