Despite an incredible 10-game winning streak and an average winning margin of 63-points, North Brunswick finally met their match on the weekend when Mt Lilydale stunned the competition and took down the rampaging Bulls by 17-points. St Francis Xavier continued the Swans spiralling journey back down to earth in a four-quarter whitewash, while Parkside, Eley Park and South Mornington all secured wins in an exciting Round of football. Here is what to expect from Round 12.
Despite missing key players Jake George, Ashley Rae and Simon Mair, North Brunswick suffered their first loss since September 10 2017 in a shock 15.8 (98) to 12.9 (81) defeat at the hands of the Rams. Key players Matthew Dal Santo and Keary Mourelatos returned to the line-up, but the line-up which featured three debutants and seven players having played under seven games each, were outclassed by a strong Mt Lilydale outfit. Despite the loss, the Bulls should have little trouble getting back on the winners list as Masala make their way to Allard Park this weekend. A 127-point victory to the Bulls was the result the last time these two sides met, with Jake George, Brendan George and Michael Salloum combining for 17-majors in a one-sided affair. For Masala, Scott Becker’s three goals from their Round 11 loss to Eley Park ties with teammate Sam Freeman for the biggest haul of goals from a Tigers player in a single game so far this season. Bulls to win.
Queries about St Francis Xavier’s slide prior to the bye have been quickly put to bed as the X-Men have run off two consecutive dominant four-quarter performances, headlined by a 88-point victory over fellow top-four hopefuls South Melbourne Districts. South Mornington have been better of late, winning four of their last five to push themselves into striking distance of an unlikely finals berth. The X-Men slammed on eight-goals in the opening term of their clash with the Swans, to take a commanding 55-point lead into the first change, where they would take the four points in comfortable fashion. While the Tigers took care of business in a 41-point win over the Dees which saw the competition goal-kicking leader, Travis French, kick another three to push his total to 48 on the year. The story of this clash will be how the Tigers midfield can give French the best opportunity to get a hold of this game. The X-Men boast the best defensive line-up in the competition, holding opponents to just 52-points a game, while also having eight different players having kicked over 10 goals so far this season, including three over 20. St Francis Xavier are on a mission, and should get the win.
Winners of their last five, Parkside are red hot and are beginning to etch their name into deep finals contention, while Eley Park enter this clash on a four game winning streak and are just one win out of the top four. The Red Devils last five weeks have been nothing short of impressive, holding their opponents to just 48-points and having an average winning margin of just under 64 points a game. The Sharks haven’t been as dominant in their four game winning streak, taking their games by just over 22-points and scoring under 99 points per contest. Similar to the X-Men/Tigers clash, this game will be decided in the midfield, and how often Eley Park can give their main goal-scoring source, Jesiah Mcgarvie, the best chance to succeed. The Devils boast at least five different prominent scoring options, led by Isaac Romano and Simon Gilfedder. If Marco Creek and Adam Moffa can get on top in the middle, this clash might be over early. Parkside to extend their streak to six.
Can Mt Lilydale do it again? The sliding South Melbourne Districts are on deck and could be next in line for the Rams big scalps. After dominating so many teams for the first 10 weeks of the year, Mt Lilydale were able to pull off the upset of all upsets and take down the raging Bulls. Daniel Berry booted four majors while the Rams defensive back six were instrumental in keeping North Brunswick to their lowest score of the season so far, holding Jake George and Brendan Salloum to just three goals combined. The Swans have now lost four of their last five, and enter this clash fresh of their biggest defeat on the year, an 88-point drubbing at the hands of the X-Men. Something serious has changed about the Swans since Round 7, and while John Eastman, Dylan McCarthy and Adam Nash have been the notable exclusions from the side since Round 9, but that doesn’t totally explain the downfall. Through their first six games, the Swans conceded an average of just 57 points per contest, since then, the number has ballooned out to 103 per game. Their scoring has also dipped dramatically, dropping from 105 to just 75 in a six-week span, a radical turnaround across both ends. Rams to win here and continue the Swans freefall.
Our final clash of the round sees Elsternwick and Box Hill North play for pride as both side’s seasons draw to a close. The Wickers have lost five of their last six, including an 11-point defeat at the hands of the Dees the last time these two met, while Box Hill North have lost their last four, with scoring continuing to be the biggest issue for Alan Chung’s men. Despite their 104-point win over Masala in Round 9, the Wickers have also struggled to put points on the board for the majority of the season. Outside of Julian Yeatman (37) and Justin Hunter (22), the scoring options for Elsternwick are quite slim, while the Dees use a balance of scorers to try and overpower their opponents, with 11 different players having scored between five and nine majors so far this season. Look for the Wickers’ tall targets to get a hold of this game and will them to a win.