Just when you thought the competition couldn’t get any closer, Round 4 saw Division 3 cellar dwellers, La Trobe University travel to Surrey Hills to play second-placed Canterbury. Many of the large crowd in attendance expected it to be a one-sided affair, but the gallant Trobers had a red-hot go, playing their best game of the year so far. An even 3 goal apiece first term, saw a margin of just 2 points at the first break. The Cobras had the better of the second quarter, albeit with some errant goal kicking, stretching their lead to 20 points at the main break. Scoring was close in the 3rd, with the home team extending their lead by 2 behinds. The brave visitors produced their best in the last quarter, outscoring their more fancied opponents to go down fighting by just 11 points.
La Trobe has had a tough start to the year, with a loss of facilities effecting player numbers, but this under-resourced 2018 La Trobe team shows enormous pride and solidarity when they don the red and black guernsey. The whole team played well, but the best Trobers were Tom Mooney with 2 goals, Liam McClintock (4 goals), Matt Hughes, big Matt Ogle, Mitch Oliver (3 goals) and Lachlan Tunbridge. Canterbury’s Sam Murphy continued on his stellar season, while Jake Rowe and Guy Driscoll kicked 3 goals each, while Sean Hanrahan, Ryan Pearce and Harry Berenger all played well.
In the 2017 Divisions 4 Grand Final replay, a youthful Aquinas team hosted the Manningham Cobras in a tough and tight affair. The Bloods had only six returning premiership players, yet outscored the visitors 5 goals to 3 in a tight first quarter. Then again in the second, where the Cobras struck back before they lost a couple players, and the home team took advantage with 3 late goals. Manningham responded by booting the first 4 goals of the third term, with Jason Stephens and Ayden Sukkel sparking the comeback. Then, against the run of play, some quick, direct ball movement saw the home team score their only goal of the term. This important goal slowed the Cobras momentum, then a few late Manningham misses didn’t go unnoticed by the vocal local crowd.
The home team led by 5 points at the last break, and the stage was set for another close finish. Manningham started well, with a ‘Sugar’ Kane Maghamez goal putting the Cobras ahead. This snapped Aquinas into action with a quick reply by Sam O’, followed closely by Ash Naulty’s 3rd and a clever Billy O’ snap from the boundary. Suddenly the margin was 3 goals, but the Cobras struck back with 2 quick goals and there was less than a kick in it. The Bloods were not to be denied, and young gun Henry Dwyer bagged a pair including a quick soccer goal to see Aquinas run out 3 goal victors. Best for the Bloods were Jim Wright, who showed silky skills and a clean pair of heels, Jared Sund who showed great leadership, constantly mopping up in defence, ‘Sir’ John Kerr and big Phil Dyck. Skipper Sukkel, Jason Stephens, Adam Kinniburgh and Tom Flood all played well for the visitors.
After overseeing Swinburne University for 8 years, coach George Koumantatakis crossed the Yarra to Richmond Centrals in the off-season. Armed with an intimate knowledge of the Razorbacks, there was plenty of interest in how he’d match up against his former charges. The sunny, ideal conditions at KB Reserve set the scene for this cracking, tactical battle. Defence was key in this hard fought, low scoring, grinding game, where no team got off the leash. Close-checking and tackling pressure from both sides was dialled up to 11, ensuring the forwards had less impact than usual.
The first quarter was close, before the Razorbacks extended their lead to 21 at the main break. ‘Kouma’ moved the magnets around, resulting in back-to-back goals and the Snakes had the momentum, but some crucial late misses let Swinburne off the hook. With the margin a narrow 11 points at the final break, the Burnley boys were fired up by a powerful ‘Kouma’ rev, but it was the Razorbacks who had the answers winning by 3 goals.
On a day of unrelenting pressure, the Razorbacks were cleaner around the contest. Justin Little and Kane Fitzpatrick continued their fine form while Riley Livingstone, Brandon Rich, Lachlan Spiteri and Marcus Watt also stood out for the visitors. Richmond’s Tom Foott, Damien Holland and Charles Overton continued their rich vein of form, while Pat “Holly” Valance created lots of space on the wing.
The Albert Park Falcons travelled to the Hawk’s nest to battle fellow raptors. After a slow start to the season, the Falcons have continued to improve each week, and their match at Hawthorn looked to be evenly poised. Albert Park started fast and got out to a 3-goal lead, but Hawthorn had levelled by quarter time. A close second stanza saw the Hawks lead by 2 goals at half time, before Hawthorn followed up with a dominant 8 goal to nil 3rd term to lead by 10 majors at the final break. The Falcons battled on in the last, but the Hawks extended their lead to win impressively by 70 points.
Albert Park’s best were Ben May, Ray D’Lima and Stuart Birnie, along with Nick Materia and Tyson Cattle who bagged 2 goals each and Nick Hornstein with 3 majors. For Hawthorn, Aaron ‘KB’ Downie snagged a half a dozen goals to eclipse Cam ‘Golden Fist’ Allum as BOG. Rick Ogge booted 5 majors to move up the sharp shooters table, while skipper ‘Sid’ Whittle showed more toe than a Roman sandal. Afterwards Zac Jardine was superbly drowned in a raucous post match song after 20 previous fruitless attempts.
Glen Eira welcomed Westbourne Grammarians to Packer Park, where the late omission of Gryphon’s captain Todd Richardson gave an opportunity to Ryan Cohen to stamp his authority in the midfield. After a close, physical first quarter, the second term saw the Gryphons midfield quickly and constantly advancing the ball. Gryphon’s forwards were drowning in honey, but unfortunately for Glen Eira their radars needed re-booting – like the scoreboard, which had some ‘IT’ issues. The term yielded 20 Gryphon scoring shots, netting 7 goals and 13 behinds, and their inaccurate kicking kept Westbourne in the game. The Grammarians fought back to win the 3rd term to claw back the margin, before Glen Eira ran out the final quarter strongly.
Westbourne’s best were Paul Hudson, Dan Stoios, Justin Porter, Tim Rogers, Charles Hunter and Ali Eqbal, who was among the goals again. Glen Eira’s best included Daniel Petsinis, Lachlan Pound, Jesse Maxfield, Ryan Cohen and Brent Connelly with 5 majors. Goal kicking practice will be high on the Gryphon’s agenda this week, before they tackle the Razorbacks next week who are up and about after defeating Richmond.