Division 1 – I guess this is growing up

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By William Balme – @balmey21 

Round 13 has presented us with two delicious curveballs. Two curveballs that may have completely altered the makeup of what I, and many others, tended to think was a foregone conclusion. I know it seems to be the popular thing, falling out of love with something you’ve cherished more than most of your possessions and even more than some of the people you are supposed to love beyond all else, but I have felt the wriggle of dissatisfaction with the AFL. I’m not sure if it is the state of the game or just football fatigue but I am slowly becoming one of those people I formerly despised. The ‘I’m more of a suburban footy fan than a fan of the AFL’. On the weekend, after witnessing the Lions-Dees snoozer, I realised that I was more excited about Whitefriars knocking off St Mary’s Salesian and Old Geelong announcing themselves as a genuine premiership contender than I was for any of the AFL results. As Blink182 once stated, ‘well, I guess this is growing up.’

The Old Geelong-Kew clash was a most interesting display of footy. With the pre-match withdrawal of Andrew Brazzale from the Kew side, Kew needed a lift from the entire side. They managed spurts of typical Kew footy, but simply could not muster enough to match the rampaging Old Geelong outfit, who won by 13 points. Intriguing matchups took place across the ground, with Wood and Cochrane going head to head and Maibaum on Joyce, but it was the surprise packet of Under 19s player Dave Ennels who bobbed up to kick 3 crucial goals, particularly his 2 goals in the third term when the game was floating the way of the Kew Bears. One of the key moments of the game occurred when Liam Kinsella was run down just as his brilliant solo effort appeared destined to finish in a goal. It was a fascinating battle and one Old Geelong just had to win in order to prove their top 2 credentials. They play Ormond this week. Kew tasted their first defeat since the Semi Final last year. They play the very side that beat them that day, St Mary’s Salesian in what should be another storied fixture of a wonderful rivalry. Rupert Kemp was exceptional for the victors, whilst Assistant Coach Sam ‘Slice’ Bishop was his ever-versatile self for the undermanned Kew side.

In the biggest upset of the round, Whitefriars not only came over the top of St Mary’s Salesian at Ferndale Park, but they convincingly smashed the Saints. Trailing by 39 points, Jess Sinclair tore strips off his troops at quarter time but to no avail. A ferocious Whitefriars’ side stymied every move they made. My main man, Daniel ‘Picnic Baskets’ Hogan was simply outstanding for the ‘Friars boys and was clearly best on ground. Despite his dominance, he wasn’t alone as 22 contributors were pleasing the healthy Whitefriars contingent, particularly one formerly frustrated football forum contributor who didn’t have to whet his whistle so deeply after the game. The usual suspects, Brett Gatehouse and Sid Jones tried their guts out for SMS, but not enough of their teammates were replying to their pleas (boom tish). Along with Hogan’s 3 and 30+, Hickey kicked 3 and Marlon Simbolon provided firm support. Their finals hopes remain a flicker after two great wins in a row.

NOBS/St Pats moved a game (and a lot of percentage) out of the 5 with a strong 30-point win over Bulleen Templestowe at Ted Ajani. I don’t think there are enough superlatives for Matt Keown, who was once again far and away the best player on the field. With 8 goals, he singlehandedly put Bulleen out of the game in the second half. At the other end, club legend Peter Voglis kicked 5 for the Bullants and Jack Howell played a quality game. NOBSPC had two recruits from Mildura make their debuts, and alongside Keown and co-captain Lachy Ezard, provided good disposal in a side that has now seen the doors for a possible top four position open up.

Prahran Assumption followed suit with a strong win over the hapless Yarra Valley, almost officially condemning the Bushrangers to 2016 in Division 2. Whilst it was already something of a foregone conclusion, their 85-point loss at Toorak Park has put them one loss away from mathematical impossibility.  Prahran Assumption continued their recent marked improvement with Robbins and Gerard Hogarth kicking 7 between them. They sit two games out of the 4 but still remain in the hunt. James Musster was impeccable in the midfield, supported by Daniel Anglin. In the last, they chucked the cue in the rack as both sides experienced one of those ‘can we please end the game’ quarters of footy. Yarra Valley cannot take a trick at the moment, and too much was again left to talented Richard Seegar and their backline.

Ormond reversed a ¾ time deficit of 5 points to defeat Old Mentonians at Turner Road Reserve by 35 points. With an upset on the cards thanks to a wonderful 5-goal performance from Dustan Mills, it was the work of Chris Coghlan that sparked the turnaround. Martinov kicked 3 and was well supported by Upstill and Stait, with James Gates a steadying influence. Whilst they hardly set the world on fire, Ormond did the hard stuff when it counted and continued their fine season, moving to 12-1 and moving to equal points with Kew. For Old Mentonians, it was again the dash of hyphenator Smith-Cameron proving the catalyst for an honourable loss, as Mills returned to his best after the freak water boy incident in Hobart during the AAFC Carnival.

Willie Bee’s Clive Waterhouse MOTR for Round 14

Some cracking contests this week, particularly the Kew (1st) v St Mary’s Salesian (4th) and the Ormond (2nd) v Old Geelong (3rd) games. I think the latter is the match of the round as it will decide whether Old Geelong is a top 2 side. If Old Geelong wins, they will be 2nd at the round’s end. I think after last week they’ll display their excellence with a 5-point win.

Old Geelong by 5 points.

 Round 14 Tips

 Yarra Valley v Old Mentonians

Ormond v Old Geelong

Bulleen Templestowe v Prahran Assumption

Kew v St Mary’s Salesian

Whitefriars v NOBS/St Pats