Living through a Melbourne winter is somewhat akin to a religious experience. We call on our sensuality more than ever. The smell of coffee on a cold morning, the feeling of cold hands on freezing steering wheels, the widespread shock at the sight of sleet on a July morning and sitting in the car, honking the horn as you watch your son plough his trade on a Saturday morning. We’ve reached winter, and with that we reluctantly welcome a new brand of footy. Not the delightful run and carry footy that dry conditions encourage, but old school pack footy. Tough, hard, slow play footy. For some, this is the type of news that brings dollars and shillings to their eyes. For most, it is the time when reminiscing on sunny days gone by and planning trips to a never-ending summer are all in an afternoon’s daydream.
The weekend of Round 8 indicated that teams are still adapting to the changing conditions, and it is clear that most teams are in dire need of a rest week to check in with preseason goals and objectives, as luck would have it, the Queen’s Birthday weekend gives us all a break. In Division 1, we’ve got two undefeated sides (Ormond and Kew) and one defeated, strung out side in Yarra Valley. In between that is a great ball of mess. NOBS/St Pats sit fifth, with a disastrous percentage of 77.33% and Prahran Assumption remain rooted near the bottom of the table at 2-6 with a percentage of 100.13%.
The Clive Waterhouse between St Mary’s Salesian and Kew was an absolute gem of a clash. Both clubs have a healthy dislike for each other and considering 2014; it is pretty academic why they do. Kew, after being demolished in the semi final between the two sides last year, exacted revenge on Grand Final day. They reaffirmed their dominance in another Ferndale Park classic on Saturday with 38 goals kicked. Following a 30 man melee at quarter time, St Mary’s Salesian were left with 17 men due to an errant James Rogers’ elbow. That shifted the momentum firmly into Kew’s hand, with 9 goals to 3 kicked in the 2nd. Liam Kinsella’s goal on the halftime siren left St Mary’s Salesian 35 points in arrears. The game turned from that point, with Holmes and the return of Rogers sparking a strong turnaround for St Mary’s. It was through the middle where the game turned. Sidney Jones, locked down for most of the afternoon by Ned Rohrt, begun getting his hands on the pill and Charlie Angley displayed his flair from half back. Although I could discuss the intricacies of the game for pages and pages, it was Kew’s reinvigorated spread that ended St Mary’s valiant comeback, with Brazzale and Orchard putting the finishing touches on the game as Kew emerged as 25-point victors and remain undefeated.
NOBS/St Pats added more pain to Yarra Valley’s miserable 2015, comfortably winning by 42 points. Strong winds hounded both sides, leaving uncertainty in regard to what would be a strong enough quarter into the wind. It was NOBSPC’s late third term burst of 5 goals that was the difference and although the Bushrangers showed plenty of fight throughout the afternoon, it was stamina that betrayed them when they needed it most. Brenton ‘Meat Tray’ Hunt kicked a pivotal bag of 4 and Gerrard Bence played a huge game from CHB. For Yarra Valley, Nick Paton was solid with 4 in Matt Letson’s absence and Simon Yeo’s mobility was difficult for NOBS to handle.
Ormond continue to battle through a moderate injury crisis, as they secured their 8th win from 8 with a 29-point win over the resilient Bulleen Templestowe. I suppose that is a bit of an oxymoron. A moderate crisis is more likely to be something of a roadbump hit at about 50 kilometres an hour. Slight whiplash, but the pain will dissipate. That seems to summate the Ormond story. They’re undefeated and looking strong, but Rob Chisholm again injured himself and Vice Captain Alastair McCooke broke his leg in the seconds’ game. It was a scrappy outing against the Bullants, with 30 shots on goal to 11 in favour of the Monders. Matthew Martinov’s importance to the side’s structure again stood out, as he had another exceptional game in blustery conditions. Clearly Ormond were in control from start to finish, but the Bullants won the second half with another consistent effort from Paul Florance and Harry Vogler.
Prahran Assumption fell short of marking James Musster’s 100th game with a win as Old Geelong held firm against a Two Blues’ side proverbially throwing everything to stay in the chase for September action. Coming into the game at 2-5, it was pretty obvious that Prahran needed a scalp like the 3rd placed Old Geelong boys, but a 7-goal first quarter forced Prahran into the chasing position. Despite the best efforts of PA small forward John Robbins who was outstanding with 7.5, Samuel ‘Neil’ Youngman has surfaced as a quality young mid for Old Geelong and played an excellent game. Jack McMeel kicked 3 goals, along with Angus Smith and Alex Stewart. With the game on the line at ¾ time, four consecutive Old Geelong goals iced the game and turned into another heart-breaking procession for Prahran, who slip into the depths at 2-6.
Whitefriars spanked Old Mentonians by 80 points at Whitefriars College, as they had 12 individual goal kickers. Old Mentonians’ severe lack of depth was again evident as it was the usual suspects who tried their best to keep them in the contest. Playmakers Comrey Edgeworth and Keiffer Smith-Cameron were their best, but for the rest of the day it was simply all Whitefriars. Whitefriars have plenty of bright sparks amongst their side including the consistent Dan ‘picnic baskets’ Hogan and Brendan Stafford. Fiery forward Andrew Daou kicked 3 goals, however it was a commanding team performance by the young side.
Willie Bee’s Clive Waterhouse MOTR for Round 9
After the week’s break, and a couple of well earned Carlton Draughts as we listen to SEN 1116 (G’day to our sponsors), we come back for the preamble to the epic Round 10 clashes on offer. However, Round 9 does feature the important clash between NOBS/St Pats (5th at 4-4) and Prahran Assumption (8th at 2-6). Prahran simply cannot lose this game. I expect them to work over the hot and cold NOBSPC, with Robbins kicking another 5.
Prahran Assumption by 20 points.
Round 9 tips
Ormond v Whitefriars
St Mary’s Salesian v Bulleen Templestowe
Prahran Assumption v NOBS/St Pat’s
Old Mentonians v Old Geelong
Kew v Yarra Valley