Ogs bounce back, Bloods stand tall

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Mitch op’t Hoog – @mitch_hoog

Round 7 was my first week as Premier C scribe where I was able to correctly predict all five of the matches. I’m hoping that’s more of a testament to the tight contest we have in Premier C as opposed to my poor tipping skills. While the results went the way you’d expect in Round 7, that’s not to say there weren’t any surprises. Old Ivanhoe continued to confuse spectators as they fell to Old Geelong who were able to bounce back from a heart-breaking one point loss and prove their mettle, which was being questioned by some. Additionally, Old Camberwell lost to the Panthers and still managed to climb a spot on the ladder. While the competition starts to take a more definitive form, there’s still only one game separating third spot and ninth spot on the ladder, meaning games over the next month will prove to be crucial to each team’s finals hopes.

Marcellin have had a rough two weeks, coming against the top two teams on the trot, both away from home. Last week against Old Haileybury, despite losing, they showed that they were capable of matching it with the best in Premier C, however, this week at Glenhuntly Oval it was a different story. Possibly due to the mental exhaustion of last week’s tough game, Marcellin got off to a very sluggish start, failing to register a score in the opening term and allowing caulfield to use the wind to kick ahead by nine goals. At the first break, the Fielders held a very comfortable 59-point lead. With the wind in the second term, Marcellin managed to have more scoring shots than Caulfield (five to seven), but failed to make any inroads due to their inaccuracy. The lead at halftime had marginally increased to 62 points. Back with the wind in the third term, Caulfield kicked a further three goals ahead while holding the Eagles goalless to put the result beyond doubt. The Eagles did stage a mini resurgence in the final quarter and outscored the Fielders, however, the 82-point three quarter time deficit was always going to be a tall order, even kicking with the strong wind. 10 individual goal-scorers peppered the scoreboard for Caulfield Grammarians with Will Osborn and rising star Nick Baltas doing the most damage kicking three apiece. At this stage of the year, kicking winning scores is not an issue for Caulfield as they’ve respectively scored over 120 points in six of their seven games this year. The only game they failed to do so was against defensive powerhouse, Old Haileybury, who are the only team to defeat the Fielders’ this year.

Kew, still searching for their first win of the year, faced off against Williamstown CYMS who were coming off a close defeat at the hands of Old Camberwell in Round 6. This match-up would be a challenge for a Kew as the CYs at their best have proven to be able to compete with the top teams in Premier C. A strong breeze at Victoria Park allowed the Bears to get off to the best possible start, kicking six goals straight to the CY’s two goals. In the second term, the story changed and the CYs made the most of the breeze, letting their sails down and putting on an offensive clinic, leaving the Bears in their wake. Williamstown CYMS kicked 10 goals in the second quarter and claimed a 23-point halftime buffer. The last half was an even battle, and while the goals continued to flow, neither side took full advantage of the wind as the CYs had in the second quarter. Ultimately, Williamstown CYMS proved too good and ran the game out to win by 33-points. The final score line read 107 to 140 in what was with a doubt Kew’s best performance for the year. The Bears will be disappointed not to have claimed their first scalp of 2017, yet there were plenty of good signs for them to build on moving forward. Andrew Brazzale was once again dominant, kicking six in a BOG performance, however, this week he was not left to do all the work alone. Rob Maibaum and Sam Glover kicked three each while Daniel Boehm worked tirelessly all day. For the CYs, Ben Gray kicked five goals and continued his strong year while Nick Blackney was awarded BOG in his best performance of 2017.

After their heartbreaking loss last week, courtesy of a last-minute Rovers goal, Round 7 would be a true test of Old Geelong’s character. To make it all the more challenging, the Ogs were coming up against an unpredictable Old Ivanhoe who have taken it to, and even beaten, some of the top sides in Premier C. However, Old Geelong weren’t ready or willing to lose another in close circumstances and put all of last week’s frustration and disappointment behind them to jump the Hoers unawares and take a 12-goal lead into halftime. Old Ivanhoe had only managed three scoring shots for the half, converting just the one major. Conversely, Old Geelong had piled on 12 goals from 20 scoring shots in the first two quarters. The game was all but over at halftime, and the Ogs continued to kick away from a lacklustre Old Ivanhoe and claim an emphatic 103-point victory. Had the Hoers not had Charlie Groth on their side, the margin may have been even greater as he kicked three of his team’s four goals for the day. For the Ogs, it was a truly dominant performance with 12 individual players kicking at least one goal. Edward Keach (1) was judged best on for the winning side who find themselves at fifth on the ladder after sitting in ninth spot last week. Old Ivanhoe have slipped down to eighth spot, with an equal win-loss ratio to the Ogs but a percentage of just 72.31%.

Coming off their exciting one-point thriller against Old Geelong, Hampton Rovers would be faced with a big challenge of taking on the top side, Old Haileybury. Entering the game with high hopes, the joy from last week’s win would come to a screeching halt for the Rovers as the Bloods helped themselves to a five-goal first quarter while holding Hampton goalless. Unfortunately for the Rovers, the score line didn’t improve much from there with Old Haileybury increasing their margin at every break, even containing the Rovers to a second goalless quarter in the third term. From quarter time, the Bloods kicked an impressive 17 of the next 24 goals of the match to round out their emphatic 91-point victory. While the scorecard is a forgettable one for the Rovers, they did manage to show a few positive signs during the final term bagging four of their seven goals – though they were still outscored by an unforgiving Haileybury. The Bloods will be thrilled with their convincing win as they kicked their second biggest score for the year and had 10 individual goalscorers, including John Nicolopoulos with seven. In saying that, the real strength of this Old Haileybury side is their defence; The Bloods have given up the least amount of points against this season at just 394, 118 better than their next best (Caulfield with 512 points against). Their are some good signs there for Old Haileybury and they remain my flag favourite despite Caulfield’s big win in Round 7.

Old Mentonians were looking to bounce back from two losses in a row and claim a spot in the top four after slipping down to fifth place after Round 6. Old Camberwell would be looking to build on their impressive Round 6 win against Williamstown CYMS with the inclusion of Hawthorn premiership player, Michael Osborne. The Wellers’ would’ve been feeling confident coming up against an out-of-form Panthers side, however, despite the classy addition of Osborne, the game started as a scrappy arm wrestle out at Keysborough Playing Fields with only three goals scored in the opening quarter. In the second quarter, the game opened up and the Panthers took full advantage of their run and carry, straightening up in front of goal and kicking eight goals from 11 attempts to take a nice 39-point buffer into the long break. The Wellers came out firing in the third and kicked 6.6 to Old Mentonians 3.2 to get themselves within striking distance of the panthers at three quarter time. While the Wellers have pulled off a few come-from-behind victories this year, Old Mentonians proved too strong with the wind behind them and managed to hold off a determined Old Camberwell by 25 points. James Allen, with three goals for the Wellers, played his best game for the year, while Jack Davis continued his stellar 2017 season and bagged three of his own for the Panthers. The Panthers sneak back into the top four on percentage. While, despite the loss, the Wellers managed to climb a spot on the ladder and go from eighth to seventh, ahead of Hampton Rovers on percentage.