Preston, Bushrangers looking ominous in Division 2

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 2 Men's

By Jarryd McGuane – @JMcGuane

With the tremendous hours of pre-season training and tedious pre-season matches behind us, Division 2 football returned for 2016 with four exciting matches ending with mixed results for the four new sides in the division.

Relegated from Division 1 in 2015, Bulleen/Templestowe had to come from behind against Eltham Collegians to sneak away with a one-point victory at Ted Ajani Reserve. In what turned out to be the game of the round, the Turtles got off to a quick start and maintained their dominance through the first half to lead by 33 points at the main break. The Bullants were able to reduce the margin to 13 at three quarter time through the strength of a seven goal to three third quarter. The Turtles were unable regain control in the final quarter as they were only able to kick 1.2 compared to Bulleen/Templestowe’s 3.4 to overhaul the 13-point margin. Billy Wilson and Michael Pace were best on for Bulleen/Templestowe as Matthew Stella did most of the scoreboard damage with four majors. For Eltham Collegians, Evan McDowell was their best with Ben Gill kicking five goals himself.

In a match up between two new sides to Division 2, recently relegated Yarra Valley Old Boys got off to a strong start, defeating promoted Emmaus St Leo’s by 25 points at Bennettswood Sports Ground. The Animals started strongest as they took a 14-point lead into quarter time. The half remained tight but Yarra Valley was more effective on the scoreboard and took a one-point lead into the half. As the second half began, the Bushrangers took control allowing the Animals only two goals in the third quarter as they kicked seven themselves to take a 34-point margin into the final quarter. Although winning the final quarter, Emmaus St Leo’s couldn’t get back in the game, allowing the Bushrangers to get their season off to the perfect start.  James Fleming was best on ground for the Bushrangers, with Jordan Canham with four goals and Lochlan Dickson three goals the major goal kickers. For the Animals, Chris Beluszar was their best on and was also their major goal kicker with four goals with support from Daniel Hill with three.

West Brunswick joined other newly promoted side Emmaus St Leo’s in the loser’s column, with Preston Bullants proving to strong in their 50-point victory at Ransford Oval. Going into the final quarter with a four-point lead, the Bullants put on an eight-goal to one final quarter and made the game look like a blow-out when it was not the case for the majority. Although Preston led at every break, the largest margin at any of the first three breaks was a mere 13 points at half time. Following half time, the Bullants were held goalless by the Magpies as the game looked to finish as a nail-biter. West Brunswick was just not able to match their third quarter intensity in the final term and the Bullants were able to claim the four points and put themselves on top of the ladder after Round 1. George Warton and Paul Sansonetti were the Preston’s best as Roland Buttigieg put through four majors. Louis Martin was the Magpies best with Dylan Muscat and Scott Hulm their only multiple goal kickers with two apiece.

At Kevin Bartlett Reserve, Melbourne High School Old Boys claimed a 48-point victory over Richmond Central on the back of a strong final quarter. Going into the final quarter with 16-point lead, MHSOB held the Snakes scoreless while they put on a 5.2 quarter themselves to ensure victory. The final quarter was reminiscent of how the match had started for MHSOB, with the Unicorns storming out to 32-point quarter time lead. But the Snakes fought back and held the Unicorns scoreless in the second quarter and trailed by four points at half time. MHSOB were able to gain some control back in the third quarter to lead by 16 at the end of the quarter before completely dominating Richmond Central in the final term. Beau Jellis was the dominant forward on the scoreboard with five goals for the Unicorns, with Michael Brain best on ground. For the Snakes, Mitch Broughton was their best with Ben Herbert, Andrew Fraser and Steven Bugeja the multiple goal kickers with two each.

Round 2 will see the return of St John’s OC for their first game of the season as they travel to Doncaster Reserve to take on third placed Yarra Valley OB. St John’s come into the season off a bye and would want to get off to a fast start following their straight sets exit in last year’s finals after finishing the season in second. West Brunswick will travel to face Eltham Collegians with both sides hungry to get their first win of the season. MHSOB return home to host Emmaus St Leo’s, with the Animals chasing their first win since promotion and MHSOB trying to continue their form from Round 1. The final match of the round features the match up of the Bullants, with Preston hosting Bulleen/Templestowe at W.R. Ruthven Reserve as both sides try to remain undefeated.

While Richmond Central get a week to regroup and reassess as they have the bye.

Round 2 Tips

Yarra Valley OB vs St Johns OC

Eltham Collegians AFC vs West Brunswick

MHSOB vs Emmaus St Leos

Preston Bullants vs Bulleen/Templestowe