David Chalmers – @DAChalmers81
Having picked 13 of 15 games correctly to start the Premier B season, if I was feeling cocky I might venture to declare this season pretty clear-cut and already sorted. However, despite the Round 3 results going mainly as I expected with the “Big Three” continuing on their merry way, St Bernards and Old Scotch by no means had everything their own way. Well done to Mazenod on breaking through for their first win back in B section.
In the first two rounds there were only three games decided by 10 points or less, Ajax had played in two of them. Vice-captain Daniel Cohen and Adam Caplan were a couple of handy inclusions for the Jackas who were facing a Vultures side searching for their first win. Parkdale lost their vice-captain Dan Moloney who was among the best for both games, but his replacement Sam Chitty put in a good one in his first game for the season. The Jackas started with a five-goals-to-one opener and maintained a narrow lead at halftime. The Vultures replied with five goals of their own in the third, while Ajax could only manage 2.5, and the home side took a five point lead into the final change. The Jackas ran over the top of the vultures with a three goal final term to secure the nine-point victory. Ajax were led by Ashley Kalb, who slotted three goals, while Josh Green and Nathan Peterson also kicked three each for the Vultures.
After a less-than-ideal start to their time back in Premier B, Mazenod made six changes to their line-up: Urban, Sier, Munro and Thomas were all among the Nodders best in the first two weeks, but coach Ben Phibbs (two goals) was back out on the field for his first game for the year. The Blues were without Joe Harrison (in the best twice) and goalkicker Andrew Pitson, but Matthew Davidson was in for his first game and committed well, kicking three goals. After a goalless first term, Monash kicked five in the second to take a slender half time lead. Mazenod bounced back with four of their own in the third and managed to hold the Blues at bay in the last for their first win of the 2017 season.
The two Premier-relegated sides have had vastly different starts to their Premier B campaigns. Old Carey were dealt with by Old Scotch and then had a two-point loss to Ajax; while a red-hot St Bernards unit averaged 20 goals and had wins of 87 and 78 to their name in the opening two rounds. After a competitive opening term, the Snowdogs kicked five in the second to give themselves some breathing space at half time. They managed to keep the Panthers at bay in the third, maintaining their ascendancy, but three Panther goals to one in the last brought them within 16 points. Adam Bentick continued his excellent early season form for St Bernards, while goalkickers Jack McNamara and Edyn Sibbald again featured heavily. Chris Spinella was a handy inclusion with three goals, while Morgan Evans added another three for Old Carey.
Old Scotch produced yet another late show to win coming from behind on a glorious day at McQueen Financial Group Park. After starting brightly to grab an early five goal lead, the Cards, for the second week running, hit the snooze button, as Premier B newcomers Peninsula outplayed Scotch with a greater desire for the contest. The Scotchies led at quarter time but that lead was all but gone at the half. The third quarter was a dour affair, with the Cards still trailing by 19 points heading into the last. Looking devoid of inspiration, it was hard to see just how the Scotchies were going to turn this game around. But turn it around they did! The last quarter saw Scotchies, who had been unsighted all day, suddenly spring to life and play like supermen. With greater commitment and dash, the Cards ran over the top of the brave Peninsula boys. Skipper Jack Bull was inspirational as he continuously won the ball and inspired his teammates. The Cards slammed on goal after goal, to first reel in the deficit and then put daylight between themselves and Peninsula. By the time the final siren sounded, Scotch had unbelievably ran out winners by 41 points after a herculean nine goal last quarter. Slippery half forward, Jono “The Dagger” Daggian, was adjudged best afield with his four goals, including some miraculous last quarter snaps. With Jack Bull leading by example and stalwarts Hill, Clarke, Sansom and Gene van den Broek all contributing heavily, the Cards looked like world beaters in the last stanza (thanks to Lachie Cooley). Peninsula made three changes to the side that lost by seven goals to Fitzroy in Round 2, including Bryce Kellerman (in best both games) but James Fletcher was impressive in his first game for the season, kicking a goal and finishing among his team’s best.
Fitzroy and Old Brighton were both undefeated after two rounds, so something had to give. The Tonners fielded an unchanged line-up, while the Roys lost Luke Baker (in the best both weeks) but gained vice-captain Tom Cheshire for his first game of the season. Brighton’s defenders are working really well together, providing the impetus for many of the team’s forward thrusts. Fitzroy tackled and worked hard, but couldn’t penetrate the confident Tonner back six, led by Ben Austen who returned to his dashing best, along with Tom Larkworthy and Dylan Verney, who frustrated the Lions with their intercept marking and attacking run. The Tonners had hardworking mid-fielders, Brock Rawlinson and Tom Fisher, continually winning the ball in close and Raury Bolger kicked early goals in a hotly contested first half. Fitzroy rallied early in the third term and the Tonners needed a spark, which came when Tom King was switched into the ruck. His energy and superb pass to honour Alex Mastromanno’s lead, resulted in Brighton’s seventh goal. From there it was all one-way traffic as the Tonners surged away as the young Lions tired in the last fifteen minutes of the final term, conceding some easy goals (thanks to Andrew Mullett). Old Brighton Grammarians’ third win had supporters smiling, especially as their dashing defence held their opponents to such a low return allowing the Tonners to climb to the top of the Premier B table.
Fitzroy v St Bernards
Peninsula v Mazenod
Monash v Old Brighton
Ajax v Old Scotch
Parkdale v Old Carey