Ogs enter four after finishing off at the Fearon

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Mitch op’t Hoog – @mitch_hoog

The wind has subsided, the dust has settled and we have a new look top four after a gale blew through Melbourne on Saturday. Yes, that’s right, a new look top four. While the top two are locked in and Marcellin continued on their winning ways in third, Old Geelong secured their most important victory of the year to claim fourth spot. OGs managed to defeat Williamstown CYMS at Fearon Reserve, which is no easy feat, to jump into the top four, where they haven’t been all year. Conversely, the CYs get bumped down to fifth spot on the ladder after sitting in the top four since Round 6!

With the wind blowing a gale and the inspiring pre-game speech of coach, Nick Bourke, ringing in their ears, Old Geelong came to Fearon Reserve ready to play in what would be their most important game for the year. Win and their in the top four; lose and making finals is an unlikely percentage. The first quarter was hotly contested as Williamstown CYMS kicked with the wind advantage to open up a small quarter-time lead. Using the advantage of the natural elements in the second, Old Geelong showed exactly what they’re capable of, kicking six goals to one to take a commanding 22-point lead into the main break. In the third, the CYs would harness the power of the wind once again, kicking four goals; however, they also allowed Old Geelong to kick two of their own, the most either team would kick against the wind. This proved to be the difference as Old Geelong retained the lead heading into the final quarter with the wind. Old Geelong’s George Burbury was at his lethal best, kicking four goals in a match-winning display as the Ogs ran out four-goal victors to sneak into the top four. Charlie Comben was named BOG for the day as he continued his streak of good footy. The CYs will be gutted they dropped a game at home, something they don’t do too often, and will need to bounce back against Old Mentonians this week to keep their finals hopes alive.

In another wind-effected match, in-form Marcellin were coming up against an out-of-form Hampton Rovers. Unfortunately for Hampton, their chances of an upset were rocked from before the first bounce as Marcellin won the toss and kicked with the gale force wind. By quarter time, the Eagles had booted nine unanswered goals and held a comfortable 56-point lead. The Rovers were never able to use the wind as effectively as the Eagles did in the first and despite winning two quarters, their inability to score against the wind proved costly. Marcellin continued their winning streak, making it five on the trot, to run the game out 57-point winners. The Eagles’ Daniel McMahon continued his stellar season, kicking his second bag of three in as many weeks and making it at least one goal a week since Round 1! Trent Carlson played his best game for the year and was awarded BOG honours. Over the past month of footy, Marcellin’s average winning margin has been over 70 points. They seem to be hitting their straps at the perfect time of year and are presenting their case as a real threat to the top two, Caulfield Grammarians and Old Haileybury. Hampton, on the other hand, are facing the very real and unfortunate possibility of a double relegation that will see them drop down two divisions in two years.

In a must-win game for both sides, each hoping to stay well clear of the relegation zone and still within finals contention, the Panthers proved too strong for the Wellers on a wind-swept Gordon Barnard Reserve. The three-goal Old Mentonians victory was set up via a strong start that saw the wind play a vital role. Seven unanswered Panther’s goals in the opening term was all she wrote for Old Camberwell as they ended up playing catch up for the following three quarters. To their credit, they managed to claw their way back to within three goals by the final siren, but the damage was done early. A really disheartening loss for Old Camberwell who would’ve been hoping to use their home ground advantage to steal the win and remain within finals contention, instead, however, they now sit in eighth position and would require a string of miracles to make finals. Nick Latsas was their best and would’ve enjoyed a few chicken n’ cheese burgers on the way home after snagging three goals. For the Eagles, it was Luke Hull who was a key difference between the two sides as he bagged five majors in a BOG performance. Both sides now look likely to claim their respective spots in limbo, avoiding relegation but failing to make finals.

In what was one of their better performances for the year, Kew got within 16 points of the second-placed Old Haileybury. The opening term went as expected with Old Haileybury commanding the bulk of the play, claiming ten scoring shots to two. However, inaccuracy kept the Bears in the game with the Bloods only managing to convert three majors. In the second quarter, it was Kew’s turn with the wind and they made the most of it, containing Old Haileybury to just the one goal and kicking four of their own to even up the ledger by half time. By three quarter time, Old Haileybury had kicked away to a 25-point lead, but with the wind in the last quarter, the Bears were looking a chance to cause an upset. Although, they managed to win the final quarter, Kew were unable to cause a boil over and the Bloods proved too good to overcome. With relegation locked in for Kew, the remainder of 2017 is a matter of pride and going down by just 16 points to Old Haileybury has not only restored some pride, but it will have many fans and followers of the club excited for 2018 in Division 1. For the victors, Nathan Waite kicked his third biggest haul for the year and ended with five in a dominant display.

Down at Chelsworth Park, the day started like business as usual for Caulfield Grammarians as they dominated all the play in the first half to lead Old Ivanhoe by four goals at the main break.  The second half saw a tighter contest between the two sides as Old Ivanhoe doubled their half time score in the third quarter thanks to the midfield work of Michael Mitris who was feeding Nicholas Reeves-Smyth up forward. The three quarter time deficit was 20 points, but with the wind swirling, it wasn’t beyond the inconsistent Hoers to snatch this victory. Unfortunately, though, the top-of-the-table Caulfield Grammarians proved their mettle in tough conditions to eventually win by 16 points. Nicholas Reeves-Smyth finished with three for Old Ivanhoe while Nick Fallu, Nick Baltas and Dan Meddings were best for the winning side. Caulfield have now all but locked up first spot, sitting two games clear on top with four to play. After the loss, Old Ivanhoe are sitting just one game outside the four, but their lowly percentage of 85.52% is a real concern for their finals chances.

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