Heading into round seven, Old Haileybury now are perched atop the Premier B table after arguably their most impressive win since their 2017 Grand Final victory, fending off the fast-finishing Blackers by just five points. With the margin within a kick in the dying stages, the Bloods secured the final clearance of the afternoon through star Brede Seccull to help grab a memorable victory for the magenta & black.
The ladder-leaders now turn their attention to Williamstown CYMS who took care of business themselves against the Vultures, claiming a handy 83-point win to move into 5th on the table. Holding a mere 18-point lead heading into the main break, the CYs proceeded to slam home 11 of the 12 goals after half-time to blow the game wide open. Looking ahead to this clash, the Bloods elite ability to put scores on the board behind the likes of Durras Seccull, Sam Loewe and Corey Connelly, matched with the outstanding play of Emilio Bitters and skipper James Paul in defence, Haileybury are flourishing in-front of our very eyes. Winless outside the confines of Fearon Reserve, the CYs will need to lean heavily on the likes of captain Tom Johnstone, Brad Tucker and Sam Callard in the middle of the ground to keep possession and limit their opponents inside-50 count, as going goal-for-goal with the Bloods could spell trouble for Mat Montebello’s crew.
Going down to Haileybury was the University Blacks, who had their colours lowered for the first time in 2021. Despite trailing by 24 at the main break, the Blackers managed to claw all the way back and after a classy Harrie Lahy snap in the dying stages, had an opportunity to snag victory from the grips of defeat, ultimately falling short. A trip to Albert Park now awaits Uni Blacks as they square off with AJAX, who succumbed to a ferocious Tigers squad, allowing five of the final six goals of the match to go down by 23-points. The Jackas seemingly kept their opponents in check for three quarters, forcing the Tigers into their defensive style of play, but let go of the chain in the last quarter and were ultimately run out of Brindisi Street without the four-points. The main test for AJAX will be limiting the likes of James Sansom and Jordan Quaile in the middle of the ground, as once the ball goes forward to the key bigs in Daniel McCullough and Alastair Robbins, it could be raining goals at Gary Smorgen. Keep watch on Ben Krongold and Nick Lewis who will have their hands full with this classy Uni Blacks outfit.
Returning to form and ending their two-game skid was Beaumaris, putting the Roys’ to the sword and running out comfortable 56-point victors at Banksia Reserve. Piling on ten majors to three after half-time, the Sharks put their rough fortnight behind them and showed again why they should be considered prominently to go deep into September. Following on from their second-half dismantling of Fitzroy, Beauy will now turn their attention to the struggling Old Carey who were handily beaten by fellow former William Buck Premier competitor De La. A disappointing and sluggish start to 2021 for the Panthers sees them sit in 8th spot and outside of the defensive minded AJAX and Parkdale, are the lowest scoring side in the competition, averaging just under 10-goals a match. As these two sides clash on Saturday, be sure to monitor how Simon Pasinati and company strategizes to handle arguably the most in-form player in the comp in Chris Grigoriadis, who continues to shine across the midfield and half-forward. With Grigoriadis at one end, Lewis Diggins has led the Sharks across half-back and will have the task of slowing the Panthers leading man Harrison Bean, who has been outstanding for Carey so far this year.
Winners of three-straight, De La Salle are in the midst of their longest winning streak since 2017 and have a great chance this weekend to make it their first four-game winning stretch since 2015, travelling to Gerry Green Reserve for a matchup with the winless Parkdale. Strong victories over Carey, Beaumaris and Fitzroy see De La entrenched well-inside the top-4 and a win this weekend could see that lead grow as the fifth placed CYs vs Haileybury. The Vultures continue to play for pride and develop through the adversity, with Cooper Balic leading from the front and pushing his side towards competitiveness. The midfield duo of Hugh Nicholson and Fraser Cameron should have a field day for De La, while Adrian Indovino and Tom Deane-Johns should fare well up-forward as they deal with the Panthers backline that leaks over 117-points per contest.
Brunswick Street Oval will play host to our final clash for Round 7 with St Bedes/Mentone Tigers and Fitzroy locking horns. The Tigers enter on the heels of an impressive fight back over the Jackas, booting five-goals-to-one in the final term to notch win number three. Fitzroy were thoroughly outclassed by the Sharks in route to their fourth consecutive loss, their longest losing streak since 2017. Ahead of only Parkdale, Fitzroy concede the most points per clash at just under 79 a game, and with the league leading goal-kicker James Mangoni coming to town, the Tigers should have no issue getting on the scoreboard if they can get the ball out of the middle. How Fitzroy can defend the Tigers strong forward line should be a key-piece for Luke Mahoney to study, as well as how they can combat Michael Barnes, who continues to feature prominently in the Tigers back six.