Goalless Quarters Common and Costly in Prem B

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David Chalmers

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Well St Kevins, you certainly showed me! On paper their showdown with Old Melburnians was match-of-the-round and I tipped the OM’s in a close one. However, what transpired was a massacre as the SKOBs kept the OMs to three goals and kicked 18 themselves. Goalless quarters were common in Round 3 and ultimately proved very costly, particularly for Fitzroy, Parkdale and Caulfield.

I popped along to the “Brighton Derby” between Hampton and Old Brighton. After a respectful ANZAC ceremony and an excellent rendition of The Last Post and Reveille by a 12-year-old bugler, we were into the action. The first seven minutes resembled a game of kick-to-kick between the two half-forward lines, as both defences worked overtime to repel the attacks and send the ball the other way. Charlie King put through the first of the match for the Tonners and Sam Bradford, who was best on ground for the Rovers, quickly replied. Old Brighton spearhead Dan Anthony looked set for a huge game when he kicked three goals in the first quarter, and finished with seven for the match. Old Brighton started the second quarter better but Hampton, spurred on by the frustration and urgency of coach Guy Martyn at the break, suddenly switched on and kicked four goals in five minutes to hit the front. The Tonners steadied and finished with two goals to end the half, taking a nine-point lead. The third quarter was a see-sawing, high scoring affair, with the Tonners winning the shootout seven goals to four and extend their lead to 30 points at the final change. Josh McPherson kicked two third-quarter goals for the Rovers, whose chances diminished when the rain came near the end of the quarter. Hampton kicked the first goal of the final quarter, but the Tonners managed to hold their lead and run out with a five-goal win.

St Kevins confirmed themselves as one of the teams to beat this season with an emphatic 91-point victory over fellow contenders Old Melburnians. There was nothing in it at the first change but SKOBs blew game open with a nine-goals-to-one second term, giving them an eight-goal half time lead. The second half was much of the same, with OM’s kicking 1.8 and going goalless in the final term. Steven Salopek continued his excellent early-season form with four goals for St Kevins, while Gysberts and Ring returned to the side and were both among the best players. Nick Daish and Josh Freezer led the way on a disappointing day for the OM’s.

Parkdale were searching for their first win of the season when they took on the Tigers at Brindisi St. Inaccuracy in front of goal has been an issue for the Vultures in the first two rounds, so they would have been pleased to find themselves 9.5 at half time. However they were still five points down, as the Tigers had had an equally impressive first half. Unfortunately for the Vultures, the Tigers defence were relentless in the second half and they could only manage two behinds in each of the third and fourth quarters. Remarkably they were still mathematically in the game at three-quarter time, trailing by 10 points, but a seven goal final term by the Tigers ensured a comfortable win. Remarkably, St Bedes/Mentone managed 13 individual goalkickers and Luke Kowalski, the nine-goal hero from last week, was not one of them. Matthew Ryan, Brett Hampton and Tim Boland stood out for the Vultures, while Michael Barnes was impressive in his first game of the season in Tigers colours.

Fitzroy came agonisingly close to their first victory of the 2015 season, coming home with a rush but ultimately falling three points short of AJAX in a low scoring thriller. Goalless quarters are becoming an unwelcome habit for the Roys and this week it was the third quarter that cost them, squandering a two-goal lead at half time to find themselves down by 15 at the last change. AJAX only managed two goals in the first half and seemed to be missing the presence of Ash Burstin and Richie Simon who combined for five goals last week. AJAX kicked the first two goals of the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 27 points. It would take something special for Fitzroy to get the points and they very nearly pulled it off, kicking the final four goals of the match. Alas, close but no cigar, and they remain on the bottom of the ladder, behind Parkdale on percentage. Corbin Stevic chipped in with five goals for the Roys and Jake Lew (three goals) and Geoff Measey continued their good form for the Jackas.

Mazenod snared their first win for season 2015, coming from behind against Caulfield. Once again it was a goalless quarter that proved the difference, with the ‘Fields managing just two behinds in the final term while the Nodders piled on 4.4. Playing in very poor conditions, Caulfield started cleaner and got the jump in the first quarter with eight scoring shots to three, setting up a 15 point lead at the first break. Mazenod started to move the ball a lot better in the second, giving forwards Lofthouse and Dalton several opportunities to win one-on-one contests. The third was a real arm wrestle, with several lead changes. Nick Thomas was outstanding for the Nodders across half back, marking the footy as if it was a dry day. Mazenod gradually gained the ascendancy in the final term, running out 22-point winners. Veteran Ben Phibbs was influential when it mattered and Nick Gentile marked his return from injury with an impressive game down back. Jamie Shanahan and Clay Williams were among the best for Caulfield.

Round 4 sees Old Brighton at home for the first time this season against a struggling Caulfield outfit; the Rovers face a challenge, venturing to TH King Oval to face the in-form St Kevins. OMs have a chance to bounce back when they pay a visit to the Vultures nest; I will be visiting Brunswick St to watch Fitzroy once again search for that elusive first win at home against Mazenod. AJAX and St Bedes/Mentone have both won two in a row and will be squaring off at Gary Smorgon Oval.

Round 4 tips
Old Brighton vs Caulfield
Fitzroy vs Mazenod OC
AJAX vs St Bedes/Mentone Tigers
Parkdale Vultures vs Old Melburnians
St Kevins OB vs Hampton Rovers

{Photo courtesy of St Kevin’s Twitter: @SKOBFC}