By Christian Burgess – Premier C Scribe
The top of the ladder clash is the headliner for this weekend’s games. Mazenod play their toughest game during the back end of the season on their home park against Caulfield Grammarians. Mazenod obviously has the upper hand: Undefeated, home ground advantage and they beat Old Ivanhoe by 53 points last week who recently beat Caulfield by 3 points. Speaking of the Hoes, Nick Armistead touched on the matter during the latest ‘VAFA Tragics’ episode, referring to their inconsistency in 2016 on the back of one of the strongest lists in the competition. Agreeing with him, that Old Ivanhoe were a top selection at the start of the season and their list looked destructive with the likes of Carl Groth (reigning league medallist), Mal Mitris (arguably the most dominant key position player), Adrian Del Monte (2016’s best small forward? – currently on 30 goals) combining with their recruit of the season in Matt Ferguson (ex-AFL who kicked over 40 goals in Bendigo Football League). Yet, Old Ivanhoe have endured a rollercoaster season to date! They have beaten second placed Caulfield and two weeks later been thrashed by sixth placed Kew. It’s been hard to identify why their form continues to rise and fall, but what can be said is that their best footy is clearly capable of a strong finals series but their worst would see them fall from the four before the finals race begins. Can Old Ivanhoe reduce the gap between their best and worst and create consistency within the group during the last seven rounds?
Mazenod jumped out of the blocks early against Old Ivanhoe Grammarians last weekend and maintained their lead all day. Mazenod’s six goal last quarter helped them run away with the victory. Kovac kicked his biggest bag for the year with four goals, keeping his average above 2 per game. Mazenod share their goal kicking prowess across the field with Phibbs, Reed, Cincotta, Kovac and Mckeogh combining for 81 goals thus far proving how difficult it is to restrict the force of the competitions ability to score. Del Monte was at his dangerous best kicking three goals and currently ranked sixth in the league’s goal kicking.
Williamstown CYMS had a come from behind victory over Ormond by two goals. The CY’s were five points down at three quarter time before their 11 scoring shots shot them in front. Thomas Gill continued his hot form kicking two goals and was arguably best afield. Williamstown now sit fifth, one game out of the finals behind Old Ivanhoe but must face Peninsula this weekend.
Caulfield Grammarians fought off a gallant Old Camberwell by 18 points. It was a tight encounter all day with seven points being the biggest margin at any break before the last quarter. Louis O’Keefe continues to kick truly with a handful on the weekend bringing his tally to 35, two goals behind Thomas Kanz who kicked four for the Wellers. Jordan Stewart played his best game for the season and was well helped by a consistent Tom Small.
Marcellin are doing everything possible to fight off relegation now sitting only percentage behind eighth spot. After a slow start to the game, Marcellin fought off a quarter time deficit to beat seventh placed Oakleigh. The Krushers started the stronger of the two, kicking four goals in the first quarter but only managed six more for the game. Jeremiah Antypas continues to be handful for opposition, demonstrating on field maturity above his age.
Peninsula made a statement to the competition by defeating Kew by more than 10 goals. 31 scoring shots proved to be too powerful for Kew who kicked seven goal and five behinds for the day. Nicholas Fisher was prolific on Saturday and was awarded as best on ground, if the Pirates can hold onto Fisher for the remainder of the season, it will boost their chances come finals. Stefan Barbour edges into second place in the league’s goal kicking after his handful of five goals. If Peninsula can improve their percentage, they have a chance to jump to second spot in the coming weeks.
Round 12 Tips:
Mazenod v Caulfield
Old Ivanhoe v Ormond
Williamstown CYMS v Peninsula
Marcellin v Old Camberwell
Oakleigh v Kew