By William Balme – @balmey21
At one point on Saturday afternoon, the stars appeared to be aligning for the battle for 4th we’ve all been hoping for – minus of course, St Mary’s Salesian. Prahran Assumption was giving Old Geelong a workout and NOBS/St Pats were pounding St Mary’s Salesian. Such results would have been giving Ormond and Kew plenty to smile about as they both chalked up comfortable wins against Bulleen Templestowe and Old Mentonians respectively. Alas, both NOBS/St Pats and Prahran Assumption faced the incumbent fight back from the two contenders and were felled. NOBS/St Pats has every right to be particularly aggrieved as they led by 32 points at ¾ time. Whilst NOBSPC lamented, St Mary’s Salesian put away their sword, hoisted their flag and crowned themselves the 4th most likely… Or something like that, I can only report what I’m told.
In the Clive Waterhouse MOTR, Old Geelong ripped away Prahran Assumption’s burgeoning finals hopes with a telling third quarter effort. I thought the ground size wouldn’t be too much of an issue, considering that Prahran Assumption play on Toorak Park, a ground that, although not quite the size of the pièce de résistance in Division 1, the Como, is still of a comparable size. However, Old Geelong proved that their superior fitness and judgment of the ground was too much for Prahran Assumption and a feature of their play that will worry key rivals Ormond and Kew. Prahran Assumption started well, through the sublime speed and skill of James Musster and the attacking prowess Matt Shaw and John Robbins, however Old Geelong were too strong across the ground, with Callum Wood back to his best with 5 and Alex Stewart and Brad Gore irrepressible. Stewart himself was excellent in McMeel’s absence, booting 3 goals. Old Geelong stretched their margin to 46 points at the final siren, and extinguished the flame of Prahran’s late season charge once and for all.
In the aforementioned rendezvous between St Mary’s Salesian and NOBS/St Pats, you could have put a fork in Sinclair and the boys at half time, so dominant were the Ballarat/Brunswick lads in the first half. They booted 7 goals to 2 in the first and didn’t let up in the 2nd, going into the second half as 39-point leaders. For the St Mary’s faithful, it looked like another instance of the hot and cold season dipping into the arctic. However, to the credit of the Glen Iris lads, they did as they always do and fought back furiously, closing a 32-point orange time margin to dead level with a couple of minutes remaining on the game clock. A flurry of goals, starting with one from Sidney Jones and ending in Gary Puruntatameri’s 4th, saw St Mary’s come out 11 point winners. For the Griffins, Ford and Keown were outstanding with 9 between them, however the difference was SMS’ superior fitness. Brett Gatehouse brilliant off half back and Dykes was instrumental in the middle. The win left Whitefriars still 8 points adrift of St Mary’s in 4th. Seemingly an impossible task now after SMS’ gutsy win.
Ormond chalked up win number 14 in a brutal smashing of the virtually relegated Bulleen Templestowe. It wasn’t a pretty picture for the Bullants, who again relied on Cherbakof (6 goals) and club champion Paul Florance (2 goals) to produce a score. They weren’t disgraced, winning the third term, however Ormond is simply too strong at this point in time. They were sublime in every aspect, with Jeremy Simon kicking 5, Chris Coghlan continuing his fine season and Mal Michael creating a contest. It was a fiery clash between the two clubs, with a few spot fires developing at the end of the first term. In saying that, both sides fought the game out with fierce pride in their teams’ colours, as Ormond came out 85-point winners.
Kew reaffirmed their position as a premiership contender, stamping out the flames of an Old Mentonians boilover within the first 15 minutes as they electrified the ground at Turner Road Reserve. The return of Andrew Brazzale (7 goals) and Kyle Margaritis helped Kew to regather momentum in the charge for a 3rd straight premiership after two straight losses. Jack Delbridge threw his considerable size around, gathering kicks with ease in a sensational performance. He was well supported by Brough who was pivotal in the ruck and good ol’ cheeky De Neefe kicking 3. For Old Mentonians, the game drifted from them pretty quickly, stretching out to a 75 point deficit at half time. Darcy Brown was solid in the midfield and Kyle Conlon was strong up forward, kicking 3.
Whitefriars would be rueing St Mary’s Salesian’s outstanding comeback, as they produced a strong performance to slam the exasperated Yarra Valley boys by 79 points. The youth of the Friars’ side has seen them catapult into 2016 premiership calculations, and despite their horrible midseason form, their resurgence has seen them present their case as a possible 2015 finals participant. Andrew Daou kicked 6 goals in a dominant performance up forward, and he had many buddies across the ground including LS Pepper Medal favourite (I don’t condone betting on the amateurs, but where there is money to be made…) Danny Hogan and Damien Loh. Yarra Valley endured their 15th loss for the year, with Jonathon Trend playing a quality game and STEVE* Donald kicking 2. (*Apologies for calling you Simon.) Can Whitefriars pull off a miracle? They face Prahran Assumption this week in a do-or-die clash.
Willie Bee’s Clive Waterhouse MOTR for Round 16
Do we even need to discuss this one? Ormond travel to Kew in ‘THE REMATCH’. Clive is pumped, I’m pumped and let’s face it, the whole VAFA community is pumped for this clash. But let’s cool our jets for the moment. The sharks were circling Kew after a couple of ordinary weeks (West Side Story reference intended) until they knocked off Old Mentonians. Ormond is in a very strong position, seemingly stronger than they were when they were convincingly beaten by Kew in Round 10. It should be a good game, but one that will open up more uncertainty into their possible September matchup.
Kew by a point.
Yarra Valley v NOBS/St Pats
St Mary’s Salesian v Old Mentonians
Bulleen Templestowe v Old Geelong
Prahran Assumption v Whitefriars
Kew v Ormond