By David Chalmers – @DAChalmers81
There were milestones galore as Hampton hosted Ajax. Rovers legend Leigh Fletcher lined up for his 200th game, while the Jackas honored David Fayman (150 games) and Jarryd Ludski (100). Dean Rotenberg got the Jackas off to a good start, but was answered soon after by Josh McPherson for the Rovers. That was the only yelp Hampton would give in the opening term as Ajax pile on seven goals to register their highest first quarter total for the season so far and set up a six goal quarter time lead. Josh Baron put one through, while the day belonged to spearhead David Fayman. He kicked five for the quarter and nine for the match, which is the highest individual bag of goals in Premier B 2016. The Rovers went goalless in the second term and faced an even bigger deficit, but to their credit came out and stemmed the flow, winning the second half. The 4.5 they kicked in the third quarter was their equal highest third quarter total for the season. The 115 to 63 final scoreline was almost identical to their Round 2 encounter, which Ajax won 118-65. Ajax now sit sixth, firmly in the mix for top four calculations, while Hampton are now two games behind on the bottom and face ninth-placed Old Haileybury in the next round.
Things are looking bright for Old Brighton, having won two in a row heading into their clash against Fitzroy. In their previous match-up the Roys doubled the Tonners score, winning 102-54 in Round 6. Five early goals to the Tonners combined with Fitzroy’s inaccuracy gave the home side a lead at the first break. The Roys gained the upper hand in the second, kicking five goals to three and levelling the scores at half time. Scoring dried up in the third quarter with the Tonners kicking the one solitary goal from both teams, and taking a six point lead into a tense last quarter. The Tonners came to life, kicking three goals in the first ten minutes, thanks to Michael Karayannis and Dan Anthony. The Roys got one back, but were then answered by Petrus Olivier. The Roys didn’t go away, kicking the next two late in the quarter, including one from Max Stella. Dan Anthony finished things off for the Tonners with a strong contested mark in the goal square, helping them to a 19-point win, their third in a row. The win helps the Tonners one game clear of the relegation zone and, remarkably, only two games adrift of the top four. The Roys sit fifth, half a game outside the top four.
Old Scotch and Monash came into their Round 13 showdown with contrasting formlines. Monash had hit a purple patch and won three in a row before stumbling against Old Haileybury the previous week, while Old Scotch lost a couple in a row before getting back on the winners list against Ajax. The two teams previously met back in Round 2, and the Cardinals triumphed 110-69. Old Scotch kicked a couple early on and kept the Blues goalless, although their 2.1 was their equal lowest first quarter total for the season. The middle quarters provided an even contest, as Monash narrowly won the second quarter then Old Scotch won the third and held an 11-point lead going into the last. Nick Petering and Andre Headberry got the Blues off to a great start, kicking goals in the first five minutes. Headberry added another soon after, and was joined by Nick Woodland and a couple from Adam Johnson. At the 26-minute mark of the quarter, Monash had kicked six goals, while the Cardinals could only manage six behinds. However, they weren’t done. Tom Havers finally got them on the board, followed soon after by Max Van Den Broek and Andrew Hummerston, and all of a sudden it was a two-point ball game. Jack Furey won a free kick and had a set shot. It proved to be just outside his scoring range and while the ball was in the air the siren sounded, giving Monash a two point victory. The Cardinals loss leaves them in third place and two games behind the top two, while Monash are back in the top four, half a game ahead of Fitzroy and just ahead of the hungry pack of teams all chasing a finals spot.
Both Parkdale and St Bede’s/Mentone were looking to get back on the winners list after having their recent good form broken in Round 12. The Tigers had won seven in a row before being toppled by Old Brighton, while the Vultures won three out of four but were chomped by the Sharks. Back in Round 7 the Tigers got up over the Vultures in a one-point heart-stopper, 118-117. St Bede’s/Mentone held the upper hand in the first three quarters, setting up a five goal lead going into the final term. Things didn’t get much better for Parkdale in the last, with the Tigers kicking the first four goals thanks to Brayden O’Toole, George Rowlands, Luke Velluto and Erishmiilan Uthayakumar. The Vultures finally managed to slot a couple in a row, including one from Nathan Papatsanis. Uthayakumar added another one late before Charlie Dillon was given a free and 25m penalty allowing him to finish from the goalsquare for the Vultures. The Tigers win puts them two games clear of third-placed Old Scotch and keeps them just half a game behind ladder leaders Beaumaris. Parkdale are seventh, well and truly in the middle of the pack.
Round 12 saw Old Haileybury finally taste victory after snapping a seven game losing streak against Monash. However, that joy was short-lived, as they found themselves up against ladder-leaders Beaumaris. They would have been hoping for a repeat of their Round 3 clash in which they pushed the Sharks all the way, falling by just four points. The Sharks had lost two of their past three games, and were looking to consolidate top spot. The Bloods had a slight edge in the first term, before five goals to one gave Beaumaris a three goal lead at half time. The game really opened up in the third quarter, with ten goals kicked compared to eleven from both teams in the entire first half. The Bloods kicked three of the first four goals through Corey Connelly and Nathan Waite. Robert Cathcart scored the Sharks first early on and then Drew Kelly and Sam McBain kicked a couple in a row through the middle stages of the quarter. Adam Weekes and John Nicolopoulos hit back in quick succession for the Bloods before Kelly and Cathcart finished the quarter off well for the Sharks. For all their hard work, when the three-quarter time siren sounded the Bloods had pushed the Premier B benchmark side, but had gained nothing on the scoreboard. The Sharks finished the game with four goals to one, to record a 44-point victory. Beaumaris sit half a game on top of the ladder, while Old Haileybury are now in the relegation zone one game behind Old Brighton. Their next match is against 10th-placed Hampton Rovers which is a must-win encounter in terms of their Premier B future.
Round 14 Tips
AJAX vs. Monash Blues
Beaumaris vs. Old Scotch
Fitzroy vs. St Bedes/Mentone Tigers
Hampton Rovers vs. Old Haileybury
Old Brighton vs. Parkdale Vultures