Only 3 teams still undefeated in William Buck Premier Men’s

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Jason Bennett

Round 2 of William Buck Premier Men’s saw three teams remain undefeated, including last year’s runner-up, who got the better of the team that beat them for the 2023 title.

ST KEVINS & COLLEGIANS were locked in a tight struggle for most of the day.

The Lions were held goalless in the opening term to trail by 14 points at the first change, before booting 6 goals in the second quarter to lead by a goal at the main break.

That got out to a 20-point advantage before SKOBs responded to lead by 6 points at 3-quarter time.

The final term was tight – St Kevins with the only 2 goals to run out 19 point winners & consign Collegians’ premiership defence to a 0-2 start.

Anthony LYNCH (St Kevins): “It was a terrific gusty win – full of character at a venue we have historically struggled to win at.

We were pretty strong on our players at half time and challenged them to respond – and they did.

We went 20 points down, but our boys responded with pressure and competitiveness and we started winning critical contests.

To see this young group be at their best in the final 45 minutes when truly challenged for the second week in a row fills me and hopefully them with incredible belief.”

Jordie McKENZIE (Collegians): “Another tight contested game. We played some exciting fast footy at times, and had our chances. St Kevin’s composure in critical moments stood out, and they played large periods of the game in their half.

Whilst disappointing, we were much improved in the contest and the boys gave it their all.

Ben HILL had an impressive debut, providing some spark up forward with 2 goals. Another emerging player, Jasper DAVY, was huge down back, playing his best game for the club.”

OLD SCOTCH overcame an 11-point quarter-time deficit to overpower Premier Men’s newcomers FITZROY by 59 points at Camberwell Sportsground.

The Cardinals took control of the game with an impressive 7-goal second term to hold a 27-point half time lead, before the Roys rallied to close within 9 at the last change.

Goals were hard to come by early in the final quarter, with just 2 in the first 15 minutes – both to Old Scotch.

Fitzroy closed to within 16 points entering time-on, before the Cardinals blew the game open with 7 goals in 13 minutes to give their percentage a massive boost and elevate them to the top of the table.

Mark GNATT (Old Scotch): “Fitzroy’s pressure was very good early and they were more efficient in front of goal.

We identified clear areas of improvement at quarter-time and Izzy CONWAY was dominant in the second term.

Fitzroy were the better side in the third quarter and won the territory battle. Our defence held up strongly – Doug LAWRENCE & Charlie CORMACK were well supported by BROWN, BRADDY & BENNETT.

We finished strongly with our fitness enabling us to hit the line hard as Angus SYMONS lit up the forward line and Will CLARK got some reward for effort.”

Travis RONALDSON (Fitzroy): “We started well – ball movement crisp, high energy and pressure. But we need to improve our second quarters & ensure our concentration remains high throughout the game.

Our backline was outstanding again, led by Darcy LOWRIE and Rhy SEAKINSLaird RAMSHAW provided drive from the wing.

We have to focus on improving every week. We had 10 players with less than 15 senior games under their belt and we have to fast-track their development to execute 4 quarters of A-grade level footy every week.”  

OLD XAVERIANS returned to Toorak Park for the first time in a year-and-a-half and scored a hard-fought win over OLD MELBURNIANS in an entertaining contest.

Little separated the teams through the opening three quarters. OM’s led by 4 & 12 points at the first two breaks, before 4 consecutive goals saw Xavs lead by a goal at 3-quarter time.

The home team broke it open in the last term, slamming on 6 goals to 1 to run out 32-point winners in a game that felt much tighter than the final margin.

Dan DONATI (Old Xavs): “Another physical and quick game. Great to be back playing at TP after 18 months!

The first half was an arm-wrestle with some execution mistakes under great pressure.

I thought we managed to nullify OM’s key players as well as we could’ve on the day. To get those match-ups right helped us get the W.

Very even team performance & it was hard to nominate best players, such was the team effort across the board.”

Paul SATTERLEY (OMs): “Disappointed with how we finished off & full credit to Xavs, who ran out the game and really stepped up their offence in the last quarter.

We just didn’t maximise our scoring opportunities when we felt we had some control earlier in the game.

Standout performances from Ben HARDING, Jackson PAINE & Ned NICHOLS.”

UNI BLUES got on the board for 2024 with a thrilling win over ST BERNARDS that had the raucous crowd roaring all afternoon.

The Snowdogs threatened to take control after a 5-goal second quarter handed them a 13-point half-time lead.

Enter Sam GRIMLEY. The Blues’ spearhead came to life in the third term, booting 4 for the quarter as the home team edged in front by a point at the last change.

Just one point separated the teams before Geordie LaCAVA booted the sealer at the 28-minute mark of the final term to give the Blues an entertaining 7 point win.

GRIMLEY finished with 5 goals to be named the SKINS Player of the Day. His 12 goals in 2 weeks have handed him an early 6-goal lead in the League goalkicking race.

Guy MARTYN (Uni Blues): “Our first half was poor in terms of decision-making & skill execution. We made a couple of set-up changes at half time and our guys lifted their attack on the contest after a wake-up call.

Big credit to Sam HAYES who was influential in the ruck all day. I also loved Mitch TAYLOR’S game – his last quarter especially, when he was taken to the goal square and made a couple of goal-saving efforts.

I was really impressed with St Bernards’ intensity and pressure. I know they’re a young side, but if they play like that every week, they’ll win plenty of games and well and truly stay up in A grade.”

Steve ALESSIO (St Bernards): “A fantastic contest – a real arm-wrestle on a heavier ground, which led to a contested-style of game. The lead changed a few times, but in the end the top-end talent of Uni Blues stepped up at the right time.

Another great performance by our captain Mitch HUGHES and the continued good form of Karan BHARATHI, the DI LIZIO brothers & OVERMAN brothers was very pleasing.”

OLD BRIGHTON improved to 2-and-0 with a thrilling 9-point win over UNIVERSITY BLACKS at Brighton Beach Oval.

Blacks led by a kick at the first change, before the Tonners slammed on 5 goals in 19 minutes in the second term to jump out to a 2-goal half-time lead.

Blacks kicked the only two goals of the third quarter to level the scores at the last change.

Old Brighton seized the early initiative with a goal in the opening minute of the final quarter, before Blacks responded midway through the term.

Nick PAVLOU snapped the sealer entering time-on with a piece of individual brilliance out of a stoppage that saw the Tonners hold on for a gritty 9-point win as Uni Blacks fell short in a tight game for a second straight week.

Marcel BRUIN (Old Brighton): “Tough day. Really pleased with the maturity of our group to grind out a win. Blacks are really strong and well structured, particularly around the contest and work incredibly hard to put pressure on. They impacted our execution when we did win the ball.

There were some moments from individuals that probably swung the game our way. Nick PAVLOU in his first game back at the club in a couple of years had a massive impact.”

Dale BOWER (Uni Blacks): “Old Brighton are a tough ask at home – they have a very talented group of players that play the game in a fast and physical way.

We needed to bring our best contest and pressure game to the table. I was very proud of how our players committed to the task and we were in it right to the end, but could not quite get it done.

A step forward for us.”