T’s are back

Posted on - Latest News, Premier Men's, Featured

By Nick Armistead – @NickArmistead

In their bid to avoid relegation, St Bernard’s displayed their grittiest performance of the season against Collegians and saluted by the smallest of margins on home soil. It was an intense and hard-fought slog for the full four quarters, with neither side holding a lead of more than four points at any given break in play. Trailing by 12 points with five minutes remaining, Will Tardif and Andrew Scott both goaled from within 20m and drew level, before Jacob Bevanda gained possession twice at the other end; initially entering the forward 50 and following up by rushing arguably the most important behind of his career. Nathan Kazuro was elite yet again and named best afield and, despite being unable to secure regular wins, Kazuro has appeared in the best or hit the scoreboard in all but one match for the season. Adam Bentick returned for his first match since injuring his thumb against Uni Blues in Round 6 and Alex Boyse also came back for his fourth appearance for the season. It seems obvious, but both Bentick and Boyse will need to play a key role in the remaining four rounds if the Snow Dogs are to stay in William Buck Premier. Will Johnson was the Lions’ best as the Big V key defender showcased his versatility by going forward and booting four of his side’s 11 goals. Ultimately, the Lions fell to their third consecutive loss but still sit two wins above the Snow Dogs.

University Blues continued their winning ways and this week claimed the scalp of De La Salle by 15 points at Uni Oval. While the final score was within three goals, the Blues registered 10 more scoring shots but were denied a more convincing victory due to inaccuracy in front of goal. Star midfielder, Jeremy Mugavin, injured his shoulder throughout the match but reinvented himself at full forward, kicking two goals post-injury. Despite kicking four unanswered goals in the first term, De La could manage just three for the remainder of the match and suffered their fourth consecutive loss. On a brighter note, Matt Fieldsend (fifth best), Adrian Indovino (two goals) and Xavier Murphy (one goal) returned and had an immediate impact, with Fieldsend named in the best after tearing his pectoral muscle in Round 2. While the haven’t registered four points in over a month, De La still sit fifth and can turn their fortunes around with continuity in their playing list.

Old Trinity is back. A comprehensive 77-point victory against Old Carey on the wide expanses of Daley Oval is categorical evidence of that and, with three successive wins under their belt, look likely to cause damage come September. Further evidence is the form of Jack Hunt – the well-renowned T’s barometer – who has been in the best for the past three rounds, confirming his importance to the T’s winning ways. Anthony Scott registered three goals, Gabe Hamilton chipped in with two and Brendan Iezzi continues to defy logic; I mean, how is he this good after 12 months out of the game? With match-ups against Old Melburnians, St Bernard’s and St Kevin’s in the ensuing weeks, the T’s could enter their Round 18 clash with Old Xaverians playing off for a double chance. Old Carey’s endeavour should never be questioned, and Ben Smithwick, Sam Cust and Morgan Evans showcased that more than anyone over the weekend. Smithwick has been particularly sensational of late as he has been named the Panther’s best three weeks in a row.

St Kevin’s dreams of claiming a finals spot improved with their four-point victory against Old Melburnians at TH King Oval. Two weeks ago, SKOB had been written off. They were two and a half games shy of fourth and in eighth position on the ladder, but consecutive wins against Collegians and OMs combined with further losses to Blacks and De La has them a mere four points (and a fair chunk of percentage) from finals action. Ash Morris, Jack Holden and Jason Salopek were unsurprisingly at the forefront of SKOB’s win as they continue their red-hot individual form. OMs are even closer to the top four as they sit just half a game (and another fair chunk of percentage) below Blacks and De La. George Hurley-Wellington and Al Armstrong combined for six goals, while Sam Peacock was their most influential player. There was certainly a lot of chatter post-game as an umpiring decision at the top of the goal square in the final four minutes handed SKOB a lead of which they were able to sustain in the dying moments. In any case, OMs and SKOB are proving the successful jump from Premier B to the top can be achieved in a short period of time with genuine self-belief.

Old Xaverians continue to lead the charge as the form side of the competition with their fifth consecutive win coming at the hands of University Blacks. What would please Xavs supporters more than anything was the shared load on the scoreboard, with Denis Symeopoulos (three), Tomi Johnstone (two) and Louis Tiernan (two) joining Matt Handley (two) and Brendan Goss (two) with multiples. Furthermore, Michael Darvell pieced together his most impressive performance from his six outings this season and looks ominous heading into September. Despite a semi-surge in the second quarter, the Blacks were outmatched by Xavs and the 48-point margin was their biggest loss for the season. Josh Steadman and Jordan Quaile excelled and Bede Mahon never ceases to amaze with his endeavour and leadership. Two losses in a row will need to be rectified but the Blacks still sit fourth with a percentage of 120.33.