The standard of football across Division 2 Men’s this year is something to be commended and makes for an exciting season. The fact that we are heading into round 18, and the top 4 are not yet locked away highlights the competitive brand of football our clubs are producing.
This rounds’ highlights include two top 5 clashes that saw Whitefriars and South Melbourne Districts overthrow their higher ranked opponents to keep themselves in finals contention.
Round 17 kicked off at Whitefriars College Oval where Brunswick travelled to face the Whitefriars. This match was almost more important for Brunswick who could have secured a top two position which would guarantee them a second chance come finals. But it was the Friars who had a fire in the belly, hungry to make an appearance come finals.
Goals came from the boots of numerous players at both ends, with Samuel Kieseker (5) once again leading the charge for the Friars, whilst Paul Scamporlino contributed 3 for the Nobs. After getting their noses in front at the first huddle, Whitefriars were overrun at the main break with Brunswick gaining a small lead. Just as they seemed to have things under control in the Premiership quarter, the Friars put the jets on in the final term to boot an incredible 8 goals for the quarter, coming away with a 26-point victory.
The efforts of James McKenzie and James Perrin were second to none in an incredible come from behind win and were named best on ground for the Friars. Yet again, Angus Ross starred for the Nobs and will be looking to lift the energy for a four-quarter performance in the coming round.
Sticking on the theme of blockbusters, we head to Lindsay Hassett Oval at Albert Park for what was a good old-fashioned showdown between South Melbourne Districts and Old Yarra Cobras. With both teams very much in finals contention a win either way would be highly advantageous heading into round 18.
The first term was a pretty lackluster start, with the Cobras scoring 1.9, to only put them 3 points ahead of the Bloods’ 2 straight goals. The energy in the second lifted and it was all tied up at 41 apiece heading into the main break, however the Cobras still carrying an additional 5 scoring shots, with accuracy their downfall.
Jamie Brooker has had an impressive season up forward for the Bloods, adding another 5 majors from the weekend to his season tally. The Bloods put their heart and souls into this one and held on when things seemed to be slipping away. With the likes of Sam Bradford and Vincenzo Armenia at the helm and best on, the Bloods managed to turn around a 9-point deficit at three quarter time to emerge victorious by 10 points.
Calum Johnston’s four-quarter efforts earned himself best on for the Cobras. Sitting precariously in third after the penultimate round, the Cobras must win their final match up to secure that third placed finish or even potentially jump into second; that 2-point difference from the bye coming in handy at this late stage.
Despite registering one more win than their counterpart thus far for the season, Old Paradians seem to be a mountain that MHSOB cannot conquer. Parade started strong with a 5 goal to 1 first quarter, giving insight as to what was to come. In an entertaining high scoring affair, Michael Boundy went all guns blazing in front of the big sticks with 8 majors for the day; just shy of his career-best 10 goals.
The Unicorns put in a valiant effort and worked hard to stay in the contest, but it fell just short of Parade’s best. Tom Rendell drew on his years of experience on a tough day to produce a standout, 2-goal, best on ground performance for the Unicorns. With finals looming, Joshua Christelow has also timed his progression well with arguably one of his best games for the season for Parade.
Old Paradians came away with a comfortable 37-point win at Woodfull-Miller Oval, looking to finish strong next round as their season wraps up.
St Mary’s Salesian stepped out on home soil and there was no doubt that they mean business. Although they miss out on finals this year, they are throwing everything they have into challenging their final opponents, and it certainly paid off in an annihilation over Bulleen Templestowe.
The Saints kicked an accurate 20.12 for the day to finish with their highest score for the season of 132. Jack Elliston was the player of the match for the Saints, with a breakout 8-goals. Danny Moore led from the front on a tough day for the Bullants, while Jack Cowell contributed four of the nine goals scored, to their final score of 64.
To round out the weekend, we had our ladder leaders, Parkside, take on the bottom of the table in Aquinas. Although this was going to be a tough match up for Aquinas, they are to be commended on a courageous season. Whilst the ladder may not reflect their efforts as such, they have been competitive in many of their games and conceded wins by the narrowest of margins.
Parkside comfortably got the job done on the weekend and will head into finals as minor premiers. Parkside led throughout, with the final score of 79-31 reflecting the ease to which they strung together a four-quarter performance. Ben Radford has had a stellar year in front of goals, and with 3 more from the match, he has all but secured the competition’s leading goal kicker for the 2023 season.
Steven Logozzo was best on for Parkside, whilst Sam Glennie had his first best on ground performance for Aquinas.
To see out the 2023 home and away season, Brunswick will face MHSOB in a must win clash should they wish to lock in that second position on the ladder. The Cobras will host the Saints, as Parkside travel to the home of the Old Paradians. With both teams vying for fourth spot, Whitefriars will be looking to get a win over Aquinas, whilst South Melbourne Districts need to deliver an upset over Bulleen Templestowe to feature in finals. With a lot on the line, bring on Round 18!