La Trobe University hosted the Albert Park at C.T. Barling Reserve for their first ‘home’ game there for 2018. The Trobers have endured a nomadic 2018, but they made full use of their temporary home with Men’s and Women’s Reserves and Seniors all taking to the field. La Trobe’s coach Alan Ezard had 2 late withdrawals with illness, but it was a mere hiccup in what turned out to be as a great day for the men in red and black.
The visitors started strongly with a 3 goal to 1 first quarter, before the home team enjoyed a 3 goal to 1 term to lead by 5 points at the main break. The frugal Trober’s defenders held the Falcons to a single goal in both the 3rd and 4th terms and kicked 7 goals to run out 37-point victors. While star big man Matt Ogle was best again for the Trobers, Sam Benetti-Baker stepped up a notch, Tom Mooney, Joel McCarten and Lach Miller were excellent, as were Josh Rogerson and Josh Guy who hit the scoreboard with 3 goals each. Jack Lee was best for the Falcons, backed by Cale Blizzard with 3 majors, hard-nut Tyson Cattle, Jarrad Twite and Tim Barnett
Richmond Central hosted Hawthorn at Burnley, where the visitors started slowly again, before taking over with consistent efforts to essentially outscore Richmond by 4 goals to 2 in each quarter. Their 64-point win consolidated 2nd place on the ladder, and put a big dent in Richmond’s percentage.
With his wispy orange hair, penchant for a goal and inability to handball when he’s inside the 50m arc, Aaron ‘KB’ Downie came to Kevin Bartlett Reserve to continue his good form. When the Hawk’s no 18 snapped truly in the last term the call ‘it’s your oval’ rang out from the Hawthorn faithful. Best for the Hawks were Hadrian Prest (4 goals), Justin Raiti (2), Steven Wintle, Coady Travaglia (2), Rick Ogge (3) and ‘KB’ Downie, who made the ground his own. Jake Munro kicked 3 goals for the home team, while Ricky Costanzo’s positive talk and leadership didn’t waver all arvo, supported by Joel Luis, Luke James, Shayne Kearney, Steven Bugeja and Matt Lammeretz.
In-form Westbourne Grammarians travelled to Swinburne in a game that looked evenly poised. The Razorbacks are hard to beat at home, and they looked good in the 1st term to lead by 11 points at the first break. The visitors then took control, to slowly pull away extending their lead each quarter to the final siren to win by 17 points.
Westbourne shared the goals around, with Warrior’s livewire Paddy O’Brien was BOG, supported by Justin Porter, Tim Rogers, Chris Hudson, Paul Hudson, and Ali Eqbal with 4 goals. Riley Livingstone with 5 goals was best for Swinny, supported by ‘Polar Bear’ Bradley, Wil Gubbins, Mick Daly, Jack Manning and Mick Clare.
With 5 forced changes and head coach Jon Edgar unavailable a new look Glen Eira travelled to Koonung Reserve for a 1v3 clash with the Manningham Cobras. The Gryphons started with a swagger kicking the first 3 goals, before the home team responded to lead by 2 points at quarter time. The 2nd term saw the Cobras play excellent football, but inaccuracy had them lead by just 4 points at the half. The tempo was raised in the 3rd term, with the Cobras opening up the biggest deficit the top side has faced all year, before a towering Andrew Barrett mark and goal on 3 quarter time reduced the margin to 9 points. A Todd Richardson ‘Captain’s goal’ lifted Glen Eira in the last term, then Stuart Carey marked 45 out and kicked truly to put the Gryphons in front and finish 5-point victors in an epic contest.
Stuart Carey was the Gryphons’ best, closely followed by brother Ash, Matt Harris and skipper Richardson. Manningham were disappointed with one that got away, but they can be reassured that they had many good players who stood up in a match that had true finals intensity. Luke Morris, Andre Geagea and Tim Binks were hard to pass in defence, Ayden Sukkel and Nick Zappala strong in midfield and up forward Kane Maghamez kicked 3 goals.
A resurgent Aquinas hosted Canterbury, in what was a must-win game for the home team. A Rohan Walmsley first quarter hat trick of goals saw the visitors get off to a flyer to lead by 15 points at the first break. The 2nd quarter was a dour struggle, before the Bloods clawed back the margin to 7 points at the last break. A Jared Sund goal early in the last quarter tied the scores, then the Cobra’s James Wilson goaled to stretch the margin back out to 7 points, before the Bloods booted the last 3 majors in the final 10 minutes, to win by 13 points.
The usual suspects stood up for Canterbury, including the super reliable trio of Walmsley, Martin Astbury and Sam Murphy, who were ably backed by Tyler Wooster, Jordan Tomas and Sean Hanrahan. The Bloods best were Lachlans – Naulty, McDonald and Barnes, supported by Jarred Sund, Nick Morrison-Storey and Sam Porter, while Jake Cawsey scored 3 majors. The win has infused the 8th placed Aquinas into the 6-way battle to play finals football, where 4 points and percentage separates them and the 3rd placed Manningham.