PREMIER C – MID YEAR REPORT

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Premier C – Mid-year report
by Will Reed
1st Mazenod (8 wins – 1 Loss) – 158.5%
What’s gone right?
The 3rd placed side of 2012 has hardly put a foot wrong so far this year, winning the last eight matches to sit in first. The Nodders have found a good balance between attack and defence, old and new. Up forward they’ve been well served by Rees Thomas who has 22 goals for the year, old hands Chamberlain and skipper Tim Bourbon continue to perform, and their recruits such as Patti and Michael Johnson have really made a difference to their midfield and defence – the latter of which is the best in Premier C allowing a miserly 55 points per game.
What’s gone wrong?
Apart from a Round 1 loss to a vengeful Marcellin, there hasn’t been much wrong at all. The absence of their leading goal kicker from last year, Chamath Jayaweera, has been noted but Rees Thomas has stepped up and their emphasis on a defensive game plan has more than covered it.
Predicted finish: 1st
2nd Monash Blues (8 – 1) 141.9%
What’s gone right?
Down and out in 2012, the Ashes are the fairytale story of the season so far. The catalyst for the side’s improvement can be found from within, with several players, such as Gareth and James Taylor and Nick Petering taking their game to the next level and their defence unrecognisably solid in comparison to last year. New Coach Hayden Stanton is a good communicator and has certainly got his charges playing for him and on-field leader Sam Baring. The Ashes are perhaps the quickest side in the comp and will present a challenge to any team looking to knock them off if they keep their fitness up.
What’s gone wrong?
Not much. If anything they can over-possess the ball, which cost them turnovers against Mazenod. They’ll be hoping their game plan holds up in the wet winter weather otherwise they may need to go more direct. 
Predicted finish: 3rd
3rd Marcellin (6-3) 178.9%
What’s gone right?
The Eagles have been the most prolific side in Premier C, averaging a huge 113 points a game. Power forward Daniel Jones has been a lynchpin with 31 goals for the year but has benefited from fantastic form of midfield leader Jarrod Carlson, Jonathan Blanch and former U-19 player, Pat Millsom. Despite being two games behind the top two, their best is capable of beating any side in the section and they’ll be confident of a return to Premier B with their current squad.  
What’s gone wrong?
Marcellin have handed out many thrashings, however having lost three matches (to PEGS, Monash Blues and Old Ivanhoe) by less than 10 points, the Eagles simply haven’t found a way to win when matches have been close at the death. Overcoming this problem will be important to ensuring promotion at the end of the year as they’re bound to have a few close calls.
Predicted finish: 2nd
4th Old Ivanhoe (6-3) – 149.3%
What’s gone right?
Its been mentioned in the column almost every week, but new Coach Travis Ronaldson’s pre-season fitness regime has got the Hoers going when it counts, as they’ve finished strongly to get home against Marcellin, Old Camberwell and Banyule. 1-3 after 4 rounds, Old Ivanhoe have won their last 5 to sit in fourth thanks to dynamo Adrian Del Monte who has 29 goals so far, impressive youngster Richard Skok and defender Dean Heta among a host of improvers.
What’s gone wrong?
Having lost their last 14 matches of 2012, it seemed Old Ivanhoe had forgotten how to win. With close losses to Monash Blues, PEGS and Mazenod in the first few weeks, it looked like a double drop was on the cards. All those sides have now proven to be genuine contenders; however those early losses may come back to bite the Hoers. Captain Hayden Heta had missed several matches with torn tendons in his hand, however he is now back out on the field with his side in a stronger position than when he left it – which is a testament to the Hoers performance.
Predicted finish: 4th
5th PEGS (5-4) 105.2%
What’s gone right?
The Bombers season has been ‘workman-like’ so far, with gritty early season wins helping them stay in touch with the four. Come from behind wins against Old Ivanhoe in Round 2 and Marcellin in round 4 were highlights. Daniel Flaherty and Jake Williams have been in good touch while club champion Cam Livori is clicking into gear just in time. 
What’s gone wrong?
PEGS have been competitive in almost all their matches so far, however losses to the Pirates and Bears hurt their finals hopes badly. They’ll want to find some support up forward for Flaherty, as PEGS’ forward line hasn’t been as potent as their counterparts in the four.
Predicted finish: 5th
6th Peninsula (4-5) 71.8%
What’s gone right?
The Pirates season has been more mixed up than a milkshake. The good thing is that they’ve managed to get 4 wins on the board, with impressive early season wins against NOBS-St Pats, Old Camberwell and PEGS. Their best win of the year was undoubtedly away over Banyule, having been battered from pillar to post over the preceding three weeks. Harry Whitty has been outstanding while Shaun Payze and Nick Fisher have been strong up forward. Perhaps their early season wins will be enough to keep them out of the drop zone, even on current form.
What’s gone wrong?
In a mysterious twist of fate, Peninsula went from rooster to feather duster after round 4, losing to lowly Oakleigh at home and copping beltings from Mazenod, Old Ivanhoe and Marcellin. Their defence has conceded the second highest total (1001 points at an average of 111 per game) of any side in Premier C and is an obvious area for improvement.
Predicted finish: 8th
7th Old Camberwell (3-6) 97.8%
What’s gone right?
The Wellers have played their best footy against the bottom three sides, with 10+ goal wins over Banyule, Oakleigh and NOBS-St Pats giving them a healthy percentage boost. Damian McGuigan has been in career best form and has been ably assisted by Robert Deev, recruit Robbie Campbell and swingman Simon Bennett. They can climb higher but will need a scalp in the second half of the year to do so.
What’s gone wrong?
Quite simply, the Wellers are positioned where they should be, as they haven’t beaten any of the sides above them on the ladder. They seemingly have struggled when the going gets tough with a mix of close losses and hidings against the top sides, compared with easy wins over the bottom sides. If they can get their mentality sorted out under pressure, they can salvage some crucial victories in coming weeks. 
Predicted finish: 6th
8th Banyule (3-6) 90.3%
What’s gone right?
An enigmatic and powerful attacking side, the Bears highlight was a 20-point win at Keilor Park against PEGS in round 6. Bart Walsh has torn the competition to shreds over the last two months with several best-on-ground performances, including for the VAFA U-23 squad. Jake Truefeldt and Michael Italia have both been reliable contributors each week.
What’s gone wrong?
The Bears could have gotten a lot more out of the first 9 rounds, as they have had gallant losses against top sides Marcellin, Old Ivanhoe and Mazenod before dropping off and losing a close match to Peninsula and copping a thrashing by Old Camberwell. Banyule have shown they can match it with the best, but need to find consistency to move up the ladder. The absence of key forwards Adam Barclay and Nick Lynch, the latter of which is out for the season with a knee injury, has hit them hard.
Predicted finish: 7th
9th Oakleigh (1-8) 60.1%
What’s gone right?
Oakleigh found a way to be competitive after round 4, and gradually built up to a 45 point win over the Pirates in Round 6. Steven Buchanan, Steven Tolongs, Aisea Valentini and Patrick Ioannidis have been their most consistent performers and their side will need them to continue their form if they’re to avoid the dreaded ‘double drop’.
What’s gone wrong?
The Krushers were listless in their early matches, copping routine beltings against Banyule, Marcellin and Mazenod. This lead to the club parting ways with coach Martin Stillman and installing Mick Holden and John Rutter as interim co-coaches. Holden and Rutter have pleaded with their charges to remain competitive to prevent their early season form repeating and they’ll need a drastic change of form and fortune to stay up.
Predicted finish: 10th
10th NOBS-St Pats (1-8) 49.7%
What’s gone right?
It was a long time coming, but the Nobbers turned a corner in Round 7 against Mazenod at Central Reserve, managing to stay with their highly fancied opponents until ¾ time. They then built on that effort the following week to record a hard fought win against Oakleigh. Champion forward Matt Keown has again been a shining light whilst Josh Cassell, Tim Brady and Lachlan Ezard have all shown that perhaps something can be salvaged from their season.
What’s gone wrong?
Having lost only one match in Division 1, the Nobbers found life in Premier C difficult to adjust to, losing several games by 10+ goals and three by over 90 points. NOBS-St Pats have seemed a touch slower than their opponents and it shows as their defence concedes an average of 122 points per game, the most in Premier C and is in need of urgent attention if the club is to prevent an immediate return to Division 1.  

Predicted Finish: 9th