From predictability to uncertainty in Premier B

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Alisha Min

While there may have been an air of predictability in the Round 6 results of the Premier B competition, the likelihood of 5/5 correct tips will be a much tougher feat to crack as we are graced with some close ladder matches in Round 7.

Old Carey pounced on Old Haileyburians from the get go at Carey Sport Complex in Bulleen. The importance of a solid opening term in Premier B, which consequently sets the tone for the match, cannot be understated. For the Panthers, a four goal to one opening term, backed up by a five goal to one point second term, all but sealed the game’s fate in the home team’s favour. To their credit, the Bloods were able to temporarily clot the wound in the third, keeping Old Carey goalless while they sunk two majors, but the cut reopened in the fourth when the Panthers kicked away with six more majors. Big V Squad members Kristian Jaksch (6) and Henry Schade was at their dependable best for the Panthers, while Ben Coull amassed his first BOG appearance. Peter Gleadhill, Nicholas Garratt and Samuel Loewe (1) were listed in the best for the Bloods.

Their run as the highest scoring team in the competition continued in Round 6 when St Bernards totalled 123 points to Mazenod’s 37 at Central Reserve. The Snow Dogs continued their habit of hard and fast starts, producing their highest scoring first term of the season when they notched an incredible 52 points to the Nodders 13. Set up by their impressive opener, St Bernards piled an additional 10 goals for the match to secure the percentage boosting 86 point win. Jack Mcnamara was a standout for the Snow Dogs, slotting four majors and earning himself the Best accolade, while Shaun Clarke and Jake Maher supported around the ground. In another tough day at the office off the back of their inspired Round 5 win, the Nodders acknowledged Thomas Warby, Liam Riley and Joshua Muling (1) in their efforts for the sixth placed side.

Despite the absence of Big V Squad member, Stephen Milne, Beaumaris were able to rally from behind and secure the four points away from home when they faced Ajax at Gary Smorgon Oval. It was the Jackas who started this game on top, edging a nine point lead at the first break and extending this to a convincing 27 points at half time. Looking at the stats in the Premier B competition, the instances of teams recovering from a 25+ point deficit at half time to win the match has been an absolute rarity, making the Sharks comeback as exciting as they get. Guy McKenna must’ve had a rousing half time speech as his team came out in the third with an intense pressure which rendered the Jackas scoreless, and allowed them to add 3.5 to their total. Led by Robert Cathcart (1), Jonno Nash and Matthew Petering, the Sharks were unrelenting in the final term as the stacked on five more majors to run out the match 17 point victors. Daniel Janover-Rocha, Kane Nissenbaum, Jake Lew (3) and Charles Hamilton were standouts for the Jackas.

Back to back weeks at Gerry Green Reserve allowed Parkdale Vultures to atone for their 11 goal loss to the Panthers and emerge as 69 point victors against Monash Blues. The Blues stayed close to the Vultures early in the piece, but their failure to convert multiple majors on the scoreboard hurt them again, only managing an inaccurate 1.11 for the remainder of the match after the first quarter break. The Vultures showed consistency across the four quarters which enabled them to move up to 7th position on the ladder, behind the Nodders by only 3.73%. For the Blues, Nicholas Mcconville received the BOG honours in his first match for the season, while Keegan Mason and Nicholas Woodland (2) were also in the best. It was hard to ignore Charlie Dillon’s dominant performance for the Vultures, earning the Best accolade two weeks in a row after booting six majors, and he was ably supported by Jack Edwards and Luke Clark were also named.

Any sceptics of the University Blacks as genuine finals contenders in this competition would have been well and truly converted after their thrilling 14 point victory over the highly reputable Caulfield Grammarians. With only a solitary goal separating the two sides at the first interchange, it was telling of a tight encounter for the match. The Blacks, led by Jordan Quaile (1) and Campbell Moorfield, had an impressive 19 point lead heading into halftime which could have been greater if not marred by missed opportunities (3.7) in their forward line. Not to be underestimated, the Fields scoreboard pressure was clear to see, highlighted in the fourth term when they outscored the home side 4.4 to 3.2, but the polished Blacks never relinquished their lead. For the Fields, Jordan Stewart (4) impacted in front of goals, with Nicholas Baltas (2) and consistent Jack Wallace (2) in assistance, while Declan Reilly notched the top BOG honours after his best listing last week. It was a field day for Lochie Dornauf (6) who was unstoppable in front of goals for the Blacks, while sharp shooter Lachlan Huntington had his lowest outing for the season with just the one major.

PREVIEW

Beaumaris will be hosting Old Carey at Shark Park in what is set to be their toughest challenge yet. Having only lost to the Panther’s fellow undefeated side, Uni Blacks, by 33 points in Round 5, which was epitomised by their ability to stay neck and neck with them for a half (scores were level at half-time), the Sharks have proven that they can compete with the competition’s best. Notwithstanding, Old Carey’s unblemished record is hard to overlook, especially their defensive capacity to halt the opposition’s scoring ability, as illustrated by their average of 39 points against per game, the lowest in the league.

Mazenod will need to perform at their competitive best if they stand a chance against Caulfield Grammarians. Though they sit next to each other on the ladder in fifth and sixth position, the Fields 8 point advantage and 57.25% supremacy highlights the reality of the gap between them.

Round 7 hosts a prime opportunity for Monash Blues to jump up from their bottom spot on the ladder as they host the also win-less Old Haileyburians. There’s a lot on the line for both clubs in this outing, though the Bloods have perhaps shown greater competitiveness so far this season.

Ajax will look to replicate their first half effort from their Beaumaris encounter in Round 6, as they again play at Gary Smorgan Oval – this time hosting seventh placed Parkdale Vultures. Confident from their 69 point win over Monash Blues, Parkdale will again look to apply that four quarter consistency to get the job done over the Jackas. Though it’s been a long six weeks since their only win for the season, my tip goes with Ajax.

In what is destined to be a tight and high scoring affair, third placed St Bernards will have their chance to dethrone the unbeaten Uni Blacks at the Snake Pit. The Snow Dogs have only lost to top dog Old Carey this season, a game which really shouldn’t have blown out to a 38 point win considering the scores were level at 53 apiece at three quarter time. In my tip for match of the round, you are sure to be enthralled by the scoring prowess of Premier B sharpshooters from the Blacks – Lachlan Huntington (27) and Lochie Dornauf (21), and from the Snow Dogs – Chad Jones (25) and Michael Cavern (20).