Mount a case yourselves and tell me I’m wrong?

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Joe Pignataro

As we move into the last month of the William Buck Premier home and away season. It’s not at all silly to suggest that it feels like September is already. And, instead of it being a top four finalist, it’s literally a top ten, with every game this weekend having ramifications to the ladder.

Will Old Trinity leave University Blues red-faced this weekend? 

Old Trinity have already claimed the University Blues scalp in 2022. Holding them out by 5 points at the Daley Oval in Round 4. Alex Polidoris made that day his very own. This weekend, it’s a celebration for club legend, and club captain, Ed Weatherson. He plays game 150. He has ridden every high, every low, every bump since making his senior debut in 2011.

He is part of the fabric of the T’s and his contribution should be duly recognized and acknowledged. If the milestone man isn’t enough of an incentive for Old Trinity, then consider this, the T’s have been languishing at the bottom rungs of the ladder since 2019. In the final round of that season, right up until three quarter time, they were headed to Premier B before storming over the top of De La Salle to send them packing.

This Saturday, it is a genuine chance to bridge the gap between themselves in eighth, and Uni Blues in ninth. A win puts them 2-games clear of relegation. A loss, and they will fall to ninth spot with three games remaining.

In spite of all this, Blues are rewriting their own script for 2022. It hasn’t gone to plan in the slightest, but they’re rolling with the punches. They can’t afford to allow the T’s a fast start and spend the remaining three quarters chasing their tails.

The green and gold have been dominating in England in the early phases of the Commonwealth Games, why can’t the green and gold head to Melbourne Uni and dominate there?

How do Collegians make it seven in a row? 

Collegians, extraordinarily, since they last played Old Melburnians haven’t suffered another loss. Six wins in a row. They are statistically the #1 side since the conclusion of Round 8. That particular Friday night under the lights was not kind to them as OM’s did what they pleased.

This time around, all roads lead to Elsternwick Park for the RSN Carnival Match of the Day. For starters, they’ll have a recognised ruckman to go up against Nick De Steiger. Old Melburnians have had to rejig their defence with George Hurley-Wellington and Dan Coffield having to support Josh Freezer across the last lines. Dave Mirra and Ed Greene have kicked 51 goals between them.

If Sandringham don’t recall Sam Dunell this weekend, he could hold the key that unlocks the door for the OM’s as they push to cement top two honours. On their home-track, where the finals are played, it could come down to the wire and hopefully a precursor to September.

Can St Bernard’s spoil Old Brighton’s look at a top two finish? 

Speaking of top-two honours. Old Brighton are equal with Old Melburnians in third. The percentage gap of 11% is the only separating KPI. The Tonners got back on the winners list last week.

The Brighton Beach Oval fortress is a touch on the wobbly side in 2022, having lost their past two matches at home (Old Xaverians by 52 points, Collegians by 28 points), with their most recent win (St Kevins by 3 points) coming in round 8.

St Bernard’s relishes the challenge of facing Old Brighton, it gets hot under the collar, not just around the sherrin, but quite often there are a few verbal exchanges between the boys of Essendon and the boys of Brighton.

They will want to be on from the start Old Brighton. We will know before the bounce whether Hamish Dick (North VFL), Darby Hipwell (Sandringham VFL) will stay with the Tonners. Tom Fisher played through the reserves on the weekend, and is this the week Hutch calls on Lochie Filipovic?

Charlie Vague, Mitch and Chris Hughes, Ben Overman will all be running on top of the ground should they sense victory. If the young pups get a sniff and come away with the win. It tightens up that relegation discussion even further.

This becomes a classic game of a team who well and truly can’t make the finals, but can certainly have a say in shaping the finals.

Why can’t Caulfield beat Old Xaverians for a second time this year? 

Caulfield Grammarians are playing almost/nearly footy in 2022. They’re almost getting four quarters together. They’re nearly challenging the best for the full game. One of the times it has been a complete performance, was against Old Xaverians in round 4.

Similarly, it all came together for them against Old Xaverians in round 5 of 2021. So there’s no reason it can’t all come together for them again to make it three wins from the last four encounters against the red and black mafia.

Apart from a couple of undisciplined 50m penalties, the Fields served it up to OM’s for a majority of the afternoon. Declan Reilly was enormous in the ruck. The midfield brigade of Will Edwards, Dane Crognale, Jack Wallace went to work. If Oliver Lowe maintains a Caulfield jumper this week and not a Sandringham jumper, it’s going to be a battle of the small forwards with him at one end, and Jack Hewett buzzing around the other.

Old Xaverians have had moments of ‘what if’ right throughout the season. Three games they’ve lost by under a goal. Last week against Collegians, another one of those moments. It was the first time in his VAFA career, Xavier Richards was held goalless. I can’t see that happening again this Saturday at Toorak Park.

Xav’s have the opportunity to get back in the top four, should results go their way. James Byrne won’t have any interest in games around him. He is a “control what we can control” operator. He has control of making sure his 22 men are focused, ready, and primed to not let the Fields walk away winners for a second time this season.

Are Scotch capable of beating the St Kevin’s press? 

Drones. 18-man press. Cluster. Pressure. Harass. Suffocate.

That’s the terminology that is being pushed at T H King oval to the boys of St Kevins. They are the tightest defensive unit that has been seen in William Buck Premier in over a decade. The club is conceding a mere 51 points per game.

On the flipside, they’re ranked #2 for scoring, averaging 79.3. (Old Xaverians #1 – 83.4). It’s as well rounded as you can get a team with 50% of the side each week, under the age of 22. 90% of the side are St Kevin’s students who’ve come to play under the guidance of club legend Plugger Lynch.

Their opponents this weekend, Old Scotch. St Kevin’s are on record as saying they were and have been envious of Old Xaverians success, and wanting to emulate that. From where I sit, Old Scotch may be the most likely profiled team to be the next ones to emulate what St Kevin’s are doing. Ranked #3 for attack in 2022. 75% of their team are under the age of 22. The one area at the moment that hurts the Cardinals is the high volume of scores that go against them. Maybe that will be a target of recruitment for them in the off-season. They do have VFL listed Doug Lawrence at full-back which will help.

The unique ground of T H King helps the ladder leaders. A win keeps that one-game buffer at the top of the ladder. Old Scotch, can’t move from sixth spot. Swing for the fences boys, it’s a free hit this weekend.

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