David Chalmers – @DAChalmers81
We are now two-thirds of the way through the season, and given the topsy-turvy nature of recent weeks, Round 12 was one out of the box as we witnessed a couple of season highs with 139 goals kicked and the average winning margin reaching 77 points. The fascinating thing about the season is that every team still has something to play for; The Big Three now have a three game gap on the rest while Ajax, Mazenod and Monash lead the hunt for fourth spot. Down the bottom, Parkdale and Peninsula are in the relegation zone but Old Carey and Fitzroy are just one game clear. Let’s take a look back at last week’s games while also casting a glance to the season ahead.
Ajax (4th, 6-6): Despite losing three of their last four, an earlier three game winning streak has been enough to keep Ajax in the top four for the last seven weeks. The Jackas have used more players than any other team in Premier B (46) and were no match for Old Scotch in Round 12. David Fayman (22 goals) and Ben Kalmus were among the outs, while Ward Williams and Michael Voinsky combined for three goals in their first appearances for the season. Jake Lew (26) leads the Jackas goal kicking. They finish the season with the next three games against lower sides, before facing two fellow top-four sides in the final three weeks.
Fitzroy (8th, 4-8): Four weeks ago Fitzroy were knocking on the door of the finals but it has been a lean month, topped off by a 129-point loss to St Bernards in Round 12. The Roys made six changes, including Rory Angiolella, but Max Ellis, Emile Pavlich and Ross Borland all returned and played well. Nino Lazzaro (19) and Corbin Stevic (18) are the Roys leading goalkickers, while Ellis and Ted Clayton have featured regularly among the best players. They have a pretty good run home, with Old Scotch the only one of the Big Three they will have to face.
Mazenod (6th, 5-7): The Nodders’ Round 12 clash with Monash was a classic ‘eight point game’: a win would have put them level with Ajax in fourth and given them a two-game buffer on the chasing pack. The Blues led all day and won comfortably, replacing Mazenod in 5th spot. The Nodders have not been able to maintain any consistency during the season so far, with their win-loss record reading like a yo-yo. Brad Kovac (18), Ben Phibbs (11) and Liam Welsford (11) lead the goalkicking. The Nodders have a tough finish to their season when they face Old Scotch and Old Brighton in the final two rounds.
Monash (5th, 5-7): The Blues had endured a rough month before their clash with Mazenod, losing three of four games, but have managed to stay around fifth or sixth in recent weeks. Gareth Taylor returned with three goals and was among the best, while Nick McConville kicked a goal in his first game for the season. Nick Petering (17), Joe Harrison (14) and Nick Woodland (13) lead the Blues goalkicking. Monash have a reasonable run home with four of six games against lower sides.
Old Brighton (1st, 11-0-1): The Tonners remain undefeated after 12 rounds with an average winning margin of 54 points, and conceding just 50 points a game. The Tonners hit new heights in Round 12 against a hapless Parkdale Vultures unit, kicking their highest score for the season (23.8) and winning by over 100 points for the first time. Alex Mastromanno (40) leads the Premier B goal kicking, ably assisted by goal-sneak Michael Karayannis (27). In such a dominant side, Dylan Verney has featured among the best players eight times, while Ben Austen and Tom Fisher have also featured prominently.
Old Carey (7th, 4-8): The Panthers have had a tough season so far, but have managed to haul themselves out of the relegation zone with two wins in a row. In Round 12 they had ‘the close one’ against Peninsula, despite kicking away and winning by five goals. The Panthers made six changes and their outs included star Marc Lock and Will Nichols. Danyon Reinbold and Tim Newton returned and contributed well, while Wade Brusnahan kicked two goals in his first game for the season. Sam Cust (22) has kicked 12 goals in the past four weeks, while Cam Jones (16) and Morgan Evans (14) are proving to be handy targets. Four of the Panthers remaining six games are against teams outside the top four.
Old Scotch (2nd, 9-1-1): The Scotchies continue as one of the form teams of Premier B, winning four in a row since the draw against ladder-leaders Old Brighton. Aside from a two goal result over Old Carey, they have won by 83, 59 and followed with a 50-point dispatching of Ajax in Round 12. The Cardinals have had eight goal scorers in double figures, led by James Sansom (28) and Jono Daggian (20). Sansom, Gene Van Den Broek and Jack Bull have been standouts in a dominant team. They face St Bernard’s and Old Brighton in the next two weeks, then finish the season against lower sides.
Parkdale (9th, 3-9): The Vultures hit a new low in Round 12 against Old Brighton, managing just three goals on their way to losing by their highest margin of the season. The Vultures have now lost four in a row and sit just above Peninsula. Matthew Boland (23) and Ryan O’Leary (12) lead their goalkicking, while Brad Austen, Andrew Watterson and Charlie Dillon have led the way on the field. One small mercy for the Vultures is only having to face one top four side in their six remaining matches.
Peninsula (10th, 2-10): The Pirates had a good opportunity to grab their third win of the season when they faced Old Carey, who were ninth. Tom Feldgen and Alex Wood were out, but Callum Parton and Tory Taylor returned and contributed well. The Pirates were within a goal at half time, but seven goals to one in the third gave the Panthers a comfortable win. Alex Marshall (11) and Tory Taylor (10) are the Pirates leading goalkickers. Unfortunately the Pirates have the toughest run home of all Premier B clubs, facing all the top four sides in their remaining six matches.
St Bernard’s (3rd, 9-3): The Snowdogs put the blowtorch to Fitzroy in Round 12, delivering the highest score of the season (26.15) and the greatest winning margin (129 points). They have now moved three games clear of Ajax in fourth and will have their sights set on Old Scotch (Round 13) and Old Brighton (Round 15). Edyn Sibbald (26), Chris Spinella (25) and Jack McNamara (22) are all in the top ten Premier B goal kickers, while Adam Bentick and Tom Caven have been standouts.