By Ren Thompson – @renthompson
In the game of the year, UHS-VU upset the previously unbeaten Glen Eira in a stirring come-from-behind victory to end the Saints’ chance at a perfect season, causing them to fall from atop of the ladder in Division 3. The Hawks move back into number one spot with a resounding victory, the Trobers have albeit locked up third on the ladder but the fight for the final positions remains a salivating race to the finish line. Lets check out the games…
Aquinas OC def. Elsternwick AFC
Aquinas finally snapped their horror 10-game losing run with a dominant 82-point drubbing of Elsternwick, 122-40, in front of their faithful supporters. From the opening bounce the Bloods seemed determined to end the recent heartache as they took a handy three goal lead at the end of the first quarter and the domination didn’t stop. Keeping the pressure on the Wickers, Aquinas kept Elsternwick scoreless in the final quarter while piling on six goals of their own to inflict the massive final deficit. Philip Jurkovsky was the best on ground with Michael Palmer and Nic Wright each adding three goals while Nic Contin was valiant in defeat for Elsternwick.
La Trobe University AFC def. Swinburne University AFC
La Trobe has albeit secured third place on the ladder with another comprehensive win in season 2016 this time it was a 62-point demolition of Swinburne University, 111-49, at their home ground. After a competitive first half that saw the Trobers build an 11-point lead it was during a superb second half where La Trobe booted 11 goals to three that resulted in the game being a rout. Mitch Gleeson put in a best on ground performance and continued his incredible year booting four goals taking his division-leading total to 66, this was the thirteenth time he has kicked three or more goals this season, an astonishing effort. Meanwhile for Swinny the loss sees Finals football elude them this year, in fact they may need to record a win or have competitive performances in the final two games to avoid the regulation zone too, an interesting angle to keep our eye in the final few games.
UHS-VU AFC def. Glen Eira AFC
It was at Packer Reserve where the most stunning result of Round 16 took place as UHS-VU upset the previously unbeaten Glen Eira by 13 points, 102-89, in a sensational come from behind victory. Glen Eira controlled the early going jumping out to a commanding five-goal lead after the first quarter before building the lead to 34 points at the half-time break. Normally this is when the Saints march off with the victory as they have done all season long however something was different on this day as with their backs to their wall the Vultures showed some of the greatest heart of the entire season. Starting with an inspirational eight-goal to four third quarter UHS-VU surged their way right back into the game reducing the deficit to only 12 points before the last term as the Saints were struggling and the Vultures began to circle around their prey. Finally swooping in the final quarter booting four goals while holding the Saints to only four behinds to cause the stunning upset and shake up the top four in the process. The game of the year!
Hawthorn AFC def. South Melbourne Districts
The biggest winners of Glen Eira’s demise were Hawthorn, as the Hawks used a compelling 70-point thrashing of the fifth-placed South Melbourne Districts, 137-67, to move back atop of the Division 3 ladder for the first time since Round 10. In another scoring frenzy the Hawks were able to boot 20 goals for the match from their ten individual goal-kickers, Jason Ince led the way with five majors, Ross McDermott added four while Sam Gold slotted three in a complete team performance. South Melbourne had eight goals from Max Mitchell-Russell who has been on fire recently adding to his 11-goal haul two weeks ago but it wasn’t enough for the Swans who remain clinging to fifth place with only two games to go.
Albert Park AFC def. Parkside Football Club
The Falcons have emphatically ended their six-game losing streak with a convincing 75-point victory against the Red Devils, 117-42, at Pitcher Park. From the first quarter Albert Park were determined to keep their slim Finals aspirations alive launching out of the gate building a considerable head start after an opening five-goal haul, James Brick continued his recent incredible form racking up another best on ground performance, while Nic Materia and Michael Brannelly combined for nine goals in the dominant display. Charles Hogg impressed in only his second game of the season as the best for Parkside but today was all about Albert Park finding some form that may surprisingly result in Finals football if results somehow go their way.
Power House AFC def. Canterbury Football Club
Sixth place was on the line as Power House and Canterbury battled in a back-and-forth contest that saw Power House emerge after a barn-storming final quarter to seal the 18-point victory, 108-90, at Ross Gregory Oval. After seeing their 13-point half-time lead evaporate because of the Cobra’s six-goal third term, Power House needed to lift in the fourth quarter to get themselves back in to the Finals race and that’s exactly what the home team did. Trailing the Cobras by five points going into the final quarter, Power House were able to contain them to a lone goal while ramming home five of their own to record the rousing win. Although Power House shouldn’t settle for just sixth position with matches against Parkside and Elsternwick in the final two rounds, two winnable games, then they have a very real opportunity to push for a fifth-place finish.
As we move into the penultimate round of the season the competition for the remaining three Finals spots remains hotly contested. South Melbourne desperate need a solid outing against La Trobe to either steal a victory or lose and not surrender too many percentage points in the process. Canterbury faces a difficult test against the red-hot UHS-VU who have found form at the best time of the year. While at the top, Glen Eira may use their unfortunate loss as a blessing in disguise to allow them to refocus on the challenge ahead of them before making a deep Finals run. We shall wait and see.
UHS-VU AFC vs Canterbury Football Club
Elsternwick AFC vs Albert Park AFC
La Trobe University AFC vs South Melbourne Districts
Parkside Football Club vs Power House AFC
Hawthorn AFC vs Aquinas OC
Swinburne University AFC vs Glen Eira AFC