Round 15 produced some fascinating results, the top 4 is not locked away yet with Ivanhoe AFC producing a win for the ages! The round left us with confirmation though that Glen Eira and MHSOB are the favourites to face off in this year’s decider while at the bottom of the table, Bulleen Templestowe set a cat amongst the pigeons claiming their first win of the season.
Going into the round winless, the Bullants have had a year that’s included a forfeit and two heartbreaking losses by two and three points, but on the weekend it all came together in a come-from-behind 23-point win over Yarra Old Grammarians. 7 goals to Paul Florance along with 5 to Jack Cowell pushed Bulleen off the bottom of the ladder for the first time since Round 4. They find themselves 1 game and 18% behind Yarra in 8th spot, and it would be some sort of turn up if they got themselves out of the bottom 2. Incredibly, it was the Bullants’ first win in almost two years, with the seniors last claiming the four points in Round 16, 2019. For Yarra Old Grammarians, Rory Harbeck kicked another bag of 5. He’s played 5 games this season with 19 goals next to his name (5, 1, 4, 4, 5) and now leads the club goalkicking. One imagines they’ll put this one behind them, regroup at training this week and see Round 16 against Power House as an opportunity to put a 2 game buffer on the Ants and snuff out talk of relegation.
While the top 4 were playing against one another, Ivanhoe AFC (5th) were locked in the tightest of contests with Manningham Cobras (6th). It was the Cobras who jumped the Magpies with 4 goals to 1 in the opening term, but the margin was decimated as the Magpies hit back and led at the half. An enthralling second half followed with scores all square at 3 quarter time. Eventually, the match was decided by 1 point as Ivanhoe kept their finals chances alive. Dylan Cawsey led from the front for Manningham, while Cory Meloury kicked 3 for the winners. On the flipside, the Magpies’ Vivian Blackmore-Moore slotted 4 majors and troubled the opposition defence. The Ants now await Ivanhoe, and the Cobras will face up to Aquinas in Round 16.
Power House produced a stellar 2nd quarter against Aquinas but tailed off after half-time. Leading by 10 points at the main change, they conceded 10 goals while only managing 3 themselves to go down by 35 points. Matt Aver was the star up forward for Aquinas kicking 7 goals, his biggest bag since Round 2 vs. Bulleen when he managed 10. With Aver up forward and Harry Dwyer a regular in their best players, they’ll consider their final 3 matches this year winnable (Manningham – 6th, Yarra Old – 8th and Ivanhoe AFC – 5th), and take that momentum into the 2022 pre-season. At Power House, Brendan Wright has been a shining light for them all year, another 3 goals and featuring in the best for the 10th time this season, shows his consistency week-in, week-out.
Johnny Edgar’s Glen Eira have one hand on the minor premiership now after taking care of 4th placed Old Paradians by 59 points at Packer Reserve. For the 6th time this year, they’ve kicked 100+ points. The Gryphons were without leading goalkicker Callum Drenth on Saturday (32 for the season) but found new avenues to goal through Lachie Pound and Sean Bass (3 apiece) while Jesse Maxfield found his way into another best on ground display. Parade lost 12% on the ladder, making them now level on 116% with Ivanhoe AFC. They do, however, have a 2-game buffer with 3 games to play including a much-anticipated Round 17 encounter against the Magpies that could decide the fate of both clubs’ seasons.
MHSOB have just about secured a double chance for this year’s finals after travelling to Ransford Oval, keeping West Brunswick to 1 goal in the first half and walking away as 31-point winners. 3 goals to Hugh Radcliffe-Smith and Kane Smith helped the Unicorns to their 10th straight win and sets up a mouth-watering top of the table clash this coming weekend vs. Glen Eira. Ashun Wijayakumara extended his lead at the top of the goalkicking tree with another 2, making the gap 4 goals to Ash Close (Ivanhoe AFC). The loss, while disappointing for the Magpies, hasn’t changed their ladder position with Old Parade also going down on the weekend. But it will be just as mouth-watering for them this week facing up to Old Parade at Garvey Oval. A win will absolutely confirm September action and knowing Nick Mitchell, he’ll want that and is not prepared to leave anything to chance.