University Blues up to their old tricks against St Kevin’s

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Round 13 was forecast as lucky for some. University Blues, for the second time in 2023 have pulled off the great escape against St Kevin’s. They consider themselves lucky this weekend.

St Kevin’s have had five games decided by seven points or less in 2023. Now a 2-3 record. A fortnight ago SKOB came from 19 points down against Old Brighton to claim a three point victory, this weekend they were unable to hold onto the 19 point lead against Blues who finished with a Sam Grimley pack mark and goal at the 26 minute mark, and for their final trick, a Tom Cutler piece of magic to win the game with only a minute remaining.

Twice this year Blues have got their jump on St Kevin’s in the opening quarter, this time around they were held to two goals during the second and third term whilst St Kevin’s kicked seven to open up a three goal lead at the final change. The Blues finished like a freight train to lock themselves into a spot in the top two with five weeks to go.

No Ziebath, and Stephens, they’re still to return. Meyrick Buchanan and Matt Crocker were amongst the best. James Paterson and Sam Grimley kicked six of the nine. Ben Mansfield led the way on the scoresheet for St Kevin’s, as Al Richards put in a strong performance.

Fortunately for SKOB losses to Old Xaverians and Old Brighton keeps the two game gap from fourth to the chasing pack. Next week is a must win contest against Caulfield if they’re to completely cement their spot in the four. Blues will come up against an in-form Bloods outfit who have moved out of the relegation zone.

Speaking of Old Haileybury they have now made it three wins from their past four matches. A gutsy 27 point win against Caulfield Grammarians has them now in eighth spot and a live chance of staying in the VAFA’s top-flight in 2024. Brodie Steele returned from Big V duties and ran rampant for the home side, supported in the midfield by Brede Seccull.

Hugo Nosiara was superb in defence, at just 19 years of age, eight games into his senior career, showing maturity beyond his years.

Old Haileybury were never headed from the opening bounce on the scoreboard, while the game didn’t reach any great heights, the Fields had moments of their own that Guy McKenna will be pleased with. Matt Clarkson and Oscar Roberts found plenty of the footy in the backline, Julian Dobosz had a look at goal on six occasions as well as the blooding of another three players from the under 19 program.

Early in the last term the margin blew out to 40 points before the Fields got it back to within three goals. Goals to Corey Connelly and Andreas Stefanakis put the game beyond doubt as the final siren rang.

As mentioned, the Bloods are now sitting outside the relegation zone. Replaced by Old Melburnians who had troubles of their own at the Melbourne Uni Oval as the University Blacks made it four straight wins to put themselves level with Old Brighton and Old Xaverians in the middle of the ladder.

The margin at quarter time could have been larger had it not been for inaccuracy. 2.9.21 from the home side, finishing the day with 13.21.99. The saying ‘bad kicking is bad football’ thankfully didn’t come back to haunt Dale Bowers men. 34 looks at goal. OM’s totalled nine shots for the day, for a return of 5.4.34.

Scoring has become a genuine issue for OM’s, averaging 32 points a game in the last month. They faced off against a side who’s only conceded 36 points a game in that same time frame. It was the senior players, and the defensive unit of the Blacks that led the way. Hugh Curnow, Lachie Knight, Bede Mahon, Josh Steadman, and Joel Ernest.

Only Collegians are ahead of Blacks on the form-ladder of the last month. Which sets up a ding-dong battle next Saturday at the Harry Trott Oval when they face one another. Old Melburnians were able to upset Old Brighton earlier this year and must do so again in Round 14 if they’re to have any chance of staying in William Buck Premier next year.

It was somewhat elementary for Collegians against the Old Xaverians. A 72-point victory was set up with five goals to zero in the first time. The only sour note for the Lions was a back injury to Dave Mirra which halted his day just before quarter time. In his absence, Ed Greene kicked four majors.

Will Pocknee, hasn’t played a senior game for a month looked like he hasn’t missed a beat. Another three goals to keep his average of multiple goals a game continuing. Teigan Otter enjoys playing senior footy against Xav’s, six goals from his two matches against them, while Gentleman Jim Bazzani is having a career best season through the midfield.

Xav’s without Marcus Stavrou, Alex Trigar and Charlie MacIsaac are a significantly different side. Arguable their most important players from each line on the field. It was tough reading one goal in the first half, and five for the game. Two games outside the top four with arch-rivals Old Scotch awaiting them next week. If they want to keep a pulse on season 2023 it’s a must-win contest.

When Old Brighton kicked the first three goals against Old Scotch the feeling around the grounds were it’s happening all over again. A slow-start like against Uni Blues two weeks ago. The Cardinals were able to kick two goals before quarter time to get them on the board and the momentum continued into the second term as they took the lead.

Giving up the lead in the third term the Tonners held a 2-point advantage at the final change. The feature of the Cardinals in 2023 has been the emphatic way they finish off games. Yesterday they got back to their very best. Six goals to one to produce a 31 point win. Tom Blenheim led the way with four goals.

They stay in touch with Uni Blues, a game ahead in second spot. Old Brighton’s final five weeks are somewhat favourable with sides equal or below them. Starting this week with Old Melburnians.