By Tom Feldgen – Division 1 Scribe
For the second consecutive week the unthinkable has happened, the Old Mentonians have failed to come home with the four points and their standing as the obvious premiership favourite ceases to remain. A rampant Therry Penola headlined by the unstoppable Jarrod Bannister were the highlight of the round on a weekend where four sides now find themselves on six wins and two losses.
Keysborough playing fields, a venue that has been a fortress for the OMs in 2016 was the venue of their most disappointing performance for the season to date. Conversely, it was where the Lions stamped their authority on the competition and reconfirmed their premiership credentials. Jarrod Bannister now firmly holds the title of the competition’s premier key forward after his seven goals and best on ground performance paved the way for the Lions’ six-goal win. Bannister now sits on top of the goal-kicking tally with 33 goals. Ben Ratcliffe and Glen Widdicombe were also key performers on a defining day for Therry Penola. While for the Panthers who still harboured hopes of victory after being 16 points down at three-quarter time, Darcy Brown continued his consistent goal kicking form with three and Tim Wilton was a shining light. The Panthers now find themselves back with the rest of the contenders on six wins, but still maintain a very strong percentage.
Old Paradians remain winless after Old Geelong comfortably accounted for them, running out 64-point winners. It could’ve been much worse for the Raiders, if not for some inaccurate goal kicking from the Ogs who had a mammoth 40 shots on goal. Old Geelong extended their lead at each break in what was a dominant performance. Callum Wood continued to hit the score board with four goals in an eye-catching performance, George Burbury made in 12 from three games and William Sharp lived up to his name with two goals and a well rounded game. The Raiders once again left it all up to star big man Adam Pattison who was clearly their best with five majors.
St Mary’s Salesian have produced a second half performance that blew away Brunswick NOBSPC and lead to a 63-point thumping, their fourth consecutive win. For the most part NOBs were right in the contest after leading at quarter-time and kicking the first three majors of the second half. Unfortunately for them the Saints were able to flick the switch and ram home the last 11 goals of the game. Nothing seemed to go right for NOBs in the second half and to make matters worse they lost full-forward Simon Harwood, who is allergic to bees after he suffered a bee sting. The key-forward had just slotted a goal to put his side in front. Gerrard Bence continued his great form as he kicked three and was clearly best for NOBs, while Michael O’Donoghue and Todd Cleary were also good. For the Saints, Michael Dolan was dominant up forward kicking five, Jack Elliston was electric with three majors and live wires Stefan Gust and Gary Puruntatameri also snared three.
The in form PEGS were caught napping early in the contest at Toorak Park, but were in command for the last three quarters of the match and went on to be 43-point victors. Prahran-Assumption took a 22-point lead into quarter time after using the wind to their advantage with John Robbins kicking three first-term goals. The game was won and lost in the third term where the Two-Blues could only manage two majors with the wind, while PEGS helped themselves to four of their own. John Robbins finished with five for the Two-Blues and key on-ballers Harry Taylor and Matt Wall were both four-quarter performers. For PEGS, the evergreen Trent Skurrie was back at it again with four maximums, Brett Hannah was dominant, Rob Baddeley was outstanding and Cam Livori had a great day at the office.
Ivanhoe have made it three on the trot and now sit only one game outside the top four after they comfortably dispatched Whitefriars to the tune of 65-points. The Hoes got the jump on the Friars with five goals to none in the first term and didn’t look back from there. Zac Mowat and Mitch Lovell combined for eight goals, Reuben Blackmore-Moore booted three and Mali Jacobs was outstanding all day. For the Friars, Carl Giovannini was their best and went home with two goals next to his name.
Round 9 perhaps features the most exciting fixture for the year to date. With both sides beginning to find their best form PEGS versus Therry Penola at The Runway looms as one of the games of the year. I’m tipping PEGS to successfully utilise one of the strongest home ground advantages in the VAFA and take home the four points. In other matches for round 9, Brunswick NOBSPC come up against Whitefriars in a must win game for both sides who sit equal on the ladder. Whitefriars should get the chocolates in a tightly fought contest. Old Geelong can edge their way into top four reckoning with a win over the Panthers, although the Old Mentonians can certainly not be written off after only two poor performances, I’m backing them to get back on the winners list. Ivanhoe should continue the pain for the Old Paradians and St Mary’s Salesian is likely to be tested by Prahran-Assumption but will reign supreme. Another enthralling, unpredictable round of footy awaits.
Brunswick NOBSPC v Whitefriars
Old Geelong v Old Mentonians
Ivanhoe v Old Paradians
PEGS v Therry Penola
Prahran-Assumption v St Mary’s Salesian