Mitch op’t Hoog – @mitch_toog
Following their first loss of 2017 in Round 3, Canterbury were looking to bounce back into form against Albert Park. While it was a slow start to the game, which saw just four goals kicked in the first half, a strong final quarter lead Canterbury to a comfortable 43-point win at Sportscover Arena. At three quarter time, the score might as well have been level with Canterbury holding onto a miniscule one-point lead and the game still very much in the balance. With the scene set for a big final quarter, the big moment called for a big game player to put their hand up and take control. Enter Scott Fitzgerald and Nick Szabo for the Cobras. On the back of Fitzgerald’s leadership and Nick Szabo’s skill, the Cobra’s raced home to complete an eight-goals-to-one final stanza and claim a hard-earned victory. Given that up until three quarter time, the Cobras had only snagged five goals, their last quarter turnaround was a spectacular achievement. Thomas Lowden did the most scoreboard damage, kicking three for the third-placed Cobras, while Daniel Ella led the charge as the best Falcon for the day. The Falcons are currently sitting in sixth place with two wins for the season.
After kicking 12 majors last week and leading his team to an important victory, Power House spearhead, Nick Nagel, would be sidelined with a hamstring injury for his team’s Round 4 clash against Point Cook. The Bulldogs started the game strong and were leading by eight points at quarter time, however, from quarter time onwards, it was all about the House. Despite the seemingly huge loss of Nagel, their seemed to be no issues up forward for Power House. It was Carroll who put his hand up to fill the big bearded man’s shoes, snagging eight of his own in a standout performance. Point Cook fought admirably all day and at three quarter time were still within striking distance of the House. However, a nine-goal final term from the House put all chances of a come-from-behind victory to rest for Point Cook. Power House came home strong to record a 69-point victory. As mentioned, it was Carrol up forward who did a lot of the heavy lifting for Power House, while he was well supported by Fiachra O’deasmhunaigh and Aidan Reynolds who worked their magic all around the ground. Andrew Auciello was the best for Point Cook and can hold his head high in defeat as his team sit stagnant in eighth place on the ladder. The House remain undefeated and sit in second spot, below only UHS-VU.
In what was predicted to be a lopsided affair, the winless Richmond Central travelled away from home to challenge the top-of-the-table, undefeated UHS-VU. The game started with a bang for the Snakes as they raced out to a four goal lead at quarter time, kicking five goals to UHS’s one. One wonders whether UHS got ahead of themselves before the game had even started. Whatever the case may be, UHS awoke in the second term and clawed their way back into the contest, reducing the margin to 13 points at the long break. The third quarter was where it all started to come undone for Richmond as they were held goalless as UHS banged home five majors of their own, reminding us why they’re sitting at the top of the ladder. The 13-point halftime lead had been overcome and UHS held a three-goal ascendancy heading into the final term. In an even last quarter, each team managed to kick two goals and UHS escaped a close shave with a 21-point win. The Snakes will be disappointed to have let that win go begging, however, they should be feeling rejuvenated with plenty of positives to take from their narrow loss. One of those positives was the performance of Jared Goldsack in his first outing for the year. The come-from-behind victory for UHS was inspired by both Brandon Jackson (three) and Ethan Clarke who stood up when it mattered.
While Richmond almost snagged an upset against the ladder leader, the surprise victory of the round goes to Swinburne University who came from behind against La Trobe University to claim an eight-point win. Swinburne trailed at every break, but never allowed La Trobe to run too far ahead. At half time the Trobers lead was four points and, after a tight premiership quarter, the Razorbacks reduced the margin to two points at three quarter time. After outscoring La Trobe in the third, Swinburne could almost taste victory. Inspired by Jackson Manning (three), the Razorbacks slotted home four goals to two in the final stanza to come from behind and claim their second win of the year. Once again, Ben Higgins was the leading goalscorer for Swinburne, nailing four goals for the second successive week. For La Trobe, Mitchell Gleeson with three goals was judged best on ground and he’ll be disappointed his team let the victory slip through their fingers. La Trobe drop down to fifth on the ladder, while Swinburne climb the ranks to sit at sixth.
South Melbourne Districts found themselves on the wrong end of a Westbourne shellacking as they continue their search for their first win in 2017. Sitting at 1-2 heading into Round 4, some questions were starting to be asked of Westbourne given they entered 2017 as potential contenders for the flag. Well, they’ve certainly answered all the naysayers with a convincing 101-point victory. Westbourne put in a strong team performance and shared the treats, with nine individual goal-scorers for the game. Ali Eqbal and Nick Schiano did the most damage, combining for eight goals. Unfortunately, South Melbourne could only muster two goals for the game. On the back of his solid performance for Westbourne, Schiano brings his season tally to 14 and will be one for defenders to watch as the season progresses. After losing their senior coach two weeks ago, the Swans will hope in the coming weeks they can turn their season around for the better.