The average margin in Round 16 for Division 3 was 116 points across Saturday, with sides racking up monster scores normally seen in the summer months. Hopefully this coming weekend gives the fans a taste of what is to come for finals time, with the results of last week “just not cricket”.
Westbourne Grammarians displaced Manningham from third spot on the Division 3 ladder when they defeated the Cobras by 94 points at Westbourne Grammar. Six unanswered goals in the first term set the scene for the Warriors’ important win, before going on to boot a further 14 goals to four in the final three quarters. Dale Collins starred up forward with seven goals for the Warriors and Michael Culliver racked up disposals at will with a dominant four-quarter performance through the midfield. Luke Morris and Adam Kinniburgh were the best of the Cobras as they fall from third into fifth spot on the ladder. The Warriors are now a game clear in third.
Aquinas dented Swinburne Uni’s chances of entering the top four with a 37-point victory at Aquinas College. With scores level at three quarter time, the Bloods kicked away in the final term with seven goals to one. Nicholas Morrison-Storey was a standout with two goals and a BOG performance, while teammates Billy O’Loughlin and Jake Cawsey booted three majors each. Ben Higgins played a lone hand up forward for the Razorbacks, kicking four goals for the second week in a row. Swinburne falls to sixth spot on the ladder as the Bloods remain seventh.
Hawthorn AFC ended a two-game winless run with a commanding 189-point demolition of La Trobe University at Rathmines Reserve. 63 scoring shots to 19 gives a fair indication of the Hawks’ scoreboard dominance, kicking 17 goals to three in the opening half and refusing to let up as the match progressed. Aaron Downie (7), Steve Wintle (6) and Hadrian Prest (5) feasted up forward, while Tom Boots outshone them all with a BOG display. Lachlan Miller kicked three of La Trobe’s six goals, while Thomas Mooney continued his outstanding individual form. Hawthorn remain two games clear in second and three games behind the Gryphons.
Canterbury re-entered the top four with a 147-point victory over Albert Park at Canterbury Sports Ground. The Cobras kept the Falcons to just one goal which was kicked in the opening term, while piling on 24 of their own. Jordan Dear had a day out for the Cobras with eight majors as Martin Astbury, Tyler Wooster and Nicholas Szabo booted three each. Tyson Cattle and Simon Martin fought bravely for the Falcons.
Glen Eira continued to wreak havoc at the top of the ladder with a 116-point win over Richmond Central at Packer Reserve. Trailing by six points at quarter time, the Gryphons piled on nine unanswered in the second term and a further 12-2 in the second half. Lachlan Pound bagged five for the second week in a row while Alex Erwin-Ross kicked four and Stuart Carey dished out a BOG performance. Robert Bowen and Stewart Beswick were best for the Snakes.
Momentum is everything rolling into finals, and both Hawthorn AFC and Westbourne will be searching for it when they clash on Saturday at the Westbourne School Ground. The Hawks did as they pleased last week and can tune up for the double chance against a Warriors side who dispatched a fellow finals aspirant. A heavyweight clash in the division, the tactics for this encounter are intriguing, with Hawthorn practically assured of a top two finish and Westbourne with a win on Saturday, securing for sure their 1st semi-final spot. Adding flavour to this dish is a likely match-up in coming weeks, leaving the question, how much of their hand do the coaches want to show?
Finals have come early for Swinburne University and Canterbury. Both clubs have major tasks in Round 18, but first thing’s first, a practical elimination final for both sides. Canterbury did as they were expected and boosted their percentage, while Swinburne ran into a red-hot Aquinas who have been playing some excellent football recently. Form lines are hard to read but you have to take winning form as good form and Canterbury will live to fight another week on the cliff’s edge that is the final four.
Manningham Cobras took the famous one step forward, one step back, with a fantastic win over Hawthorn a fortnight ago, and then plummeting back to earth after being emphatically beaten by Westbourne. Richmond Central have suffered two back to back heavy defeats and there looks to be no respite for the Snakes travelling to Koonung Reserve against the Cobras. Manningham still cling on to that fourth spot. Back at home, and snarling from a poor outing, Manningham to inflict another tough week for Richmond Central, who have been tough throughout 2018.
The Bloods are still alive. How much percentage they can make up on the sides around them will be the most interesting factor today, and they will need to kick more than their average 90 points to date to make any head way up the ladder. Having said that, with other match ups and their results to be a factor in Aquinas’ faint hopes, all they can control is gaining the four points against the struggling La Trobe University away from home. The Trobers have faced the top two sides recently and it will be interesting to see what they have learnt from those encounters today, although who would want to run into the Bloods on a three-game winning streak?
Glen Eira will bank the four points today, with their focus solely on getting their best 22 together for late August. The Falcons are next to face the Gryphons and will be disappointed with last week’s outing after a couple of weeks putting together above average scores. Glen Eira to win comfortably with the Gryphons fire power to share the goal kicking around.