A hopeful return to Prem B footy

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Jake Morris

After a brief stint on the sidelines, footy fans are hopeful that the game they love can return to local grounds this weekend. Though there is a chance we may have to wait a little longer to get our fix, there is no issue in previewing Round 9 on the off chance we are able to get back out there.

Starting off with ladder leaders Old Haileyburians, who welcome a ferocious Beaumaris side to Princes Park for what promises to be an incredible match-up featuring two of the more fancied sides in the competition. Averaging 97-points a match so far this year, the Bloods have been elite at putting points on the board when they go forward, but this will be the first time this year they will come up against the number one ranked defence in the league, as Beauy concede just 46-points a match, a battle of the immovable object and the unstoppable force. Look for Haileybury to take control in the middle of the ground and deliver silver service to their forward line, as the Sharks try to hold firm but ultimately come up short in a classic.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 16 2019 – Beaumaris def Old Haileybury 15.12 (102) to 5.13 (43)
Old Haileybury by 1-point.

Following Williamstown CYMS incredible rise up the competitions standings in recent years, this will be the first time since 2002 that the CYs will travel to University Oval for a matchup with the University Blacks, a sign that this team has now well and truly made it to the big time. Fast forwarding to 2021, the Blackers have dropped just one game so far this year, booting 82 points per game and conceding just 51, a mark good enough for second of the table. The CYs will have their hands full in this one, their last two games against top-4 teams Haileybury and Beaumaris have ended in 60 and 65-point losses respectively, with their win against De La Salle in round two standing up as one of their more impressive so far this year, but this would take the cake. Skipper Tom Johnstone, Dylan Jones and Brad Tucker will need to be huge to combat this veteran Blackers outfit. Look for the CYs to keep it close but look for Uni to run out winners late.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 11 2002 – University Blacks def Williamstown CYMS 16.18 (114) to 13.7 (85)
University Blacks by 31-points.

Rounding out the four entering round nine is De La Salle, who travel to Brindisi Street for an interesting clash with St Bedes/Mentone Tigers. Both sides have been above average in terms of scoring and defensive numbers, with De La managing just five more points per game while conceding six-points less. Though, the Royal Blues have strung together four-wins on the trot by an average of 57-points per game, their largest win streak since 2016. Bedes sit two games behind the fourth placed De La so a win here on their home turf could bring them back well and truly in the conversation for a top-4 spot, while a loss and Adrian McBean’s men could find playing in September a hill too tough to climb.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 18 2018 – De La Salle def St Bedes/Mentone Tigers 16.21 (117) to 4.8 (32)
De La Salle by 10-points.

Sitting in 7th but still only two games behind the fourth placed De La, AJAX find themselves in a must-win situation as they face the lowly Parkdale Vultures. Though both sides struggle to score the ball (51ppg & 30ppg respectively), AJAX grind and hustle style of play has helped them do a decent job at limiting their opponents score and should see that trend continue again this week. The Vultures must continue to play their young guys and get reps in Premier B, building battle scars that will serve them well for years to come.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 17 2018 – Parkdale Vultures def AJAX 13.14 (92) to 8.12 (60)
AJAX by 64-points.

Our final clash for round nine features two sides desperate for the four-points with Fitzroy welcoming Old Carey to Brunswick Street Oval, with the winner being able to go a game clear of the relegation zone, adding an extra pinch of spice to a match featuring 8th and 9th. The main difference between the two sides so far this year is Carey’s ability to put points on the board ranks ahead of only AJAX and Parkdale at 58 a match, while the Roys’ sit at just under 74, with the collective effort of Jack Hart, Jack McKay, Nino Lazzaro and Rory Patterson working a little better than the one-man show up forward that is Harrison Bean. Take him out and the Roys should cruise to another win, setting up a second-half of the season run.
LAST TIME THEY MET: Round 15 2017 – Fitzroy def Old Carey 10.12 (72) to 7.13 (55)
PREDICTION: Fitzroy by 12-points.