“Who would’ve thought the sequel would be just as good as the original!”
Remember when Anthony Hudson screamed those famous words on the final siren of the 2006 AFL Grand Final? This weekend brings about the first of the return bouts between our William Buck Premier teams in the run to September.
So, as we move into the second half of the season, will the second edition of these meetings be a case of returning serve, like the Eagles did to the Swans all those years ago, or will it be more like what Brisbane did to Collingwood in 2002 and 2003?
Last time they met: Round 1, St Kevin’s def. Old Melburnians by 8 points
A tight torrid affair in wet conditions greeted these two sides in the season opener. Old Melburnians had their chances late in the game to win the contest but couldn’t convert in front of goal, handing St Kevin’s and Plugger Lynch his first four points as senior coach.
This time around Old Melburnians (Second on the ladder) come into this game as the in-form side of the competition. At Elsternwick Park, where they haven’t lost a game this year, they’re averaging 88.8 points per game while conceding 63.4 points per game.
St Kevin’s three weeks prior to the bye has shown areas of vulnerability but they’re challenges the coaching staff are embracing. Facing off against the sides they’ll see in September (Old Xavier, Old Brighton & Uni Blues) they went from being a defensive brick wall, to a leaky tap conceding 77.3 points per game, and losing two of their last three matches.
At one end, lock these in – Josh Freezer & Oscar Hosking vs. Paddy Kerr & Sam Tucker. At the other end, Connor Ross, Michael Pisker, and Josh Tynan will have their hands full with Tom Baker, Jackson Paine, and Sam Dunnell running rampant. The unpredictable nature of the OM’s forward has rattled each defensive unit in the last month.
The biggest contest of the day are players who shake, rattle and roll their way through games in complete contrasting styles – The bollocking nature of Gus Borthwick vs. the smooth-moving gazelle like running of Tom Jok, the may stand side-by-side at stoppages and if they do, keep your eyes locked on that contest all afternoon.
Last time they met: Round 3, Old Brighton def. Uni Blues by 6 points
With scores locked at three quarter time in Round 3, it was Old Brighton who won the final quarter to win the game by six points. One of only two games this year where our sharpshooter from University Blues Sam Grimley was held goalless.
Both of these sides have had a fortnight to ponder what might have been from their respective Round 9 losses. Uni Blues trailed by 5 points at three quarter time against St Kevin’s before a month of them running down sides caught up with them. While Old Brighton walked into an OM’s ambush trailing by 55 points at quarter time.
There were a lot of positives for both sides to take away from Round 9, despite neither side coming away with a win. After quarter time Old Brighton got the game back on their terms winning each quarter from thereon. Away from the regular contributors to the column in Harry Hill and Max Kennedy. Jordan Segar is having a terrific debut senior season. Could there be the inclusion we’ve been counting down for? Lochie Filipovic?
For University Blues, the team that has been in every game well into the final quarter, and not to be dismissed in nearly every game they’ve been down on rotations from early on in the game. They have a crack every single week. Sam Grimley is coming off a bag of eight goals. If Filipovic comes in, and a big in at that, will Blues trump the inclusion with a big one of their own? Ayce Cordy can’t be too far away.
Old Brighton go into this match having won the last three against Uni. And no doubt, our friends in red and blue will be comfortable reminding their opponents once the ball is bounced on Saturday.
Last time they met: Round 1, Caulfield def by. Collegians by 13 points
Given the paths these sides were walking in 2021, the expectation in the opening round was the Fields to blow away the Lions. Against the tide and the scripts, it was the Purple Army who reigned supreme.
This time around Collegians won’t have Ed Greene in the forward line. He will be serving the second match of his suspension. Caulfield will be without Jared Risol as backup support in the ruck. In terms of who will be there, Jack Ellwood has put his name in lights for the Fields kicking eight goals in his previous two outings supported up forward by Oliver Lowe (5). They will head into this game with confidence having won their last two matches before the bye.
Collegians had their most impressive output against St Bernard’s with 10-individual goalkickers, on their way to their highest score since round 3. On the subject of high-scores, don’t discount the Fields who kicked their highest score of the season with an incredible victory over Old Scotch.
There’s only ever four points up for grabs in the contest, but this points towards a classic 8-point game with more pressure mounting on the loser. While for the victors, it will ease the squeeze, if only for a moment.
Last time they met: Round 3, St Bernard’s def. Old Trinity by 60 points
In St Bernard’s only win of the season, they put Old Trinity to the sword early in the day and never looked back. For the T’s, the margin could’ve been significantly closer had it not been for inaccuracy in front of goal.
This time around, Old Trinity will go into this match as favourites. Both of their wins this year have come at the Daley Oval. They are a vastly different side at home than they are on the road. The Snowdogs, if they’re to have any chance of getting out of the bottom two, must come away winners.
The highest score St Bernard’s have kicked comes from their contest earlier this year. Away from home they average just 44 points in front of goal. The one area they can hang their hat on in this particular head to head battle, is being ranked #7 for defensive, while the T’s are ranked #10
Despite their spots on the ladder, they will fight for the footy like their footballing lives depend on it, and you’ll hear all the action unfold as part of the RSN Carnival Match of the Day.
Last time they met: Round 6, Old Scotch def by. Old Xaverians by 22 points
The biggest rivalry in the VAFA will write another chapter this week, Old Xaverians the ones who own most of the recent history against Old Scotch. (12-3) They’ve won the last 4 matches by 44, 96, 45 and four weeks ago, 22. It’s a different Cardinals side in 2022.
Old Scotch started Round 9 in a blaze of glory before the lead dissipated before their very eyes. And while disheartening as that may be, there are certainly good signs worth highlighting to get that far ahead and be able to score in quick succession. This team was the surprise packet from the opening half of the season. Since the Round 3 loss to Collegians on the road, they’re averaging 83.6 points per game, good enough for a 2-1 record. The blip against Old Melburnians.
Old Xav’s kicked the competition’s highest score of the season in Round 9, and produced the greatest winning margin of the season. That will help their cause from a percentage point of view (rising 14%) with scoring down across the competition. Xavier Richards is the other in-form full forward William Buck Premier. 3 games, 13 goals. Hugh Longbottom and his defensive Scotch unit will have a tough task on their hands.
We’ve seen the Cardinals upset University Blues in Round 1 to open the season. Will they open the second half of the season with another boilover? James Byrne and the Xav’s mafia won’t be hearing a bar of it.
Wherever you look this weekend, and beyond, if the second half of this season is as action packed as the first half then we’ll be holding ourselves in good stead for the run to September and the finals to complete the trilogy.