If summer was late for the season opener, winter came early for Round 2, which saw gusty winds, torrential rain and a massive drop in temperature. The anticipated storms hit Melbourne late Saturday morning and the Reserves bore the brunt of it, battling their opponents and the weather. Goals were gold in the early games, with wet weather football skills the order of the day.
Canterbury hosted neighbours Hawthorn in Surrey Hills, where heavy rain greeted the Seniors in their warm up. Amazingly, the heavy rain abated as the teams took the ground, giving way to blue sky and stuttering sunshine. Only in Melbourne! Canterbury started the game well, with the Cobra’s Tom Lowden appearing to be everywhere in the first quarter. His tall presence at Centre Half Back forced the Hawks to go wide, yet he managed to float forward to mark strongly twice and kick the first two goals. The Hawks pressed forward early, but the miserly Canterbury defence made 3 desperate goal line saves to deny the Hawks, who closed the margin to 2 points at the first change.
The Cobras won the game in the 2nd term, adding 6 goals while keeping the Hawks scoreless. Hawthorn bounced back, with strong efforts from the new players to outscore Canterbury in the third and fourth quarters, but the rain returned, and the wet and windy conditions didn’t suit catch up footy. The home team shared the goals around, with Rohan Walmsley, Sam Murphy and Tom Lowden among their best, while ‘George’ Priest with 5 goals, Tom Boots, and Aaron Downie were best for the visitors.
Richmond Central hosted Westbourne Grammarians where the contrasting weather saw last weekend’s sunshine and sunburn give way to some of the coldest and wettest conditions ever seen at KB Reserve. The Centrals supporters hearts were warmed when favourite son, Luke ‘Diesel’ Carland, returned after a stint in the country league.
The fiery first half scrap saw players change to long sleeves, and adapt their wet weather footy skills. Richmond held the upper hand in general play and took their chances kicking 5 straight goals to in the Grammarian’s 2.4 in the first term. The Centrals kicking was way more wayward in the 2nd quarter, but a cheeky goal after the siren by Tom Curtain saw them by lead by 21 at the main break. The game Grammarians bounced back in the 3rd, to narrow the gap to 15 at the last change. The rain returned in the final term, and they edged ahead to record another impressive win and make it 2 from 2.
With plenty of water around, Tom ‘Dallas’ Rivers played free flowing footy to be BOG with 3 goals, with Holland, Rivett and Overton among the best. For the visitors Patrick O’Brien, Paul Hudson and Ben Stoios were the Westbourne’s leading lights.
The Manningham Cobras stepped out at Koonung for the first time in their new strip, when they hosted La Trobe University. The local supporters liked what they saw with the Cobras starting with a 6 goal to nil opening term, before extending their lead at half time.
The Cobras didn’t blaze away, sharing the ball around, to kick another 6 goals in the 3rd quarter, which were countered by 3 consecutive Trober’s goals late in the term. For the visitors, Matthew Ogle stood tall all day, winning countless tap outs and marking strongly around the ground, while Tom Mooney and Joshua Tomada battled hard all day.
Manningham had many good players in their historic first Division 3 win. Blake Reed was strong in defence, while Adam Pianto and Mitch Keltie dominated the mids. Michael Muller was lively up forward, where the spoils were shared by Jason Stephens (4 goals) and Kane Maghamez, who filled his boots with 9 goals to rocket to the top of the sharpshooter’s list.
A young Glen Eira Gryphons team faced Albert Park at a damp and cool Packer Park. The howling cross wind that blowed throughout the afternoon made field kicking hard, and made it very difficult for scoring at either end.
Gryphons first gamer Niko Farantouris kicked 3 goals as the perfect foil for star forward Julius Waras Carstensen who continued his great start to 2018 with 4 majors. The versatile Stuart Carey moved into the midfield to provide some much needed grunt at the clearances and hold the visitors at bay. Nick Chapman was brilliant off halfback and ruckman Matt Wilkins was terrific all day.
Stand-in skipper Lachlan Pound proved there is no substitute for class by gathering plenty of possessions, including two classy goals, to add some icing to the cake. In a hard fought contest, Glen Eira prevailed by 39 points. The game Falcons improved immeasurably on their first round, and should take confidence from their efforts against a classy opponent. Albert Park’s best players included Kirk Murray, James Faulkner and Jack Amies.
Swinburne hosted Aquinas at St James Park. After a big win last week, Aquinas started slowly, allowing the Razorbacks to jump out to a 6 goals to 2 first term. Richard Lugg was lively early, bagging 3 before a sickening injury saw him take no further part in the game. I hope it isn’t as serious as it looked, and wish you a quick recovery. The second term saw 5 goals to each team, and the margin narrow to 20 points at the main break. Another 5-goal quarter to the Bloods had scores level at ¾ time to set up nail biting last quarter.
The final term had the crowd on the edge of their seats, as the Bloods and Razorbacks traded blows early until the midway point, when scoring dried up. An arm wrestling affair, saw Swinburne holding a narrow lead, until a thumping kick into the Aquinas forward line cleared a big pack of players, and the bloods swooped on the ball and snap truly.
With time running out, the drama heightened as the heavens open up. Sideways rain across the ground saw spectators scurry for shelter, and the players hold their nerve. The rain abated, and with less than 5 minutes to go Michael Mannering converted a free kick from 30 metres out. Packs of players swarmed around the ball, with brave acts and desperate footy by both teams, before Swinburne held on to win a game that could have gone either way.