Fifth & final fight in Division 1

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 1 Men's

By Tom Feldgen – tfeldgen

Old Mentonians and Old Geelong will meet for the fifth time this season after the Oggers downed PEGS by 40 points to book themselves a spot in the Division 1 Grand Final and Premier C in 2017. It is the dream finale. After one of the most unpredictable seasons in VAFA history the two best teams in the division meet once again in what will be a battle for the ages. After their four encounters this season it is two a piece. Isn’t it fitting that we have a decider of such epic proportions?

A slight breeze was the only factor preventing perfect conditions at Bill Lawry Oval on Sunday and it was the Ogs that played the conditions best all day long. The first half was largely controlled by Old Geelong, yet poor conversion cost them dearly as it did in their previous final against the Panthers. The 25-point half-time margin flattered PEGS and they did their chances no harm in the third stanza with a clinical five goals straight. 22-points was the margin going into the last. There was a pulse for the boys from the runway. Unfortunately for them their hope was short lived as the Ogs ran away, broke the lines, moved the ball exquisitely by hand and produced six final quarter goals to book themselves a well-earned spot in the big dance.

Former Cat and team of the year midfielder George Burbury was the star of the show with a bag of five in a dominant display. Jock Grimshaw and Ryan Parsons added two crucial majors of their own. Another star Ogger Colby O’Brien was absolutely everywhere, Sandon James played his role to perfection and under 19 revelation Harry Morrison showed he is well and truly worthy of a spot in the Oggers finals outfit and will provide much excitement moving forward.

It was a disappointing day for PEGS as they were unable to bounce straight back up to Premier C following relegation in 2015. David Borg was the focal point up forward with three majors, Daniel Flaherty added two of his own and Cam Livori capped off an outstanding season with two majors and the honour of being named PEGS best player on the big stage of a preliminary final. Brad Jones, Daniel Ryan and Jack Condon all fought valiantly. Another season in Division 1 waits for PEGS who will hope to go two wins better in 2017.

Now… onto the big one. A pre-season dating back to November 2015, team bonding activities, gruelling time-trials, the marathon that is the 18 round home and away season and two weeks of finals footy all comes down to this weekend. Anything that has happened prior to this Saturday counts for nothing. This is what defines players; their performances on the big stage are what count. Coaches will demand players to stick to the game plan and structures, although it will be difficult for all not to get caught up in the emotion that comes with playing in the culminating fixture. Who will make a name for themselves? Who cares the most? Who wants it more? Who will stand up? All will be answered as these two proud clubs go head to head at Coburg City Oval.

Both sides will need to go in with detailed plans to curtail the opposition superstars. For Old Geelong, George Burbury is the obvious one who will have a fair say in how close they get to holding up the cup. However, ball magnets Colby O’Brien and Hugh McKay will cause headaches as well. Josh Hutley will provide run and carry from the back half, Sam Youngman could bob up and kick a handful and of course the Panthers best defender simply has to go to the competitions premier centre half forward, Callum Wood. There will be plenty to think about for the Panthers.

As there will be for the Ogs too. The Panthers line up is jam packed with match winners and their depth across the board has been an obvious strength all season. Dynamic forwards Kyle Conlon and Darcy Brown are perhaps where their greatest strength lies. These two are a dynamic duo that complements each other superbly. Cam Sharp has the ability to cut a side to pieces along the wing, Aaron Hodges provides fantastic rebound from defence and the rangy Dustan Mills is very hard to match up on and will cause serious qualms for the Ogs. It is fair to say both sides will have a lot on their plate all over the ground.

The scene is set. I have no doubt this game will live up to all expectations. As has been the case for many fixtures this season it is a real toss of the coin match up. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I have a feeling the it is time for the Ogs to unleash, make a stand and head to Premier C with a flag under the belt. Old Geelong by four points for me!

Congratulations to both sides for all they have achieved throughout this enthralling season. It has been a pleasure to watch. Saturday will be no different.

GRAND FINAL

Old Mentonians vs Old Geelong