Division 2: Raiders and Turltes stake their claim

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Brenton Mann

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Round 1 went mostly to plan, but there were a few standout performances and exceeded expectations. Old Paradians handed the Northern Blues and Division 2 reality check, as the Raiders celebrated David Boundy’s 200th in grand style, with a gruelling seven point win. The game was a four quarter arm wrestle with a six goal to four final quarter sealing a memorable win. Northern Blues will lament leaving Garvey Oval without the four points and were well served by McRedmond who bagged five. For the Raiders, they will look to build on the momentum gained from such a win and take it into this week against Richmond Central. The Northern Blues however face a sterner test, as they head to Thomas Carroll Reserve and take on an inform St John’s side keen to go 2–0.

Old Eltham sent a message through Div 2 with their dismantling of a developing South Melbourne side by 80 points. The Turtles have seen some personnel changes over the summer but look to have the right mix to have a tilt at another finals birth. Eltham College looks to once again be a fortress and prove a tough ask for visiting sides. The Turtles beefed up forward line was there for all to see with Iaquinto booting six and Tranter five. With Sab Ciavolla retiring, Old Eltham needed to find alternative avenues to goal and look to have done so. South Melbourne Districts appointed ex-AFL President Gary March as senior coach and look to be in for a tough year. The Districts are a young side and March will endeavour to stamp his imprimatur during the early rounds and it doesn’t get any easier this week as the head to Ivanhoe Park.

Ivanhoe got their 2015 campaign off on the perfect note with a commanding 13 goal win over Richmond Central. The Hoes headed to Kevin Bartlett Reserve intent on sending a message to the rest of the Division…and they did just that. Ivanhoe will be eyeing off a top four finish after narrowly missing out last year, and last week’s win was a solid first step. Lovell was classy up forward with six, but it was their seven goal opening term which set-up the win. Ivanhoe will enter this week’s clash with South Melbourne as favourites and a win will solidify their improvement. Richmond Central with be disappointed with last week’s showing but they were shown the level they’ll need to reach to consolidate their spot in Div 2. The Snakes will have a possibly sterner test this week as they face Old Paradians away who look to have ironed out their deficiencies of last year. The battle for Richmond Central will be curtailing Boundy and Bellizia up forward and James Kandalakis through the midfield.

The crowd at Cheltenham Recreational Reserve were treated to a high scoring affair, as Elsternwick handed Monash a ten goal drubbing. After narrowly avoiding relegation in 2014, both sides will be looking at getting their graph trending north and last week’s win was a good start for the Wicks. Monash though will look to take that attacking style into this week’s clash against Melbourne High, with both sides keen on redemption after coming off Round 1 losses. The Wicks’ new improved forward-line was on show for all to see with Hunter slotting 6, Grace 5, and Robertson and Fuller with 3. Elsternwick will be intent on showing their wares against Old Eltham this week, but the Turtles at home are a far different beast.

With a bevy of past players looking on, Melbourne High were keen to start 2015 on the right foot, unfortunately for them, St John’s had the same idea. The JOCs were simply too good across the board and prevailed by 45 points. After a frustrating 2014, and a summer filled with change, St John’s couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year. Melbourne High weren’t disgraced and will need to take the lessons learnt from the loss into what’s a winnable game against Monash this week. The JOCs won the midfield battle and were simply harder in the contest. They were cleaner around the stoppages and their forward pressure was good at times. Boom recruit Aaron Thornton starred with seven on debut and adds further class to an already handy forward line. St John’s this week host Northern Blues in the match of the round and will be intent on building on their claims as a legitimate top-four side. If they’re to intent on a finals birth then these are the games that they must win to solidify their spot. A point that will be drummed into them on the training track this week.

 

Round 2 Tips

Monash Gryphons vs MHSOB

Old Eltham vs Elsternwick

Old Pardians vs Richmond Central

Ivanhoe vs South Melbourne

St John’s vs Northern Blues