The return of Footy headlined by a heavyweight bout

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 3 Men's

Mitch Dyer

The first round after the bye always brings with it a variety of questions. Plenty of which went a long way to being answered on Saturday afternoon.

As the cream of the crop rose to flex their muscles and discipline and came out massive winners heading into the second half of the season.

First up, Wattle Park faced Power House. For these two sides it presented a real opportunity to either move ahead inside a comfortable top four position, or a chance to steal a win and make the finals mix all that more exciting.

Both sides managed to jump out of the blocks strong with only 7 points separating them at the first quarter break before Wattle Park and the kicking boots of Zach Kearns were able to steady the ship with a 10-point advantage in a scrappy affair. Power House bought into the struggle coming out of the half time break managing to bring the margin within two kicks, before Wattle Park turned on the afterburners and kicked away to win by a staggering 40 points.

The win is no longer a ´confidence boost´ for the Animals, now cementing themselves as a genuine threat come finals time if they can continue their recent run of form in the way of 4 wins on the trot.

Out at Holmes/Todd Oval, Elsternwick came face to face with a determined Richmond Central side who are playing to stay out of the relegation zone come the end of the season. Elsternwick got the jump early with Paul Sanderson coming out of the long weekend with a serious case of leather poisoning lifting his side to a massive 26-point margin after the first break.

In one of the greater turnarounds of the season, Richmond flicked the switch and moved the ball better than anyone in the competition, bringing the margin back to level at the half time break whilst simultaneously keeping Elsternwick to 1-point for the quarter. The second half of football played out similar to what we saw in the first, with Elsternwick managing to gain control in the opening quarter before Richmond dug their heels and pushed for a comeback, falling 10 points short in their quest.

The win now moves Elsternwick to outright second on the ladder with just two losses for the year, whilst Richmond now sits third last on two wins holding on by percentage.

Joining the snakes toward the bottom of the table was the battle of the brains with La Trobe taking on Swinburne in a hard-fought mongrel contest out at St James Park. The first quarter was all sewn up by Swinburne before the second became the La Trobe show, managing to boot 7 goals 8 in one quarter to lift from 24 points down to 24 points ahead in the biggest margin shifter we have seen this year.

La Trobe looked to the talents of best afield Darcy Thorn for much of the contest, managing to kick three goals whilst also playing with the ball on a string whilst Swinburne continued to feed Aiden Vesty all afternoon long, leading into the final turn. The game had as many turns as a corn maze but eventually La Trobe and their ability to score big when called upon came out on top as 11-point winners, taking their tally to two wins for the year and lifting themselves off the bottom spot on the ladder.

The final game of the round was the game of the season with the match up of Canterbury and Hawthorn, a match underpinned between two of the Division 3 heavyweights. Out at Canterbury sports ground for a Saturday afternoon the Cobras came out in numbers to support their 1 loss men’s side, as they threw all they had at a consistent Hawks outfit.

Led by team of the year half forward Justin Raiti, the hawks kicked true in the first half managing to head into the rooms two points ahead of the top of the table Cobras, making the most of fast football and big bodies. In the second half, the Cobras began to shift through the gears with big forwards John Nicolopoulos and Jayden Cutts doing their bit for the side, trailing by 9 points heading into the final quarter.

It was electrifying football between the two potential grand finalists, with the Hawks looking to redeem their round two loss against the Cobras, however it wasn’t meant to be. The inform team of the competition, the heartbreak story of last year’s finals run reigned supreme at home with a five-goal final term breaking apart the hawthorn side to clinch the victory and sit a game clear on top of the table in an 11-point win at home.

With 9 weeks remaining this season the Cobras will now face outright second Elsternwick to back up the weekend’s monster win, whilst Richmond has a chance to get a win on the board against Swinburne at home.