And, if more could have been squeezed into that headline, it would have read “Game up for Bullants?”. After Round 9, they were sitting pretty at 7-2 and half a game off ladder leadership, but two wins from their last seven attempts sees them in the unwanted and precarious position where if either of the teams immediately above them win just one of their last two, their season is cooked.
Oakleigh returned to their scintillating best in a complete demolition of Ivanhoe, aided in no small way by 10 of the best from Aaron Cloke, for whom the magical ton is in sight, needing 11 more from the next two games. In general it was a lopsided round, with only one match decided by less than seven goals.
The closest game of the round was at Ransford Oval, where West Brunswick put a minor scare into the Therry Penola camp, leading the Lions by seven points at the main break. Thereafter, normality was restored in a tough, low scoring affair characterised by some sloppy kicking from the Lions on their way to a 15-point margin by game’s end. Jethro Calma-Holt kicked three for the Westies, while Jedd Taylor and Daniel Tadinac led from the front for the winners, who cling on to third place and are seemingly safe.
Hampton Rovers exacted revenge for their first round loss to Preston, gradually drawing clear after a tight opening term. Jesse Donald and Christian Carnavale booted three each for the Rovers, while Coen Giali-Brosnan and Joel Dunmore did their best to stem the tide for the struggling Bullants. The 45-point loss leaves their chances hanging by a thread, and facing a must-win at Therry Penola this week.
here isn’t much to be said about the one sided contest at Toorak Park, where Prahran Assumption did pretty much as they liked against the disappointing Brunswick NOBS. Joel Hume and Thomas Quinn got the ball rolling for the Two Blues, and Brett Chapman finished off their good work with four goals. James Schmidt snared the only multiples in the NOBS’ poor return of only five for the day, while Lewis White was the pick of the bunch for the 83-point losers.
Similarly at Gunn Reserve, Ormond were untroubled by Kew to salute by 62 points. Inspired by Jeremy Simon (5 goals and BOG) and Sam Mason’s four majors, the Monders have now all but locked up top two and will be plotting their September assault. John Lisle was again good for the Bears, and Richard Wilton chimed in with three goals.
Oakleigh’s relentless charge was halted last week, but they started another one when they took no prisoners in a 102-point hiding of relegation certainties Ivanhoe at Scammell Reserve. Aaron Cloke put on a goalkicking masterclass with 10, as Andrew Murray and Edward Standish also played starring roles. Stefan Zervides and Mali Jacobs battled manfully for the Hoers.
Rovers v Two Blues and Lions v Bullants are the two standout fixtures on this finals-shaping Saturday.
Top-placed and unlikely to be unseated, Hampton can do Oakleigh and Preston a favour by denying the hard-charging Prahran Assumption at Boss James Reserve. Should they fail to do so, the Two Blues will appear home and hosed with only a date with Ivanhoe to come.
For the desperate Preston Bullants, nothing short of a win will do at third-placed Therry Penola’s Fawkner Reserve. And even victory won’t suffice, should the Krushers and Lions both triumph in their respective engagements. Clinging to exiguous hope, a very fired up Bullants side will run out for this one.
Oakleigh are unlikely to let their guard down when they travel to Victoria Park to take on Kew, and one might envisage some less than subtle attempts to feed their spearhead a goal or two. The Krushers will also be aware that a win here coupled with an eminently possible slip by the Two Blues at Hampton will gift them fourth spot, a fugacious occupancy should they fail to defend it in the ultimate normal-season game.
Predictable results should be reasonably expected for the other two games set down for decision. At Alec Gillon Oval, Ormond will be fancied to make short work of Brunswick NOBS, and in the final game, Ivanhoe take their last shot at glory in a forgettable campaign in the no-bearing match-up with the Westies at Ivanhoe Park.