The first week of Premier C Men’s Finals saw Mazenod’s season end, whilst Monash Blues staked their claim for outright premiership contention.
Old Geelong ended Mazenod’s season in a fascinating and fluctuating first semi-final at Ford Park. The tale of the tape was that there was a definitive scoring end, with 24 of the match’s 29 goals coming with the aid of the Belfield breeze and Old Geelong using the conditions marginally the better, particularly in the second quarter. The Geelong boys had the first use of the breeze, and whilst Mazenod went forward into the breeze early they were unable to capitalise on the early territorial advantage.
Old Geelong kicked three goals to Mazenod’s one in the first term and there was the school of thought that said that was not a great enough lead in the conditions, especially when the Nodders started scoring from the jump in the second quarter. Luke Caspersz began to gain a foothold in the forward half, and he brought the other forwards into the game with him, with the result being nine Mazenod goals for the term.
The second quarter though is, in effect, where Old Geelong won the match. They kicked three goals into the wind, and given that only two further goals were kicked to that end for the rest of the day those three majors were vital.
In the third quarter, Old Geelong turned their four-goal half-time deficit into a four-goal advantage turning for home. Even though leading goalkicker Chris Hatzis was kept quiet, Connor Dixon and John Simson stepped up with four goals each for the day. Both contributed to a dominant Old Geelong term in which they kicked eight goals to Mazenod’s two behinds which threw down the challenge to the Nodders in the final stanza.
They kicked four goals for the term, but again Old Geelong managed to score at the defensive end of the ground. It was only one goal, but a vital goal it was as it stopped Mazenod’s charge in its tracks and just gave them too much to do. When the siren sounded to end proceedings, it was Old Geelong that lived to play another day, by seven points.
Nick Peck played a great game in defence for Mazenod, as he has all season. Caspersz finished with four majors for the afternoon, and Tom Warby and Liam Welsford were strong. For the victors there were none better on the day than Jack Sheridan, whilst Nick Freeman and Will Horsfall let no-one down.
Monash Blues became the first side into the Premier C Men’s Grand Final after a comprehensive victory over Hampton Rovers at Frearson Reserve. The Rovers came into the match short on some of their key personnel, and short on form, and they needed to be right on their game against the competition’s pacesetters.
The Rovers made all the running in the opening ten minutes, but where they needed goals to create pressure, they could only manage behinds: six of them without registering a goal in the first term. Monash Blues found the big sticks twice to lead by seven points at the first change.
Monash are not the types to let loose their grip on a side once they have established a measure of control, and this trait was not going to change with a grand final berth on the line. Hampton managed their first goal during the second quarter, but that was all whilst Monash kicked four of their own to lead by 25 at the half.
If the Rovers were to be any chance, they needed a quick start to the second half, and unfortunately, they did not get one. Monash were to only give up one goal in the third quarter and one more in the fourth in a clinical defensive display. They did not give the Rovers a sniff and were able to play at their own pace in attack without fear of being overrun at the other end.
The Blues finished with 14 goals for the day to win by 66 points. Leading forward Nick Darling kicked four goals for Monash Blues, Tom le Lievre three, and Mitch King and Riley Smart two each. Macgregor Cameron gave another masterclass for Monash and James Flett was also excellent. Oscar Roberts, Joel Melnjak and Harrison McIntyre were best in a well-beaten Hampton Rovers side that showed good endeavour but were outclassed on the day.
Hampton Rovers now takes on Old Geelong on Saturday at Trevor Barker Oval in Sandringham, with the winner to advance to the Grand Final against Monash Blues.