Without the top-of-the-table Whitefriars in play during Round 7, it was a chance for some other sides to show the rest of the competition what they’re made of. Brunswick again proved that a spread of efforts gets your side over the line, while Power House tested the Bushrangers. The Gryphons are proving that they are a team to beat in 2019, alongside MHSOB.
Looking ahead to Round 8, both Hawthorn and Bulleen Templestowe will match up well in a contested, high-intensity game of footy after suffering hard losses last week. The Hawks have shown glimmers of hope, with strong quarter performances, but as Hawthorn President Pat Clancey has echoed, the boys must be able to string together four quarters to show the rest of the competition that they do mean business. Bulleen, however, seem to be on some upward trajectory, with Billy Wilson a strong presence that is hard to counteract in front of goals. Both sides play some hard footy, but it is the side who will use the midfield the set up for multiple goal kickers, that will get the chocolates. The Hawks are hungry for their first win of 2019, but Ivanhoe have the experience and composure to get over the line.
This game will be a test of two vastly differing styles, with Ivanhoe playing a more contested game, while Yarra Old Grammarians prefer to play free-flow, open footy. On the Hoers ground, they will command the game and keep the Bushrangers clogged up early, but from last weeks’ efforts, the poise and cleanliness of the Rangers is what will carry them through if the game becomes a closer tussle. Watch out for David Wildsmith, who played semi-injured last week and still managed to dominate for the Bushrangers. The depth of the Bushrangers will prove worthy as we approach the middle of the season, with the likes of Jackson Ford pushing for selection in this team who are getting back on track after a rough patch. For the Hoers, Wesley Maybe has found some mid-season form and should be an issue for the Bushrangers to slow down. Yarra seem to be calmer after their win last week and will look to string together four unbreakable quarters, so to be on top when the final siren blows.
Old Division 3 foes, Power House and Glen Eira, meet again and this time it’s in Division 2.
Last time these teams met was in Division 3 back in 2016, where the Gryphons had two prominent wins over the House. The House need an early start to keep in contention, as the Gryphons have shown that they can pile on the scoreboard pressure early. Power House played an outstanding, free-flowing third quarter last week, where their clearance work was unbeatable for 25 minutes. If they can work on carrying this pressure and keeping their heads up for four quarters, the Gryphons may have some work to do. However, the ferocity and clean-cut possessions that have built this Gryphons team thus far will hold them above the House if the going gets tough. Power House will be looking to change these old results, but the poise of the Gryphons and the teamwork will prove too strong to overcome.
Coming off the bye, there will be no stop to the Whitefriars show as they look for their next win of their flawless 2019 campaign. MHSOB, on the other hand, have been on the upward trajectory, which could come as a test for the Friars. These two sides will put on a show, both able to apply scoreboard pressure, however, being on the big Whitefriars College oval, the Unicorns may struggle to play a shorter, comfortable game to which they’ve grown accustom at home. It will be a long day of running for the Unicorns back men, as they look to implement a plan to stop Michael Nitas and his forward gang from bombarding the scoreboard. Whitefriars have a ruthless spread of goal kickers, with 25 of the past 30 players booting at least one goal this season. This is a worry for the Unicorns, who must find ways to stop not only a handful of key forwards, but also the run on from multiple players who can score across the ground. On the other hand, James Tran and his midfielders have been hard to stop over the past few weeks, which may shock the Friars, as the Unicorns look to match the pace around the middle. While the Unicorns will give it a good crack and will show signs of composed brilliance, it is still hard to fault the Friars.