Mitch op’t Hoog – @mitch_hoog
There’s not much more to say about Round 12 in Premier C than just “wow!” There was only one game that went the way of the favourites and that was between Old Geelong and Kew; The other four games were all upsets which not only stunned the competition but tightened it up! There’s now just one game between third and seventh spot on the ladder, meaning the hunt for finals spots is well-and-truly on in Premier C. As we head into the final third of the home-and-away season, we should start to see team’s present themselves as real contenders in the wake of these Round 12 upsets, just as Marcellin have done the past two weeks.
After getting within two points of knocking off top-of-the-table Caulfield last week, Williamstown CYMS have fallen to the ninth-placed Hampton Rovers by three points in Round 12. Two devastating losses for the CYs in two big weeks of Premier C football. To their credit, Hampton Rovers brought along their A-game and weren’t messing about in the first half. The Rovers eight-point quarter time lead was extended out to a 29-point half time lead thanks to a four-goal-to-one second quarter. The Rovers were playing some inspired football in the first half, led in part by Christian Carnovale who is having a stand out year highlighted by his last month of good footy. In the second half, however, Williamstown CYMS snapped back into gear and managed to get within ten points of the Rovers by three quarter time. In the final term, The CYs outscored the Rovers five goals to three, but by the time the final siren sounded, it was a couple of Rovers behinds that was separating the two teams. The usual suspects led the resistance for the CYs with Ben Gray kicking three and Ben Deller kicking five in a BOG performance. For the Rovers, they’ll look to build on this performance, which was one of their best for the year, and hopefully climb their way out of the relegation zone. The CYs will be gutted they weren’t able to win at least one of their close games over the past two weeks in a season where every point counts!
In the second upset for the week, and possibly the biggest of the year, Old Camberwell knocked of the top-of-table titans, Caulfield Grammarians, by 11 points. The Wellers had the home ground advantage but entered the game as clear underdogs; nonetheless, Old Camberwell started strongly and were trailing by just one points at the first break. In the second quarter, Ben Hart, in his best game for the year, led the way for the Wellers and helped them put in their best quarter performance for the year. By half time, the one point deficit had been transformed into a 17 point lead for the Wellers. The game was far from over, though, and the Fielders came out hard in the third, just as you’d expect of them. They managed to claim 11 scoring shots to the Wellers’ three, and claw their way back in front by 10 points at three quarter time, inaccuracy the only thing preventing that margin from extending further. With the wind behind them in the last, the Wellers reignited their second quarter performance, this time led by Sam Powell, who ended the day with five snags, and Joe Arnold, who kicked two of his own for the day. The Wellers’ managed to kick three goals in the final quarter, but more impressively, hold the attacking powerhouse of Caulfield Grammarians to just three behinds! Inaccuracy in the third term came back to haunt the Fielders as the Wellers claimed the unlikely 11-point victory.
As we continue through the games of Round 12, you will start to see a trend forming in Premier C and It was yet another upset between the out-of-form Old Mentonians and the in-form Old Ivanhoe. The Panthers were coming off four losses in a row, including last week’s loss to bottom-of-the-ladder Kew, while Old Ivanhoe were in red hot form and coming off four wins in a row! However, despite the suggestions of recent performances, the Panthers managed to get back some of their early season form and jump out to a one-goal lead by quarter time. The Panthers then went on to extend their lead at every break to end the game 31 points the better of Old Ivanhoe. The key difference for the Panthers from previous weeks was their offensive display; they managed to kick their biggest score since Round 7 and it was James Dalzotto and Ben Rossi who reaped the rewards, kicking four and three, respectively. For Old Ivanhoe, it was their consistent performers putting in strong displays with Carl Groth (3) and Nick Reeves-Smyth (1) standing out from the pack. Yet, despite Old Ivanhoe’s key players performing, it was simply a case of the Panthers being the better side on the day. The Panthers will look to build on this performance with a focus on attacking footy as they’ve only managed to score over 100 points once since Round 3. Old Ivanhoe are still sitting one game clear in third spot on the ladder, while Old Mentonians are just one game out of the four, but sitting in eighth spot given the competitiveness of Premier C in 2017.
As we move onto the fourth game of the round, and you guessed it, it was yet another upset! Marcellin managed to claim their biggest scalp of the year and make seemingly light work of Old Haileybury. The Eagles started the game inspired, quickly jetting out to a four goal quarter time lead. The Bloods managed to get within 14 points at half time but that was as close as they would get to the impressive Eagles who kicked 20 goals for the day, 12 coming in the last half. Up until this point of the season, Old Haileybury have shown few kinks in their defensive armour, however, over the weekend, the Eagles managed to dissect their back six with ease. It was the first time for the year that any team has scored over 90 points against Old Haileybury, and the Eagles managed to kick 126 points to end up winning the game by a comfortable margin of 41 points. It was Jeremiah Antypas and Andrew Kay who did the most scoreboard damage for the Eagles, kicking ten goals between them. For Old Haileybury, John Nicolopoulos was a welcome return to the team, kicking five goals in his first game since early June. While the Eagles still have a lot of work to do to make finals, if this is the kind of performance they could put in on a regular basis, they could be a smokey for the flag. Despite the surprising loss, Old Haileybury remain in second spot on the ladder, one win ahead of Old Ivanhoe and two wins behind Caulfield Grammarians.
The only game of the week that went as expected was the clash between Old Geelong and Kew; however, you could be forgiven for thinking it mightn’t be such a blow out. The Bears were coming off some red hot form after having won their first two games for year, while Old Geelong had been serving up some unpredictable performances in recent weeks and would need to rebound after a tough loss to Marcellin in Round 11. The first quarter was a tight contest between the two sides, with accuracy allowing Old Geelong to take a 22-point lead into the first break. Unfortunately, this was where the tight contest ended and a half time lead of 48 would be blown out to the winning margin of 117 by the time the final siren had sounded. Old Geelong put on a clinic in the second half, holding The Bears goalless and banging home 11 of their own. The ever-consistent George Burbury kicked four goals while Jeremy Nettlefold had his best game in defense and was ably supported by Callum Wood who kicked four and worked hard all around the ground. For the Bears, it was a day to forget with all players finding it hard to get their hands on the footy. They’ll look to rebound this week as they come up against a Marcellin side that is hell bent on making the top four!