Round 3 saw the 3 top teams take to the road for their first test away from their home patch. Richmond Centrals and the Canterbury Cobras came away winner in close contests, while the top team ran out their game convincingly. After 3 rounds Glen Eira, Canterbury and Richmond Centrals remain undefeated, but for a couple of kicks, Aquinas could have easily been there in place of the Snakes.
Apart from a couple of outliers at either end of the ladder, Division 3 is a very even competition. This was highlighted by the result of 9th versus 2nd, where the 9th placed Falcons had the better of the first half, before the 2nd placed Canterbury Cobras outscored them in the second half to come out narrow 14 point winners. Then, following on from their epic battle last week, Swinburne and Aquinas again played in games, each decided by a single kick. Swinburne lost by 3 points to 4th placed Manningham, while Aquinas lost by 1 point to 3rd placed Richmond. Despite the second highest percentage in Division 3, Aquinas sits outside the top 4.
Melbourne enjoyed another beautiful Autumn Saturday, and this week it was the Reserves who got the better deal from Mother Nature. After some early fog lifted, the morning revealed sunny, still conditions, before the skies got a bit hazy later in the arvo. Westbourne Grammarians travelled to La Trobe University to record their first win for 2018. The ideal conditions saw the Grammarians romp away by 126 points, sharing the spoils with 10 different goal kickers.
While the Trobers were behind all day, they battled hard and showed some good signs, with six individual goal kickers of their own. Tall Matthew Ogle was impressive again, as were Andy Castles and Sebastian Nelson for the home team. For the Grammarians, Dale Collins booted 6 goals, Ali Eqbal (5) and Ben Johnson (4) starred up forward, while Charles Hunter, Nicholas Schiano and Ben Stoios were some of their better players.
Second top Canterbury Cobras travelled to Albert Park, to play the second bottom Falcons for their first away game. Their ladder positions pointed to a one-sided game, but it was a closely fought battle all day. The home team got away to the better start, with the Falcons leading by 16 at the first change. Accuracy in front of goal by the visitors saw the Cobras kick 5 straight in the 2nd term to narrow the margin to 10 points at the main break. A strong 3rd quarter saw Canterbury turn the tables and reverse that margin to lead by 10 at the last break. The final quarter saw both teams goalless, with the Canterbury Cobras running out victors by 14 points to make it 3 wins from as many games. The visitors shared the goals around, with Alexander Wheeler, Sam Murphy, Martin Astbury, and Tom Lowden among their best. Skipper Jack Amies led the Falcons well, while Simon Hislop with 4 goals, Luke Udvardi, Benjamin May and James Faulkner were among their best players.
The perfect Footy conditions at Rathmines Road saw Hawthorn host the ladder leaders, Glen Eira, and a reunion of their 1998 premiership team. Keen to impress the past players, the Hawks started with purpose, kicking the first 4 goals, before the Gryphons fought back to lead by a goal at quarter time. Both teams displayed great skills, with clean ball handling, strong overhead marking and fast ball movement resulting in a free-scoring, open game. After an even first half, the visitors led by 4 goals at the main break.
Glen Eira got on top in the third term, and then were dominant in the final quarter to run out comfortable 55-point victors. Glen Eira’s big man Matt Wilkins, combined with mids Stuart Carey and Julian Stone, set up the win. The new look forward line fired with Leo Laucher-Linares and Pound with 4 goals each working well together, and the high flying Andrew Barrett 3 majors, while the intercept marking of backline general Kye Cherian, thwarted the Hawks forwards. Hawthorn’s Cam Allum worked hard all day in the ruck, with Rick Ogge fantastic with 4 goals, as were the Johnston brothers with 2 apiece.
Aquinas hosted Richmond Central, where the early game marked milestones for a pair of club legends. Congratulations to Richmond Central’s President Travis ‘Tractor’ Noffke, who played his 100th game against Bloods’ veteran Aaron Kinghorn, who became only the 4th Aquinas player to notch up 250 games. In a great game, the Bloods honoured the occasion with a good win in foggy conditions at the Vein to set the stage for the match of the round.
The Bloods won the toss and sprung out of the gates to hold a handy quarter time lead thanks to debutant Harry Dwyer kicking his first senior goal. Then Richmond came out like a team possessed in the second, booting 6 goals to 1, with Robert Bowen booting 2 late goals to give the visitors a 4 goal lead at the main break. The third term saw the pendulum swung back into Aquinas’ favour, as Ash Naulty took control of the game, helping himself to 3 majors to halve the Cobras lead. The last term saw both teams throw everything at the ball, with the game coming down to an Aquinas kick on the siren which fell short, handing Richmond an impressive away 1-point victory. In what was a great overall team performance by the Snakes, Charles Overton was a standout, ably supported by solid work from Steven Bugeja, Luke James, Matthew Lammeretz, Tom Foott, Jake King and Ricky Costanzo. The Bloods battled hard with James Wright, Jacob Burdett, Ash Naulty, Jarred Sund, Anthony Mattiolo and Philip Dyck.
In another close match at St James Park Manningham held on to defeat Swinburne. Scores were level at the first break, and it was close in the second term before Manningham got a couple of late goals just before the half time siren to lead by a game high 20 points. The Razorbacks bounced back in the third to trail by just 2 at the last break. In hot, trying conditions each team kicked 3 goals, with Manningham prevailing by 3 points. The Razorbacks had ten different goal kickers, with Michael Clare, Will Wood, and Justin Little among their best. Manningham Cobras coach Frank Salanitri was pleased with his team’s effort, with ruckman Thomas Flood lively, and Kane Maghamez adding venom to the Cobras attack with 4 majors, supported by Konrad Bendrups (3) and Adam Kinniburgh (2), and newly married skipper Ayden Sukkel who made a welcome return.
Manningham Cobras travel to Aquinas this week for a mouth-watering replay of last years Division 4 Grand Final. The Bloods are close to a win after losing their last 2 games by a total of 3 points. There’s an extra incentive for this winner of this week’s match of the day, with a top 4 berth on offer for the winner.