A number of close victories in Round 11 could potentially be season defining as it saw teams break away from the mid-table deadlock and shape the ladder towards what it might look like at the end of the season.
All conquering UHS-VU AFC faced Point Cook at the Brens Oval looking to continue their flawless season. For Point Cook, who currently sit in ninth place, every game is crucial in defining what division they’ll be playing their football in next year. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, UHS sprinted out of the blocks to record 13 scoring shots in the first quarter, with Brandon Jackson looking as dangerous as ever. Point Cook’s sluggish start sealed their fate as they were playing catch up against a superior side for the rest of the day, eventually succumbing to UHS by 59 points. Brandon Jackson continued his good form from the first term, ending the day with five majors and a best on ground nod. Mitchell Sweeney, who kicked seven goals and was dominant all day, ably supported Brandon Jackson. Robbie Milne was the Bulldogs most impressive player as Kirk Heberle found form kicking four goals.
Canterbury were looking to make amends for their loss against Power House when they hosted Albert Park who were full of confidence fresh off their big win against South Melbourne Districts in Round 10. The game was a must-win for both sides to keep their respective finals aspirations alive. The Cobras started well having nine scoring shots and claiming an eight-point advantage heading into the first change. However, Albert Park proved their mettle in the second, clawing their way back into the lead by three points at halftime. In the third, Jason Blakemore was instrumental for the home side as the lead changed a number of times, eventually remaining in favour of Albert Park who were up by ten at the final break. However, the ten-point deficit quickly disintegrated as Canterbury kicked three goals and contained Albert Park to just one point in the final term. Mitchell Szabo was outstanding for the Cobras, finishing with three for the day. Jack Amies and Tyson Cattle lead the charge for the Falcons and were more than admirable in defeat. Albert Park will be disappointed they let they let the lead slip in the last while the Cobras will breathe a sigh of relief after snatching a gritty eight-point victory from the jaws of defeat.
Richmond Central have surprised many people over the last few weeks after their slow start to the season, but they faced a tough assignment coming up against the in-form Swinburne University at Kevin Bartlett Reserve. The Snakes began the game well, holding a 14-point buffer at quarter time. With the good work of William Gubbins and Daniel Close, Swinburne rallied to get within one point of the Snakes at the main break. The third quarter belonged to the Snakes, as they drove home 11 scoring shots to three. However, inaccuracy in front of goal kept the Razorbacks in the game. Trailing by 24-points, the door was left open for a final quarter comeback. The Razorbacks were valiant in their effort to come from behind, cutting the deficit back to the final losing margin of six points. There were plenty of promising signs for Swinburne as they face top of the table UHS-VU next week. For the Snakes, Jared Goldsack collected best on ground as Simon Kenny, Joshua Sharp and Jake Munro kicked two goals apiece.
South Melbourne Districts remain winless after their loss to Westbourne Grammarians on the weekend. Westbourne travelled to Lindsay Hassett Oval looking to continue their winning streak after their close shave against Point Cook in Round 10. The Warriors sprinted out to a 19-point lead at quarter time with Michael Culliver putting in a prolific performance through the midfield on his way to gaining best on ground honours. After the first quarter, the Warriors continued to stretch their lead at each change. Charles Hunter was dangerous in front of goal, ending the day with five for the Warriors. Despite their eventual 50-point loss, there were some admirable efforts from Scott Balestra and Jordan Heis who worked tirelessly all day for South Melbourne Districts.
Power House were pushed to the limit by La Trobe University but came out on top to remain in second place and just one win away from the undefeated UHS-VU. La Trobe caught the premiership contenders off guard as they found themselves with an 11-point advantage at quarter time. However, the House showed their class in the second, holding the Trobers scoreless and claiming seven scoring shots of their own to turn the tables and lead by 11 points at the main break. The third term was tightly contested and the game looked to be a low-scoring affair heading into the final term. However, the game opened right up in the last and both teams combined for a total of 30 scoring shots, Power House with 12 and the Trobers with 18. The ball flew from end to end with ease for both sides, however, Power House proved why they’re sitting in second and were able to steady the ship and finish the game 12-point victors. Had La Trobe taken their chances in the early stages of the final term, the score line could’ve been very different. Nicholas Nagel continued his prolific 2017, snagging seven majors for the day, whilst Sam Confait and Benjamin Circosta were the most impressive for the home side. Mathew Hay and David Hacker were the best players for La Trobe as Jonathon Neville found form to boot five goals in a losing side.