Top 5 locked in Division 1, but who misses out?

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 1 Men's

Brin Duggan – @BrinDuggan

After 11 rounds, I’m making the call: The top five is set. That should not be a deterrent, however. Things are reaching fever pitch as the bottom five sides are all battling to remain in D1 while the top five will start putting their best foot forward in an attempt to secure the most favourable positions come finals time.

In game one of Round 11, Brunswick extended their arms to Oakleigh as they looked to balance their turbulent season. At half time, the Krushers led by 10 points but inaccuracy marred the Brunswick forward efficiency. Unfortunately for the NOBS, Oakleigh piled on 8.12 while their, at times shaky, defence held Brunswick to two goals, in an inspired second half. The Oaks ran away with a 53-point win and remained in contention for the coveted fourth spot on the ladder. Tim Scott was typically unstoppable in front of the sticks, booting four snags, but it was Nick “Flipper” Seel who received the BOG nod after a standout four-quarter performance. In his 300th game, Trevor Bromley was inspiration and booted a goal in an unforgettable performance. On a disappointing day for Brunswick, Geremie Ganino was the beacon that shone the brightest as he continued his purple patch.

Meanwhile, Ivanhoe welcomed Preston with a bold plan to reverse the 100-point loss they suffered at the Bullants’ hands in round one. Despite being seemingly out of their depth, Ivanhoe started like a firecracker, bolting out to an impressive 33-point quarter time lead. Preston had to do something to stop the bleeding and applied a tourniquet in the second, holding the Hoes to just one point and reducing the margin to a manageable 15-points. Ivanhoe would not be silenced though, returning after halftime to outscore the Bullants by five points and run out eventual 20-point victors. The victory came on the back of Stefan Zervides booting four goals and the irrepressible Mali Jacobs, in their best performances of the year. Preston dropped from third to fourth after the shock loss but Nick De Andrade and Christian Fontana will be happy with their individual performances. The win is significant for Ivanhoe as they jump two games clear of relegation.

Ladder leader PEGS faced off against Therry Penola who were looking to rebound from their hapless failing the week before. After a poor showing in the reverse fixture, Therry had it all ahead of them. To make matters worse, PEGS were celebrating the 250th game of legend, Daniel Ryan, and were looking to make it a memorable milestone match. As it happened, Therry put in much more of a fight than was expected. They shut down Adrian Romanyk and forced PEGS into tough shots. However, the Bombers could not be held down, and despite their harrowing inaccuracy, led by 29-points at the end of the premiership quarter. A tightly contested last quarter saw PEGS run out 27-point winners but 17 Bomber behinds belied the margin of victory. Trent Skurrie continued his impressive season with four goals and a BOG nod for PEGS and Daniel Ryan played an impressive 250th. For the Lions, it was Matthew Lyons who roared the loudest in his best game for the year.

After an impressive outing against SMS, St John’s were hoping for a similarly competitive effort against red-hot Ormond. At quarter time, that determination was in effect as they led the in-form side by six points. But that’s where it ended. The JOCs were out run, out gunned and out-scored comprehensively for the rest of the match. Ormond put through 19 goals and held St Johns to just seven as they continued their mid-season dominance and romped to a 72-point victory. Once again for the JOCs, Aaron Thornton could not be held down as he crashed through five majors, half of his team’s score, while Daniel Abou-Karroum was named their best. Monders forward Luke Duthie booted seven goals, making it 13 in two weeks and Chris Coghlan was the pick of the even Ormond 22. The win saw Ormond jump Preston into third spot with an astronomical percentage of 163 while St Johns remain locked in the relegation zone.

As rank outsiders, Whitefriars hosted SMS who were on a three game win streak. Perusing the reverse fixture spelt grim tidings for even the most fervent of the Friars faithful. Quarter time came and things were not looking positive, SMS led by 21-points and the Friars had only managed one major and half time looked no better despite the Saints’ inaccuracy. And, after the main break, SMS put on their down-hill skies and slid out to a comprehensive 63-point victory. The Friars caught the inaccuracy bug as well managing just 7.13 for the match. Angus Hands snared two of those majors but it was the stoic Nick Florio that tried his best to hold his side together in the loss. Again, it was the forward line that exulted the damage for SMS with Manny Dolan and Dan Ryan combining for nine goals. Dolan added another string to his bow as he consistently set up his teammates and was rewarded when he was named his side’s best.

Every match from here is crucial for the final position of all sides, starting with round 12. Brunswick host Ivanhoe in what should be a hotly contested encounter. The Hoes are unpredictable but should snare this one. A huge game at E.E Gunn has Ormond up against SMS. In a toss-of-the-coin game, Ormond should claim a big scalp. A relegation relevant battle between Therry and St Johns should make for some great viewing. I’m going with the JOCs to win on the back of Aaron Thornton. Oakleigh host PEGS in a match that they simply must win if they hope to play finals. I feel an upset is on the cards, Oaks by 15. Finally, Whitefriars face a Preston side coming off a disappointing loss. Bad news ahead for Whitefriars, Bullants by plenty.