Wind-riddled round sees Saints soar to number one

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 1 Men's

Brin Duggan – @BrinDuggan

It is okay everyone, you can un-batten the hatches.The wind has subsided, but not without doing its fair share of damage. Wind, again, claimed this round of Division 1 footy, but any ability to counter the stifling breeze proved to be the difference for the winners.

After securing the outdoor setting in the backyard, Brunswick and St. Mary’s faced off at Alec Gillon Oval. The wind was blowing directly across the ground, favouring neither end, but the favourites SMS took the early lead and, despite inaccuracy, were up by 35 at half time, thanks in large part to the defence who had allowed just 16-points. The second half was won by Brunswick who managed seven goals to five. Alas, it was not enough, with SMS running out 23-point winners. The second half was a positive sign for the 2018 NOBS and they will be most pleased with the efforts of Danny King and Nick Kelly who fought hard all day. For the ladder leading victors, Manny Dolan was back in goal kicking form as he snagged six, taking his tally to a superb 60 for the year. It was not enough for BOG honours, however, with Alex Bussell snatching that mantle.

Out in Ivanhoe, St Johns arrived hoping to chalk up successive victories. Their form-line was strong but it paled in comparison to Ivanhoe’s last month in which they had chalked up three out of four wins. The wind ravaged this match and that was reflected on the scoreboard. The Jocs jumped out to a 28-point quarter time lead only to have it begged back by the half. Unfortunately for St Johns, they were not able to capitalise on the wind in the third and trailed by seven at three quarter time. An enormous last quarter in which the Hoes booted 12 goals saw them home by 66-points. Mitch Lovell and Reuben Blackmore-Moore combined for 11 goals and Nathan Valkanis had his best game of the year. Relegation-threatened St Johns relied strongly on potential B&F winner Whiskers Cattolico who was named his side’s best.

Ladder limbo locked Oakleigh left it until too late to overcome a bullish Therry Penola outfit. Trailing at half time, and struggling to combat the in-form Matt Lyons and Jacob Gough, a mighty effort was required to keep themselves in the finals race. The calls were answered though, as the Oaks piled on 12 of the next 16 goals to end the match 38-point victors. Trevor Bromley was the chief destroyer up forward with four majors but it was the underrated Tim Scott that saw his side home with three goals in a BOG performance. Trevor Bromley, Tim Scott and Aaron Cloke have now combined for 124 goals this season and continue to be a dangerous trio up forward. Therry Penola now sit just one game clear of relegation with two tough games to come in the next fortnight.

The wind hit PEGS before their match against Preston blowing away their kicking boots and marring them with match altering inaccuracy. By capitalising on the gale that Preston were kicking with, they entered quarter time up by 33-points. As expected PEGS hit back before the main break but only managed four goals and seven behinds to trail at the main break by 14. To make matters worse, relatively unknown Bullant, Mark Cigagna, was on fire and threw the PEGS plans into chaos. Preston were well held in the third quarter and left the door ajar for a PEGS comeback with the wind, leading by just 28. But, as mentioned above, the Bombers were without their boots and could only muster two goals and 12 behinds, falling to the Ants by 30. Andrew Khallouf was named their best player for his tireless efforts but, make no mistake, PEGS dropped the ball here. For Preston, Cigagna finished with five majors, a surprise considering he has only notched up three other goals this year, while reserves regular, Kris Neil, showed what he was made of with a BOG performance. At this stage of the season, both PEGS and Preston are unpredictable with two wins and two losses over the past month.

Bottom-placed Whitefriars entered their match against Ormond eager to make a liar out of the ladder. Not fancied but well-loved, the Friars put up a reasonable fight early, trailing by just four as the half time siren sounded. The third quarter proved to be their downfall though, kicking with the breeze, they only managed five goals but conceded seven. The final quarter went to script with the high-scoring Ormond notching up another three-digit total en route to a 30-point victory. Unfortunately for the Friars, they played their best footy into the blizzard and were not able to exploit the advantages of the wind. Credit must be given to Ormond, however, who set up the win on the back of their impressive third quarter. For them, Matt Hine and Izzy Tahana combined for six snags while Tom Buckley claimed the BOG gong. For relegation-ready Whitefriars, mercurial Nick Mercuri (possible relation) stood head and shoulders above the rest.

With four rounds left, the battles at the opposite ends of the ladder will have everyone with a keen eye on the results. Ormond will want to maintain their high scoring form and should do so against the NOBS. Monders by 40. SMS, sitting top, have bold plans for the season and should succeed if they keep up this pace, however, a stern test faces them in the form of Preston. Against the grain, Preston may just snatch this one. Ivanhoe look to chalk up W number seven against Therry at home. On the back of good form, Hoes claim this one. Powerful PEGS face bottom-place Whitefriars as they look to bounce back from their disappointing loss in round 14. And they should do so, with ease. Finally, The Oaks, who cannot afford a slip-up, come up against second-bottom St Johns. They will claim their tenth win on the season here.