By David Chalmers – @DAChalmers81
Round 15 was “one-out –of-the-box.” With three results of over 100 points, fortunately for the competition it is the first time it has happened this season. Fitzroy, AJAX and St Kevins were all big winners, while the Tigers just got over the Vultures. The battle of the “Olds” took place at Edwin Flack Field and unfortunately it was marred by a shocking injury to Tonners great Jon Perrett. Perrett ran into the fence during the course of play early in the third quarter and his arm got caught in the pickets, resulting in a terrible break to his humerus bone in three places. According to club scribe Andrew Mullett, the game was held up for about 40 minutes while ambulance crews stabilised Perrett and took him to hospital. The match was played out in near-darkness and Old Melburnians got up by 15 points. Everyone associated with the VAFA sends their best wishes to Jon Perrett for a speedy recovery.
Fitzroy and Hampton Rovers met at Brunswick Street, with both teams stuck in that uncomfortable place between the relegation zone and the top four. The first quarter gave no indication of the massacre to come. Fitzroy had more scoring shots but trailed by two points due to their inaccuracy in front of goal. They switched on in the second term, kicking seven goals to three to take a handy lead into the main break. The Rovers would have by no means considered themselves out of the game but the Roys were not done, adding seven more goals in the “Premiership quarter” while the Rovers could only manage a point. Taking a leaf out of St Kevins book, the Roys found an extra gear and finished with an eight goal final term to run out with a 104-point win. Fitzroy had twelve individual goalkickers, with Bisetto and Stevic both snagging four. On a dirty day for the Rovers, Leigh Fletcher and Sam Bradford again led the way, while McPherson and Jones added a couple each. The result doesn’t change much for either club, with the Roys still in sixth and the Rovers now one game in arrears, in seventh.
AJAX appears to have the best chance of the bottom six clubs to intrude on the seemingly settled top four, and they played like it against Caulfield. They put the ‘Fields to the sword in a 16-goal first half with David Fayman and Jake Lew running riot in the forward line, kicking seventeen goals between them. Fortunately for Caulfield they were able to stem the flow somewhat in the second half, but still left with a 124-point loss. With three games remaining, if Caulfield are to have any chance of jumping to eighth and avoiding relegation, they have to beat fellow strugglers Mazenod. AJAX now sits one game and 37% outside the top four, so admittedly a finals berth would be a long shot but at least they’ve given themselves a chance.
The Tigers and Vultures had had contrasting lead-ins to their Round 15 clash and on paper most people wouldn’t have picked this match as one of the two close ones for the round. St Bedes/Mentone are priming for finals action and had won three in a row, while all the Vultures had to show for their past month was a win against Mazenod. The Tigers started stronger but the Vultures made sure they wouldn’t have it all their own way, levelling the scores at half time. The visitors kicked away again in the third quarter, opening up a two goal lead. The game was there for the Vultures and they finished with four goals. Unfortunately for the home side the Tigers managed to keep them at arm’s length, escaping with a three goal win to remain in outright second and kick clear of their main top-four challengers, Old Melburnians and Old Brighton. Nathan Papatsanis and Liam Platt combined for five goals for the Vultures while Tom Redmond and Michael Graham were their best afield. St Bedes/Mentone’s 14 goals came from nine different players, led by Tim Doherty and Luke Velluto with three each. The Tigers face a danger game against an AJAX unit who are knocking on the door of the top four, while Parkdale take on St Kevins.
Not much needs to be said in regards to the ‘contest’ between St Kevins and Mazenod. I think the scoreline speaks for itself. The Nodders managed one goal in the opening term and a point in the third as the SKOBs clocked up another 20+ goal match to run out winners by 153 points. Mazenod simply had no answers as Phil Edgar helped himself to five goals and Troy McMaster and Henry Parkes kicked four each. Jaydyn Hill kicked the only goal for the Nodders, while Kieren McKeogh came in for his first game of the season and was among the best. Mazenod now plays Caulfield, which is a crucial match for both teams in the battle to avoid relegation.
As mentioned earlier, the match of the round between the Tonners and OMs was marred by a terrible injury to Old Brighton champ Jon Perrett. Up to that point the game had been entertaining and close, which is just as a third-vs-fourth contest should be. The Tonners got the jump early on, but a costly error saw them playing one man short for twelve minutes during the second quarter, which allowed the OMs to take a narrow lead at half time. The Jon Perrett injury happened about two minutes into the third quarter. Play was held up and there were conferences involving umpires, coaches and players about what would happen. It was decided they would play on, and to the Tonners credit they kicked the first two goals after play resumed to keep themselves in the match. In the end, the OMs got up by 15 points and, at least for the moment, skipped ahead of the Tonners to third on the ladder. OMs now travel to Boss James to take on the Rovers while the Tonners host Fitzroy, neither of which is a guaranteed win for either side.
Hampton Rovers AFC vs Old Melburnians
Old Brighton Grammarians vs Fitzroy FC
St Bedes/Mentone Tigers AFC vs Ajax
Parkdale Vultures vs St Kevins OB
Caulfield Grammarians vs Mazenod OC