A weekend designed to sort the men from the boys

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Joe Pignataro

This is the biggest weekend of the William Buck Premier season to date. The top six sides will face off against one another, the bottom four sides will also do battle. Come five o’clock on Sunday night, we’ll have an idea of how the pecking order sits entering the mid-third of the season. 

Round 6 opens with the rematch of the 2022 William Buck Premier Grand Final. St Kevin’s (1st) welcome Old Brighton (4th) to TH King Oval. 

The reigning Premiers enter the clash on a 13-game winning streak. The Tonners suffered their first loss of the season to University Blues last weekend. The teams that will do battle this week will have a different look about them in comparison to the respective 22 that ran out on Grand Final Day 2022. 

From the Round 5 side at SKOB, there were eight changes to the Premiership line up. Old Brighton had 11. And a coaching change. 

St Kevin’s have claimed the points in the previous two meetings, and without the Tonners’ fearless leader Harry Hill this weekend, it’s going to be a tough task. After five weeks, Old Brighton have taken the mantle as the #1 defensive unit in the game (50 points per game). 

Will they be able to stop Shaun Kennedy who’s kicked four goals, three weeks in a row? 

Tune into RSN Xtra 2 from 1:00pm for the call of all the action. 

The biggest rivalry in the VAFA is over at Camberwell Sports Park with Old Scotch (2nd) taking on Old Xaverians (5th). There’s no love-lost between these two sides. 

Over the years the Cardinals have been toyed with by the red and black mafia. This will be the first time in a long-time they’ll enter the match as favourites. Currently just one loss in the opening five weeks. 

Xav’s fell short to SKOB at Elsternwick Park and will be keen to get back on the winners list with the club celebrating their centenary season on Saturday night. 

Head-to-head between these two, it has fallen significantly in favour of Old Xaverians since 2006. 25 wins, three losses. Just once in the last 9 years have the Cardinals beaten the Old Xaverians, Round 8, 2018 by a goal. Previous to that, Round 5, 2014. 

Mark Gnatt has Old Scotch humming, I’m sure at the back of his mind he knows a scalp like this will go a long way in for the competition to really take notice of them. 

At the other end of the table, Old Melburnians (9th) play host to University Blacks (7th) at Elsternwick Park. 

The OM’s are in a world of hurt, they’re two wins from the previous nine matches were against Caulfield Grammarians and the now relegated St Bernard’s. Nothing worked at Harry Trott Oval on Saturday as they went down by 114 points. 

To rub even more salt into the wounds, Charles Dowling, the club’s shining light in the forward line will be out for some time after a broken jaw. 

University Blacks claimed their first win in William Buck Premier for the first time since 2017. The boys of the Uni had plenty to cheer about as it all came together against Caulfield.

Joel Ernest and Campbell Moorfield have been rock solid in Dale Bower’s defence and will be on the hunt to make it two wins in a row, and push away from the relegation zone. 

Old Haileybury (8th) were much improved last weekend after their disappointing performance against Collegians in Round 4. This weekend they’re off to Glen Huntly Oval to tackle Caulfield Grammarians (10th) who are in search of their first win under Guy McKenna. 

The last time Daniel Ward met Guy McKenna in the coaches box was the 2022 Premier B Preliminary Final when Old Haileybury faced Beaumaris. 

The Fields finished with six goals in the final quarter, Julian Dobosz kicked five for the day, they return home and will see this as a golden opportunity to come away with the four points. 

Old Haileybury led Old Scotch at half time before falling away in the second half last week. This side has the cattle to mix it with the best when they’re on-song. But, be out of tune by a few percent, and the game can get away from you quicksmart. 

The round will extend into Sunday this weekend with University Blues (6th) and Collegians (3rd) utilising an extra day’s rest after both putting up terrific victories.

Collegians produced the biggest win of the season (114 points), trumping themselves in Round 4. The last two weeks has seen the club kicked 44 goals, Dave Mirra with 15. 

University Blues produced a win for the ages on Guy Martyn’s birthday. Heading out to Brighton without Tom Cutler, Sam Grimley, Jack Stephens and Dane Crognale. 

It’s another rivalry that just bubbles away under the surface. The last three meetings have been decided by under a kick. Overall since 2006, Collegians 15 v Blues 8 and a draw. 

The team that’s making footy fun to watch, against the team that has the stars of players we’ve enjoyed watching over the years. The King Kenny, and the Amazing Ayce. Dynamic Dave against Magnificent Marty. 

All the action can be heard on RSN Xtra 2 from 1:00 PM. 

Should the results go the way of the favourites, we could find ourselves with a very clear divide heading into the middle part of the season. 

But, as we know, nothing is certain and anything can happen on any given day. Bring on the weekend.

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