By Nick Armistead
Old Trinity’s premiership credentials further improved this week as they came back from three goals down with nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to run over University Blues by the smallest of margins at Daley Oval. The win does not just take the T’s to 5-0 from the first five rounds, but proves they possess the ability to stand up in the face of imminent defeat and win the games which matter most. And don’t for a second think a Round 5 win against the Blues doesn’t really matter; both sides will be there come finals and any ascendancy held heading into the backend of the season is ascendancy well worth its weight. Callum Pohl was named BOG for the second time this season and his fourth appearance in the T’s best, as well as his Big V squad nomination, is testament to the improvement he’s made to his game in 2016. Alex Polidoros’ three goals came off the back of 10 over the previous two weeks, and the Hunt brothers were at their very best with Jack helping his side over the line with a 45m bomb in the last 10 minutes. The Blues suffered their second consecutive loss but the return of Tim Geappen and Marshall Rippon proved they are not the one-goal team who went down to Collegians last week. Geappen, although well-held by Luke Pacconi in the first half, lit up for four in the final two terms and his presence alongside Tom MacKenzie gives both the dominant Blues’ midfield of Jeremy Mugavin, Clayton Hinkley and Rippon twin pillars to kick to inside 50, while also providing three-goal magician, Tom Quinn, a reliable contest to rove off.
St Bernard’s are on the board. After showcasing gradual improvement over the past three weeks, it all came together for the Snow Dogs as they powered over Old Carey by 73 points at the Snakepit. Led by Nick Cooke (five goals) and Chris Peart (four), the reigning premiers piled on 13 first-half goals and led by as much as 90 midway through the third, before unforced errors in the back 50 cost them momentum and allowed the young Panthers’ outfit six in the quarter. Woodrow medal fancy, Tom Sullivan, delivered his strongest performance for the season and again proved, when fully fit, he is one of the most dominant midfielders in the competition. Between Sullivan and Adam Bentick, you cannot stop both of them. Unfortunately, it was not all positive news for the Snow Dogs as the injury curse struck again with big man, Tristan Cartledge, going down before three quarter time. The Panthers are better than a 0-5 side, but continual turnover of players rarely bodes well for sustained season-long success. They’ve debuted 12 players in their senior side this year, while a staggering 44 have represented the reserves five rounds into the season. What really bodes well is young stars, Andrew Sloane and Sam Cust, leading from the front and proves the long-term future of the club is extremely bright.
University Blacks registered their second victory for the season after they came from behind to defeat Old Xaverians by 31 points at Uni Oval. Allowing the first five goals of the match may never have been in coach Cam Roberts’ game plan, but what took place following the opening 15 minutes certainly was. While Old Xaverians’ star, Matt Handley, was unstoppable with seven majors, the Blacks strangled the other forwards and ultimately lessened their opponents’ scoring capabilities. As such, 18 of the next 27 goals were off the boot of Blacks players; including three each to Charlie Richardson, Tom Sharp and Lochy Dornauf. Dornauf was particularly spectacular in the second half, kicking each of his three goals and pulling down a mark of the year contender in the process. Hugh Curnow’s run and carry was only exceeded by his precise delivery inside 50, continually hitting his forwards lace out.
Low-scoring affairs seem to be the flavour of the month for Collegians as they average 59 points in their three victories over the past four weeks. While their scoring prowess may be down on last year’s average score of 90.4 each time they won, Shane Joyce has turned their defence into a 2011 Tom Thibodeau-led Chicago Bulls in those same games, allowing just 33 points. What does prove? The Lions are scary when they are on and their defence is even scarier. In light of this, the Lions kept St Kevin’s to just 43 points in their nine-point win over the weekend, with Will Tardif excelling as BOG. St Kevin’s were unable to back up their first win of the season last week, but Gerard Gleeson shone bright as their most dominant player.
De La Salle were never going to stay down for long after they suffered their first loss of the season last week to Old Trinity, defeating Old Melburnians by 39 points at Waverly Oval. Importantly, De La welcomed back Adrian Indovino after two weeks on the sidelines, and he didn’t disappoint with three goals. Tom Nicholls reiterated his value to the squad with four and looms as the type of star forward capable of carrying a premiership-winning forward line. OMs are still just as dangerous as they were at the conclusion of last week and will threaten each time they take the field. They were missing star players Matt Thomas, Justin De Steiger, Tim Marshall and Theo Rosenthal from the side who defeated the Snow Dogs last week and will be buoyed by the strong form of Tom Paule and Stuart Watson.
Round 6 Tips
Old Carey vs St Kevin’s
Collegians vs Old Trinity
University Blues vs St Bernard’s
Old Xaverians vs Old Melburnians
De La Salle vs University Blacks