Round 16’s tight tussles extend gaps in Premier B

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By David Chalmers – @DAChalmers81

Things are a fair bit clearer now after Round 16. The weekend saw the closest group of matches in Premier B so far this season, with no result larger than four goals. The top side was toppled and the bottom side has doubled their season win tally in the space of three weeks. Teams second to fifth on the ladder all had wins, increasing the gap between the upper and lower halves of the table. A loss to Ajax saw an end to their finals hopes, and though Old Brighton and Parkdale are still mathematical possibilities, they would need to win both their remaining contests and rely on Old Scotch and Monash to lose both theirs.

Old Scotch and Old Haileybury were both looking to end three game losing streaks when they clashed at Princess Park. The Cardinals won their Round 6 contest by 28 after an eight-goals-to-one final term. The first half was a close affair, with Old Scotch taking a two-point lead into the rooms. Neither team scored for the first ten minutes of the third quarter, before Jono Daggian got the visitors on the board. Old Scotch started to dominate general play but could only manage four behinds over the next seven minutes. The two sides went goal-for-goal late in the quarter, with Tim Macmillan and Max Van Den Broek kicking truly for the Cardinals, while John Nicolopoulos kicked the Bloods first for the quarter after 20 minutes of play and was joined by Josh Dawson with a nice running goal. Lack of discipline from the Bloods defence gave Nick Cox a 25m penalty and simple shot at goal, resulting in a 19-point lead at the last break. The Bloods won the final term but not by enough, as Old Scotch escaped with a 14-point victory and stayed up with Monash and Fitzroy in the fight for third and fourth spots.

Fitzroy faced a crucial clash with top side Beaumaris, as they battle with Monash and Old Scotch for finals spots. Their previous contest was in Round 7 and the Roys came from behind to force a draw, giving the Sharks their first ‘non-win’ of the season. Both sides came into the game in good form, with Beaumaris on a four game winning streak, and the Roys had won four out of five. Fitzroy managed one more scoring shot in the first half, but slightly superior accuracy gave Beaumaris a four point lead at half time. Luke Baker gave the Roys the best possible start, kicking a goal inside the first 30 seconds. He was joined a couple of minutes later by Daniel Bisetto, who goaled after a contested mark. Daniel Gribbin got his hands on the ball early for the Sharks but could only manage behinds, while up the other end, Max Davie, Tom Cheshire and Bisetto piled on the goals for the Roys. Robert Cathcart got the Sharks on the board with a couple of goals in quick time, but was answered by Baker and Jacob Long. Josh Ward added another one for Beaumaris but the Roys had all the answers, with Bisetto taking a contested mark in the goal square and kicking truly. When the siren sounded for three-quarter time, Fitzroy had outscored the ladder-leaders nine goals to three and taken a 32-point lead into the last quarter. The Roys were outscored in the final term but managed to hold on for an impressive 20-point win. The victory keeps them in outright third, half a game ahead of Monash and Old Scotch, while Beaumaris remains on top, but is now only half a game clear of St Bedes/Mentone.

Monash and Old Brighton went into their Round 16 contest as two of the form teams of Premier B. Monash had won five out of six before being derailed by Fitzroy the previous week, while Old Brighton were on a five-game winning streak. Both teams sat on the edge of finals action and it was a classic ‘eight-point game,’ as a win would put Monash two games clear with two rounds to go. Their Round 9 clash was a low scoring affair, with the Blues getting over the top of the Tonners and keeping them scoreless in the final term. The Blues got the jump in this game, kicking six opening-quarter goals and keeping the Tonners to just two behinds. Old Brighton turned the tables and did the same thing to Monash in the second term, but could only manage 3.5 with the wind, leaving them trailing by three goals at half time. The Tonners continued their charge in the third quarter, kicking the first two goals in quick time thanks to William Bardoel and Ben Jakobi. However, Nick Petering stood up when the Blues needed him, kicking three goals on his own over the next seven minutes to wrestle back control for the visitors. Tom King took a strong contested mark and goaled for the Tonners, before Andre Headberry replied and then Alfred Oppy took advantage of a strong centre clearance and finished off for the Blues. Jakobi made Monash pay for a defensive error, receiving a free kick and putting it through. The Tonners worked hard to keep within striking distance, and a four goal deficit seemed gettable. The defence did their bit by keeping the Blues scoreless but they could only manage 2.4, leaving them eight points short and, as a result, two games out of finals action.

St Bede’s/Mentone has kept themselves in contention for top spot after holding on for a nine-point win over Ajax. The Tigers started with the wind and set up a 19 point advantage, before the Jackas held them goalless in the second and kicked four themselves, taking a half time lead. Dean Rotenberg got Ajax off to the perfect start, kicking the first goal of the third time. However, from there it was all St Bedes/Mentone, as Michael Barnes and Chris Richards chipped in, in addition to three goals from Josh Cowan. Cowan stirred up a bit of controversy late in the quarter with a big bump on David Fayman. In the ensuing scuffles, Ajax gave away a free kick and Cowan found himself with the ball in his hands and kicked a goal, just to rub salt into the Jackas wounds. Similarly to Old Brighton, Ajax put up a fight in the final term but failed to use the wind to their advantage, kicking 2.6 and falling nine-points shy.

Hampton have doubled their season win tally in the space of three weeks, after defeating the Parkdale Vultures. The Vultures surge ahead with a five goal second term, but the Rovers fought back to level things up at three-quarter time, setting the scene for a big last term. Daniel Corp led from the front and kicked the first for the Rovers in the first minute. They added a couple of behinds before putting another goal through and taking control of the game. Josh Manning nailed a goal for the Vultures and very nearly had another one soon after, when, after a scramble in the goal square, he hit the post under pressure. Sam Bradford stood up for the Rovers, kicking his side’s last two goals and giving them their fourth win for the season.

Round 17 Tips

Beaumaris vs. Old Brighton

Fitzroy vs. Old Scotch

Hampton Rovers vs. St Bedes/Mentone Tigers

Monash Blues vs. Parkdale Vultures

Old Haileybury vs. AJAX