There were some hard-fought wins to top four prospects in Round 12 of Division 3 football; Westbourne had to dig deep to come from behind and claim an important victory over La Trobe while Point Cook defeated the Snakes to remain just one game outside the top four and still in the hunt for a finals berth. While the top two spots are locked away to Power House and UHS-VU, there’s still a number of teams vying for third and fourth spot on the ladder. The final third of the home and away season should prove to be a tantalising climax for spectators, clubs, and players alike.
UHS-VU continued their faultless season with yet another convincing win, this time over Swinburne University. Finals are a certainty for the Vultures, and they have been for some time, conversely, every game is important for Swinburne as they now sit fifth on the ladder with only percentage keeping them out of the top four. UHS-VU showed no signs of lethargy coming off the break as they lead by 18 points at the first change. It was the Vultures usual suspects doing most of the damage, with Mitch Sweeney (4 goals) and Sam McSweeney (3) dangerous in front of the big sticks. It was one way traffic most of the day as the lead crept out to an eventual 71 points due to the good work of Esubalew Ramsay who recorded a best on ground performance. For the Razorbacks, Tim Clark lead the resistance being their most impressive player, while Ben Higgins was the only multiple goal kicker with two goals for the day. Swinburne will look to return to form when they face Point Cook next week.
Westbourne Grammarians had a gritty away victory over La Trobe University. The lead changed hands many times throughout the day, but in the end, the Warriors proved too strong. The game began well for the Warriors as they lead La Trobe by 10 points off the back of good work of James Porter who kicked five goals for the day and earned a best on ground nod in the process. However, inaccurate kicking by Westbourne left the door open for the Trobers who snatched back the lead and led by eight points at three quarter time. The home side would have fancied their chances at pulling a prized scalp of the premiership contender but it was the Warrior’s inaccuracy that ultimately kept them in the game. Westbourne managed to kick truly in the last and had dojust enough to scrape home by seven points. In a disappointing day for La Trobe, David Hacker was their best player as Michael Burrowes (3), Mitchell Gleeson (3) and Jonathon Neville (2) did most of the damage in front of goals. Both sides have season-defining games in Round 13 with Westbourne facing Canterbury and La Trobe facing Richmond Central.
Canterbury had a percentage boosting victory over bottom placed South Melbourne at Lindsay Hassett Oval. Those in the South Melbourne camp will be thinking about the possibility of relegation with the Bloods still winless after 12 games. The writing was on the wall early in the game with the Cobras recording 18 scoring shots in the first quarter and leading by 33 points at the first change. A rather bizarre second quarter of football saw only one point by either side with Canterbury kicking the solitary point. Jason Blakemore was instrumental for the Cobras gaining best on ground honours in the process and was ably supported by the Szabos who both kicked four for the day. The third quarter saw a more normal pattern of scoring with Canterbury booting eight goals to ensure victory. The eventual winning margin was 92 points allowing Canterbury to claim fourth spot on the ladder via percentage. For South Melbourne, Jamie Brooker was their most impressive player whilst Jordan Heis, Rory Kennedy and Nick Leach all kicked goals.
Every game is important for Albert Park at this stage of the season as they are now in a battle to save themselves from relegation. They gave themselves every opportunity to win against premiership contenders Power House as they held a 17-point advantage at quarter time. Benjamin May and Luke Liddiard were impressive around the ground. Unfortunately for Albert Park, Power House proved their mettle in the second quarter to record 11 scoring shots and wrestle back a 7-point lead at the main break. Adam Collett collected best on ground honours for the House as Sam Confait (4) did most of the damage in front of goal. The eventual margin was 24 points as the House kicked away in the last half. The House will be confident in continuing their good form against bottom placed South Melbourne next week.
Point Cook were looking to rebound after a heavy loss to top of the table UHS-VU in Round 11 as they hosted Richmond Central at the Saltwater Reserve. The Bulldogs led by less than a goal at quarter time but by halftime, they had extended their lead out to 39 points. Richmond Central have been somewhat of a surprise package in the 2017 season and showed why they shouldn’t be ignored when they played some of their best footy to reduce the margin back to 19 points at three quarter time. Their good footy was led largely through the good work of Jake Munro who booted four goals, claiming his 53rd for the year. In the process, Stewart Beswick also found form and was named the Snakes best player. Eventually, however, the Bulldogs had done enough to maintain the lead and managed to record a 12-point victory. Marcus Groves was the Bulldogs best player and was supported in front of goal by Kirk Heberle (3) and Jordan Steen (2).