Change at the top in Division 1

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Sig Arness

Hampton Rovers’ second loss of the season may have hurt more than the first, as this time it cost them ladder leadership. Ormond accepted the invitation to elevate with open arms, cruising away from West Brunswick in the last three quarters. Kew cleared away from relegation danger, Oakleigh stayed in the hunt in the face of another nail-biter, and Preston, perhaps aided by some costly misses from the Two Blues, held third. The composition of the top four can’t be altered by the upcoming round of games, in fact the gap from fourth to fifth may even widen unless the Krushers can pull out all stops and topple the more fancied Bullants.

A gallant last-ditch effort by Brunswick NOBS, both in terms of the game and their fate this season, failed when Oakleigh prevailed by three points at Alec Gillon Oval. The best endeavours of Nick Burgin and Darcy Heenan for the NOBS couldn’t prevent the Krushers from registering their fifth on the trot, with Aaron Cloke and Tim Scott each bagging five and Andrew Murray getting BOG.

As cheekily predicted by this tipster, Therry Penola responded to last week’s loss and upset leaders Hampton Rovers by 39 points at Fawkner Reserve. Jarrod Bannister’s six, and an eleven goal to four second half, propelled the on-song Lions, who boasted the game’s best player in Liam Flanigan. Anthony Folino booted three and Josh Broadley was great for the Rovers, who will now be hoping it’s Ormond’s turn to slip up this week.

West Brunswick, despite more goal-front heroics from new star Jethro Calma-Holt (4), couldn’t keep pace with Ormond after the first break and were soundly beaten by 35 points. The win lifted the Monders to top spot a game clear, a position they will not relinquish without a fight based on the good form of Luke Gogis and Chris Coghlan, and the luxury of having multiple avenues to score.

Kew probably can’t dream of finals action, but they can breathe easier as far as survival goes after easily dispensing with Ivanhoe at Victoria Park. Nathan Drummond was their standout, and three each to Blake Goodwin, Nathan Sambevski and Jeremy Hannan sealed the contest after an even first half. Bill Jackson, Conor Mitchell and Max Post were the main instigators in keeping the Hoers in it for much of the game.

The match at Ruthven Reserve was close all afternoon, with only the last quarter needed to separate Preston Bullants from the sometimes wayward Prahran Assumption who had more shots but finished 15 points shy of the Oliver Lang and Alex Ricco led Bullants. Jackson Curic put through four for the winners, while Dan Freeman and Trent Rogers were valiant for the vanquished Two Blues.

Preview

Two games plus loads of percentage outside the four and then a date with a top side coming off an unexpected loss is not a pretty picture for West Brunswick to contemplate, so with their season on the line a rousing effort against Hampton is an absolute must. The Rovers had the Westies’ measure by an astonishing 25 goals back in Round 5, so a turnaround at Boss James Reserve would be hard to imagine.

The square off at Ivanhoe Park featuring two sides whose fates are arguably already sealed presents the host with possibly its last chance to avoid a winless campaign. That is plenty of motivation, though equally NOBS will not want to be the recipients of what would represent a dubious distinction. This one will be played with plenty of feeling.

Prahran Assumption also have plenty to play for when they host a cock-a-hoop Ormond, and there may not be as much in this one as respective ladder positions indicate. An absolute must-win for the Two Blues are they to stay in touch, and it would be a huge let-down for the Monders were they to lose top dog status after holding it for only a week.

The pressure on Kew to avoid relegation fears has brought out the best in them in recent weeks, but with that danger having eased, another possibility – complacency – emerges. Therry Penola have demonstrated they have the  ability to catch and beat sides above them and, with Oakleigh coming hard in fifth spot, are not likely to let an opportunity to consolidate slip.

So many games this Saturday deserving of Match of the Day status, and the offering at Scammell Reserve is not the least of them. An impressive five in a row for Oakleigh, yet one wonders how much luck has been on their side with their last three wins coming by three, two and three points. If the Krushers can pass their hitherto sternest test and extend the sequence against Preston Bullants this week, they will have gone a long way towards announcing themselves as genuine contenders.