By Jarryd McGuane – @JMcGuane
Round 11 in Division 2 featured St Johns OC ending their undefeated streak in a stunning comeback, as well as two nail-biting games.
It took them until the final quarter, but the Preston Bullants didn’t leave it too late as they defeated St Johns OC by nine points at W.R. Ruthven Reserve. It looked unlikely in the as they allowed St Johns to gain a fast head start as 10 wins in a row looked a strong bet. Holding Preston to two behinds, the JOCs would put on five goals to lead by 29 points at the first change. The margin would stay at 29 points at half time as both sides added 2.2 apiece. At three quarter time, it looked as the game was beyond the Bullants reach as the margin was pushed out to 34 points. But eight goals to one in the favour of Preston gave them a 43-point turnaround to win by nine points. Aaron Verga was the Bullants best, with Damon Marcon once again their leading goal kicker with three goals. Aaron Thornton and Glenn Costa kicked three apiece for St Johns OC with Liam O’Connor as their best.
Eltham Collegians have doubled their win total for the season as Emmaus St Leos were left to rue inaccuracy as the margin at the final siren was five points at Eltham College. The Animals started strong as they would lead the Turtles by 10 points at quarter time. Eltham Collegians sparked in the second quarter as they added 4.3 to 1.4 for Emmaus St Leos to lead by seven points at the half. Emmaus St Leos held the Turtles to one goal for the quarter and would lead by 14 points, but it should have been more as inaccuracy left Eltham Collegians in the game. Eltham Collegians would add 4.4 in the last to Emmaus St Leos 1.5 to overturn the margin to win by three points despite having nine less scoring shots. Mathew Crooks was Eltham Collegians best player, as Ben Gill added another four goals as he increased his goal tally to 43 for the season. Alexander Mcdougall was the Animals best with Christopher Beluszar was their leading goal kicker with five.
In another tight game, West Brunswick’s inaccuracy would not cost them as they defeated Yarra Valley OB by six points at Ransford Oval. In an unusual trend for the game, both sides would kick the same amount of goals in the first quarter as four extra behinds for West Brunswick gave them the small four-point lead. The second followed the same pattern as both sides again kicked two goals and again the Magpies would kick more behinds, this time five more to lead by nine points at the long break. The game would open up after the break as both sides kicked four goals each this time but six behinds for West Brunswick to the Bushrangers four pushed the margin out to 11 points at the final break. Yarra Valley OB won the last quarter with two goals to the Magpies one but could only reduce the margin by five points as they fell six points short. Christopher Simpson was the Magpies best, with Zac Tisdale and Christopher Germon their only multiple goal kickers with two each. Benjamin Trend kept up his good form being the Bushrangers best with Jordan Canham their leading goal kicker kicking three.
Richmond Central gained no relief from the bye as they were handed a 76-point defeat by MHSOB at Melbourne High School. MHSOB showed why they belong in the top four at the start of the game as they held the Snakes to one behind as their four goal and seven behind first quarter, as they opened up a 30-point lead. Richmond Central added two majors in the second quarter but allowed four MHSOB goals to see the margin increase to 45 points at half time. The margin would be increased again in the third as five Unicorn goals to the Snakes three pushed it up to 61 points. The final quarter went along the same pattern as five goals for MHSOB increased the margin to 76 points. Anthony Svirskis was the Unicorns best, while six majors for Beau Jellis was the leading goal kicker on the field. Jake Munro was the leading goal kicker for the Snakes with three goals and Bart Rayner were their best.
Round 12 starts with out of form Emmaus St Leos returning to Bennettswood Sports Ground to face the still winless Richmond Central. Eltham Collegians remain at Eltham College for another week as
they face Bulleen/Templestowe fresh off they bye as the Turtles try to inflict revenge on their round 1 one-point loss. At Thomas Carroll Reserve, St Johns OC have finally shown vulnerability and they return home to face MHSOB who are pushing strongly to match it with the top three teams. Preston Bullants host West Brunswick at W R Ruthven Reserve with the winner to take second place and a bad result could see the loser drop as far as fourth. Yarra Valley OB now has the bye after two heartbreaking losses to top four sides.
Emmaus St Leos vs Richmond Central
Eltham Collegians VS Bulleen/Templestowe
St Johns OC VS MHSOB
Preston Bullants VS West Brunswick
Yarra Valley OB has the bye