The top of the table settles itself as it now comes down to who will get the second chance

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

Mitch Dyer

With round 11 in the books, the top four in Division 3 seems all but sewn up, but as we enter the conclusive stages of the season, it becomes a question of where they will finish. This round saw a trio of big games and a barrage of goals, with three teams soaring past the 100-point barrier.

First up was the in-form Canterbury Cobras, as they faced off against one of the more versatile outfits in the competition, Wattle Park. At the Animals’ home ground, the Cobras looked to establish their authority early, building a handy lead in the opening half thanks to the efforts of Mitch Szabo and Harry Cutter, while Jayden Cutts steadied the ship in the forward line.

The second half of the game was scrappy, tough, and nearly impossible to score in, as lock-down defense and bruising tackles became the theme of the afternoon. Wattle Park’s Joden Crothers did everything he could to rally the home side, bringing them within reach heading into the final quarter.

In the end, the scrappy affair belonged to the Cobras, who bounced back after three huge weeks. Importantly, they achieved this without their league-leading goal scorer, Thomas Lowden, registering a major. This is a testament to the work rate of the Animals and the game plan of the Cobras, still able to win without their main target scoring.

Next at the top of the table, Hawthorn took on Richmond Central. Both teams were coming off great wins in round 10, and confidence was high with momentum swinging. For the Hawks, it was a good opportunity to go hard and potentially boost their percentage to secure a top-two spot for a double chance at the end of the season. For Richmond, it was a great chance to cause a major upset and disrupt the season.

Both sides displayed their best in doing the grunt work, with Justin Raiti (6), Jack Kenny (3), and Jason Cowland (2) capitalizing on their opportunities. Meanwhile, Jake Dillon was a thorn in the side of Hawthorn defenders, scoring 3 majors on a tough afternoon.

In the end, the Hawks managed to keep their foot on the accelerator and finished as 61-point winners against an admirable Richmond side. Richmond now faces a hard-to-read La Trobe in the next weekend’s fixture.

Speaking of La Trobe University, they faced a formidable Power House in Round 11 and were aiming to find some consistency in their gameplay against a side that regularly displays finals potential.

At Ross Gregory Oval on a cold Saturday afternoon, Power House wasted no time in feeding Matt Auchetti, who managed to snag 6 majors by the end of the game. He benefited from Harry Officer and his fleet of men around him, who picked up what he couldn’t bring down. The game, for the most part, was never close on the scoreboard. However, La Trobe dug deep through the efforts of Patrick Lindsay and Adrian Marulli to see the game through.

The final game of the round showcased top-of-the-table Elsternwick, who came out to make a statement, scoring a staggering 12 goals and 4 behinds in the opening term to set the standard for the rest of the game against Swinburne. Elsternwick launched an all-out attack against the University side, limiting them to just one goal in the first half while almost reaching 100 points themselves.

Julian Yeatman seemed to have the ball on a string up forward, scoring 8 majors, while Andrew Olsen had a dominant performance, catching a serious case of leather poisoning. He was awarded the best-on-ground accolade. Swinburne, led by Tyson Wiegold and his supporting cast, fought valiantly but ultimately fell to the top-of-the-table team by a margin of 167 points, resulting in a significant percentage boost for Elsternwick heading into the second half of the year.

Round 12 presents a weekend finally not highlighted by a tough Cobras matchup. Instead, it will be a showdown of the suburbs as Wattle Park takes on Hawthorn, providing a great test for these two top-four powerhouses.