Old Haileybury produced their finest moment of 2023 on Saturday afternoon at the Melbourne Uni Oval. A venue that’s a frustration for travelling sides has been a happy hunting ground for Daniel Ward’s team this year.
The formline leading into the game was strong. Three wins from four starts. That’s now four wins from five starts and all likelihood they’ll be staying in William Buck Premier in 2024.
While the game itself was a low-scoring affair, fans at the Melbourne Uni Oval were on the edge of their seats from the first bounce. The biggest margin was nine points the way of Uni Blues at three quarter time. For the second time this year they’ve gone with Blues for the first three quarters. Earlier this year, they fell away.
This time around the Bloods were able to kick the first goal of the final quarter at the three minute mark to close the margin to under a goal. A trading of goals followed across the next 25 minutes, before Liam Wood put Haileybury in front with 90 seconds remaining. Brede Seccull used all his experience to slow the play up for the final minute to give Old Haileybury their finest victory of the season.
The Bloods are now a game and 10% clear of Old Melburnians with four games remaining. University Blues have slipped to third, displaced by Old Scotch in second. The percentage is going to be a critical factor for Uni in the last month.
They’ll look to boost the number this weekend facing Caulfield Grammarians. Old Haileybury welcome Uni Blacks to Princes Park in Caulfield. Having beaten Blacks the last two meetings they’ll go in with confidence they can move another rung up the ladder.
People at St Kevin’s may have read the preview last week and pinned the line about scoring up on the whiteboard leading into Saturday. 12 goals in the first half to one against Caulfield. Followed up with another 14 in the second half.
Shaun Kennedy had his best day with a bag of seven. The last time he kicked more was in 2013, a bag of 10 as an Under 19 player. The double cobra celebration working overtime.
Ben Mansfield was named best on ground as SKOB climbed 18% and stay a game behind Uni Blues and Old Scotch. It sets up an all-time classic this weekend against the Cardinals at Camberwell Sports Park. The winner of this game may fancy themselves as the second place finisher behind Collegians.
Ollie Lowe returned to Caulfield this weekend and kicked the sides only two goals. Named the best for the Fields. Without Jack Ellwood (VFL) and a recognised ruckman, the going was always tough. Coming up against the reigning premiers who are hellbent on getting their season back on track was a mountain the size of Everest they had to climb. Footy serves the Fields up another opportunity this weekend, tackling University Blues.
Old Scotch head into the game against St Kevin’s seemingly hitting all the right notes again. The same ones that made the Cardinals the front runners in the early part of the season. Twice this year now they’ve inflicted pain on the Old Xaverians. A slow start to the game mattered little as Mark Gnatt’s men came out after half-time and put the game beyond doubt.
Seven goals to one made the margin 59 points at the final change. Going onto record a 55 point victory. Angus Jones led the way on the scoresheet with three goals. Hamish Wild, Cooper Harvey and James Tarrant all kicked two goals apiece.
Old Xav’s were able to recall Marcus Stavrou and Charlie MacIsaac for the contest but the boys from Scotch were able to snuff out any real influence on the two key playmakers for the red and black mafia. Aiden Franetic is having a stellar season, could he be leading the best and fairest? Must be keen to have people know he has more tricks in the kitbag than just a 60m bomb with a wet ball to win games of footy.
Old Brighton weren’t troubled by Old Melburnians at Brighton Beach Oval to get back on the winners list. Five goals to 0 in the first term gave Dan Donati a 30 point buffer to work with. The margin was out to 57 points before the OM’s were able to string back to back goals together in the final quarter.
Ben Harding again led the way for the OM’s. On the winners side of things, Lachie Filipovic has been recognised as the best player in the red and blue. It’s great for the Tonners, and for Filipovic to put consecutive strong performances together. A body that’s had injury setbacks across the last 24 months, he’s almost impossible to stop when he’s fully fit and firing.
There’s a very mini pulse at Brighton. They’ve done this before. You only need to wind the clock back 12 months to remember.
Collegians. What more can you say. Winners on every line. They are in red hot form and almost unbeatable. Eight wins in a row. This time University Blacks felt the roar of the Lions by 71 points.
Without Dave Mirra in the forward line, such is the evenness and the dominance of this side it didn’t trouble or worry the Lions. Will Pocknee (6 goals), fellow big men Ed Greene (2 goals) and Alex Lukic (2 goals) were focal points. When they didn’t mark the ball, Will D’Amico (3 goals) and Kobi George (2 goals) were equally as dangerous.
Uni Blacks welcomed in Sam Conway for his first run of the season and worked him in tandem with Josh Steadman. Up against Will Mayhood. He was giving away height in the ruck, but was able to spread from stoppages and play as a fourth midfielder around the ball. Sam Hibbins was instrumental around the footy supporting the bear in the centre square.
Campbell Moorfield didn’t have his usual impact down in defence, however Sam Sofrinidis marked everything that went in his direction. Driving the Lions forward at every opportunity. He may lay claim to being the best player in this side. Potentially in the competition, one of the most damaging half-back flankers there is.
Facing Old Brighton this weekend, the Lions must head to Brighton Beach Oval with a ton of confidence. This is a scalp they’ll be desperate for. The Tonners ended the Collegians season in 2022. And gave them their one and only loss at home so far in 2023. They have been a thorn in the Lions side.