By Brenton Mann
Elsternwick produced its best performance of the year as it held on in a four point thriller against Eltham at Elsternwick Park. The Wicks led from start to finish as the Turtles struggled on the constricting surrounds of Oval 2. The loss could have greater consequences, as Eltham now only sit one game clear of the fifth placed Northern Blues who will be eyeing off a top-four spot. For Elsternwick, the win sees them draw level with eighth placed Monash, as the two duke it out in the second-half of the year to avoid relegation. Inaccuracy in front of goal plagued both sides, with the Wicks edging out the Turtles in a pulsating last quarter. Both sides had their fair share of the momentum in this game but it was the greater spread of goal-kickers that proved the difference. Elsternwick’s challenge this week is knocking off the Northern Blues at W.R Ruthven Reserve which is one of the sternest tests in Div 2. For Eltham, its fourth v third, as the Turtles host rivals Old Paradians, and a loss could see Eltham slip out of the top-four.
Old Paradians was dealt a reality check as the Raiders scraped home by a mere three-points against lowly Monash as East Caulfield Reserve. The Raiders, started well with five goals to two in the first, but was held goalless in the second and withstood a fast-finishing Monash in the last. The performance by Monash should not be understated and the Gryphons will be kicking themselves for letting this one slip. A win would have had them four points clear of the relegation zone, but now have to rely on a healthy percentage. The Gryphons will be heartened by their spike in form and also its ability to discover different avenues to goal. Paradians’ score sheet had a similar ring to it, Bellizia and Kandilakis kicked three but they need support if they’re to strive for greater glory. Another area that needs addressing is their ability to win away from Garvey Oval. They’re resolute at home and plucky away which will no doubt be front of mind. Eltham, at Eltham College will prove an arduous task, but one that must be overcome if they’re to be spoken about in the same breath as Ivanhoe and St Johns. Monash face Melbourne High which is an even money game.
Jake Munro was back to his devastating best as the Richmond Central spearhead bagged seven and led his side to an impressive 48-point win over South Melbourne. Fans at Kevin Bartlett Reserve were treated to a shoot-out as South Melbourne hung with the Snakes and even kicked seven goals coming home in the last. Munro had a partner in crime as Dane Roy slotted six, as Souths defenders had no answer. Richmond Central set-up the win with a commanding 14-goal first-half but was outscored in the second-half, which is a little concerning. After their first-half, it could have got very ugly for the Districts, but to their credit, they fought manfully to save face after half-time. South Melbourne will want to bottle the momentum gained from their last quarter and take that into this week’s game against ladder-leader Ivanhoe. It could be a whitewash at Lindsay Hassett Oval. Richmond Central head to Thomas Carroll Reserve in what is a must win game against St Johns.
Ivanhoe flexed its muscles as it thumped finals aspirant Northern Blues to the tune of 85-points at Ivanhoe Park. Northern Blues couldn’t replicate its impressive performance from the week prior against St Johns and now sit a game adrift of the top-four. Ivanhoe further enhanced its credentials as it dealt with yet another challenger with attacking mastery. Mitch Lovell was again crafty and dangerous with six, as Justin Harty bagged five and Reuben Blackmoore-Moore chimed in with four. The Blues simply didn’t fire a shot as they could only manage a lonely major in the first-half, as Ivanhoe netted eight and then 14 to seven after halftime. The Hoes stormed home with a nine goal final term. Ivanhoe will go into this week’s clash against South Districts as $1.01 favourites and are primed to inflict some serious damage. Northern Blues have a chance to bounce back as it welcomes Elsternwick, to the more favoured W.R Ruthven Reserve in a game the Blues simply must win.
St Johns exited its rut with a gritty 49-point win over a plucky Melbourne High who were in this game up to their ears. It had been a testing fortnight for the previously undefeated St Johns who displayed the determination and vigour in the last quarter that had been missing. The JOCs burst out of the blocks with a six goal to one opening quarter but let the Unicorns back in, who clawed their way back to 14-points down at halftime. St Johns stemmed the flow in the third, holding the Unicorns goalless and then ran away with the game in the final term. St Johns work around the scrimmages in the last quarter was a highlight and you could see how much hinged on the result. The win puts them back on track and a much needed confidence boost heading into this week’s clash against Richmond Central. Melbourne High must beat Monash this week to keep their faint finals hopes alive.
Round 12 Tips
Eltham vs Old Paradians
South Melbourne vs Ivanhoe
MHSOB vs Monash
St Johns vs Richmond Central
Northern Blues vs Elsternwick