Anna Pavlou – @Annalyst_Sports
With season 2018 almost done and dusted, the battle for relegation contains only St Johns and Emmaus St Leos, while the minor premiers have been decided in UHS-VU.
Is it early signs of a tank running on empty for Old Paradians, who lost their third game in a row to an up and about Yarra Old Grammarians? Are Whitefriars the real deal when finals roll around? And at the other end of the table, only three teams remain in the fight to stay alive, with Power House, despite their loss, safe from danger and Bulleen Templestowe secured well away from any worry. Round 17 has set up what will be a very intense Round 18 and then a very interesting finals series. Let’s see how Round 17 went down.
Emmaus St Leos vs Bulleen Templestowe
In what was a crucial day for both sides, it was Bulleen Templestowe who prevailed and saved themselves from relegation with a 42-point win over Emmaus St Leos. A clean four-goal first quarter put the Bullants in prime position to hold off any Emmaus surge. However, the Animals could not get themselves into the game, managing only 3 goals up to half time. It was a blow-out in the third quarter with Bulleen kicking four goals and holding Emmaus to only one going into the last quarter. Both sides booted four each in the last term, but due to their slow start in the first, the Animals couldn’t get themselves back into contention. Pat Moio was BOG for the Bullants, ably supported by Anthony Lucisano (3) and Jack Cowell’s (3) smart kicking. For the Animals, who look to round 18 for their must-win to stay alive in Division 2 in 2019, Mr Consistent Newbegin Baxter booted two and Paul Baranello was strong. Bulleen are now officially safe from relegation and breathe a sigh of relief. Emmaus on the other hand are devastated with their performance, with next week the one to decide their fate.
Yarra Old Grammarians vs Old Paradians
A low-scoring and down Old Paradians have lost their third game of 2018 and now fear losing their double finals chance to an excited Yarra old Grammarians side by 69 points. In what was a taste of finals footy, the game began tightly with both sides only leaking one goal each in the first quarter. The same fierce competition continued into the second quarter, with the Raiders down by only 14 at halftime. The Bushrangers missed 12 goals in the first half, which would have strengthened their lead for the rest of the game, but they made up for it in the second half. The composure of the Rangers in the last quarter proved them the worthy team for the four points as they ran away with seven goals, while also shutting down the Raider forwards for only one more goal in the final term.
Kelvin Moore (5) and Michael Scott (4) led the way in front of goal for Yarra, with Simon Yeo awarded BOG votes. Raider Chris White kicked four, with support coming from Aaron Serafin. The Raiders seem to have recently struggled to play a full game of footy, with their biggest fall out coming late in games. Even though they are competitive early, they seem to be unable to capitalise on their hard work. This may be an issue comes finals time.
Eltham Collegians vs UHS-VU
UHS-VU are the official Division 2 minor premiers with their massive 156-point win over bottom-placed Eltham securing what is currently the cleanest run to the 2018 finals series. Eltham were in the game in the first quarter, holding the Vultures forwards to only four goals, while they botted two of their own. But it was a disappointing and different story in the second quarter for the Turtles who let UHS-VU flood and score nine goals to one to put the game out of reach. Led by Tom Water’s eight majors and Brandon Jackson’s seven, the Vultures piled on a massive 17 second-half goals and held Eltham goals after halftime. The UHS-VU boys are a serious force to be reckoned with and comes finals time should continue their second half of the season undefeated run if they stay on track.
James Dimattina (2) was named in Uni High’s best and was a part of their nine goal kickers who tore apart the Turtles. Josh Hall was recognised as the Turtles best while the consistent Paul Vidinopolous kicked one.
Power House vs MHSOB
Power House were pushed off the podium by MHSOB, who had a second-half surge to take the win by 32 points and leave on a high note after their latter-season downfall that saw the miss the finals. The House and Unicorns were neck and neck across the ground with only seven points in it at the first break. The battle turned fiery with a lot of talk on and off field, but it was the Uni High boys who capitalised on the House boys’ frustration late in the second. In the final minutes of that second quarter, the Unicorns kicked three to trail by only seven points at halftime. Kane Smith’s seven goals lead his Unicorns back into the game in the third, as they shut down the House’s run on and undid their defence, while also holding the House to only one major. Over the second half, Power House managed to kick themselves out of the game, with 1.10 to their name. Contrarily, the Unicorns had 9.1. Matt Sibberas was named best for Melbourne High along with Bradley Jordan. Power House’s Dec Nannery was again strong with three goals, supported by Ryal Yak through the middle.
Whitefriars vs St Johns
A five goal to one first half was all it took for Whitefriars to seal the deal over a deflated and in danger St Johns side by 84 points. From there it was game over for St Johns who only kicked two goals to halftime and fell apart in the backline, allowing the multi-facetted forward line of the Whitefriars pile on another five majors. The pedal was taken off in the third, as both sides kicked only two goals but the Friars boys are known for their hard fighting final terms and were eager to boost their percentage in the fight for a top-two- finish. With a spread of 10 goal kickers, led by Corey Dineen (3) and gun Michael Nitas (2), the Friars boys kicked five to one in the last term to send the Jocs into the firing zone next week to stay alive in D2. Ciaran Hickey (3) was given BOG honours for Whitefriars, while the ever-consistent Glenn Costas (1) was best for the Jocs, who will be doing whatever it takes to keep up in Division 2.