Ladder resets after Round 7 upsets

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Alisha Min

We foresaw a highly contestable week of football ahead of Round 7, and that’s exactly what we received. Eight changes to the ladder were recorded after the round’s results, with St Bernard’s comprehensive win over Uni Blacks leaving Old Carey as the only undefeated team in Premier B.

Old Carey were in deep water at Shark Park as Beaumaris entered the final term with a nine-point advantage, but true to form, the Panthers were able to clinch the gripping win by two goals come the final siren. The lead ebbed and flowed throughout the match, with scores level at the end of the first quarter, before Old Carey were able to notch a five-point advantage at half time. The Sharks’ backline was impressive throughout the day, epitomised by keeping the Panthers goalless in the third and limiting their sharpshooter, Kristian Jaksch (1), to his lowest score of the season. The visiting side, however, had eight other goal contributors, including Jack Alexander and Ben Smithwick with two apiece, which enabled them to change the tide and secure the four points. Callum Heath earnt his first BOG performance for the home side and was ably supported by Damien Johns (1) and Lewis Diggins. For the Panthers, Jason Ashby improved on his impressive Round 5 and Round 6 performances, being named best for the unbeaten side, while Ben Coull also had another stellar day.

The traditional home ground advantage did Mazenod no favours on Saturday afternoon as they succumbed to a 60-point deficit at the hands of Caulfield Grammarians. The Fields took no time to warm to the conditions at Central Reserve, taking a 14-point advantage at the end of the first term, and continuing to extend that margin as the match progressed. The Nodders had just the two multiple goal scorers for the afternoon in Rees Thomas (2) and Liam Welsford (2), whereas the Fields boasted four thanks to Alexander Lowe (3), Jordan Stewart (2), Keegan Stewart (2) and Ryan Harris (2). Sam Dorevitch earnt his first best-on-ground accolade for the visitors, while the Nodders acknowledged Christopher Campbell and John-Paul Van Rensburg for their efforts.

Monash Blues banished their blues when they overran fellow win-less side in Old Haileyburians in front of a home crowd. In what was their highest scoring total for the season by a whopping 56 points, the Blues applied scoreboard pressure for the entirety of the match which saw them lead at every break, and inevitably take home the win by 21 points. To the Bloods’ credit, they roused an inspired third quarter effort, attaining 32 points to the Blues 26, but they would have rued their inaccuracy (4.8) which saw them still trail by 16 points heading into the final term. For the Blues, Nicholas Woodland and Matthew Beckmans were on song, bagging five and four majors respectively, and were well supported by Jake Meade who was best. Benjamin White took the BOG accolade for the Bloods, while John Nicholopoulos (2) and Jack Munro (2) applied pressure in front of goals.

A similar situation transpired at Gary Smorgon Oval for Ajax when their second half fade allowed the visitors, this time in the form of Parkdale Vultures, to emerge with the winning four points. The Jackas were right with Parkdale in the first half, trailing by a point at the first break and 14 points at the end of the second, but the Vultures spread their wings in the third after scoring 5.4 to their 1.1. With help from Liam Marshall (6), who was named best, Nathan Papatsanis (4) and in-form skipper Charlie Dillon (3), the Vultures sealed the deal in the final term, pushing the final margin to 50 points. Jake Lew was again imposing in front of goal for Ajax, booting four majors, while Justin Berkowitz returned to the best list and was awarded top honours.

St Bernard’s retained their formidable reputation at home when they toppled the previously undefeated Uni Blacks by an unprecedented 64 points at the Snake Pit. The Snow Dogs were off with a bang come the opening bounce, pushing out to a 19-point lead at the end of the first which they extended upon at every break. While the home side’s sharpshooters put on a show, with Chad Jones amassing seven majors and Michael Caven with two, the Blacks sorely missed the influence of Lachlan Huntington, while Lochie Dornauf only kicked one. Jack McNamara went back-to-back with the BOG award for the Snow Dogs, with Harrison Kennedy and Simon Caven also impressive. Lachlan Knight (1) and Hugh Curnow were acknowledged for the Blacks, but it was Joshua Steadman (1) who was named best.


In what we might’ve anticipated to be a battle of first place v second place, Old Carey will now host third-placed Uni Blacks at Carey Sports Complex in Round 8. Though the Panthers were evidently challenged by Beaumaris last week, they are a different beast at home, boasting a winning margin of 69 points in those encounters. Look for the Panthers to continue their perfect streak.

Surely inspired by their first win of the season, don’t be surprised if Monash Blues continue their winning ways when they host Ajax at Frearson Oval. The Jackas will no doubt be addressing their match endurance in the lead up, as they have failed to compete in the latter stages of games, particularly in the last two rounds in the second half when they kicked 1.4 against Beaumaris’ 8.6 in Round 6, and 3.6 to Parkdale’s 9.6 in Round 7. For the Blues, another 100+ points in this outing will more than likely secure them the four points given that Ajax are averaging around 66 points each game.

Back in the top four after their Round 7 victory, Caulfield Grammarians will welcome sixth-placed Parkdale Vultures to Glenhuntly Oval. The Vultures will enter this contest off the back of consecutive wins, but their prestige in Premier B will still be contended given their victories to date have been against 8th, 9th and 10th placed sides. A comprehensive victory for the Fields could see them overtake the Blacks in third position, while the Vultures will be keen to stay in touch with the top half of the ladder with a win.

After still sitting winless post-Round 7, the opportunity for Old Haileyburians to gain some much-needed points is within reach this week as they host Mazenod at Princes Park Caulfield. The Nodders, who have only beaten Ajax (8th) and Monash Blues (9th), are well-placed to beat the Bloods this week, or will the 2017 Premier C flag winners show their resolve?

Back-to-back weeks at the Snake Pit could not come at a better time for St Bernard’s, who are set to host a formidable Beaumaris side in Round 8. Though first place is playing third place in Old Carey v Uni Blacks, I pick this as the match of the round. Sure to be a highly contested ball game, with some of Premier B’s best goalkickers putting on a show, this will go down to the wire.

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