De La all class

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By Nick Armistead

William Buck Premier football returned from a one-week bye over the weekend, with most having used the break to aid necessary recovery induced by the first half of a hard-hitting and frenetic season, while 17 others represented the Big V against the SAAFL.

In any other year, a 4-6 record after 10 rounds of football would not incur a great deal of panic by any stretch. However, if St Kevin’s were to fall to University Blacks on Saturday it would have taken something special to climb their way back into finals contention due to the tight-knit nature of the competition. If Will Coates had not flown across the front of the pack, completed the chest mark and converted in the final two minutes for the thrilling two-point victory, SKOB would be 4-6, two games and more than 5% out of the top five and in need of seven wins from their final eight games. But Will Coates did fly across the front of the pack, complete the chest mark and convert in one of SKOB’s most impressive wins for the season. Billy Kanakis added three goals and took his season tally to 20, while Conor Ross and Jordan Gysberts continued their rich vein of form as they racked up disposals at will. SKOB’s fire power up forward has never been questioned, with Stephen Gilham (17), the Salopek brothers (17) and Kanakis (20) helping them to the second-most points for (86.6ppg) in the competition. They will want to increase the disparity between points for and against if they are to challenge in the winter months, currently allowing the third-most points against (82.5). The loss brings an incredible five-game winning streak to an end for the Blacks and causes them to fall from third to fifth. Lochie Dornauf’s three goals moves him to equal-second on the goal kicking leader board, with 20 coming from his past six games.

De La Salle solidified their position at the top of the William Buck Premier ladder with a comprehensive 61-point victory against Old Trinity in what was tipped to be a top-of-the-table blockbuster. Despite missing Jake Williams and Antony Forato – the former a late withdrawal due to illness – De La dominated from Q1 to Q4 and showcased their intentions moving into the second half of the season. Ed Clinch (four goals), Adrian Indovino (three) and Tom Nicholls (three) kicked 10 goals between them, while Damien Rayson, Jacob Gotch, Sam Haslem and Sam Williams were all class through the midfield. Andrew Kyriacopoulos used his bigger body and elite skillset to combat De La through the middle of the ground, but the T’s were simply unable to curb the ladder leaders’ impressive all-round game. The loss was the T’s biggest since Round 11 2014 when they fell to St Bernard’s by 69 points. They’ve now won just two points from their past four outings and this weekend’s match-up against Uni Blacks shapes as their most important for the season.

The battle of the elite defensive units lived up to all expectations as University Blues defeated Collegians by 22 points at Uni Oval. Second on the ladder for a reason, the Blues are the second-most bankable side in the competition, and when the weather dictates a slog they are the most bankable. Their average points against of 57.1 ranks them number one after they surpassed the Lions (58.8) over the weekend. Just two goals were kicked to half time (one each), before the Blues resorted back to a six-man forward line set up in the second half and kicked five of the next seven. Tom Silvestro made it two standout performances in two rounds for the Blues, while Tim Geappen returned and offered another target up forward. Tom Penberthy’s season continues to go from strength to strength for the Lions as he stood tall for four quarters. Honestly, I haven’t seen a man his size with such impressive handles below his knees. However, the Lions are on equal points with both Xavs and SKOB but with an inferior percentage.

Speaking of Old Xaverians, they are looming as the most likely to make a top four run over the next month after they defeated St Bernard’s by 58 points at Toorak Park. They welcomed, and will welcome, back a number of key personnel including vice-captain, Ben Kennedy. Kennedy was one of the Xavs’ best alongside Jordan Kelly on the back of his VFL mid-season Team of the Year nomination. Over the next couple of weeks, we will likely see the return of skipper, John Shaw, Michael Darvell and Tyson Thomas. Shaw’s inclusion will offer significant relief, with Matt Handley and Tom Williams able to spend the majority of their time up forward with Brendan Goss after he put top-scored with three majors. The Snow Dogs are finding it difficult at the moment and Tom Sullivan’s recent foot injury adds to their woes. Simon Caven has returned to the fold fulltime and will offer them height, strength and leadership whether back or forward.

Old Melburnians leaped above Old Trinity into third position on the ladder after they accounted for Old Carey by 78 points at Sportscover Arena. Five goals from Al Armstrong drew him level with Dornauf in equal-second position on the goal kicking leader board with 24, while Big V representatives, Tom Paule and George Hurley-Wellington, showcased their supreme poise as the two best players on the ground. It was the Big V rep show as Sam Cust flew the flag for the Panthers after he was named in their best for the eighth time in 10 games. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get any easier for the Panthers as they face Uni Blues and SKOB over the next two weeks.

Round 11 Tips

Old Carey vs University Blues

Collegians vs De La Salle

University Blacks vs Old Trinity

St Bernard’s vs Old Melburnians

Old Xaverians vs St Kevin’s