By David Chalmers – @DAChalmers81
It’s one thing I love about footy; just when you think you’ve got things figured out and are making confident mid-season predictions, along comes a round like Premier B Round 11. Beaumaris and Old Scotch were both toppled for the second week in a row, leaving St Bedes/Mentone to take top spot; Old Brighton snapped their seven game losing streak; Monash won their third straight game and Hampton came agonizingly close to winning their second game in a row. For the statistically minded: three results of less than a goal meant Round 11 was the closest round of the season so far, with an average margin of 16 points. It was also the most accurate round, with a 56% accuracy rate (118 goals, 92 behinds).
After dispatching fellow top-four rivals Old Scotch by 70 points last week, St Bedes/Mentone Tigers faced Beaumaris, who were coming off their first loss of the season the previous week. Both teams had the same number of scoring shots in the first half, but accurate kicking from the Sharks (9.1) gave them a slight edge at the main break. The Tigers hit back with five goals to three in the third term and took a one-point lead into the last quarter. Both teams could only manage one behind each in the first ten minutes before Brayden O’Toole took a contested mark and converted the set shot. Chris Richards followed up a couple of minutes later, taking a mark from a Sharks defensive error and kicking truly. Will Edmonds finally kicked Beaumaris’s first goal for the quarter 20 minutes in, but was answered by Pat Tyquin. As the game ticked down into the dying minutes, the Sharks needed a spark, and Daniel Gribbin kicked a clever soccer goal under pressure to bring the game alive. Drew Kelly levelled the scores soon after, after receiving a free and kicking truly. The Tigers immediately forced the ball forward from the centre bounce and O’Toole had a snap but missed, nevertheless putting the Tigers in front. From the kick-in, Beaumaris got the ball to the middle and were on the charge. Tom Dean booted the ball inside 50 but just as the ball was in the air the Sharks were beaten by the siren, giving the Tigers, who have now won seven in a row, a one-point win and top spot on the ladder. Stephen Milne was absent again for Beaumaris, and while it might be a bit harsh to declare “No Milne, No ‘Maris?” given that their two losses have been by 1 and 7, the fact is that when he hasn’t played, they’ve either lost or drawn.
After five wins and a draw, Fitzroy suffered a slip-up against Ajax last week and fell from 4th to 7th due to the tightness of life in the middle rungs of the ladder at the moment. They had a chance to atone for the stumble against a struggling Old Haileybury unit. The Roys got off to a good start, kicking four goals to one and opening up a handy lead. Jack Dalton extended their lead in the first minute of the second term with a soccer goal in the goal square. Jordan Moncrieff replied a couple of minutes later with a contested mark and converted the set show. The Bloods would have to wait a long time for their next goal, as the rest of the quarter was all Fitzroy. Rory Angiolella, Julian Turner and Luke Baker all contributed as they kicked their highest second quarter total for the season so far (5.5). The Bloods managed a late goal close to the half time siren but it was a sorry looking scoreboard. To their credit, the Bloods put up a good fight in the second half, kicking seven goals to four and getting within four goals. The loss was their seventh in a row and while a couple of weeks ago they were clear of relegation territory, recent wins to Old Brighton and Hampton mean they will need to fight hard to stay above the bottom two. The Roys are sixth with five wins and a draw from their past seven games and would be higher if only for mini-streaks from Monash and Parkdale.
Parkdale, coming off a good win over Old Haileybury, found themselves up against Old Scotch who were licking their wounds after being mauled by the Tigers the previous week. It was a low-scoring, even contest with not much separating the teams all day. Due to marginally straighter kicking, the Vultures led by four points at the final break. Max Van Den Broek struck first in the last quarter with a contested mark and then converted the set shot. Alex Derzekos answered soon after, kicking truly after receiving a free kick for in-the-back. It would be 13 minutes before either team scored another goal. Tom Redmond took a mark on the lead and was awarded a 25m penalty, taking him to the goal square and a certain goal. The Vultures had several chances to extend their lead through the middle stages of the quarter but could only manage three behinds. Van Den Broek and Julian Beard both kicked goals in the dying minutes, getting the Cardinals within two points. They got the ball out of the middle after two secondary ball-ups and the Parkdale defence got penalised for deliberate out-of-bounds from their clearance. The Cardinals launched one more attack but Sam Chitty managed to force another ball-up. As the ball was in the air the siren sounded, giving the Vultures their second win in a row and the Cardinals their third loss in four games.
For a round with three results under a goal, picking ‘match-of-the-round’ is a difficult decision. But despite their ladder positions, surely Hampton v Monash would have to come close. Even a cursory glance at the quarter-by-quarter scores shows a fascinating contest. The Rovers built an early lead with their best opening term for the season, but were stunned when the Blues unleashed an eight-goal-to-three second quarter, which was also their best for the season so far. The Rovers then got the lead back in the third quarter when they held the Blues scoreless and piled on 4.5 themselves. Picking a winner was a nigh-on impossible task. Ultimately accuracy made the difference. The Rovers could only manage 1.7 compared to 4.2 from the Blues and the visitors ran over the top, getting up by three points in the dying stages. The win was the Blues third in a row and helps them consolidate fourth spot. The Rovers snatched a seven point win over Old Brighton last week and it was disappointing for them not to be able to build on that.
Old Brighton snapped a seven-game losing streak with a comfortable win over Ajax. The Tonners led by 15 at the final break, but piled on seven goals to one in the final term to take out a much needed victory. Alex Mastromanno kicked three in his first game for the year, while Jake Lew had four for the Jackas. The win puts the Tonners level with Old Haileybury and one game clear of Hampton on the bottom. The Jackas sit seventh, and despite the loss are still in contention in the battle for the top four.
Round 12 Tips:
AJAX vs. Old Scotch
Beaumaris vs. Parkdale Vultures
Fitzroy vs. Hampton Rovers
Monash Blues vs. Old Haileybury
St Bedes/Mentone Tigers vs. Old Brighton