Home ground, no such advantage in Round 1

Posted on - Latest News, Premier B Men's, Featured

Paddy Grindlay

Amateur football returned with close scores across the Premier B competition in Round 1, as only De La Salle were able to win at home.

Four of the five Round 1 results were decided by 19 points or less, with Old Geelong’s 38-point victory over Williamstown CYMS the aberration; although, Geelong coach Nathan Brown says it was a closer contest than the scoreboard indicates. “Our connection to inside 50 and to the score zone was really good,” Brown said on Monday, with Geelong the only team in Premier B to break the 100-point mark.

The Geelong defence had its hands full with Williamstown forward Archi Manton, but the likes of ruckman Jack Sheridan and midfield trio Tim Jones, Harrison Kol and Tom Furphy went to work in the centre, ensuring quality entries to an efficient forward line.

Debutant Will Eggins, fresh out of Geelong College, was exciting off half-back, booting a goal in his first senior match. William Bonka and Archi Manton kicked two goals apiece for the CYs, who overall kicked poorly on the way to an 8.15 (63) to 15.11 (101) defeat.
De La Salle had the yips in front of the sticks at Waverley Oval – close to doubling Beaumaris’ scoring shots, but did more than enough to secure a Round 1 win over the Sharks, 9.21 (75) to 8.8 (56).

Campbell Bedford found the football with ease for De La while William Mackie set the tone with his work at the contest. “Our inability to convert our chances meant we didn’t get full reward for our effort,” said De La coach Nick Hyland.

“We felt we had the game on our terms for large portions as a result of our pressure around the ball. We won the territory battle (which) allowed us to play the game in our forward half.”

Adrian Indovino and Nathan Scollo kicked three goals apiece, while Joseph Nowell led Beaumaris with two majors.

Caulfield Grammarians, playing its first Premier B season since 2019, were too strong for a young St Bedes/Mentone side, leading at every break on the way to a 13.13 (91) to 12.7 (79) win.

Caulfield’s aerial strength was the difference in the game, Julian Dobosz leading all comers with four goals while Joe McClelland was named the Grammarians’ best.

Both sides played an entertaining brand of football at Mentone Reserve, with speed put on the ball and scoring opportunities aplenty.

SBMT coach Brad Berry says it’s “no secret” there’s been a revitalisation at the Tigers, with the bulk of the side made up of players aged 23 and under. Exciting key forward Jack Behnk dobbed five goals for the home side, while fellow key Sam Buck, a year 12 student at St Bede’s College listed at the Sandringham Dragons, impressed with two of his own.

Berry was proud of his young side’s effort, particularly after the Grammarians booted away in the third term, only to be hauled back in the last quarter by the Tigers’ youngsters who played an “attractive” brand of football but fell two kicks short. “They’ve got some hunger about them,” Berry said.

In a rematch of last year’s Premier C Grand Final, the Old Camberwell Grammarians kicked the last two goals of the game to snatch victory from Old Ivanhoe.

Ivanhoe coach Jarrod Gieschen lauded 20-year-old Camberwell forward Liam Thomas, who kicked three goals for the visitors in their 10.15 (75) to 9.15 (69) win. Thomas, an eye-catching key position player who stands nearly two metres tall, has put on noticeable size over the pre-season and is listed with Richmond’s VFL squad.

Also catching the eye was 208cm Ivanhoe ruckman Oliver Hayes-Brown, an AFL-listed Category B rookie at Richmond, who played his first ever senior game of football on Saturday.

Hayes-Brown, who joined Richmond after 13 games in the NBL for the Perth Wildcats, had his hands full with Old Camberwell skipper Gus Milham, who stands at 210cm and recorded a whopping 111 hit outs in a single game last year.

“He competed really hard against a really high-quality ruck in Gus Milham,” said Gieschen on Monday.
“We thought Ollie was the biggest ruck we’d ever seen, but (Milham’s) a few centimetres taller than him!”

Old Ivanhoe small forward Rohan McKenzie impressed with three goals, while teammate and ex-Bulldog Toby McLean was named in the best players.

Finally, Old Trinity held a slender lead at every break before kicking three goals to one in the final term, running out 12.8 (80) to 8.14 (62) winners in Caulfield over Old Haileybury.

Having Alex Emery, who missed the start of last year with an ankle injury, and Christos Manoussakis fit to start the season has done the world of good for the Trinity midfield – Emery kicked three goals and was named as one of Trinity’s best.

Coach Donald McDonald lauded the performances of Ed Weatherson and Hugo McGlashan, while Dom Payman (two goals) provided a strong target but has kept a lid on expectations. “The result could’ve really gone either way,” McDonald said.

Old Haileybury coach Daniel Ward was impressed with a pair of debutants for his side, wingman Noah Higgins and defender Lachie Vaughan, while skipper Brede Seccull held court in the centre and hit the scoreboard.

Ward says his side needs to tidy up its structure and ball use in order to give the forwards more opportunity. “(Trinity) was just a little bit cleaner with the ball in hand,” said Ward on Monday morning.

This week, Beaumaris will host Old Haileybury, Old Geelong will meet with Old Ivanhoe at Como Park, Old Trinity will take on St Bedes/Mentone, De La Salle face Caulfield Grammarians away, and Williamstown CYMS will travel to Gordon Barnard Reserve for a clash with Old Camberwell.