By William Balme
Ah, to be a Premier Division footballer! 2 weeks off searching for some sun, some frivolity and some respite from the bruising winter months whilst the rest of us suckers have to plod around in the first weekend of July. There is no doubt that the winter months exacerbate the pain that our bodies are in after being on the end of a big hit or a crunching tackle, so an extra week would have done quite nicely. However, we keep plying our trade in the most culturally rich division in the VAFA for another week. And to be fair, it was probably muddier in Glastonbury than it was at Ted Ajani Reserve where the Panthers were chewed up and spat out by the rampaging Bullants in our Clive Waterhouse Match of the Round.
Bulleen Templestowe took another step toward avoiding relegation with a strong 35-point win against the somewhat poetically inconsistent Old Mentonian Panthers. The Panthers won the second half, but it was the first half where the infliction of significant damage was done. Bulleen’s defensive shut out of the OMs would not have surprised their coaching team who have seen Bulleen evolve into a strong unit in the back half. It has usually been on Cherbakof’s head when it comes to forward thrusts but it was an impressive spread of goal scorers in this crucial encounter. Whilst Cherbakof kicked 3, he didn’t singlehandedly inspire a headline this game as he did a few weeks ago against St Mary’s Salesian. Instead, Matz, Moio and the in form Vogler were the stories of the game. Hugh Vogler has had a wonderful season and was one of the factors keeping Bulleen’s head afloat prior to them finding their sea legs in season 2015. For the Panthers, they only have to win a couple more games to avoid relegation but with their lack of depth they are still in dangerous territory. The side lacked run and precision; it was Payton and Tunbridge who brought them into the second half.
NOBS/St Pats had a strong first quarter against Ormond, displaying some serious fight until the gulf in class became too much for the Dragons to handle as the Monders won out by 46-points. When credit is due (a phrase that also is the name of a very underrated track by Gang Starr) to be given, it shall be received and Ormond backed up what could have been a danger contest in the light of a brutal clash with Kew the week before. Tahana and Chisholm, both of whom went goalless last week, returned to their best with 9 goals between them. For NOBS/St Pats, Matthew Keown, omnipresent in their best few, was again named best afield with 4 goals. They face the monumental task of facing the top 2 two weeks straight with a clash against Kew booked in. They’ll need to find some juice for their second halves as they’ve faded in a large chunk of the games they’ve played in this year.
Old Geelong dismantled the meek and under resourced Whitefriars squad in a performance that has pulled Old Geelong from their cosy hiding space under the covers. The OGs have managed to retain a low profile despite their excellent form and have a particularly strong case to walk away with the silverware at the end of the year. They were simply far too good for Whitefriars and controlled the contest at the Como from start to finish. Callum Wood returned to the fray with ease, kicking 6 goals. He was ably supported by a host of others who did as they liked under little pressure. Brad Gore was the pick of the midfielders for the OGs, as Dan ‘Picnic Baskets’ Hogan’s tireless effort for the demoralised Whitefriars at least allowed me to add a minor bit of sunlight to what was a terrible afternoon for his side.
St Mary’s Salesian jumped to a 6-goals lead during the first quarter, however Yarra Valley showed stiff resistance for the rest of the afternoon, limiting the Saints’ win to 43 points. It wasn’t until the last quarter that St Mary’s rediscovered their earlier groove, and the worry for Jess Sinclair would no doubt be St Mary’s inability to keep the scoring prowess of their opposition. With 1052 points conceded for the year, they rank well behind the three ladder leaders. In saying that, on Saturday they again showed how impressive they are on the attack with 4 goals each for Dylan Gook and Gary Puruntatameri. For Yarra Valley, Steve Donald booted 5 and Aaron Potter and Ryan Pollard were amongst their best. Let’s hope they can continue to improve in their chase of that elusive first win of the year.
Prahran Assumption once again fought valiantly but sadly for the Two Blues, the story once again ended in an honorable loss, this time to the undefeated Kew Bears at Toorak Park. Celebrating 100 games for Tim Maya, the Two Blues stormed out of the blocks and kept Kew goalless at quarter time. Their endeavor and strength over the ball clearly shocked the lacklusture Bears, who finally sprung into action nearing the halfway point of the second quarter. Both teams came into the second half with much to play for, and it appeared a stalemate was developing, however Kew did what they have done all year and started playing robust and fluid football to kick 5 unanswered goals. They continued on to win by 21 points, despite strong games from Ged Hogarth with 3 goals and Harrison Taylor, tireless across the field. For Kew, Tim Orchard was outstanding, proving to be a beacon for a team that looked lost early in the second quarter. Max Waters was also excellent throughout the game.
Willie Bee’s Clive Waterhouse MOTR for Round 12
St Mary’s Salesian desperately need to beat one of the top three to enhance their credentials as a premiership contender. They face Ormond at the lovely E.E. Gunn Reserve, with Ormond still smarting from their loss to Kew. Mal played twos over the weekend but it remains to be seen whether he will be pushed into the ones. I suspect Ormond will be too strong in attack. Ormond by 16 points.
Round 12 tips
NOBS/St Pats v Kew
Yarra Valley v Old Geelong
Ormond v St Mary’s Salesian
Prahran Assumption v Old Mentonians
Whitefriars v Bulleen Templestowe