Premier B: St Kevin’s perfect season to remain in tact

Posted on - Latest News, Premier B Men's, Featured, Finals

By David Chalmers – @DAChalmers81

This could just about be game, set and match.” These immortal and, in the end, very incorrect words were uttered by the Inner FM commentary team at the 27 minute mark of the first quarter of the Premier B preliminary final. St Bede’s/Mentone star Chris Richards had just kicked his team’s fifth goal against the wind and their opponents Old Melburnians were lamenting wasted opportunities and sitting on 1.6.

Indeed, given what the crowd at Sportscover Arena had witnessed to that point and even to halfway through the second term, it was hard to envisage anything but a Tiger triumph. The breeze heading to the golf course end seemed significant considering how much the ball held up when kicked the other way and OMs Tom Paule confirmed our suspicions when he lined up for an early set shot from outside the arc and made the distance easily.

There was confusion early on when everyone in the ground bar the goal umpire thought that Paule had snagged the first goal of the match. However, the one finger went up from the flag-waver and that’s all that mattered. Paule, Hurley-Wellington and spearhead Al Armstrong all squandered early chances and the Tigers made them pay with deadly accuracy up the other end of the ground. Luke Velluto, Mitchell Coen and Tim Doherty all contributed in a positive start for the Tigers, who would have been delighted to go into the quarter time break with a 5.0 to 1.7 lead, knowing they had the wind at their backs in the second term.

The Tigers first goal of the second quarter came within the first two minutes. OMs Charlie Cumbrae-Stewart raced out of half-back surrounded by teammates, but was just too slow to get rid of the ball and was dispossessed. The resulting free kick found Michael Barnes who slotted it home. Chris Richards was causing the OMs some headaches when he goaled three minutes later. Both his goals were as identical as they were brilliant. A ball-up at the top of the goal square, ball knocked down, text-book roving off the back of the pack and running into the open goal. From this point, the game entered a dry spell, during which no goals were scored in 17 minutes. Chris Mangoni was one of several Tigers doggedly applying good midfield pressure and the OMs were getting frustrated, culminating in an undisciplined free kick at a stoppage by Nick Daish, but Pat Tyquin was unable to take advantage of the subsequent 25m penalty. The teams traded behinds for a while and when Pat Keane missed for the Tigers at the 11 minute mark, the margin was out to 30 points, 7.2.44 to 1.8.14, and it seemed “How far the Tigers?” However, the OMs slowly worked their way back into the match and kicked three of the last four goals of the quarter to trail by 18 at the main break.

Luke Velluto opened the scoring in the third quarter for the Tigers with a behind, but from there the Tigers didn’t get a look-in and it was all Dark Blue. Chris Righetti nailed a long running goal and Will Thompson finished off some clever work from Stuart Watson, who had a hand in another goal when he intercepted a Tiger forward thrust and got it to Al Armstrong. Cameron Beck slotted one when he snapped truly from a stoppage and it had turned into a Redlegs avalanche. Beck and Armstrong goaled twice each and the OMs capped off the perfect quarter with possibly the goal of the day from Lachie Borthwick. He fumbled and bumbled the ball forward from the centre bounce, eventually got it under control, took a bounce, let go from outside the arc and it sailed through over the top of desperate fingertips on the goal line. When the siren sounded to end the third term, the Redlegs held a healthy 25-point lead but few would have dared suggest the contest was anywhere near over, given that the Tigers were coming home with the wind and they were second only to St Kevins in goals kicked in the last quarter.

Alas for the Tigers, it wasn’t to be their day. The OMs defence held firm and continually repelled the Tiger attacks. The Redlegs kicked the first four goals of the quarter to extend their lead to 46 before James Tyquin finally saluted for the Tigers at the 20 minute mark. In a reversal of the first term, the inaccurate Tigers could only manage 2.6 to 6.0 and the final margin was 43 points. The win propels Old Melburnians to the VAFA Premier section for the first time since 2011 and although it will be mere consolation, St Bede’s/Mentone has an opportunity to consolidate themselves as the team to beat in Premier B in 2016.

St Kevin’s perfect season to remain in tact

The OMs would have taken heart from St Bedes/Mentone’s effort against St Kevin’s in their semi-final last week. The Tigers were within five points late in the game and pushed the SKOBs all the way. They would also do well to completely blot out their two previous encounters against the ladder leaders. In Round 3 the OMs kicked 3.12 and lost by 91 points, then in Round 12 they were handed an 86-point belting. Since then the Redlegs have won six of eight and while I may have been guilty of underestimating them at times this season, I don’t believe it will be a one-sided affair in the ‘Big One’. To have any chance, they will need to avoid a repeat of their 1.7 in the first quarter of the Preliminary Final and Al Armstrong and Cameron Beck will both have to bring their A-Game up forward. Josh Freezer had a ripper in defence against the Tigers and they will be relying on him and the other defenders to step up again to avoid a repeat of the 18 and 20 goals conceded in their previous two meetings against St Kevin’s. I am picking St Kevin’s to win by five goals.

G.T. Moore Medal – Congratulations Rory Angiolella!
The Premier B Best and Fairest was held on Wednesday September 9th and broadcast on 96.5 Inner FM. It was won by Fitzroy’s Rory Angiollella on 26 votes, followed by St Kevin’s star Steven Salopek.

In closing I want to especially thank Andrew Leonard for giving me the opportunity to write, as well as Andrew Mullet from Old Brighton Grammarians for his weekly informative match reports; they have helped me immensely. Well, that brings me to the end of my first season covering Premier B footy. I’ve really enjoyed it and received some positive feedback, so thanks everyone for your engagement.