A gruelling weekend of Division 4 football saw three contests decided by 11-points or less, all ending in upsets. South Mornington were able to register their first win of the year with an impressive performance over Box Hill North, Elsternwick started hot and never looked back in a shock victory over the in-from Parkside, while the match of the round between South Melbourne Districts and St Francis Xavier was decided by one solitary point as the Bloods outlasted the X-Men in what was an intense and memorable affair. That was Round 5, this is Round 6, let’s have a look at what to expect.
A disappointing Box Hill North performance on the weekend against the lowly South Mornington Tigers saw the Dees slip to 9th on the competition table, with just one win next to their name. They won’t have time to lick their wounds for long as Elsternwick and their new-found confidence come rolling into Elgar Park after a very impressive win against top-four hopefuls Parkside. After a dominating first term where the Wickers piled on seven majors, they were able to run out 11-point winners in-front of their home fans for their best win on the season. It was the big names that stood out once again for Elsternwick, with the team’s two leading goal scorers Julian Yeatman and Justin Hunter both converting four goals each, while the always reliable Andrew Oldfield and Richard Main were among the best once in a win that could jumpstart their season. The Dees on the other hand continue to struggle, notching their fourth consecutive loss and falling to second last on the ladder. The schedule hasn’t been too kind to Alan Chung’s men to start the year, playing all of the current top four sides through the first four rounds of the season before a round five matchup with the winless Tigers, a game they probably should have gotten the points for. The Demons trailed at every change, and despite a five-goal final term spearheaded by Lachie Silby and Ben Pearce, it wasn’t enough as the Dees fell by seven points. Elsternwick’s new-found confidence and forward prowess should get them the four-points in this one.
The Rams are back! After a shaky 1-3 start to the year, Mt Lilydale OC were able to return to form in a four-quarter whitewash of the Eley Park Sharks. Their opponents this weekend in Masala continue to chug along at their own pace, going down to the undefeated Bulls by 128-points. This was their third consecutive defeat by over 100-points and pushes their average losing margin up to 113-points per game. In a positive, Masala were able to generate their second highest amount of scoring opportunities with 14 in their loss to the Bulls, after 22 against the Sharks in round two, but inaccurate kicking of 4.10 hindered their chances of keeping the margin respectable. No information on statistics have been submitted at the time of filing this report. The Rams were simply outstanding in their 74-point pummelling of fellow finals contender Eley Park. Holding the Sharks to just two goals up to half-time and four for the entire match, it was clear that this was a complete team performance encapsulating every position on the ground. Daniel Perry kicked seven goals up-forward to move into third on the competitions goal-scoring tally. Perry’s forward partner Stephen Donald also booted four, while Matt Mcilrath and star Aaron Potter were once again among the best. Despite their one bad loss to Parkside last weekend, the Rams have been consistently holding their own against the rest of the competition so far this year. They now sit just one game out of the top four and with Masala coming to town this weekend, a chance at moving into equal fourth position is entirely possible. Rams to win.
Arguably the match of the round, the undefeated and league leaders North Brunswick AFC will travel to Pitcher Park in Alphington to face the much improved Parkside Football Club. The Devils three-game winning streak was snapped at the hands of Elsternwick on the weekend in a result that caught many by surprise. The 11-point defeat was their second of the year and despite still holding onto the all-important fourth spot, it leaves the gate open for the Rams, Wickers and Sharks to tie them on three wins if they are unable to take down the freight train that is the Bulls. Inaccurate kicking was the story of the game for Parkside, if it wasn’t for a 4.0 last term that almost snatched them the win, 6.15 for the first three quarters almost single-handily put them out of the contest at three-quarter time. Parkside leading goal-scorer Matt Soligo was held to just one major for the day, while Adam Moffa was the only multiple goal scorer with two goals, highlighting a fantastic defensive performance from Elsternwick. The Devils won’t be able to have another lapse up-forward this weekend as the Bulls from North Brunswick travel to town. Boasting the competition’s two leading goal scorers and highest average score per game, this contest is sure to be one entertaining offensive show. The Bulls took care of the winless Masala by 128-points to remain undefeated, take top spot on the ladder and ease Jake George back into the line-up after a month on the sidelines. The big three of Michael Salloum (5), Brendon George (5) and Jake George (7) combined for 17 of North Brunswick’s 24, highlighting the three-headed monster that the Bulls forward line possess. This is sure to be one entertaining contest that you must keep an eye on. Bulls to win and remain undefeated.
Another side on the wrong end of an upset last weekend was St. Francis Xavier, who were finally derailed after an unbeaten start to the year, succumbing to the South Melbourne Districts by a single point at Lindsey Hassett Oval. They will look to get back on track this weekend when South Mornington roll in high off their first win of the year. After a very forgettable 2017 campaign, the X-Men have well and truly staked their claim as a premiership contender this season with a blistering four game start to the year which saw them hold an average winning margin of 104-points, be the competitions highest scoring team at 140-points a game, all while boasting the strongest defence as well, conceding just 36 points per game on average; it really has been a historic start to the year. The Bloods deserve all the credit in the world for this victory, but inaccuracy in-front of goal (9.14), and a goalless first quarter made this contest all the more difficult. The absence of the side’s leading goal-scorer Dylan Alexander was also costly, but Stephen Richards-Gill failing to crack the scoreboard was a credit to the Bloods back six. Alex Mackenzie booted three while Daniel Chin continued his hot start to the year with another game in the votes for his side in the tough loss. The Tigers were magnificent in their 7-point victory over Box Hill North. Led by Kyle Gascoigne and Luke Devlin, the Tigers midfield ran rampant for the majority of the day, giving Matt Wells, Robert Wilson and clubhouse leading goal-kicker Travis French every opportunity to push the game out of reach. This was South Mornington’s first win in Div 4 for the year and first win in this grade since July 18 2015. Look for the X-Men to bounce back hard and claim a strong win here.
In a tale of differing results from last round, the all-conquering South Melbourne Districts protected their fortress in a very impressive victory over the previously unbeaten St. Francis Xavier squad, while the Eley Park Sharks were beaten from pillar to post by the Rams, going down to the tune of 74-points in arguably their worst performance on the year. The Sharks score of 4.5 (29) was their lowest total so far this season, and after scoring 19.18 (132) just one week earlier against South Mornington, it shows that the Sharks are more than capable of being competitive. Jesiah Mcgarvie and Joshua Balon both continued to fly the flag for Eley Park as they once again stood out in the votes for the Sharks. Their opponents this weekend in the Bloods enter as one of the only two remaining undefeated teams after outlasting St. Francis Xavier by a solitary point. Kieran Robertson and Ryan Chirgwin both booted two goals while Steve Clarke and Jack Stevenson were both instrumental in victory. Look for the Bloods to stay perfect.