Canterbury travelled to KB Reserve to tackle a determined fourth-placed Richmond Central in yet another eight-point margin game. It was a tight, low-scoring game, where neither team gave their opponents any breaks. The Boys from Burnley jumped out to a handy 15-point lead at the first break, which was whittled down to a goal at half time. Canterbury came out firing in the premiership quarter to open up a handy 11-point lead at the last break, and while Richmond finished off the game well, Canterbury held on to grind out a win by the smallest of margins.
Canterbury’s Rohan Walmsley, Rob Goodwin and Mitch Szabo all played well, while the Snakes best were Joel Luis, Tom Foott and Stew Beswick. Battle-hardened Richmond have given a good account of themselves against the two top teams in the last fortnight, and this week they face third-placed Hawthorn, and will need to win to stay in the top four. Canterbury banked another win to widen the gap between them and the logjam for 3rd and 4th place. This week Canterbury travel to Glen Eira to face the competition’s yardstick on their patch in a clash of the two top teams.
The in-form Swinburne University hosted Albert Park, who were buoyed after their first win last week. The Falcons started well, but Swinburne levelled their early lead by the first break. After a rev by coach Rowie, the Razorbacks responded to outscore Albert Park 22 goals to four in the last three quarters. It was fitting that Swinburne’s winning margin reached triple figures, on a day where the Razorback’s Daniel ‘Munchkini’ Hassaballa played his 150th game, and Kane Fitzpatrick his 100th.
For Swinburne, the freakish Riley Livingstone was BOG because of his work in the ruck and at full forward with seven goals, while Riley McRae and Dan Close kicked three each, and Jackson Manning, Marcus Watt, Ben Higgins and Will ‘Badger’ McDonald bagging 2 apiece. Nick Materia also kicked two goals, and was best for the visitors, along with Kirk Murray and Tyson Cattle. Joldy Bradley continued his fine form for the Razorbacks, supported by Matt Greenwood and Ged Shearer. A fitting finishing flourish saw ‘Munchkini’ drift up from half back to kick Swinburne’s last goal.
Westbourne Grammarians travelled to Koonung to take on an in-form Manningham Cobras in a game that was actually a lot closer than the scoreboard suggested. The visitors started well, but couldn’t put it on the scoreboard, and their woeful kick got worse in the second term yielding a paltry 2.10 at the main break to Manningham’s 7.7. The visitor’s woes were compounded by some lapses in discipline and the locals took advantage in the second half to kick five goals in each quarter and record a 49 point win.
Brayden Smith was best for the visitors, supported by skipper Mickey Culliver, Justin ‘Ports’ Porter, Timmy Rogers and livewire Paddy O’Brien, who danced in and out of packs like James Brown. It’s hard to keep a good man down, and ‘Sugar’ Maghamez bounced back with four goals, and as many goal assists, while Michael Muller bagged five majors and ‘Chief’ Sukkel was best again for Manningham for the third week in a row. The locals were impressed by the classy debut of Ben Arnold, who looked at home on Koonung, while Nick Zappala, Blake Reed and Tom Flood all played well.
La Trobe University hosted third-placed Hawthorn, and gave them a good run for their money. It was tight end to end footy in the first quarter, with Hawthorn holding a slim lead at the first break, before they took control in the second quarter but didn’t convert their opportunities. The Hawk’s errant kicking continued in the third term, before an entertaining final quarter saw goals flow for both teams. The Trober’s core of good players stood up again, with Brad Fendyk and Matt Ogle continuing their strong seasons, ably supported by the consistent Mitch Oliver.
Hawthorn’s backline brothers Jimmy Ridley and Tom Boots provided plenty of run out of defence and ‘George’ Priest’s left foot was dangerous all afternoon. Aaron ‘KB’ Downie snagged three goals wearing the coaches boots, but post game, the Hawk’s faithful weren’t complimenting ‘KB’ on his hat trick, they were asking why the Kade Pargeter keep his boots in his car. The win saw the Hawks hold 3rd place on the ladder, as they look forward to hosting another contender in Manningham this week.
Glen Eira traveled to Ringwood to take on Aquinas, where the locals were quick out of the blocks. The firm fast track was ideal for a highly skilled contest, and the Bloods were all over the visitors in the first term. The Bloods run and spread on the large ground put Glen Eira’s backline under immense pressure, and Aquinas were believing they could inflict the first loss on the ladder leaders, but Jesse Maxfield kept the visitors in touch with a couple first quarter goals.
After a stark reality check, Glen Eira took their positions to commence the second quarter and proceeded to dominate every facet of the game for the rest of the day. The visitors gained momentum each quarter, culminating in a 10 goal to 1 final term to run out massive winners. Phil Dyck, Russell Foster and James Morris were best for the Bloods, who face a ‘must win’ match against Westbourne to stay in touch with the top four. The Gryphon’s’ Andrew Barrett was back to his best with 5 goals, matched by Brent Connelly’s 5 majors, in another polished display. Todd Richardson dominated the midfield, while Chris Higgins followed his BOG performance at full back last week with four goals, showing why he’s arguably the best swingman in the competition. Tom Lowden may dispute this, when the Gryphons host second placed Canterbury in a game that looms as their biggest test for 2018.