It’s been a fascinating opening month of Premier C Men’s to begin 2023.
From the surprise packets of our two elevated sides PEGS and Old Camberwell Grammarians remaining undefeated, to Hampton Rovers. Last year’s second place finishes at the conclusion of the home and away season sitting in the bottom two.
Here’s what a waterlogged Saturday produced across round four.
Last week on the VAFA’s For the Love of the Game podcast, Josh Heriot predicted the battle between Old Ivanhoe and Ormond at Chelsworth Park would be a “ding-dong battle”. Predicting the closest match of the round, that’s exactly what he got. The two sides couldn’t be split at the final siren as they produced the season’s first draw.
The margin at each interval was never beyond a goal, the lead changed hands numerous times through the afternoon. Perhaps Old Ivanhoe walked off the ground feeling slightly disappointed having had eight scoring shots in the final term, netting just two majors for the term. Harrison Frazer and Jake Bradley combined for six goals for the day.
While for the Monders, Thomas Buckley led from the front with three goals taking his season tally to eight after the first month.
Old Ivanhoe will look to return swiftly to the winners list when they face off against Mazenod this weekend, however it will be no easy feat. Ormond return to E E Gunn Reserve taking on Marcellin. Last time they met, Round 18 of 2022, with Ormond prevailing in another classic.
The last time Old Carey tasted success was Round 10, 2022. They’ve lost their last nine matches but over the weekend the Panthers were able to belt out the club song after a 68-point win over Mazenod.
The victory was set up with five goals in the opening quarter, holding the Nodders goalless. Lachlan Godden, Nicholas Brewin and Darcy Munro kicked nine goals between them. Three focal points in the forward would impress Old Carey coach Aaron Bailey. Tim Newton was named the best player on the ground.
After back-to-back 15 goal performances, the Nodders came back to earth with a thud, being held to just five goals for the day. Sitting 2-2 after the first month, they’re smack bang in the middle of the table and will be out to avenge this weekend out at Chelsworth Park.
What’s going on at the Hampton Rovers?
The pre-season pundits would’ve been hard pressed to not select them as the front-runners for the 2023 season, finishing 2022 in the top two. Heartbreak during the finals series. The season hasn’t started the way Anthony Quon would have envisaged. Parkdale Vultures the latest side to walk away winners against them. Two out of their last three meetings the Vultures have had the last laugh.
The final margin, a flattering 10 behinds more than the Rovers. Had the Vultures had the kicking boots on it could have been far more significant. Since Round 7 of last year, Owen Lalor has been able to get 13 wins from the last 19 games on the board, a winning culture, a positive vibe and plenty of excitement around Gerry Green Reserve.
On the weekend, after leading by two points at half time. Seven goals in the premiership quarter gave the club an insurmountable 38 point lead. Oliver Green led the way in front of goal with four. Lewis was the King of the Castle, and supported by Jai Elcock running rampant.
The Rovers will take the weekend off in Round 5 to regroup. If they learnt anything from 2022, they’ll know the season is certainly a marathon, and no doubt will have the belief internally they can turn this slow start around. Parkdale will aim to continue their winning ways against a red hot Old Carey.
PEGS were able to hold Marcellin to three goals for the day in the final game of the round to continue their perfect start to life in Premier C. A relatively contested game of footy, it was during the second and third quarter PEGS were able to impact the scoreboard with seven goals to none to make the mountain to big for Marcellin to climb.
Pat Macdonough was awarded best on ground honours, Brett Hannah riding shotgun. For Marcellin, Josh Atwell has been the club’s shining light in the past three weeks. The club heads to E E Gunn Reserve this weekend to tackle Ormond.
PEGS are setting themselves up for a Grand Final rematch and a top of the table clash against Old Camberwell. The Grammarians will be primed and ready to go after having the bye over the weekend. A contest that’s got Josh Heriot screaming from the hilltops “another ding-dong battle”.