The build up to the halfway mark of the season posed a question around blowouts, shootouts, cliffhangers and low-scores. We were treated to it all on Saturday afternoon in William Buck Premier. And not only on the field with the results, but movement on the Orthosport Victoria ladder which again throws the race for the flag wide open.
The RSN Carnival Match of the Day promised to be a classic and it served up to its billing. Earmarked as a cliffhanger the game went well into the last quarter before St Kevin’s put the afterburners on to run away from University Blues.
After a month of come-from-behind victories and barnstorming finishes, it was a bridge too far on this occasion for Guy Martyn’s men, but they certainly didn’t leave T H King disgraced in any way. Tom Jok led the way roaming across the wing for the afternoon, supported by his great mate making his debut for the club Goy Lok. The day for Goy was capped off kicking the final goal of the afternoon and the 17-man teammate swarm to get over to him in celebration proved how loved and welcomed he is into Plugger Lynch’s team.
University Blues again went one man down on the interchange before half-time with Tom Quinn out of action. From their 12 majors, Sam Grimley stretched his lead at the top of the sharpshooters table with a bag of eight! It’s been a long-time coming since we’ve seen a power forward of his size and ilk “tear a game to shreds” and he threatened to be the matchwinner on the day.
The bye comes at the right time for the Blues who can take a deep breath, get a player or two back when footy resumes, however the assignments don’t get any easier as they’ll welcome Old Brighton to Uni Main. While for St Kevin’s, it’s another top of the table clash for them, this time Old Melburnians awaits. A team they just overcame in the season opener.
Over at Elsternwick Park, it was Old Melburnians who triumphed against Old Brighton. The OM’s continued on the momentum they gathered last Friday night with an opening quarter blitz that had to be seen to be believed. A 55-point to zero opening term set the tone of the day.
Tom Baker (5) led from the front up forward, and was supported by six other players to register majors. The even spread of goalkickers each week from Satts’ men is holding them in good stead, and proving a nightmare for opposition coaches as to who is the #1 man to stop and match-up on. And, at the other end of the ground, it was a welcome return to the captain Josh Freezer.
The Tonners worked their way back into the game and the final margin of 21 points means the percentage didn’t take a significant dent. Jordan Segar led the way with three majors, while again Harry Hill (2) hit the scoreboard and was named the best for the travelling team.
These sides (along with St Kevin’s) sit equal first with percentage separating them at the halfway mark. It’s going to be a fascinating run home for them. The weekend maybe threw up more questions than answers, and there’s every chance the same will happen in round 10 after the bye.
The shootout was predicted between Old Scotch and Caulfield Grammarians, and the shootout was accurate. A combined 34 goals were kicked at Camberwell Sports Park on Saturday. What wasn’t predicted though was a 45-point Old Scotch lead 10 minutes into the second term being whittled down and then surpassed by Caulfield with a 9-goal blitz, all before half-time.
The second half saw a topsy-turvy battle with the Cardinals getting back on top in the third term, only for the Fields to slam home 7-goals in the final quarter to regain the lead, and come away with the points. It’s Punchy Williams’ finest moment for this season.
Jack Ellwood, after a 3-goal, rising star nomination performance in Round 8. Followed up with a 5-goal best on ground performance this weekend. Along with the “best from the west” Dane Crognale. And, we can’t discount the goal kicking accuracy of Oliver Lowe (5), bringing his season average to two goals a game.
While no doubt the Cardinals will be disappointed at coughing up a 45-point lead there’s still plenty to like from the way they’ve approached the opening half of the season. Lachie Byrne-Jones (4 goals) led the way on Saturday, Jesse Castan has been rucking superbly. This young group has got plenty to work with after the bye. And, with all young groups, usually the second half of a season produces an even better output than the first.
Old Scotch will meet Old Xaverians after the bye at Toorak Park, their #1 nemesis. The Fields focus now turns to Collegians at Harry Trott Oval, a win will put their season back on track and trending in an upward direction.
Collegians made five changes to their line-up against St Bernard’s on the weekend, despite losing Ed Greene to suspension the welcomed inclusions of Matt Jenkinson, Hugh Johnson and Sam Hibbins added experience to the backline and the midfield as they pulled away from the Snowdogs after half-time.
10 individual goal scorers helped the cause of the purple army who have now cut a run of five consecutive losses. The Snowdogs started the game well, but were held goalless in the second quarter as the Lions took the ascendancy, not looking back after that.
Paul Groves’ men have got a bit to do in the next fortnight before coming up against Old Trinity at the Daley Oval in Round 10, their only win in the first half of the year came against the T’s across the Anzac weekend. Trinity at Trinity is a much different prospect.
The highly-fancied Old Xaverians hit the go-button after quarter time against Old Trinity. 15-goals to two from then on saw them produce the biggest winning margin for the season and give them much needed percentage to push them back into the top four.
Charlie MacIsaac (5), was supported by Xavier Richards (4) and Will Gowers (4) up in the forward line and James Byrnes’ men did as they pleased. Will Goss has played some very good footy of late and was rewarded by the coaching panel and named amongst the best.
Old Trinity leant on Myles Scott, Hugo McGlashan and Harry Thompson for the afternoon. They’ll return home after the bye, ready to tackle St Bernard’s with the aim to inflict the pain they felt on the weekend, on the Snowdogs.