The leading competitors prepped to fill that fourth spot in finals footy, Caulfield Grammarians and Beaumaris, were competitive on the scoreboard until the Sharks edged a one-point victory at the final siren. The lead see-sawed throughout the afternoon, although the Fields looked to have the upper-hand heading into the fourth courtesy of their 10-point advantage. Righting they wayward kicking, the Sharks five goal haul to Caulfield’s three was enough to earn them the four points, and that enviable fourth position on the ladder. Robert Cathcart (2) and Matthew Petering (1) remarkably featured in Beaumaris’ best again, which is the tenth and eighth time, respectively, this season. Nicholas Baltas (2), Thomas Small (4) and Charlie Logan were named for the Fields.
Sixth placed Parkdale showed valour in their 23-point defeat to Old Carey at Carey Sports Complex. The Vultures showed consistent scoring ability for the entirety of the game, but were unable to fully account for the multiple scoring avenues through the Panthers’ Marc Lock (3), Jordan Ceppi (2) and Daniel Clarke (2). Though Old Carey’s inaccuracy in front of goals may have influenced the extent of the final margin, it was undeniably a different spectacle from their Round 5 encounter which saw the Panthers ease a 68-point win away from home. Jason Bristow (1), Liam Marshall and Andrew Watterson were acknowledged for the Vultures, while Ben Coull was BOG for Old Carey for the second time this season.
The battle of the Universities was a drab affair at Frearson Oval as University Blacks dished out a 93-point trouncing to home side, Monash Blues. Though the Blues managed to outscore the Blacks in the final term, it was too little too late as the Blacks had already accumulated a 101-point lead by the third quarter break. In what was a mighty team effort, Lachlan Huntington reclaimed top rank on the sharpshooter table after booting six, Hugh Curnow (3) was rampant, earning the BOG votes, and Lochie Dornauf was on song with four majors. In a day to move on from, Nicholas Woodland (3), Nicholas McConville (1), Nicholas Argento and second senior gamer Gavan Powles were acknowledged for Monash.
Ajax are back in the winners books after repeating their Round 2 victory over Mazenod, this time by 46 points on home soil at Gary Smorgon Oval. The Jackas pressure-style football paid dividends early, as they gained a nine-point advantage at the end of the opening term and continued to build upon that for the duration of the game. Asher Burstin (3) and Jake Lew (3) were pivotal down forward for the Jackas, while Brent Shapiro was named best on for the first time this season. Despite defeat, the Nodders Shaun Lovell (2), Stuart Inglis and Liam Riley (1) fought hard for the visitors.
Old Haileybury proved they could shake things up in Premier B after beating Caulfield Grammarians who, on paper, appeared to have their measure. But, much like their previous encounter in Round 5, the staunch St Bernard’s outfit held firm as they put the Bloods to bed by a comfortable 43 points. A vehement quarter time speech from coach Mark Riley put the Snow Dogs on track, and they responded in kind with an unassailable seven goal to one second quarter; with the single goal being booted by debut senior player, and Old Haileybury Year 10 student, William Mackay. Though the Bloods showed greater composure in the second half, outscoring the Snow Dogs by two goals, it wasn’t enough to quell the influence of the standout St Bernard’s midfield and multiple goalscorers. Alexander Mcleod (3) and Charlie Vague (3) were standouts up forward, though Jack McNamara would have also been up there with his big overhead grabs but for erroneous set shot kicking. Tom Rogerson was named BOG for the Bloods.
Old Carey have been battered by a hoard of obstacles in the last five rounds which has brought about their only two losses for 2018 and three hugely contested wins. With an average winning margin of only 20 points across those games, a far cry from their 81-point margin average in the opening six rounds, the Panthers will be desperate to reinvigorate their premiership contentions when they host the disheartened Caulfield Grammarians. The Fields looked utterly determined to make finals after notching six wins from seven weeks from Round 2 onwards, but their form has come to an abrupt halt since losing to St Bernard’s (52 points), Old Haileyburians (24 points) and Beaumaris (1 point). Old Carey were utterly clinical in their 92-point win over the Fields back in Round 1, but with finals dreams on the line, expect a merciless performance from both sides.
Despite recording only one win for the season to date, Monash Blues are still capable of avoiding relegation if they can achieve consistency, and impact the scoreboard, in the coming weeks. Arguably, one of their best opportunities to get back on the winners train is in Round 12 against Parkdale Vultures. The Vultures have only won one of their last four matches, but have proven merit in their 23-point loss to Old Carey (3rd) and 32-point loss to Beaumaris (4th). The Vultures emerged with the chocolates after their Round 6 clash, and will look to do the same here.
Mazenod (8th) sit ninth on the table for points scored each week, averaging just 57.6 points a game, and they’ll need to muster a much greater score if they are to reverse their 69-point loss from Round 3. Beaumaris, keen to keep their finger on the finals pulse, will want to deliver another compelling blow to the Nodders in order to boost their percentage, which is currently 3.88% lower than fifth placed Caulfield.
First placed St Bernard’s will re-face second placed University Blacks at Melbourne University in Round 12. St Bernard’s are simply irresistible on top of the ladder, boasting the best average score (121 points), least points against per match (54 points) and biggest percentage at 224.07%. While the Blacks aren’t far behind with an average of 111 points per game, and an enviable percentage of 186.61%, it’ll be a tough feat to beat the irrefutable Snow Dogs. Though the lust for warmer climates may impact the team line-ups here, expect a close contest.
Old Haileybury could move from ninth to as high as seventh on the ladder if they are able to turn their Round 1 57-point loss to Ajax into a win come the weekend. Both Old Haileybury and Ajax sit relatively even on the ladder, with comparable percentages of 67.32% and 72.14% and an average concession of 100 and 98 points each week, respectively, this will be a spirited battle.