Vultures avoid Falcon upset, House too strong for Swans

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 3 Men's, Division 3

James Armit

With every game remaining vitally important to Division 3 survival, Albert Park did everything they could to hand UHS-VU their first loss of the year. The all-conquering Vultures may have gone into the Round 13 clash very confident of victory over their ninth placed opponents, but as the game went on, UHS-VU would have grown more nervous. The Falcons were playing inspired football and held a narrow lead at half time due to the strong work of Benjamin May in the midfield and Luke Childs in front of goal, snagging three for the day. After half time, however, the cogs began to churn for UHS-VU, with Ryan Smith and Connor McCutcheon the most impressive from their side around the ground. There was still only three points in it at the final break, but unfortunately for Albert Park, the Vultures finished strongly on a windy day. James McGee was the catalyst for victory booting four for the game while Brandon Jackson provided support and kicked three. UHS-VU proved their status in the heated moments of the game and won the contested ball when it mattered to run out the game out 16-point winners.

Richmond Central and La Trobe are two of three sides who are just one win clear of the relegation zone. With Division 3 status to play for, the Snakes and the Trobers produced one of the matches of the season in Round 13. Starting with the wind, the Trobers jumped out to a 24-point lead at the opening break. Jonathon Neville was at his prolific best early and ended the day just as strongly, bagging seven goals for the match in a BOG performance. The second quarter saw more happy returns from Centrals as they used their turn with the wind to record ten scoring shots for the quarter. Travis Noffke led the way and was impressive through midfield. The Trobers failed to take advantage of the conditions in the third, however, heading into the last quarter, the Trobers still held a slender three-point advantage. With the win behind them, it seemed as though the Snakes would come back from behind to win the game, but the Trobers had other ideas. Both teams combined for 12 goals in the last quarter, six apiece, and La Trobe manage to hold on to their slender lead against the wind to claim an important four-point win.

A one-sided game loomed as the second-placed Power House hosted bottom-placed South Melbourne at the Ross Gregory Oval. Relegation has been confirmed for South Melbourne with this loss and the remainder of the 2017 season is now a matter of pride. The writing was on the wall early for the Bloods, trailing by 59 points at quarter time with Benjamin Circosta and Adam Collett putting in dominant performances. Somewhat bizarrely, in the second quarter Power House could only deliver two points and South Melbourne a singular point. The Bloods couldn’t manage a score in the third quarter as Adam Collett started to get a hold of his opposition, eventually booting five goals for the day. The final quarter saw the home side boot eight goals to extend the winning margin out to 133 points. For South Melbourne, their only goal kicker was Mitchell Pickering while Harry Rothwell was their most impressive on a forgettable. Power House will become even stronger over the next couple of weeks with the return of their elite duo, midfielder Sam Confait and unstoppable forward Nick Nagel.

Swinburne University proved why they shouldn’t be underestimated as a premiership outsider with a resounding victory over Point Cook. The Bulldogs held a one-point advantage at quarter time and this sparked hopes of an upset victory in their camp. However, Swinburne proved their mettle in the second quarter skipping away to a 24-point lead with Will Gubbins and Jackson Manning impressing. Point Cook fought back to reduce the margin to 12 points at the last change of ends. The Razorbacks then exploded in the last quarter recording 18 scoring shots for nine goals with Richard Lugg (5) and Thomas Birchmore (2) doing the brunt of the damage for the home side. For Point Cook, Alex Grigg was their best player whilst Jordan Steen and Robbie Milne both kicked two. This was a huge win for the Razorback’s season as they now leapfrog the Cobras into fourth spot, with only four games left to play.

Two quality sides in Westbourne Grammarians and Canterbury met at the Westbourne School Ground. Westbourne remain a dark horse for the premiership, currently sitting in third, they’ll be feeling confident that if they can get it right in finals they can challenge the likes of UHS-VU and Power House. Canterbury, on the other hand, were sitting in fourth and keen to maintain that position. This game was crucial to both teams ladder positioning, and on a windy day the coin toss would prove important. Westbourne won the toss and got themselves out to a handy nine-point buffer at quarter time. Canterbury rallied in the second quarter to wrestle themselves back into the lead – Jason Blakemore and Alex Carapetis led the resistance. Westbourne then countered to swing the momentum back in their favour leading by 20 points going into the last quarter. Canterbury, kicking with the wind in the last, did everything in their power to overturn the deficit but could only get themselves within five points. A heartbreaking loss for the Cobras as they slip down to fifth spot, one game outside the four. The Round 14 match-up against the Razorbacks is the most important of their season so far; a classic eight-point game that should they win will see them back in the top four, but if they lose, they’ll be two games out of the four with limited games left to play.