The fat lady has sung, bringing an end to the Preston Bullants’ season, a campaign that at one stage promised so much but ultimately delivered so little. Hampton, Ormond and Therry Penola have locked in the top three places, whilst Oakleigh’s fate is in their own hands with a simple equation – win, and they’re in. The equation may be simpler than the task, however, as they have to beat the in-form Therry Penola. Failure will see them cruelly displaced at the eleventh hour by Prahran Assumption, for whom the four points against Ivahoe appears fait accompli.
Prahran Assumption squandered their opportunity to make finals a virtual certainty when they went down to Hampton Rovers in a low-scoring thriller at Boss James Reserve. They led by a point at three quarter time, but just couldn’t hang on to be edged out by nine points. The win handed Rovers, brilliantly led by Liam McCartney and Benjamin Kneebush, the minor premiership with one round to go. Both sides managed only six goals each for the game, for the Two Blues Jack Matherson snagged three of those.
Cormac Cashin led the way for West Brunswick as they overran Ivanhoe to the tune of 111 points at Ivanhoe Park. Jethro Calma-Holt and Patrick Carroll both kicked four goals for the winners, as did Lachlan Roberts for the beaten side.
Therry Penola shored up third spot on the ladder with a trouble-free ten goal thrashing of Preston Bullants, who look a shadow of the side they were only a few months ago. Jarrod Bannister (6) once again led the scoring for the Lions, and Liam Flanigan chimed in with two in the process of being named best afield. Sean Calcedo kicked three goals and was one of the few shining lights for the once again disappointing Bullants, whose finals hopes are over.
The most one-sided affair of the round – a 136 point rout – unfolded at Gillon Oval where Ormond ran rings around Brunswick NOBS, who failed to register a single major for the entire match. William Mott and Lewis White worked hard against the tide for NOBS, and Jack McCartney won BOG honours for Ormond, who featured three players with four goals apiece – Luke Duthie, Zev Aron and Jeremy Simon.
Aaron Cloke drilled through another four goals for the dominant Oakleigh at Kew’s Victoria Park, taking his total to 93 for the year. Jack Sellen was outstanding for Oakleigh, whose 41 point win lifted them back into the four, a position they can protect by beating the Lions in the last round. Brin Duggan did his best to keep the Bears in it, helped by Billy Shute’s three goals.
Normally a top of the table clash would be the headline act in a week’s fixture, but this Saturday all eyes will be on the two games that have meaningful bearing on settling the final ladder.
Oakleigh, who have been in irresistible form since mid-May, have absolutely everything to play for when they welcome Therry Penola to Scammell Reserve. The Lions can’t move up nor down, so while the result for them doesn’t really matter, they may be keen to knock Oakleigh out of contention. The Krushers know a win will see them through, a loss will throw them out in favour of Prahran Assumption, whose task is only to overcome the highly unfancied Ivanhoe.
One suspects a plethora of phone calls and text messages emanating in and out of Toorak Park on Saturday afternoon, as the Two Blues bench and supporters will have one eye on the contest with Ivanhoe, the other on updates from Scammell Reserve. No one expects the Hoers to give Prahran Assumption much trouble, but a win alone will not do it for the Two Blues should the Krushers prevail in the other game.
The percentage gap is too big for Ormond to overhaul Hampton Rovers even if they win handsomely at Gunn Reserve. Both teams are likely to treat this as a tune-up for more important battles ahead, so any psychological edge gained is more relevant than the four points.
West Brunswick host Kew at Ransford Oval, Preston Bullants get a visit from Brunswick Nobs at Ruthven Reserve. All these sides will be less than satisfied with their also-ran seasons, for NOBS it will be goodbye to this division for now.