Mitch op’t Hoog – @mitch_toog
While relegation has been confirmed for Hampton Rovers and Kew AFC, and the top three spots have been locked away for some time, remarkably, there are still five teams who have the potential to claim fourth spot in Premier C. From the CYs in fourth to Old Ivanhoe in eighth, all teams are tied up on 32 points. Such is the season in Premier C, last week Old Ivanhoe were heading into their Round 17 clash hoping to avoid relegation and one week later they hold a very slender chance of making finals. So, who’s it going to be that claims fourth spot?
Given that the decision is likely to come down to percentage, Williamstown CYMS and Old Geelong have the greatest chances of securing fourth spot. The CYs will be more confident, however, given their healthy percentage of 111.16% is 5% greater than Old Geelong on 106.25%. From sixth-placed onwards, percentage begins to drop off with Old Mentonians ahead of Old Camberwell (7th) and Old Ivanhoe (8th) with a percentage of 91.68%.
Williamstown CYMS’s chance of maintaining their spot in the four is strengthened by the fact they are coming up against eighth-placed Old Ivanhoe, who they should be able to account for despite the Hoes big win over Ogs last week. Old Geelong on the other hand face the biggest challenge of all finals contenders as they are set to clash with second-placed Old Haileybury and will have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to defeat the Bloods and claim fourth spot – In saying that, I wouldn’t put it past them.
As for Old Mentonians, they should be able to bounce back from their 80-point loss in Round 17 to defeat Hampton Rovers this week, however, they’ll need both Old Geelong and Williamstown CYMS to lose in order to snag a spot in the four. Old Camberwell face off against an in-form Marcellin outfit, which should prove to be challenging for the Wellers’ and I can’t see them overcoming the Eagles or results going their way to sneak into finals.
Having said all this, my tip is Williamstown CYMS to win over Old Ivanhoe and maintain their spot in the finals; However, should the Hoers carry some of their good form into this week and knock off the CYs, fourth place could fall to Old Mentonians (currently sixth) as I can’t see Old Geelong defeating Old Haileybury.
It should be an exciting week of footy in Premier C, but before we get ahead of ourselves, as I may have already done, let’s take a look back at Round 17 and the week that evened up the race.
Old Haileybury bounced back from two straight losses to defeat Williamstown CYMS by 46 points. It was a crucially important game for the CYs, and had they won a finals berth would’ve been all but locked away. Williamstown CYMS came out hard and held a slim advantage at quarter time. However, the second quarter is where the game was won and lost and the Bloods exploded with an eight-goals-to-one term to put the game beyond reach of the CYs. Nathan Waite was dominant for the Bloods after a few quiet games and managed to kick seven majors. Corey Connelly too was lethal in front of goal, bagging five in a BOG display. The Gray brothers, Ben and Jack, continued their good form for the CYs and kicked three goals each.
Old Geelong would’ve been licking their lips at the prospect of playing Old Ivanhoe who were coming off a five-game losing streak, but after a fast start Ogs were unable to inflict any damage on the Hoers in the second half; In fact, it was the other way around as the Hoers came from 14 points down at half time to kick 10 unanswered goals in the last two quarters and record a 52-point win. It was a huge win for Old Ivanhoe as they have now successfully avoided relegation in 2017. For Old Geelong, the result was equally important as their chance of claiming a finals spot now comes down to their match against Old Haileybury this week and other results out of their hands. For the CYs, Nicholas Reeves-Smyth and star veteran Adrian Del Monte combined for ten goals in two season-defining performances. For the Ogs, William Sloss was crucial in their missed opportunity.
Old Camberwell recorded their eighth win for season to stay within the hunt for finals as they defeated Kew by four goals. Leading by 10 points after a hard-fought first half, the Wellers nailed 11 goals to nine in a high-scoring second half to confirm the victory. Alex Taverner top-scored with four majors while Zach Herbstreit kicked two and was named best afield for the Wellers. In his best game for the year, Michael Hannan could not be stopped up forward and kicked eight of the Bears’ 15 goals.
After two wins on the trot, Hampton Rovers’ spirited run to avoid relegation came to an abrupt end at the hands of ruthless ladder-leaders Caulfield Grammarians. The Fielders’ were clinical in their 55-point victory as they kicked 10 goals to three in the second half to put the game beyond doubt. The Rovers were admirable in defeat as they stuck with the Fields for the first half but could do little to stop them in the second. Continuing his solid form was Xavier Jordan who was judged best afield, while Dan Meddings and Will Barker kicked three goals each. The Rovers fought hard, led by Josh Pavlou and Richard Atkins, and can hold their heads high in defeat. The Rovers are now set for 2018 in Division 1 while the minor premiership remains firmly in the hands of Caulfield.
Old Mentonians’ chance of making finals took a hit as they fell to a strong Marcellin outfit by 80 points. The Eagles put in a near-perfect performance against the Panthers as they extended their lead at every break. There was 12 goal scorers who peppered the Eagles scorecard as Andrew Kay and Robert Costanza combined for ten majors with five goals each. With one goal to his name, Matt Gasparini claimed BOG honours in a lethal display of football. For the Panthers, who will look to bounce back against Hampton Rovers this week, Ben Rossi was important while Luke Hull booted three goals.
Feature photo: Old Mentonians FC