By Andrew Leonard – @Lennytalk
The 2016 season got off to a great start on the weekend. Of course it wasn’t 2016, but for many who suffered without any William Buck Premier football over the past fortnight, it almost felt like we had been through an off season such was the break. Despite the break it was almost business as usual. The trends pre-break all continued in the first game back. De La Salle won a third straight game and with it swapped places with Old Scotch. Percentage currently separates the two, but there will no doubt be more wins on offer for the two in the coming weeks. Both Old Trinity and St Bernard’s won again to retain their two and a half game buffer. Old Carey dispatched Beaumaris and secured another year in William Buck Premier whilst Old Xaverians jumped into fourth. Jokes aside, the next six weeks is like a mini season. Still much to play for and so many stories to be written.
The Sharks had no fewer than seven changes to their side despite two weeks off to rest and recover. This lack of cohesion stood out in the first half at Old Carey where the Panthers showed little mercy for the competition’s bottom side. Only two season’s ago Old Carey were on the receiving end of some mighty beatings in their third season in the top section and recent results are trending that way for Beaumaris too. Old Carey were in their third year in Premier when they finished last and Beaumaris too are in their third season. The Sharks are not out of it yet, and their ability to stymie the Old Carey game in the second half was positive. Nevertheless, Old Carey will be happy with their start to the game in which they kicked 14 goals to 2 in the opening half. Julian Rowe caused problems and Steve Freemantle found plenty of the ball. The Panthers win keeps them a game and half clear of fourth spot.
The yo-yo for fourth spot saw yet another change as Old Xaverians comfortably beat Collegians to leap frog Uni Blacks into fourth spot. Xavs held the edge over the Lions at half time, but a five goal to none third term set the match on its course. Matt Handley again is proving to be be the best key forward in William Buck Premier and the Big V skipper kicked another bag of five goals in the win. It was also great to see Michael Darvell amongst the best whilst the Louis’ Denton and Tiernan also played their part. For Collegians the story is more puzzling. This was when they made their run last season, but whilst they are still only a game out of the four, it feels a little different this year.
As already mentioned, University Blacks lost their place in the four as they went down to Old Trinity at the Uni Oval. The T’s won the game in the third term as they established a four goal break that allowed them to bank another four points. Gabe Hamilton was sorely missed last year when he went overseas, but he has become more than a bang and crash inside mid. His elevation to one of the premier midfielders William Buck Premier has been because of his hard running and ability to impact on the outside as well as the inside. Seb Nicolosi bobbed up with three goals for the visitors too, but it was a goal from a kick in, moved through the middle of the ground that showed Old Trinity in the best light. Taking the game on, executing perfectly and ending with hard running goal. Former Old Trinity player Rob Humann was best for the Blacks.
Uni Blues pushed late but couldn’t overhaul St Bernard’s at the snakepit, falling short by a goal. This is fast becoming the story of the Blues’ year. Their close losses have been by 5, 5 and now 6 points. Despite another close loss, there are still positives for Blues. Tom Quinn has become an overnight sensation. His Big V representative performances were a highlight over the break and he backed that up with another four goals. For St Bernard’s Chad Jones also booted four goals, whilst Simon Caven put in another sterling game. Nathan Kazuro was also influential through the middle of the ground. St Bernard’s were not at their devastating best and after a two week spell will be better for the run.
The match up at the Dairy Bell between Old Scotch and De La Salle had so much on the line for both clubs. De La Salle came out on top to record a third straight win and escape the clutches of the relegation zone for the first time since round 4. The clubs have swapped position and there are likely to be more twists as this battle rages on for the final six weeks of the year. De La Salle are on an upward trend and it is no more than they deserve. De La have been in almost every game they have played this year, the change in fortune is solely down to their ability to play four quarters of football. Leigh Harrison continues to be a quality player at this level, he booted four goals as did Xavier Murphy. Antony Forato was good all day, he had many helpers, whilst for Old Scotch, Jack Bull was again prominent.
William Buck Premier Fun Fact
The team occupying 4th spot has not been the same for two consecutive weeks since Uni Blues were in 4th spot in both Rounds 5 & 6. Blues and Old Xavs have each spent 3 weeks each in 4th.
Round 13 Tips
Old Scotch v Old Trinity
Old Carey v De La Salle
Uni Blues v Uni Blacks
St Bernards v Collegians
Old Xaverians v Beaumaris