Round 5 – Dreams and Nightmares
Round Four delivered plenty, both dream results and nightmares in what was an entertaining round of football. Entering the VAFA this year, the Dragons and the Northern Blues would have had hopes and dreams for season 2013 as the underdogs. The dream has so far lived up to be reality for the Dragons who recorded their third win in a row, while the Blues were struck a nightmare following a 100 point plus loss to the high-flying Hawks. Eley Park again reaffirmed their top four credentials, while West Brunswick continued their good form with a win on the road. Chadstone meanwhile served up another honourable loss away to Mt Lilydale, who steady their season after some mixed results early on.
West Brunswick continued their good form of late with a scrappy win away to Manningham Cobras, putting in a workmanlike performance to secure the four points. In a game that was hotly contested around the stoppages, the Pies were able to outrun the gutsy Cobras and be more effective in their forward half. With four debutants, West Brunswick would be happy with the development of their youth in taking that next step to Senior level, as they all acquitted themselves very well. The Pies were also pleased with one of their seasoned favourites, with Richard ‘Happy’ Benjamin putting in a showcase performance as a small forward. A tough test awaits against the high-flying Bulldogs this week, who should come off the bye well-rested and raring to go. For the Cobras, Damian Sullivan and Brendan Morrison were both very good in a disappointing loss, which leaves them with only one win from three this season.
The headline act for round four was the clash between the red of Box Hill North and the blue of the Dragons, with the new boys grabbing a comfortable win on the road and continuing their good form. The Dragons move to an impressive three wins from four, with Tommy Ho and Simon Vucko unstoppable up forward sharing ten goals between them. The Dragons lead from start to finish, dominating Box Hill North in all facets of the game while running away with a 43 point win. For the home side, Bradely McGillen was a standout performer, while Daniel Penny was very good all day with three majors. The Dragons have the bye this week, allowing them to rest, recover and raring to go again, while Box Hill North face a tough away game against the Hawks who are red-hot at the moment.
A wasteful performance in front of goal from both Eley Park and North Brunswick resulted in a fairly scrappy game out at Whitehorse Reserve, despite the pristine conditions. Both sides battled injuries all day, with an undermanned North Brunswick side causing major problems for the away side. The Sharks had their demons in front of goals and perhaps should have put the game to bed by half-time, but a spirited performance from the Bulls ensured the contest would be a good battle right to the end. The Olsen twins, Matt Corstorphin, Rami Raydan and Chris Marsiglio were all standouts according to Sharks coach Ken Schwab. North Brunswick face a must win game against the Manningham Cobras at home this week, while Eley Park face a winnable game at home against Mt Lilydale.
A great game between battlers Chadstone and Mt Lilydale ended in a 10 point win to the Collegians, with neither team able to break away from each other all day. The two goal breeze to one end troubled both sides all day, with Chadstone in particular not making the most of the breeze in the second term with 3.7. Mt Lilydale then made them pay for their missed opportunities booting five goals to two with the breeze in the third quarter. Max Hampton was effective up forward with 3 goals for the home side, while Bart Hogget and Gavin Scenery continued their good form for the visitors. The home team now moves to two and two from four games, while Chadstone slump to nil and four despite holding winning positions in two of their games, but have a winnable game against the Northern Blues this week. Both sides will need to lift considerably if they have any aspirations of playing finals footy.
The Northern Blues were out-bodied, outmuscled and outplayed by a convincing Hawthorn outfit who probably should have won by more despite the 108 margin. The Hawks had 47 scoring shots to the Blues 19. Hawthorn displayed the similar press to the AFL Hawks, controlling the midfield with a full frontal press that allowed them to lock the ball in their forward half. Justin Rossoukas had a day out for the Hawks with nine majors, and was one of the best players on the ground, along with Jacob Campbell and the ever consistent Nathan Raiti. Liam McRedmond again was the Blues sole hand up forward with four majors, while Harry Manaras tried hard. The Hawks are slowly working into some ominous form and are looking like contenders, with a clash against Box Hill North at home to come.
Round 3 – ‘Shootout’
Goals, goals, goals. Round 2 saw a total of 151 goals scored across all games, 21 more than round one which made for an exciting round of footy. A beautiful autumn day in Melbourne ensured perfect conditions for football making high scoring trend no surprise. Division 4 has kicked off in a thrilling fashion, with competition higher than ever which makes for a tight tussle to acquire a top four position.
Manningham Cobras began their campaign after a first round bye and it was the battle of the new kids on the block in the Dragons clash with Northern Blues. Elsewhere the Bulldogs strengthened their case for premiership favouritism, while another premiership contender, the Sharks, had the bye.
West Brunswick bounced back from a tough first round encounter with the Sharks, romping to a 99 point win over a disappointing Mt Lilydale. The home team controlled the tempo early, but were tested by a tough Mt Lilydale outfit who would ultimately fall away in the second half. After being tested by Mt Lilydale’s intimidating height in the first half, the Pies were pleased with a consistent four-quarter performance. The home team steadied in the second half, booting thirteen goals to two which set up the huge win. Anthony Gibson starred in his 100th game for the Magpies who reach the bye in good form, while Mt Lilydale head back to the drawing board with plenty to improve on.
The Hawks had their wings clipped as they went down to a tough North Brunswick outfit, despite the Hawks having more scoring shots than the home team. The ‘Bulls’ out-performed the away team leading from start to finish, using their home ground knowledge on the sweeping plains of Allard Park to pick apart the Hawks. The win was more convincing given midfielder Josh Dimarco went down early in the first quarter with a knee injury. This was coupled with Andrew Cooper doing his hamstring early on, leaving the Bulls with two on the bench for the most of the game. Patrick Notaro was again dominate up forward with quality midfield supply, helping himself to seven goals, while Sahand Ghasimzadeh was best afield. The Bulls coach rated that win as one of the best of his career, given the injury troubles and lack of rotations. The Hawks will be ruing a missed opportunity to claim an away scalp, Justin Rossoukas was dominant up forward with six goals.
The match of the round saw newcomers the Dragons and the Northern Blues square off, with the Dragons producing a quality inaugural win. It was the Dragons who got off to a flyer with seven goals to two in the first quarter. The ‘Blues’ mounted a comeback in the second quarter, but two late goals to the Dragons wrestled back the momentum. The Dragons ability to deprive the Blues of scoring opportunities in the second half was impressive for a first year team, while James Mcalpine was also impressive for Dragons with three goals in a best afield performance. Lachlan Mcredmond played a lone hand up forward for the Blues with eight majors, who will need to bounce back against the red-hot Point Cook. The clash between the two new teams of Division 4 has created an unofficial rivalry between both sides competing to make their mark on the competition, which is terrific for Division 4. First blood to the Dragons.
A total of 40 goals were kicked between Box Hill North and Point Cook in what was a good old fashioned shootout at Elgar Park. After a round one demolition of Chadstone, the Bulldogs made the trek up the highway to Elgar Park to face a Box Hill North outfit on the rebound from a first round loss. Daniel Penny bagged four goals for the home side, while Andrew Auciello and Mark Pozzuto snagged six and five goals respectively in best afield performances for the Dogs. Point Cook are looming as premiership contenders after two big victories in the first two rounds, and are sitting on a huge percentage of 237.31. On the other side of the scale, Box Hill North have plenty to work on after a zero and two start to the season.
A spirited performance at home from Chadstone was not enough for the Synners, who succumbed to a fresh Manningham Cobras outfit. After a first up loss to Point Cook, the clash against the Cobras could have gone either way, but Chadstone will be intent on converting these clashes to wins, and not honourable losses. A strong wind blowing across the ground made scoring difficult, with three costly set shot misses in the first quarter coming back to bite the home side as the Cobras gained the ascendancy.
Significant inputs from key posts Cisco George and Sean Sceney impressed Chadstone coach Dave Cafarella, who will be looking to build on the spirited performance. The Cobras would be pleased with the four points, Paul Wood and Mike Muller bagged four goals each, while Sean Leonard was one of the best performed.