Division 4: He, who laughs last, drinks loudest

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 4

By Rich Hummerston – @Richie_Humm

Manningham is struggling to generate any momentum

At the start of any given season clubs have a blank canvas to work with. An opportunity to create their masterpiece beckons. For some clubs, their masterpiece will be merely to compete with the rest of the competition, while for others ultimate success will be all that can quench their thirst. It only feels like yesterday when teams were training in the brutal summer heat, players opting for the comfort of a pair of Nike Frees rather than their customary Puma Kings, and for a select confident few, training with the rig out. With the winter solstice now in the rear view mirror, we find ourselves with only six games remaining.

For a handful of clubs, their season is over. The last six games of the season provide the platform to improve and attempt to lay foundations for another crack in nine months’ time. But for those on the top rungs, the hardest work is yet to begin. Performances earlier in the season count for little come finals time. The slate is clean and for those who stumble at the pointy end of the season, a summer of regret looms.

The adage goes “man makes plans and god laughs” and whether you’re a man of the church or not, dusty selection rooms across the country will be full of coaches shaking their heads and wondering where it all went wrong.

After a relatively successful 2014, equipped with some talented recruits and a more than capable coaching panel, Manningham were destined for greatness. Or so they planned. A culmination of injuries and ill-timed South East Asia holidays have crippled our Bulleen dwelling brethren, and their season continues to go from bad to worse. While recent form would suggest they were never expected to topple the high flying Westbourne Grammarians, at the season’s start you would have thought it would have been a cakewalk for the Cobras. Westbourne led from start to finish in a scrappy affair and ran out victors by 39 points. Although well-held in comparison to recent weeks, Dale Collins was solid with four goals while Mitchell Ferrie was back to his best. For Manningham it was Daniel Mott and Tommy Bell who fought hard all day.

The Canterbury faithful headed into uncharted waters again this week. This time the Range Rovers headed due east to Noble Park to tackle Masala. And as expected, the juggernaut that is Canterbury made humiliatingly light work of Noble Park, coughing up an early solitary goal for the entire match. Keen to get some run in the legs of a few rookies, coach Mick Harper took a markedly different side into the game from the week before. The spherical Charlie Acutt impressed on debut, and Andrew Winn put in his best performance for the year. Masala found it incredibly tough going but were buoyed by performances from David Crkvenac and Matty Decarne.

Division Four crowd favourite Box Hill North continue to impress coming into the pointy end season, and reports from Elgar Road suggest the possibility of a long finals campaign are very much a reality. On recent form a close game had been predicted; a prediction that came to fruition for at least the first half with the sides heading to the sheds with a mere kick between them. But after the long break it was a different story, with Box Hill jumping out of the box early and showing off the talent that has earned them their underdog status. Dylan Liistro had his considerable cheer squad in a frenzy, racking up touches at will as the mountainous Drew Howlett kicked four sausage rolls.

While the conditions at Jordan Reserve weren’t great, you couldn’t help but notice Point Cook’s modest victory over Chadstone. While it’s obscene to call a 100-point win modest, in this instance it’s unfortunately applicable. Until recently, Point Cook have been billeted as the only faint hope against the Canterbury juggernaut, while Chadstone, well, to put it lightly they’ve been struggling a bit. Mason Kip was sensational for Point Cook, while Ricky Munn and Daniel Sidwell had a good day out in front of goal. For Chadstone, it was once again the ferocious Farrugia brothers that flew the flag.

Five weeks ago, before Mount Lilydale acquired every free agent in the outer east, the game against South Mornington would have been pretty interesting. Alas, Mount Lilydale – equipped with their new arsenal – made incredibly light work of the Tigers and ran out winners by 175 points. Liam Bull kicked a ‘Michelle’ in a best afield performance and Brandan Spencer helped himself to six majors.

This week I’m picking North Brunswick to whack the hapless Manningham Cobras, while Canterbury should do the same to the well-supported Box Hill North. South Mornington should saunter passed Chadstone while Point Cook will make light work of Parkside. In the game of the round I’m predicting Mount Lilydale to get the chocolates over Westbourne, with the task of keeping Dale Collins at bay the key here.

Rd 13 tips:

North Brunswick v Manningham
Canterbury v Box Hill North
South Mornington v Chadstone
Parkside v Point Cook
Westbourne Grammarians v Mt. Lilydale