An old fashioned turn up gives Old Haileybury the R-E-S-P-E-C-T they’re after

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Just as predicted in the lead into Round 10; no one, not even Siri could have predicted all that was thrown up on Saturday, June 24.

In typical fashion, four seasons in one day swept across Melbourne and for the second week in a row, the conditions played in a factor in the outcome to games in William Buck Premier. On the back of the results from the weekend, has the top four been set with eight weeks to go?

Old Xaverians and Old Brighton certainly hope not. The relegation zone has tightened up a touch as Old Haileybury produced an against the odds victory against the ladder leaders Old Scotch.

Daniel Ward was clear in his messaging in the lead up to this match at Camberwell Sports Ground. “We’re going out there to win.” Ward said on For the Love of the Game.

The opening three goals of the contest helped enormously, keeping the Cardinals goalless for the entire first half went even further to them securing a much-needed four points. The Cardinals onslaught came in the final quarter however inaccuracy reigned supreme with the home side kicking 1.8.14 in the final term.

As they edged closer and closer, one point at a time. Haileybury were able to take the footy to their end of the ground on a rare foray forward in the final term to kick the match winning goal off the boot of Castan Racunica.

Both the Riley brothers had significant impact on the game, Connor and Lachie played their first game for this year as Frankston had the bye and were very good through the middle. Jack Bell missed selection for Casey on Friday night and was given the all clear to play, and had the task of stepping into the ruck as Lachie Treverton went down with injury. Durras Seccull played a new role down back and excelled.

The praises of Old Scotch have been sung throughout the opening half of the season, Mark Gnatt will be disappointed to walk away with nothing to show from this contest and will be expecting to get back on the winners list in seven days time. Daniel Ward has held the public belief his team is out for respect in William Buck Premier, they certainly head into Round 11 to face Old Brighton with that and momentum on their side.

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The momentum keeps on rolling for the boys of University Blues, sitting 2-2 after round four they’re now 8-2. Old Brighton have now lost four games in a row.

Think Hampton Rovers of 2013-2014, St Kevin’s of 2019-2021, they’re playing exactly like a Guy Martyn coached side plays. Six wins in a row, confident in their ability and room to still improve.

From a tight first half, the strength and experience of the Blues overpowered the Tonners in the second half with eight goals to two, winning by 40 points. After returning from injury last weekend, Sam Grimley was out of the Blues side, Tom Young and James Paterson again the focal points up forward.

The welcome return of Dane Crognale and Meyrick Buchanan enhanced the midfield. Sitting at the bootlaces of Ayce Cordy who was part of the best on ground brigade.

More changes hit the Tonners side in the lead up to the contest, and there’s more to come by all reports. Ben Pryor played a lone hand in the forward line with four goals. Hamish Dick named Donati’s best player.

Life won’t be easy for the red and the blue next weekend at Princes Park facing Haileybury. Uni Blues will be ready to relish a top of the table battle with Collegians at the Harry Trott Oval. If only someone can get a message to the Melbourne weather gods to keep the rain and wind away!

Collegians will be going into that battle as the ladder leaders after beating Old Melburnians for a second time this season, this time by 70 points at Elsternwick Park.

An incredible 17 players from the 22 that ran out in the purple and gold have played at AFL level or in the VFL system, underlining the strength of the Collegians & Wesley program. Such was the strength, regular senior player and VFL listed talent Alex Lukic was in the reserves side.

Five goals to 0 in the opening term, four of the five goals to Dave Mirra who finished the day with six. When it was 10 goals to two at half-time, even with the rain around, there would have been murmurings around a similar margin to round fives 113 point drubbing.

Instead, the Lions were held to just four goals after half time, and were well held by the OM’s.

The loss ends a run of four straight victories for OM’s, They’re in seventh spot, a game behind Old Brighton and facing Old Scotch at Scotch College this week. Paul Satterley vs. Mark Gnatt – That would make for an entertaining podcast chat. Which is happening this week, so subscribe (if you haven’t already, where have you been?) to VAFA Media to hear it all unfold on Wednesday morning.

The ultimate grudge match at St Kevin’s College turned into a show of strength from St Kevin’s as they produced a strong win over the Old Xaverians by 46 points.

The inclusions of Tom Jok (2022 Jock Nelson Medallist), and Lachie Sullivan (Footscray VFL captain) could only be described as ‘handy’ for the reigning premiers. It was Sullivan’s first outing in St Kevin’s colours since the 2019 Grand Final and he looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. His cleanliness when the rain came, grunt work to win the hard ball, and to finish with a goal was reminiscent of a kid on debut such was the joy displayed by his teammates around him.

Sullivan’s story is famous for having missed the mid-season draft eligibility in 2022, due to missing the deadline for the 2021 National Draft studying for his electrical exams. It might be time for someone at SKOB to have another word to Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge to get a person at the Dogs to lodge his papers this year and elevate him to AFL honours, to join Anthony Scott (Old Trinity) and Mitch Hannan (St Bernard’s) as AFL listed players at the Dogs who’ve come from the VAFA.

A 14-point lead at quarter time was extended to 20 when Paddy Kerr kicked his third, 60 seconds into the second quarter. The rain came in sideways, along with the hail and Xav’s went to work. 15 points the margin at half-time gave them a little sniff, but as the sun reappeared for the third term, so did the dominance of SKOB with five goals in quick succession to open up an unassailable 48 point lead.

The Wallis boys helped themselves to five goals, while Sam Cameron and Sam Critchley marshalled the troops in defence. Will Coates might be the best ruckman in William Buck Premier, and largely underrated across VAFA Media. Plays a similar role to the way his coach used to roam through the centre square.

Have the University Blacks saved themselves from relegation after beating Caulfield Grammarians?

Similar to most games this weekend, a tight first half blew open in the second half and the final margin of 48 points could have been far greater had it not been for inaccuracy.

The third term alone saw Dale Bower’s men kick 5.10, holding Caulfield goalless. Patrick Fairlie (VFL – Northern Bullants) was a welcomed inclusion into the side for his first run of the year and was part of the best.

From the nine goals, Nick Hey, Louis Vescio and Austin Steere kicked six between them. Josh Steadman was too big and too strong in the ruck.

Caulfield Grammarians are finding the going tough in 2023, Darcy Twist has been a regular shining light each week for Bluey McKenna. As has Jasper Rouget who’s kicked goals in every game except for one this year. And, for the second week in a row, Matt Clarkson has featured amongst the best.

Uni Blacks have an extra days rest this week before facing St Kevin’s on Sunday afternoon, while the Fields head out to Xavier College to face Old Xaverians, in a must win battle for both sides.

Photo: Bruce Tobin; Collegians FC