Mitch op’t Hoog – @mitch_hoog
Last week, I predicted we would see some teams start to separate themselves from the pack in Round 6, however, as should be expected by now, there were yet more surprises to come in Premier C. While the top two teams, Old Haileybury and Caulfield Grammarians, went on to record strong wins in hard-fought matches, the mid table logjam worsened and Round 6 shone little light on the rest of the competition. Below the top two sides, there are now six teams separated only by percentage, each sitting on three wins and three losses.
Game of the round has to go to Old Geelong and Hampton Rovers who could only be separated by one point at the final siren, courtesy of a last minute Shem Curry goal for the Rovers. Old Geelong won’t be too happy with the loss after leading at every break. Ogs got off to a flyer, holding the Rovers goalless in the first quarter and kicking four of their own. In the second quarter, the Rovers managed to claw their way back into the contest but still trailed by three goals at the main break. By three quarter time, Ogs had once again extended their lead and the game looked all but over with the Rovers needing to just about double their score of 27 to beat Ogs who were sitting comfortably on 48 points. However, football can be a funny game and the last quarter saw the Rovers turn it on, kicking four goals and more than doubling their goal tally up until that point. Shem Curry’s final minute sealer was an absolute corker, after masterfully roving the pack, Curry picked the ball up cleanly in congestion and snapped it over his shoulder to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Shem Curry was awarded for his efforts and was named best on for Hampton (how could he not?). For the Ogs, it was Colby O’Brien who was judged best afield. The heartbreaking loss in a tight league sees the Ogs fall from sixth to ninth place. Conversely, the Rovers climb to seventh on the back of their third win and are now part of the three and three club in Premier C.
One of the more surprising wins of the round goes to Old Camberwell who showed great resilience in bouncing back from a 123-point loss at the hands of Old Haileybury to defeat in-form Williamstown CYMS by 11 points at Gordon Barnard Reserve. Old Camberwell made a few changes to their team list after last week, introducing Sam Boyce into the seniors for his first game of the year and Daniel Lattanzio for his senior debut. The fresh faces rejuvenated the Wellers who put in a geelong-like rebound and booted eight goals to two in the opening term. The strong start from the Wellers left the CYs playing catch-up for the remainder of the day and, despite their best efforts, were unable to claw their way back in front. The Wellers victory ends a two game winning streak for the CYs who will be eager to bounce back with a strong win against Kew next week. For the Wellers, Nicholas Adamson did the most damage on the scoreboard and bagged six goals, however, he was not alone and the Wellers had 10 individual goal scorers for the day. Williamstown CYMS had nine scorers themselves in a game they’ll be disappointed not to have won. Ben Hart and Simon Bennett were best for old Camberwell, while Ben Gray continued his fine form for the fourth-placed CYs. The Wellers rise one spot above Old Geelong on the ladder, rounding out the mid table jam as one of the six teams sitting at three and three.
Caulfield Grammarians once again proved why they’re a team to be feared in Premier C putting on a show in a high-scoring affair against Old Mentonians at Keysborough Playing Fields. Caulfield Grammarians were challenged early by the formidable Panthers side, with just four points separating the two teams at halftime. However, football is often a tale of two halves and this was the case out at Keysborough this week. Caulfield managed to kick a further nine goals after halftime while holding the panthers to just two majors. Caulfield are making a name for themselves as a high-scoring side, and managed to score 126 points against Mentonians, taking their points for tally up to 705 for the season, 93 points clear of the next highest (Old Haileybury with 612). The Fields may be concerned that they allowed the Panthers to score 91 points against them, however, if they continue posting big scores, it shouldn’t prove too much of a concern at this stage of the season. The win over the panthers was the Fields’ fifth win from six outings and the fifth time they scored at least 124 points this season, averaging 117.5 per game this season. Rising star Nick Baltas is proving to be a major influence for the Fields and a headache for opposing teams, kicking his second straight bag of five. The Fields hold second place on the ladder after their win, while the Panthers have now lost three in a row and slide down to fifth on the ladder.
Sitting in third spot, Marcellin had plenty to prove coming up against top-of-table, Old Haileybury in what would be the Eagles biggest test for the year. The top four clash didn’t disappoint and while Marcellin didn’t get the win, they proved they could match it with the top tier of Premier C football. A slow start would prove costly for the Eagles as Haileybury fired out of the blocks and took a 22-point lead into the first break. The second quarter was all about the Eagles resurgence and they managed to reduce the margin to just two points at halftime. Unfortunately, the Bloods kicked four goals to two in the third term which is where the game was won and lost and the scoreline was 14 points in favour of Haileybury at three quarter time. The final quarter was a hotly contested battle with both teams scoring four goals, but in the end, Old Haileybury proved too strong to overcome and ran the game out 16-point winners. Nathan Waite booted four goals for the Bloods, continuing his red-hot form in 2017. For the Eagles, Jono Blanch was once again impeccable and was judged best on for the third week in a row! Both teams retain their positions on the ladder, however, Marcellin only hold third spot due their strong percentage of 118.94%, with five teams below them on an equal win-loss tally.
Old Ivanhoe managed to secure their third win for the year, comfortably accounting for Kew by 76 points at Chelsworth Park. The Bears are still searching for their first win in 2017 as the are now two games clear at the bottom of the ladder. After these two sides fought it out in a one-point thriller last year, one could be forgiven for thinking this game might be a tighter contest. The Hoers channelled all of their recent form and led from start to finish. The first half was where Old Ivanhoe did most of their damage, piling on nine goals to the bears two. Kew did show some signs of resistance in the last quarter but possibly had a bit to do with the Hoers putting the cue in the rack early. Carl Groth starred for the Hoers, kicking four goals while he was aptly supported Arthur Solomidis who dominated all day and kicked three of his own. No big surprises from the Bears camp with forward Andrew Brazzale doing most of the heavy lifting up forward and kicking three of his side’s five goals. Brazzale has kicked 16 of his team’s 38 goals for the year, which is a worrying sign for any team.