The Victorian Amateur Football League’s seniors, Premier B-Division Four and U19 sides were all unable to secure victory in yesterday’s triple header against AFL Victoria Country at Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo.
Despite having their chances at different stages in each of the three matches, the VAFA found it difficult to adjust to Bendigo’s severe weather conditions in the same vein as their opponents.
Vic Country No.1 17.15 (117) d VAFA 8.7 (55)
Vic Country No.1: Weeks 7, Stroobants 2, Van Unen 2, Martinello 1, Cowling 1, O’Hara 2, Dobson 1, Polo 1.
VAFA: Hamilton 4, Barnett 2, Caven 1, Rice 1,
AFL: Victoria Country: Polo, Weeks, Dobson, McFarlane, McCullum, Larcombe
VAFA: Bull, Rippon, Hamilton, Rice, Freezer
Vic Country’s senior side was able to turn the tables on the VAFA in regards to recent encounters, using a six-goal to one third quarter as the catalyst in their 62-point win.
Led by a best-on-ground performance from former AFL midfielder Dean Polo and a seven-goal haul from full-forward Grant Weeks, Vic Country were able to build on their 13-point half time lead by adding nine goals to two after the main break.
Despite the significant win, Vic Country did not have it all their own way, with U23 AAFC All-Australian and Old Trinity midfielder Gabe Hamilton dominating the first half with four goals and a brutal display of tackling. After conceding the first three goals in the opening term, it was Hamilton who lifted the VAFA by kicking two in a row before a monster 55m set shot from Sam Barnett after the siren levelled the scores at quarter time.
Vic Country twice shot out to a 19-point lead in the second quarter but defiant goals via the boots of Joel Rice and Hamilton kept the VAFA within reach.
While most of the play in the second term was controlled by Vic Country, VAFA defenders Harry Tinney and Josh Freezer stood up valiantly by acting as backboards and rebounding numerous forward thrusts.
However, the 13-point half time deficit was the closest our seniors would get for the remainder of the match as Vic Country piled on six unanswered goals in the third and another three in the last.
Notwithstanding the disappointing loss, the VAFA had standout performances from a number of players, including; Jack Bull, Marshall Rippon, Hamilton and Tinney.
Vic Country No.2 10.16 (76) d VAFA (Prem B – Div 4) 7.5 47
AFL Victoria Country No.2: Day 3, Fisher 2, Pokolke 2, McGregor 1, Hards, Clark 1
VAFA (Prem B-Div 4): Angiolella 1, Brazzale 1, Bruin 1, Edgar, Gooda 1, Hardiman 1, Robbins 1
AFL Victoria Country No.2: Fisher, Day, Gray, Gillingham, Kimber, Keath
VAFA (Prem B-Div 4): Garside, Lynch, Hegarty, Gooda, Bruin, Hardiman
In the match prior to the seniors, VAFA’s Premier B-Division Four side were unable to maintain a 13-point first-quarter lead and ended up going down to Vic Country by 29 points.
Torrential downpour marred what could have been an unbelievably close encounter, exemplified by the four goals both sides kicked in the opening term.
Unfortunately, after the VAFA’s blistering opening term they were unable to match Vic Country’s wet ball skillset around the stoppages and went goalless for nearly a quarter and a half.
Emmaus St Leos forward Ryan Harding finally snapped the VAFA’s goal drought half way through the third with a well-timed snap around his body. However, it proved too little too late as the worsening conditions would not allow for inspired comebacks.
Dan Garside flew the flag as the best player for the VAFA, while skipper Anthony Lynch and Maddison Hardiman fought hard around the ground.
AFL Vic Country U19 8.13 (61) d VAFA U19 1.6 (12)
AFL Victoria Country: Hooper 2, McMahon 2, J. Smith 1, D. Smith 1, Dylan, 1, Barrett 1
VAFA: Allen 1
AFL Victoria Country U19: Dylan, McLachlan, Hinkley, Pritchard, McMahon, Atkins
VAFA: Margaritis, Caven, Rosenthal, Dickson, Lewis
Earlier in the day, the VAFA U19s endured both harsh conditions and opponents in their 49-point loss to Vic Country’s U19s.
With the rain pelting down for the majority of the match, the U19s were unable to make any inroads as they registered just the one major to Vic Country’s eight.
Despite the significant margin, the contest was much closer than the scoreboard indicated. The battle around the stoppages was champagne, with the main reason for the loss an inability to control the wet ball as well as their opponents.
Spirit of the Big V award recipient and skipper Michael Caven was fearless in defence, while Kyle Margaritis and Theo Rosenthal battled for four quarters.
Despite being unable to secure a victory in any of the three matches, those who represented the Big V did so with pride, integrity and honour. The VAFA would like to congratulate all those who partook in yesterday’s matches, as well as thank those behind the scenes who make events like this possible.