By David Chalmers
Round 1 is as good a time as any for a club to make a statement about their intentions, and several Premier B clubs put their hands up and showed they mean business. Three of the four newcomers made great starts, with relegated sides Beaumaris and Old Scotch posting emphatic victories, while Old Haileybury came from behind and outlasted Old Brighton in the close one. I tipped four out of five correctly, just missing Parkdale.
I headed to Banksia Reserve to watch Premier C runners-up, Monash Blues, take on the Beaumaris Sharks. The Blues’ defence was under pressure early, thanks to the presence of former St Kilda goalsneak Stephen Milne, but held up well as it repelled several Shark attacks. The visitors made a dream start, leading three goals to none after the first quarter thanks to Oppy, Young and Griffiths. However, the Sharks soon took control, kicking six goals in the second term to set up a handy lead. The Blues had their chances but could only manage behinds. Drew Kelly kicked a nice goal finishing off a coast-to-coast Sharks play, and Matthew Petering provided a highlight with a nice mid-air soccer goal. Beaumaris continued controlling the game in the third quarter with a healthy spread of goal kickers, while Maddison Hardiman kicked the Blues only goal for the term. The 49-point final margin could have been much greater had the Sharks kicked straight, adding 3.10 in the final quarter.
Parkdale managed to narrowly avoid relegation in 2015, thanks largely to their 41-point victory over Hampton in Round 18. The Rovers had their chance at retribution when they hosted the Vultures in the season opener. The Vultures started better, opening up a four-goal lead by quarter time and stretching it to six by the main break. The Rovers, led by five goals from Daniel Corp, managed to square up the third term and finished with five goals to two, giving Parkdale a 19-point victory and a great start to their season. Matthew Boland kicked five for the winners in the first quarter before going down with a knee injury, while Charlie Dillon and Nathan Papatsanis added three each and were amongst the best.
St Bede’s/Mentone Tigers kicked off their 2016 campaign at home with a huge 85-point win over Fitzroy. The Roys, spearheaded by Sam Baker (three goals) and Daniel Bisetto (two), led at quarter time and were within three goals at the main break, but a 12-goal to three Tiger blitz in the second half propelled them to an impressive victory which, if it weren’t for their inaccuracy (18.27), could have been even greater. The home side had nine individual goal kickers, led by Mitchell Coen with four and Pat Tyquin with three.
Old Scotch began their first season outside William Buck Premier section in 35 years in dominant fashion with a 67-point win over Ajax. The Cardinals led from start to finish and only their inaccuracy (18.22; 3.10 in the third quarter) prevented the margin from being much greater. They had 10 individual goal kickers led by Tim Macmillan with four and Aidan Franetic with three. Nick Marks and Zach Braun were amongst the best for the Jackas, while Warren Steinberg kicked three goals.
Old Brighton went into their clash against Old Haileybury with less than half of their 2015 semi-final team, such has been the turnover at the club. Riding high on their Premier C premiership, the Bloods would have been keen to make a positive impression on the VAFA’s second highest tier. However, it was the visitors who began better, playing fast and skilful footy in the early stages. Spearhead Dan Anthony was up and about, although he missed his first three shots and there were a couple of other Tonner misses which would come back to haunt them. At one stage the Tonners led nine goals to two. Concentration lapses in the second term from the inexperienced Old Brighton side allowed the Bloods back in the game. They wasted opportunities in the third quarter, kicking 3.5 to 1.0 and the Tonners held a narrow five-point lead at the final break. Ultimately, the Bloods ran over the top thanks to superior size and experience, finishing 18 points clear. Peter Shakallis and Corey Connelly each kicked three for the winners, while Dan Anthony finished with five goals for the Tonners. Old Brighton scribe Andrew Mullett was impressed with several youngsters, listing Harry Hill, Kyle Parsons, Andrew McBain and Raury Bolger as ones to watch, while Ben Trivett has made the step up from the twos and battled valiantly in the ruck.
In Round 2, Old Brighton return home to host the Tigers; Old Haileybury visit Brunswick Street to meet Fitzroy; after getting done by Beaumaris, Monash Blues find themselves up against the other relegated side Old Scotch; Parkdale and Beaumaris do battle at the Vulture’s Nest and both the Rovers and Jackas will be looking for their first win when they clash.
Round 2 Tips
St Bede’s/Mentone v Old Brighton
Old Haileybury v Fitzroy
Old Scotch v Monash
Beaumaris v Parkdale
Hampton v Ajax