Round 8 of Division 2 produced grandstand finishes across the section. A two point thriller at Lindsay Hassett Oval, a see-sawing battle at Whitefriars College and the seasons first draw at Woodfull-Miller Oval.
In a top four battle South Melbourne Districts had to fight, claw and scrap their way over the top of Brunswick. The tight opening half saw the Bloods holding a three point lead at the main change. Inaccuracy in the opening half saw Brunswick squander opportunities in front of goal. They found their kicking boots during the third term to kick four straight and go into the final quarter holding a three point lead.
The Bloods never-say-die attitude was on full display in the last quarter, led by Oscar Paulke, Dermot Murphy and Jason Clifford they chipped away at the 13 point lead, and hit the front late in the game. Holding on by two points, and swapping spots on the ladder with Brunswick.
Jamie Brooker and Dale Stewart kicked six goals between them in a victory to remember. The loss will sting Tommy Hunter and his team, Jasper Paevere led the way on the scoresheet with three majors, as Lewis Bonney McKenzie and Tahj Haddock were named amongst the best.
Brunswick will look to return to the winning list in a fortnight’s time against the hot-to-trot Whitefriars, while South Melbourne head out to Koonung Park to face off against the Old Yarra Cobras.
There was evidently a scoring end at Whitefriars College on Saturday as the home side faced off against Aquinas. After leading by 11 points at quarter time, a second quarter blitz from Whitefriars had them extend the lead out to 25 points.
The third term became an incredible shootout with a total of 13 goals kicked. Nine of them the way of Aquinas who turned the four goal deficit into a five point lead at the final change. The Friars didn’t panic at the final change despite momentum seemingly against them, they stayed composed and finished the final term the stronger to come off the ground winners by 10 points.
Currently in fourth spot on the ladder, they remain a game behind Brunswick, but the 97% could prove to come back to haunt them going forward. What won’t hurt is the incredible goalkicking display Daniel Wood is putting on this year. Another six majors on Saturday, taking his season tally to 40 and keeping his average at five goals a game. He is now eight goals ahead of Parkside’s Ben Radford in the battle of the sharpshooters.
Sam Kieseker was the best player on the ground, running rampant and kicking four goals of his own. On the flipside, Tobias Box (4 goals) and Jacob Morrison-Story (3 goals) were key playmakers in getting Aquinas into a position of strength throughout the day.
Naturally, the travellers will walk off the ground disappointed to lose, but they go into the bye knowing they’ve got the capabilities of matching it with the best sides in Division 2. They’ll welcome Bulleen Templestowe to the College when the footy resumes. The Friars will be pleased to get back on the winners list having lost their previous two games.
Whenever sides play off in a draw, one team will usually feel like it’s as good as a win, the other as frustrating as a loss. Potentially, there’s a presumption that MHSOB and Old Yarra Cobras could both feel like they’ve lost after the performance of the weekend which ended in a stalemate.
The Unicorns held a 29-point lead at three quarter time. Old Yarra Cobras came storming home, but kicked 5.7.37 in the process of doing so. They’ll be thinking what if we kicked straighter. Melbourne High, might be wondering what happened to their attacking speed on the ball, being held to just one goal in the final quarter.
Nevertheless, the two sides in the middle of the table couldn’t be split, in a game that had both sets of fans on the edge of their seats as the clock counted down to full time.
Jack Hall almost proved to be the hero for the Cobras, a big bag of nine goals, he couldn’t be stopped in the forward arc, off the back of five goals last week. For the third time this year, Unicorn Mat Periera has kicked five goals or more in a contest. Julian Eimutis continues to play the game at the elite level.
Round 9 sees the Cobras face off against the Bloods at home. MHSOB write the next chapter in the story against Old Paradians. Two sides who’ve had great battles in Division 2 in recent years.
The ladder leaders Parkside were forced into a first half scrap against Old Paradians. Without Daisy Thomas this week, the Paradians continued the momentum of the past fortnight with a feisty, contested first half. Three goals to one at the main change.
The green, blue and purple monster was tamed after half-time as the home team worked their way to another seven majors from there, to just one. Resulting in a 53 point victory.
Second on the sharpshooters list is Ben Radford, another three goals to his tally. He has kicked goals in every game except for the season opener this year. Luciano Logozzo is having a brilliant first half of the year.
The side that came up from Division 3 men’s as the runners up have put together a stellar start to 2023 as they climb the rungs of the Divisions. The defensive has been a feature, conceding just 50 points a game to date. It’s a case of top vs. bottom in round nine when they come back from the bye, facing off against St Mary’s Salesian.
The Old Paradians will look to get back on the winners list heading back to Garvey Oval against MSHOB, a team they beat twice in 2022.
Bulleen Templestowe were keen on making a statement from the first bounce on Saturday against St Mary’s Salesian. The victory was set up by a strong pre-game chat, and then a seven goal to one opening quarter.
Anthony Lucisano kicked three goals and was named amongst the best players. The work of Joshua Torouno was also pivotal for the Ants.
St Mary’s could have been excused for dropping their heads after trailing by 38 points at quarter time. Instead, they won every quarter after that and outscored the Ants by 13 points to finish 25 points behind.
While it’s not the ultimate result the club is searching for, there’ll be little nuggets of gold the coaches can take from the performance after quarter time.
With 10 rounds to go in Division 2, the ladder and final four certainly doesn’t look set. It’s well and truly wide open. Already proven that any side on any given day can produce a bit of magic. The excitement is building to see how it all unfolds.