PREMIER B SCRIBE

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22.09.2012

By Di Langton

DEADLY SHARKS, BLACK PYTHONS 

No doubt the finals series has delivered the two best sides into today’s Premiership duel. University Blacks with sixteen wins and two losses had a stellar year to finish minor Premiers. Beaumaris tied on points with St Kevins after thirteen-and-five, but powered through the semi and preliminary finals to secure a much-deserved grand final berth and promotion. Blacks have been almost unassuming this year; methodically mowing through the competition. They haven’t exactly hid their light under a bushel, but their quiet acquittal helped keep a fairly low profile through the season. Well that was until they demolished St Kevins in the second semi by 11 goals. They may as well have stripped naked in a prosh week prank, yelling Monty Python insults from their lofty spires: I Blow My Nose at You, You B-Grade Poseurs! The lid is off and the cover blown as they relish their proud return to A Grade. Beaumaris is the first District club since Ormond to earn elevation to the Premier ranks, and to do so in the midst of the club’s 50th anniversary is a huge motivator. Just one more shiny milestone remains, and while the B-grade silverware may not hold its gloss amongst the Premier elite (to wit Caulfield’s imminent return) there is no doubt that we deliver the two most worthy teams unto the upper echelons and we wish them every success.  

PRELIMINARY FINAL 

The Sharks had two changes, including Scott “We’ll go ridin’ on the horses” Braithwaite and four Skob changes saw Edgar and Simpson return to the lineup. Beauy hit the ground running, kicking the first three unanswered. More than four goals up at quarter time, the Sharks had all their usual suspects firing plus a few PBs from others. Sam McBain (4) had a brilliant game, as did Wilba Murton who was electric from the first bounce. Sean Coote and Matt Duggan were solid as you’d expect, just as St Kevins weren’t without their stars in Ben Dowd particularly, who worked incredibly hard, along with Shanahan and Chivers who concocted opportunities when they could, reducing the margin to 14 points at the main break. Beauy dominated the third, kicking seven goals to three to pretty much seal the game. St Kevin’s poor disposal saw them struggle to convert despite their persistence. They got within 26 points from two quick goals early in the final term but Beauy locked them down to salute in the end by 29 points. 

ST KEVINS Daniel Harford steered his charges through an undefeated front nine (until they met the Blacks), and struggled with form through the back half. Gutted to have missed again, but SKOBs will be preparing already for their 2013 tilt. Hand-wringing is for little old ladies. 

GRAND FINAL

No doubt the week off has been a bonus for Black’s players racing the clock to come up in time. Beaumaris may have a troublesome ankle and hammy giving them grief too, and they’ll be generally more stiff and sore anyway with the extra game’s pounding. Some may argue the uninterrupted run into the Big Dance keeps their touch up, the week’s rest sometimes a curse.

Here’s how they shaped up against each other through the season: 

Round 8 at University Oval: 

Beaumaris 10.10.70 def Uni Blacks 10.8.68 

As the large crowd filed in for scones with clotted cream, Uni Blacks went into the sheds seven points to the good. Black’s captain Dan Costello and Beauy x-factor Tom Dean both missed with injury, but it was the sickening lower leg crunch to Jackson Leigh in the third that seemed to galvanize Gower (5) and Cathcart (2) shooting the Sharks into the lead. The Sharks repelled repeated Uni advances in a heart-stopping final few minutes to win by two points.

Round 15 at Banksia Reserve: 

Uni Blacks 13.10.88 def Beaumaris 6.15.51

Stalwart Shark defender Mark ‘Dougie’ Ensor was recalled to the senior lineup but his side struggled against the miserly Black backline. Wasteful in front of goal and a shocker second term sealed Beauy’s fate as the Uni boys dictated terms: Jordy Foster (3) and Harrie Lahy were shining lights in a beautifully balanced effort, running out 37-point winners.

There’s so much to admire about Blacks; their surging pressure on the ball, deep forward options and bigger bodies that can strangle opposition. Beaumaris have a running style to counteract this however, and if able to apply scoreboard pressure early will have their tails up. They have some beautifully skilled players and a whopping slice of x-factor brilliantly harnessed by Jason Mifsud over the past five years. They go in underdogs, but with street smarts and a big bite. Matt Kempton’s Blackers have the credentials, talent and burning desire to constrict their opponents with great force. We’ll see it all today in a fantastic contest, Blacks for mine by ten points. 

Thank you to a wonderful group of club volunteers for their invaluable contributions over the season: Peter, Peter, Neil, Andrew, Ron and Paul. Next year we welcome Caulfield and Trinity into Premier B, along with Parky and the Roy Boys. Enjoy your off-season. 

15.9.2012

Premier B

By Di Langton

THROUGH TEMPEST AND CALM, FINALS ARE HERE

Last weekend’s semi finals were about as contrasting in nature as the weather. Saturday’s ominous black clouds dumped a brutal and systematic pounding over Box Hill City Oval while the warm, still conditions on Sunday at Trevor Barker Oval were close and quite breathless really. The haters might bag Melbourne’s unpredictable climate, but at this magical time of year it heralds what we love the most. Footy in Spring. Last month’s skinny trees have thickened with blossom, there’s the buzz of lawnmowers (pushed by blokes who missed the finals), the trains are chockers with tribal scarves and kids with showbag pride. Green Moon’s running in the fourth at the Valley, there’s a sizzle down at Bunnings and a line of cars snaking into Sportscover Arena. It’s the weekend, in September, in Melbourne. Where would you rather be?
OLD MELBURNIANS bow out of the finals race after Sunday’s fighting loss to Beaumaris. Coach Nathan Brown would be gladdened by their vastly improved output over the year with players growing in strength and confidence. Healthy signs for season 2013. 
SECOND SEMI
The Box Hill deck is considered one of the best around town, but conditions were tough and certainly foreboding for St Kevins. The game went according to Uni Blacks’ script; their bigger bodies and power through the rucks and scrimmages forced the footy forward, better equipped as they were for the blustery wind and heavy bursts of rain. Willingham in particular put the ball out into space and followed through in a performance that would have won him the G T Moore had he shown up in round 18. Ahh, coulda-shoulda-woulda! SKOB fought hard regardless but poor ball use added undue pressure, giving their forwards little hope. The backmen were their better contributors, Keely a standout and Brick doing a job on B&F winner Richardson. Sam Bishop kicked their solitary goal in the second term but they never looked like getting a run on. Batten and Delahunty were impressive for Blacks, along with waves of impetus provided by Mahon, Weekley and Lahy. Foster (3) presented well but I daresay there was some cue-in-rackage; the eventual eleven-goal margin a moot point with no need for either side to risk injury when the result was beyond doubt. 
FIRST SEMI
n the streaming sunshine and still conditions, a number of crucial Shark inclusions ran out onto TBO to take on Old Melburnians in a thrilling game of end to end footy. Callan Buckley probably shared best afield honours with the evergreen Desi Haynes, while Rob Cathcart’s grunt work and electric final term were pivotal. The first half was tense and pressure-packed; but once the jitters subsided conditions were perfect for a fabulous display of skill and strength. OMs nudged a slight first term advantage, breaking the arm wrestle in the second with a goal to Marangon from a free and 25m penalty. Paule intercepted a handball and slotted another before the main break and OMs looked solid going into the sheds 13 points up. Tom Hywood (3) was throwing himself into every marking contest and Ted de Fegely had a day out. But the lead was not enough, the quieter Beauy forwards roared out of the blocks with a pair of majors each to Murton, Gower and McBain. Game on, but OMs answered via Bennett (3) powering out of the goal square like a locomotive. Two points split them at the final turn, the huge three-quarter time huddles deafening as they urged their lads on. Petering snapped the first and Hywood responded quickly. The willingness on field was palpable; Petering kicked another, then a snap from Cathcart. Beck got one back but Cathcart slotted his second to effectively seal the game, Beauy into the preliminary final with a 21-point win on the day of the club’s 50th anniversary. 
PRELIMINARY FINAL
Selection Table Stress is a recognised malaise at this time of year. Sometimes a luxury, but often heartbreaking. With the three teams remaining involved in both Senior and Reserve finals, the depth of all will be tested, and the Selectors’ nous examined. All that aside, there will be players that ‘take one for the team’ and to them we say bad luck, chin up and enjoy the ride as best you can. You may get another chance next week. Beaumaris would have to be the in-form favourites for promotion and the right to square off for the silverware, but St Kevins pose an unknowable threat with high-calibre players desperate to return. They are one-all this season: SKOB in a one point thriller in round six, the Sharks winning the return bout in round 12 by three goals. I’m tipping Beaumaris but closer than most expect. Ignore the result at Box Hill, it’ll be a different St Kevins side this week. But frankly, I’m going with the Sharks because I’ve witnessed first hand on a couple occasions: they know how to win finals. 
Please email your match reports, thoughts and feelings to [email protected] by Sunday evening. 
This week’s selection
Beaumaris v St Kevins

8.9.2012
Premier B
By Di Langton
THE FINAL FOUR, THE SILLY SIX 
With no cinderella stories rising from the last home and away fixture, the final four remains unchanged. Blacks take minor premiership honours, Skevs hang onto the double chance, Beauy tuck into third and OMs make up the quaddie. There are probably a few fairy stories however coming from the Silly Sunday and Mad Monday exploits of those who have once again pulled on tu-tus, tiaras and fishnet stockings. Nothing wrong with footballers letting off steam and bonding in harmless post-season nuttiness, but why does it usually involve dressing as women? And petite women at that? Nuggety onballers swathed in feather boas, power forwards mincing about in Kylie Minogue hotpants while burly backmen pirouette and squat in drunken grande-pliés a la the Black Swan. Men are so weird, we’ll never understand you!
OLD HAILEYBURY finished with eleven wins and a full sail, claiming a juicy SKOB scalp last weekend. Another year establishing some consistency in B grade should help their next tilt at Premier, Gooda was a terrific pickup this year and young Seccull electric when free to ply his trade. 
OLD BRIGHTON also finished on the right side of the ledger with ten wins following a very strong back nine. Austen and Bruin were solid throughout and Anthony made a welcome return to senior footy. Coach Simon Williams will be getting his lads’ preparation underway much earlier for season 2013, watch for them next year. 
AJAX coach and popular Amateur journeyman Bernie Sheehy announced his retirement last weekend after four years at the Jacka helm. The incomparable Bernie steered his lads to a much-celebrated Premier C flag last year and a safe berth in B grade for 2013. The step-up in class didn’t faze Team of the Year full forward David Fayman, who also wins this year’s Sharpshooter Award (60 goals). Fayman takes out the double-double if you like, considering he claimed those same two honours last year in Premier C. 
WERRIBEE Districts avoid the bounce-back to Premier C, a feat in itself given an horrendous list of early-season injuries. Still, it meant blooding talented youngsters such as Bol Kolang. With a solid junior club connection and a robust winning culture the Tigers should reassert themselves in 2013. 
OAKLEIGH will be disappointed with relegation after finishing fifth last year however coach Stillman also had to contend with an endless stream of injuries, running 48 players through the seniors. Losing Holden and Jetta didn’t help – but Harold, Cleary and Lamb showed class. 
OLD IVANHOE struggled with just the solitary win but pushed a few sides. Hayden Heta made a welcome return, Nick Butler and Michael Delmonte toiled hard but the ‘Hoes are all tip and no iceberg until they recover from the pre-season raid that decimated their young ranks.
SECOND SEMI FINAL PREVIEW
After the loss to Old Haileybury last week St Kevins will be disappointed with their form coming into finals: the tri-colours were challenged through the midfield and inefficient with the ball, however their backline was very impressive – Sam Bishop in particular played a beauty. Skobber fans will be relieved to see a number of playmakers return to the line-up this week. Uni Blacks stitched up the minor premiership with a 22-goal drubbing of Old Ivanhoe; not really the best prep for finals either aside from kicking practice and a chance to rest a few aches and niggles. Mahon and Lahy are coming into great form and Levi Kalms’ raking left foot adds x-factor grunt to the Black’s silky band of finesse players. St Kevin’s coach Dan Harford has some heavy expectations on his shoulders (and a few tricks up his sleeve) while Matt Kempton would like nothing better than to hip and shoulder Uni Blues grasping the holy grail of Premier promotion. Both sides will be spurred on, don’t miss a brilliant showcase of quality amateur talent: Saturday at Box Hill City Oval. Blacks for mine in a thriller.
FIRST SEMI FINAL PREVIEW
Beaumaris won ugly last week, but winning form is winning form. Old Melburnians had a better showing with TOTY team-mates Beck (8) and Marangon showing their ample wares in a far slicker unit than the less-than-fit side first inherited by Nathan Brown in the pre-season. The Sharks play well at Trevor Barker Oval and Jason Mifsud will field a mix of talented youth and finals warriors like Haynes and Dean. Young backman Lachie Boyd has impressed this year and his agility combined with Ensor’s street-smarts will make things hard for the dark blue forwards. Mind you, Lachie Bennett’s tenacity and James Beaumont’s creativity all around the ground will be difficult to counter. It’s all or nothing on Sunday at Trevor Barker Oval, expect to see everything left out there on the field in this sudden death showdown. Another tight one, I’m tipping Beauy by less than three goals.

 1.9.2012
LAST CALL 
As the sky darkens on another home & away season, all will be revealed by 4.30pm Saturday under the neon hue of Live Score apps lighting up footy pavilions everywhere. Smart phone calculators will add to the glow as results and percentages are punched out by nervous fingers, eager to clutch that first post-game bevvy. Can Oakleigh stave off relegation? Can the Bloods pull off a Bradbury-esque slide into the four? Unlikely, but stranger things have happened on this magical final stage.   
After their nine point win over Werribee, Oakleigh are buoyed by the ever-so-slim possibility of swapping relegation honours with the ‘Bees if they can muster a big win over OMs this week (and the ‘Tonners seal Werribee’s fate). Leading well for most of the game, a last quarter fade was probably typical of the Krusher’s season, but they hung on despite an eight-goal bag by Werribee’s Alex Taylor. 
No such hope for the Hoes who suffered a fourteen goal humiliation at home at the hands of Old Haileybury. The brothers Gieschen toiled hard, but were no match for the Bloods who dominated at both ends. Meehan kicked six while Nicolopoulos got creative in the knowledge that it isn’t quite over for the Magentas just yet. A big win over St Kevins (plus a Krusher relegation-switcheroo) could see them sneak into the finals. Did I actually say this last round was a dead rubber? 
St Kevins under 19 players Giarusso and Paul impressed on debut against AJAX, but an otherwise uninspiring performance saw the tri-colours trail by four goals at quarter time. Routman was electric in his final 2012 game as the Jackas threatened an upset; but SKOB steadied with five in the third to run out 22 point winners. Mmmm, the Bloods just might get a sniff this week.
Delahunty showed versatility in Uni Black’s arm-wrestle with Old Brighton at South Road. Teammate Lacey kicked a pair in the wind before a clash of heads saw the claret flow from his noggin; thankfully there’s always a Black’s surgeon (or three) on hand with a darning needle. Portelli gave the ‘Tonners good forward impetus through the ruck in the last term and an upset threatened, but the Uni boys hung on by seven points.
The Sharks sent a strong statement to Old Melburnians, the only blemish being inaccuracy (12.23) capping the margin at five goals. Di Natale and Gower kicked four each however, while Batten batted away what he could for the dark blues.  

Team of the Year 
Thanks to those who sent through well considered nominations. The TOTY is always a tight squeeze; blending the consistent with the enigmatic. Surely a true representation has a bit of both, therefore some have missed the cut by the barest of margins.

B J Huxtable (Werribee) S Bishop (St Kevins) M Dean (Werribee Districts)
HB J Delahunty (Uni Blacks) A Pitt (Uni Blacks) A Marangon (Old Melb)
C B Seccull (Old Hailey) C Buckley (Beaumaris) E Routman (AJAX)
HF P Edgar (St Kevins) C Beck (Old Melb) T Dean (Beaumaris) 
F J Slabbert (Uni Blacks) D Fayman (AJAX) D Anthony (Old Brighton)
FOLL A Willingham (Uni Blacks) J Marchesani (SKOB)  C Richardson (Uni Blacks)
INT A Lynch (St Kevins) M Del Monte (Old Ivanhoe) J Perrett (Old Brighton)
M Harold (Oakleigh)
Coach: Matt Kempton Captain: Anthony Lynch Vice Captain: Tom Dean
Best and Fairest 
Good luck to all clubs competing in finals and farewell to relegated sides – we hope to see you bounce back quickly. The GT Moore Medal count will take place Wednesday night, broadcast live on 96.5 Inner FM from 8pm. Will the Varsity’s curly lemon-drop kid take the prize? Has tri-colour Jock polled enough in limited outings? The umpies love Mick Harold, but what about the fleet-footed Jacka? Or the silky-skilled Shark? Tune in and gather ‘round the old HMV next Wednesday night for all the excitement.

Please email your match reports, thoughts and feelings to [email protected] by Sunday evening. 

This week’s selections

AJAX v Beaumaris
Old Melburnians v Oakleigh
Old Haileybury v St Kevins
University Blacks v Old Ivanhoe
Werribee Districts v Old Brighton 

24.8.12
Premier B
By Di Langton
MATHEMATICALLY SPEAKING
While the final four appears set I guess we should acknowledge that fabulous old doctrine that keeps fifth (and sometimes sixth) placed teams painfully keen in these last two rounds as well as those jockeying for the double chance. You know the ol’ chestnut: The Mathematical Possibility. If X beats Y and Z manages a surprise win (by seven thousand points) and we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya… then yes, it just might be possible for Team Cinderella to dislodge the unlucky rung-holder above. Just as the AFL will this week deliver mind-boggling permutations for the final eight (so annoyingly spelt out by cardigan-wearing propeller-heads on talk-back radio), yes okay, a nod to the most unlikely scenario that the Premier B finals makeup could still change. But it won’t, so there. There is, however, a mathematical (and geographical) cert for Oakleigh and Old Ivanhoe: gone is the packed-lunch drive down to Werribee next season. Instead… I give you Rupertswood! 
Next week we’ll be publishing the 2012 Premier B Team of the Year. Nominations (in position) are most welcome, please email them through by Sunday night to [email protected]
Marcus Jankie celebrated his 150th game with the Jackas by kicking the first in their ten-goal win over Old Ivanhoe at Albert Park. Team-mate Jake Lew was unstoppable at CHF despite the difficult conditions kicking seven, while Rubin Winograd was a fortress down back. Delmonte was best for Old Ivanhoe who started well but the Browns were hard-pressed keeping the ball out of the AJAX forward line. David Fayman’s four majors tips him into the sharp-shooter lead, just one goal ahead of Henry Parkes of St Kevins. 
Like many venues around town, University Oval was in an appalling state but the ground conditions had little to do with the ferocity of the game between Blacks and St Kevins in their second-semi prologue. Blacks dominated the ruck and kicked longer, however some flashes of brilliance by SKOB youngsters Ginnies and Parkes saw scores level at the long break. Blacks shot to a 3 goal lead in the third through more direct play, and an extra player in defence shored up a twenty point win with some fantastic skills on display, despite the shocking conditions. Most notable was Charlie Richardson (albeit unrecognisable in the mud).
Meanwhile over at wet & windy McKinnon Reserve the faithful braved the chill to watch a backline slugfest between Old Haileybury and the Krushers which saw a number of bone-crunching injuries. The undermanned Oaks trailed by 2 points at the long break and were in with a chance of an upset; Meyers and Cleary playing outside themselves. The Bloods applied a little more pressure though via McLauchlan and Gooda, eventually pulling away in a 25 point win. 
The battle for fourth between Old Melburnians and challengers Old Brighton promised much but proved an utterly forgettable display as players grappled and slipped in dreadful conditions that reduced it to a disappointing slog fest. The ‘Tonners never looked like winning: dreadful kicking and the understandable overuse of handball their downfall. OMs performed far better in the circumstances, Tom Paule led well with four goals, while Jon Perrett did his best for Brighton in a twenty point loss. 
The Sharks cruised through the Domain tunnel gantry and over the Westgate to pay the Tigers a much-anticipated visit that could well have taken a toll; but a confident 39 point win was a much-needed boost for Shark morale ahead of finals with the likes of Dean, Petering and Coote amongst their best. The ‘Bee’s own Matt Dean once again showed class in a side that is unaccustomed to such losses at home. 
THIS WEEK We will see plenty of interest still with some ripper matchups this round ahead of next week’s almost-dead rubber. Beauy are back at home hosting OMs (third and fourth on equal points), while Old Brighton need to pull off the aforementioned seven-thousand point win over Uni Blacks at South Road (while simultaneously praying for an OMs melt-down). Old Haileybury can get in on the algebraic action too, if they invoke some ladder sorcery, starting with a smashing of Old Ivanhoe at Pine Lodge. St Kevins must pull their socks up with a straight forward win over AJAX at TH King, and while the care factor may not seem high, the battle between the Krushers and ‘Bees at Scammell Reserve will be a point of much pride for both.  
Please email your match reports, thoughts and feelings to [email protected] by Sunday evening. 
This week’s selections
Beaumaris v Old Melburnians
Old Brighton v University Blacks
St Kevins v AJAX
Oakleigh v Werribee Districts 
Old Ivanhoe v Old Haileybury 

17.8.12
Premier B
By Di Langton
WINDING DOWN, WINDING UP
As relegation seems all but certain for Oakleigh who will join Old Ivanhoe in Premier C next year, how do these teams make the best use of the remaining three games? Blood some youth, experiment with their list and structures, or change nothing and pursue remaining pride and points? Similarly AJAX, Werribee and (probably) Old Haileybury are now in that static Bermuda Triangle of nothingness until season’s end, so how best do they gain some positives? Meanwhile the upper echelon are ramping up their campaigns; analysing their opponents and fine tuning strategy as players trickle back from injury and travel, bolstering depth and on-field dynamics in their quest for finals contention and premiership glory.
With amazing accuracy given the slogging, muddy conditions last week, AJAX kicked 16.1 to defeat arch rivals Werribee by 45 points at Gary Smorgon oval. But as Bernie Sheehy pointed out each team fielded just nine of their respective 2011 grand final sides, Werribee the hardest-hit with significant preseason losses – one of whom (Cam Lee) was busy getting best-on ground honours next door at Harry Trott. Jacka David Fayman (6.1) was back to his creative best despite the solitary blemish and ruckman Jarrod White returned with immediate impact after a lengthy absence. Matt Dean was best for the Tigers, along with exciting young ruckman Bol Kolang. Both sides should give Premier B a better shake in 2013 if they can unearth (and hang onto) a few more rising stars. 
Undermanned and simply outgunned across the ground, Oakleigh were no match for St Kevins on the boggy TH King ground going down by 141 points. Glen Chivers made a dominant return to the midfield for Skob, although a few of his team mates (and coach Harford) were suffering bad cases of man ‘flu. Phil Edgar was literally filthy in the conditions kicking five majors, Jack Weber and Sam Bishop shut down the Krushers who battled valiantly in the gloomy shadow of relegation; James Chapple and Chris Lamb their best. 
After a tardy start against Old Haileybury at South Road the ‘Tonners found their rhythm in a brilliant show of contested footy to stamp their claim on the match. Jack Beaton came in to replace the ill Tom Skewes and dominated the ruck, Brock Rawlinson added intensity around the ball and Dan Anthony booted five goals, several from strong pack marks at full forward. The Bloods’ Travis Ridgeway (7) was outstanding, Brighton struggled to contain him as the Magentas kicked the last four in junk time, but ran out 19-point victors nonetheless.
Old Melburnians continued their improved form with a five-goal win over Old Ivanhoe at Pine Lodge, despite the better-performed Hoe’s efforts. Rhy Gieschen and Andrew Paine put in solid games for the home side, but were no match for the bullocking Beaumont brothers (James and Jeremy), while Beck and Bennett kicked four goals apiece. OMs sit in fourth place challenging better-percentaged Beaumaris for third yet cross swords with Old Brighton this week just one game behind them in fifth.
Stalwart Shark defender Mark ‘Dougie’ Ensor was recalled to the senior lineup as they took on ladder-leaders Uni Blacks at Banksia Reserve. Dougie’s been having a lark in the two’s forward line this year, but his side struggled against the miserly Black backline. Wasteful in front of goal and a shocker second term sealed Beauy’s fate as the Uni boys dictated terms: Jordy Foster (3) and Harrie Lahy were shining lights in a beautifully balanced effort ahead of this week’s top-of-the-table showdown with St Kevins.  
THIS WEEK 
Old Ivanhoe could possibly sneak this one at Gary Smorgon oval despite the seven goal loss to AJAX in round nine, however the Jackas looked strong and creative at home last week and should salute. The Bloods will pound the Krushers at McKinnon as they sniff the finals’ breeze and rue what could have been, while Beauy put aside two disastrous last hit-outs to best the ‘Bees at Werribee, vital for their third spot as OMs continue to challenge. With no disrespect to the rest, the real interest today lies in two riveting matchups. Firstly, ladder-leader Uni Blacks plays host to second-rung St Kevins under the spires, a game that should give us a glimpse of just who really is back in the game. Blacks won the first bout easily, but the Skevs have some handy ins and may yet turn the tables. Equally enthralling will be the fourth versus fifth war raged between Old Melburnians and Old Brighton. Tricky to tip with both sides playing outside their skins in the latter season, the ‘Tonners are desperate to make the four but the Junction oval venue may just give the Dark Blues the edge. 
Please email your match reports, thoughts and feelings to [email protected] by Sunday evening. 
This week’s selections
AJAX v Old Ivanhoe
Old Melburnians v Old Brighton
Old Haileybury v Oakleigh
University Blacks v St Kevins
Werribee Districts v Beaumaris 

10.8.12
FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY 
With four weeks to go before the home and away season concludes the matches played in this bracket are a bit like the semi finals of the 100m at the Olympics. You have to run a good time to qualify but also you don’t want to show everything you have and spend all your tickets at once. Usain Bolt did this brilliantly on Monday and for those of us that set the alarm to get and watch the greatest of sprinter of all time – will Maurice Greene remove his GOAT tattoo now? – Usain Bolt did this in the semi-finals. The idea to lure the opposition into thinking he could be beaten only to come out and blitz them all in the final. 
Perhaps this is what Beaumaris were doing last Saturday in their surprise loss to Old Haileybury. Old Haileybury were certainly a good chance to beat Beauy last weekend but I doubt anyone thought the margin and manor in which they brushed aside the visitors would be as convincing. The eight-goal-to-one second quarter set things up for the Bloods and they kicked another 10 goals after half time to dismantle the second placed Sharks and keep their own finals prospects simmering. Travis Ridgway collected the three votes (well he should at least) for his efforts and 10 goals. Just a game and 8% separates Old Haileybury from fourth spot now. For Beauy perhaps this was like running a 9.98s and just trying to qualify for the final, although with a game against Uni Blacks this week, there is only so much foxing you can do. 
AJAX faced the daunting task of a battle against ladder leaders Uni Blacks and they would have been happy with their efforts in the early stages of the game. AJAX were in the game in patches although a burst of three goals at the end of the first and six goals at the end of the second quarter meant the premiership favourites had a half time lead of 10 goals. Blacks continued the onslaught for a majority of the third with AJAX’s David Fayman the only shining light scoring two of his four goals in the quarter. Uni Blacks were relentless in the final quarter and their skill around the ground emphasised the huge gap between the two teams. U19 Big V representative Jandre Slabbert kicked 10 goals to match the efforts of Ridgeway and he too should get the three votes as Black went on to win by 127. 
At Scammell Reserve, Oakleigh found themselves in trouble early as the Tonners took advantage of Krushers’ disposal problems and kicked away to a 32 point lead at the first change. The Krushers struggled to cover the hard running Brighton as they continuously found space and, for the most part, delivered with far more precision.  In worse news Oakleigh’s casualty ward almost requires a new wing; Aisea Valentini was felled by a hamstring injury and Steve Scott did an ACL during the game. Old Brighton on the other hand continue their late push towards finals via the scoring efforts of full-forward, Dan Anthony (7) and half-forward Michael Dewar (4) who consistently worked clear from defenders to get on the end of the good work in the midfield of David Fallon and Jon Perrett with both also running hard to get forward and provide scoring options. 
St Kevins travelled to Chelsworth Park with a fair degree of trepidation as Old Ivanhoe are still a chance to escape the drop. The Hoers took it right up to one of the competition pacesetters for the first half. The margin was just four points at both quarter and half time and with Beauy in trouble it looked like St Kevin’s could face a tough day too. After half time the game looked to keep on its tight trajectory before it would be blown right open. For the opening five minutes of the third term it pressurised football as Old Ivanhoe pressed, but the defensive work of Liam Dunne, Dan Campbell & Julian Staffieri was resolute. Then the game turned, unable to break through Old Ivanhoe almost stopped as the Skobs piled on goal after goal. Seven goals in the third and fourth quarter with U19 player, Henry ‘Father of Federation’ Parkes dynamic as he led at the ball carrier to be on the end of passes that resulted in him kicking six goals. Zac Ginnies also kicked five in the convincing 88 point win that saw St Kevins to jump back to second and left Old Ivanhoe with four games to create a miracle.   Old Melburnians probably weren’t paying too much attention to what was happening at other grounds but regardless they did meet all requirements of the day. Running a qualifying time means beating what is in front of you and there is no better way to do that than win each quarter which the OM’s did against Werribee Districts at Soldiers Reserve. Cam Beck slotted five goals for OM’s and Tom Hywood delivered a great game to leave OM’s safe but still watchful of the chasing pack who want their fourth spot. For Werribee it’s also a case of making the qualifying mark and at this stage their time is good enough to make Premier B next season. However with four games to go, another win would make it certain. 
Old Brighton joined Old Haileybury waiting for a slip from Old Melburnians after the Tonner’s 59 point win over Oakleigh. Dan Anthony kicked seven goals and had good company as Michael Dewar kicked four in a 1-2 finish for best afield honours. Ten goalkickers and 21 goals for the day was a good response to their loss the previous week. Oakleigh was well served by the Doherty’s Stephen (2 goals) and Tim (3). For Old Brighton they have a game and 7% to make up to clinch fourth and qualify for the finals. Who gets to make the late charge home will be determined this weekend as Old Brighton host Old Haileybury with the winner staying alive and the loser looking at a repechage as the only way back.  
This week Old Brighton will keep marching on towards fourth, but will remain a game outside as Old Melburnians will defeat Old Ivanhoe as miracles don’t always happen. Beaumaris will bounce back and defeat University Blacks at home whilst AJAX will secure another win against Werribee Districts. St Kevins will defeat the Krushers back at TH King.
Di Langton is away this week and will return next week – to read more from your scribe this week, turn back a page. 
TIPS
Old Brighton
Old Melburnians
Beaumaris
AJAX
St Kevins

3.8.12
Premier B  By Di Langton
POGO-ING PUNKS AND POPULAR CULTURE
Madcap, irreverent nods to pop culture and the world’s richest musical vein were especially refreshing elements of last Saturday’s Olympic opening ceremony. Lizzie may have had sour second thoughts about her role in that zany Bond sequence, but I was punching the air in my jarmies, laughing in delight compared to the usual snore fests of  cycling plastic animals and synchronised ribbon twirlers. The surprisingly brazen Brits, showed that respect and imagination don’t have to be mutually exclusive while still dipping their Empire lids in a clever (albeit politically bland) potted history. Danny Boyle, you rock!
And so round 13 started with great excitement and big hopes, after all, who in the sporting world doesn’t get inspired by the age-old blend of music, sport and a touch of drama?
Coming in with great form under their belt, Old Brighton met St Kevins full of confidence but found themselves completely outclassed. Skevs moved the match from muddy TH King; the not so ‘filthy’ Phil Edgar had a day out at Sportscover Arena kicking six goals in a BOG performance. The tri-colours smashed the Tonners at the centre breaks, were more organised in attack and looked faster and harder. Jock Marchesani continues his stellar season, while James North and Marcel Bruin had reasonable games for Old Brighton who went down by 52 points.
Brede Seccull notched up another solid contribution in Old Haileybury’s narrow win over Werribee at Soldier’s Reserve. The Bloods trailed at quarter time by a point, the Tigers spurred on by co-captain Josh Huxtable (4) and the evergreen Wayne Pelar, but the Haileyburians steamed through a match winning second term despite the inevitable Werribee last-term launch. The Bloods by two goals, McTaggart kicking four.
In a tough physical battle with the dreaded R-word on everyone’s mind, AJAX hosted Oakleigh in a game of desperation football that saw both sides variously take the upper hand. After dominating early the Jackas seemed to lose their way in the third, the Krushers taking a four point lead at the final turn yet again through the efforts of Chris Lamb. An exciting see-sawing finish saw best afield Marcus Jankie steadying the ship for Ajax, along with David Fayman (6) to run out eight point victors.
Beaumaris had eleven different goal scorers in their 107-point demolition of Old Ivanhoe, putting a touch more percentage between themselves and St Kevins in the process. Wilba Murton showed his classy best along with Callan Buckley, while Scott Gower nailed four for the Sharks. James Binny was named best for Ivanhoe who started well with a competitive first term that they were unable to maintain for the duration of the game.
Despite the driving rain and sodden conditions, Uni Black’s ruckman Andrew Willingham had a day out at the Junction Oval, giving first use to his lively band of onballers as they slammed the brakes on Old Melburnians’ winning streak with a 28 point victory. The dark blues rallied in the second but a poor third stanza (managing just a solitary behind) was their undoing. Bennett kicked a pair in another decent effort, while Jordy Foster kicked three for Blacks.
THIS WEEK
Turning to the forecast for this week and St Kevins are surely the lock against Old Ivanhoe at Pine Lodge. SKOBs will hope to make inroads into the percentage gap the Sharks have opened up on them but they might need a couple of big wins to achieve that. You would imagine the same scenario occurring for Uni Blacks who host AJAX, the Blacks have a game in hand though and are unlikely to falter here. Strange things can happen at the business end… just ask our 4x100m men’s relay team. Werribee take on Old Melburnians at home and could stamp a heavy mark on the make up of the four as they aim to wrest back seventh pozzie from the Jackas. OMs must win to stave off a fourth position challenge from Old Brighton, who should win when they play the Krushers at Scammell Reserve. I’m tipping the ‘Bees who have looked more like their old selves of late. Meanwhile the Bloods will be psyching themselves up for their own top four launch in a big home game against the Sharks. Unfortunately for the home side the Sharks have generally feasted when smelling blood in recent weeks and expect that to continue on Saturday. 
Tips
Old Ivanhoe v ST KEVINS
Old Haileybury v BEAUMARIS
UNI BLACKS v Ajax
WERRIBEE v Old Melburnians
Oakleigh v OLD BRIGHTON

28.7.12
Premier B  By Di Langton
FIFTY SHADES OF B GRADE
After a fairly soft performance against Old Haileybury, Uni Blacks dominated Werribee last week with a 15-goal pounding to once again assert themselves as clear ladder leaders. No time to bask in a post-game smoke, however, they come up against in-form Old Melburnians this week – the dark blues have run off those early season love handles and are tackling with fantastic gusto, to wit their steamy encounter with the Magentas showcased superior drive and vigour. The Sharks continue to cruise the competition, tearing off a bit of tri-colour trim while the ‘Tonners have unearthed a new leading lothario in Dan Anthony. The ‘Bees and Jackas have found that staying up in Premier B takes quite a bit of stamina, while the Oaks finally got some satisfaction with a win over Old Ivanhoe …who have sadly and most definitely lost their mojo.
In brilliant mid-winter conditions mirrored around Melbourne, Old Brighton hosted AJAX at South Road, starting with a fairly even first term until the home side scored late majors. Ruckman Skewes gave the ‘Tonner midfielders first use, Bruin outstanding on the wing while the double-teaming on Jacka Routman stifled his usual impact. AJAX forwards Lew and Fayman kicked seven goals between them, but Old Brighton captain Jon Perrett’s four goals (three in an electric second quarter) stamped the home side’s claim to fifth pozzie with an emphatic 65 point win. 
Over at sunny Scammell Reserve the cellar dweller duel between Oakleigh and Old Ivanhoe started at a frantic pace, each desperate to get the early jump but accuracy suffered until both sides slowed and steadied. The Browns took a nine point lead at the lemon break and quietly maintained the upper hand through to half time, but the Krushers burst out of the sheds to cut a swathe through Ivanhoe’s defences and took third term honours with a 15 point buffer. The final stanza was a rout, Ivanhoe swept aside as the Oaks kicked six in a 37 point win. Chris Lamb and Lee Barrand kicked 3 each, Steve Doherty again solid while Nick Butler (5) and Nick Gieschen were best for the Hoes.
The ground at Banksia Reserve was in great shape as the battle for second spot raged between Beaumaris and St Kevins. The game ebbed and flowed with the Sharks taking the edge in the big man duels; McNicholas and Carroll rotating well while Dean (3) showed strength and class around the ground. Beauy linked up smoothly while SKOBs relied more on individual efforts, hard at the ball regardless. Jules Staffieri continues a stellar first year for St Kevins, a clear winner in defence and youngster Henry Parkes kicked four. Weight of numbers ran out however, Beaumaris well deserved winners by around 4 goals.
Werribee’s horror stretch continued, managing just two goals against Uni Blacks in a forgettable game at the varsity. Ravaged by injury this year, the ‘Bees nonetheless had a quality lineup on the park, albeit young and underdone, but were found wanting in the clinches. Patterson was their stellar light, while Delahunty continued solid form for the Uni, along with Jordy Foster bagging five goals, Mahon and Matthews (3) free to run amok.
The scene was beautifully set at McKinnon Reserve; streaming sunshine poured into the pre-game lunch celebrating the myriad exploits of Old Haileybury’s past players, but on the park Old Melburnians booted four goals to the hapless Blood’s six behinds – despite getting plenty of the pill. They steadied in the second but an insipid third term saw barely a tackle laid, even though OMs were down a couple of sin-binned players. Big man Ferguson toiled hard and did well when moved into the ruck, and young Seccull was amongst the few that dug deep. OM’s strongman Lachie Bennett started sluggishly but worked his way beautifully into the game to nail a number of pivotal goals as his side ran away easy 35 point winners in the end.   
THIS WEEK Old Ivanhoe best beware the siren call down at Waterworld although the Sharks may be tempted to rest a player or two, and if the Krushers harbour hope of defying relegation gravity they’ll need to tease out a win over AJAX this week. The Werribee gamekeepers will try wooing the Bloods but don’t expect a Lady Chatterley-type result and an intriguing plot thickens between St Kevins and Old Brighton who rendezvous at Elsternwick Park. But an even more seductive encounter looms at Old Melburnian’s romantic little oval: the devilishly handsome University suitor eyeing off the angelic Grammar cherub that unveils surprising full-bodied maturity. Will it be another notch in Uni’s little Black Book, or could it be the Story of O?
Please email your match reports, thoughts and feelings to [email protected] by Sunday evening.
This week’s selections
Beaumaris v Old Ivanhoe
AJAX v Oakleigh
Old Melburnians v University Blacks
Werribee v Old Haileybury
St Kevins v Old Brighton (EP)

 21.7.12
By Di Langton
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
Straight back into it this weekend – no more breaks, rests, rep games or excuses. There’s nowhere to hide now; close misses and wishy-washy form will find you out. From here on in we’ll see who’s got the stuff to grab the season by the throat and shake off the wannabes. 
A quick nod to Brede Seccull, Jon De Pellegrin and Henry Parkes who last week garnered mentions in the VAFA U19 side that was unfortunately outgunned by a classy Victorian Country outfit at Elsternwick Park.  
Back to all things Premier B, and we cast our minds back a fortnight when Old Brighton thrashed the Browns at Chelsworth Park with a mighty 14 goals to two second half. Dan Anthony nabbed a hearty bag of seven in a best on ground performance as the ‘Tonners sustained their excellent form despite the usual injuries & absences. Coach Simon Williams has unearthed some impressive depth promoting reserves and unders for good gain – full back John Nockles and wingman Sam Roney the latest debutants to have an immediate impact. Old Ivanhoe hung in there in the first half, James Moio toiling hard and only two goals separated the sides at the half. But it was all red and blue after the break, Jim Davis carving up the midfield as OB stormed home to a 90-point win and an all-important percentage boost. 
Oakleigh looked like causing the upset of the round as they got the early jump on Beaumaris at Scammell Reserve. They led at quarter time by seven points, the Sharks wresting back the second term ascendancy to nudge ahead by five at the long break. The third was a real arm wrestle; Tom Buckley and Brayden Haynes showing their respective might for the visitors, while Pat Ioannidis and Steve Doherty stuck fat for the Krushers. All tied up at the final turn, the Oaks threw everything at Beauy but were unable to stop them drawing away to win by 23 points. Plenty to admire in their endeavour though.
St Kevin’s Foundation Day feast included a sumptuous lunch and three games of footy played on a sensational surface specially prepared at the college for the occasion. Victorious in the early two, the tri-colours were met by a determined Tiger outfit that put on a torrid first term. Adam Alifraco was scintillating and Aaron Taylor (4) in vintage form, but as St Kevin’s club legend Nick ‘Pez’ Perrett said earlier in the day: “Boys we don’t lose on this day, on this ground.” And after stuffing themselves silly at the lunch, many SKOBs veterans smiled on contentedly as their side piled on the scoreboard pressure via Henry Parkes (6) and Jock Marchesani (4) while Plugger Lynch typified his side’s even contribution in a thumping thirteen goal victory. 
The Jackas managed to keep pace with Old Melburnians at the Junction oval for three quarters, but the Dark Blue gradually slipped away through the consistent efforts of Lewis Haralambous who continues his stellar season form, and Tom Hywood kicking four. Nudging out to 21 points at three quarter time, OMs knew their opponents would fire up a last term resurgence, and to their credit shut down the driving attacks of AJAX glamour boy Routman and captain Warren Steinberg who was dangerous through the middle. OMs snuffed out the fightback and piled on a bit extra in a pleasing five goal win. 
Another consistent performer this year, Peter Gleadhill, was best for Old Haileybury in their stunning 23 point win over Uni Blacks at McKinnon Reserve. Brede Seccull was electric and Mick Meehan kept his average up nicely roosting five goals – as he’s done in all three of his appearances this season. The confident Bloods took the varsity a little unawares, John Delahunty and Jake Matthews were best for the Blacks who struggled nonetheless for forward options and failed to get into any sort of rhythm. 
THIS WEEK 
Looks like home ground advantage will be a huge factor in this week’s games, a couple of closely matched contests could be decided on a bit of local nous. Beaumaris host St Kevins in a battle to prove their one-point win in round 6 was no fluke, while the Jackas may find the wiley South Road wind too much to conquer. Uni Blacks should be back on the winner’s list at home over Werribee, while the Krushers will be salivating over an opportunity to notch a second win with a victory over Old Ivanhoe. The battle for fourth pozzie heats up as the Bloods tackle similarly in-form Old Melburnians in a must-win game at McKinnon. 
This week’s selections
Beaumaris v St Kevins
Old Brighton v AJAX
Old Haileybury v Old Melburnians
University Blacks v Werribee
Oakleigh v Old Ivanhoe 
6.07.12
By Di Langton
STIRRING SIGNS 
A subtle shift in form and fortune sees an interesting tussle ahead in the ladder mid-region, with Old Melburnians and Old Brighton enjoying significant wins over St Kevins and Beaumaris respectively. The Bloods ended a wobbly three-week run with a solid hit-out against AJAX and the ‘Bees finally felt some home-ground love trouncing Old Ivanhoe. At the south end of the ladder the Jackas keep their toes clear of the gurgling relegation waters, while Oakleigh and Old Ivanhoe look dire with just the one soggy win each. Uni Blacks sit perched a game clear of SKOBs, but the next few rounds will test all teams with the potential to blow apart the top and mid sections of the ladder. 
Buoyed by their strong showing the previous week AJAX met Old Haileybury with confidence and kept the Magentas at bay despite the visitor’s breeze advantage. Scores were nearly tied up early in the second quarter but the Bloods exploited the Jacka’s poor ball use and scored the last 4 goals to take a 3-goal lead at half time. Nicolopoulos and Millard were standout Haileyburians, fighting off a late AJAX run in the final term. Kaye was solid in defence for the Jackas and Spencer-Laitt rucked well in a cameo appearance. 
Oakleigh also went into their game against Uni Blacks full of optimism but were soon found wanting as a second quarter burst saw the home side race out to a 43-point lead. The afternoon tea was cold comfort for the Krusher faithful, who watched their side crumble against the Black’s superior might piling on 11 goals to 3 in the second half to win by 99 points. Adam Pitt and Jake Matthew (4) were outstanding for Blacks, while James ‘Busy’ Bismire kicked five. Krushers Kieran Hogan and Chris Lamb toiled hard with little assistance. 
The Tiger’s fortunes have been mixed in Premier B, following a stellar rise through the lower ranks and dropping games at home has surprised Werribee watchers who have come to know Soldier’s Reserve as an impenetrable haven. Order was restored last week however with a ten-goal smashing of Old Ivanhoe. Adam Morrow and Mitch Chadwick were best afield, and Chris Molivas kicked three while Chris Sutherland stood up again for the Hoers who are struggling to find some rhythm in an inconsistent lineup. 
Old Brighton’s resurgence continued with a convincing win over Beaumaris in the return local Derby at South Road. Beauy kicked two quick goals in the opening minutes before Brighton hit back applying pressure on the ball, a terrific smother and goal by Jack Davis sparking the Tonners into life. Using the wind to their advantage Brighton nullified the Beauy playmakers and kicked six second term goals to lead by 17 points at half time. Beauy mounted a challenge early in the third led by ex-Tonner Cal Buckley who continues his excellent form along with Anthony Carroll in the ruck. In a pulsating final quarter the Sharks got within 7 points but Brighton’s stoic defence held up. Ben Gadsden, lively all day up forward, found ruckman Ben Jarick, whose goal seized a handy break and the Tonners went on to a satisfying 23-point win.
The ground and afternoon tea at the Junction were delightful but St Kevin’s performance didn’t match either. OMs were hard at the contest, winning the ball around the packs and displaying superior foot skills; it was clear SKOBs were in trouble. Their backline was under the pump with very little clean ball coming out, and OMs loose man across half back had a huge impact setting up their forward movement in a dominant first half. Lewis Haralambous was electric, Alex Carter and Lachie Bennett (4) dangerous for the Grammar. By the lemon break the tri-colours trailed by 30 points but showed a harder brand of ‘in and under’ footy, Jock Marchesani influential around the packs and young Zac Ginies impressive. But OMs were irrepressible, running out easy 35-point victors showing renewed cohesion and potential. 

THIS WEEK 
Despite the home ground advantage, Old Ivanhoe will struggle against in-form Old Brighton and OMs must get a home win over the Jackas to bolster fourth pozzie. The Krushers at home will be hoping to atone for their round two drubbing at the hands of Beaumaris, and St Kevins will fight back for a win in their annual Founders Day match at the school. Match of the day at McKinnon sees the Bloods take on the all-powerful Blacks as the Haileyburians attempt to reignite their tilt at the top four, but the Uni travelling with confidence will be hard to shake.
Please email your match reports, thoughts and feelings to [email protected] by Sunday evening. 
This week’s selections
Old Ivanhoe v Old BrightonOld Melburnians v AJAXOld Haileybury v Uni BlacksSt Kevins v Werribee DistrictsOakleigh v Beaumaris

30.06.12
Premier BBy Di Langton
THE DOGS OF WAR
Now that we’ve gone a full lap through the fixture we’re in that strange and mysterious halfway land that tells us lots …and tells us nothing. A bit like Donald Rumsfeld with his known knowns, we now have some intel about the competition we didn’t have ten weeks ago. We know that Uni Blacks and St Kevins play a dominant, disciplined brand of footy and the Sharks have the teeth to take them both on. We know that Oakleigh and Old Ivanhoe face a mammoth task to stay up after struggling to convert gettable games. And just like the eminently quotable ex US Secretary of Defence, we acknowledge there are also known unknowns: the stuff we know that we don’t know. Sure, there’ll be surprises aplenty in the second half of the year; we just don’t know what they’ll be yet. Someone will burst from the middle of the pack to stake a claim. Will it be OMs? The ‘Tonners? Can the Bloods and Tigers reverse their recent form slump? Every side will lose players to injury, travel, exams and the like. But who? How many? Who’s returning? Plus a myriad of other known unknowns such as VFL releases, weather conditions, club politics and the occasional random earthquake. Hang on; scratch that last one. That was an unknown unknown. Never saw that one coming.
Last week’s showdown between first and second was a fizzer. Blacks were aggressive and in control from the start while the tri-colours lacked their usual vibrancy. If not for the Uni’s inaccuracy and SKOB’s pride-driven mini fightback in the third the 63-point margin would’ve been much higher. Jordan Foster (5) was a strong forward target, Drysdale and Richardson bobbed up at every contest. St Kevins has a few stars on Euro sojourns (another handful join them this week) but then who hasn’t? As Donald also said: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Yeah, onya Donny. 
AJAX registered a definitive 42-point win in a classic 8-point game at Pine Lodge, putting themselves three games clear of relegation. Both sides started slowly, the Jackas clicked into gear midway through the second inspired by stand-in captain Marcus Jankie along with unflappable backline General, Warren Steinberg. Owen Weatherley returned to the Hoes, inspiring hope for the brown faithful as the season back half unfolds. 
The Krusher’s boggy battlefield at Scammell Reserve was the scene of yet another defeat, this time at the hands of Old Melburnians. On top early, the Oaks were wayward in front of goal, trailing at quarter time when they should have led. Determined and well-drilled, OMs ran the game out adding scoreboard pressure sure to please the dark blue coach. James Beaumont was their best while Mick Harold continues his reliable form for Oakleigh. 
In his standout senior appearance to date, Old Brighton midfielder (and captain of the 2010 Under 19 Premiership side) Tom Mariani notched 30 possessions and three goals for the ‘Tonners in a telling win over the Bloods played at Haileybury College. Not the most attractive display with goals at a premium, the inconsistent Bloods struggled to find any sort of rhythm as the Brighton boys were first at the ball all day, running out 19 point winners.
Despite a seven-goal haul from prolific Werribee forward Chris Molivas and a final term rally by the Tigers, Beaumaris displayed their dominance at the Aquarium with a three-goal win. Lachie Boyd continues to mature in the Shark’s backline while Matt Petering showed an increasingly versatile bag of tricks. Watch for some big games to be played at Banksia in the back nine.
THIS WEEK Turning at the half always seems to jolt sides into action as relegation reality sets in for some and the race for final’s contention whips up those middling away. Ironically, right now is the time for a bit of shock and awe yet plenty of personnel go AWOL at this stage of the year. Rapid dominance on the footy field takes elite crack forces and the coaches that best manage these known and unknown knowns will be the ones figuring in another ten weeks or so. The local derby between Old Brighton and Beauy will be a bitter battle to the end and AJAX should capitalise on the Haileyburian list woes. With SKOBs on the mat Old Melburnians have a chance to plant the old Cadet army boot, and the ‘Bees must convert their Soldiers Reserve MASH unit into a fortress against Old Ivanhoe who ride in with Sir Galahad back at the helm. Meanwhile Uni Blacks at home should be wary of the desperate Krusher’s call to havoc and let slip the dogs of war.
Please email your match reports, thoughts and feelings to [email protected] by Sunday evening. 
This week’s selections
Old Brighton v Beaumaris AJAX v Old Haileybury Old Melburnians v St KevinsUniversity Blacks v OakleighWerribee Districts v Old Ivanhoe 

23.06.2012
Premier B
By Di Langton
THE UNBEATEN 22
Two vastly different sporting conquests will heroically culminate this weekend in both hemispheres. St Kevin’s meet their final Premier B rival in University Blacks, Daniel Harford’s 22 men hoping to lob a Varsity scalp upon the exhausted heap of challengers heretofore. Blacks came close to arriving similarly unsullied to the showdown, yet the Sporting Gods clearly saw a need to clear the decks for just two shining lights this weekend. The other needs no introduction; the Queen of Speed will clip-clop into Ascot in her finest salmon spotted silks (sans the Nancy Ganz shapewear) where the top-hatted swells will say toodle-pip to the Diamond Jubilee Stakes as she takes her unbeaten record to 22 wins. 
Late scratchings last week at Gary Smorgon saw five AJAX stalwarts miss the game against St Kevin’s, but the Jackas were not disgraced falling short by 23 points. Lew (4) and Simon (3) made the most of limited chances and the locals were buoyed by the return of David Fayman from injury. SKOB also had two stars returning in Chivers and Simpson who added running power, only to lose them in a re-occurrence of injury. Routman broke open the visitors’ defences, but the tri-colours eventually clamped it down through the gutsy efforts of Keely, Dowd and Nash. 
The track was probably rated a Dead 4 given the drying wind coming off Beach Road but Oakleigh’s inaccuracy hurt them early on and Old Brighton capitalised to level the scores at halftime. The Krushers looked for a big third term, the wind dropped and Mrs Doherty’s boys Steve and Tim (2), along with Mick Harold (2) were among the Oak’s best but returned only 2-8 for the quarter to the ‘Tonners 6 goals. Tom Mentiplay (4) was pivotal for OB covering the loss of Michael Dewar, while Andy Dewar was superb in defence spotting up forward late in the game. Perrett and Fallon were also solid contributors to the 24 point win. 
Returning to the winner’s circle with a resounding 56-point win at the Junction Oval, Old Melburnians threw a shoe in Werribee District’s excellent on-the-road record. De Fegely, Lapin and McLardy (3) were best for the Dark Blues and Lachie Bennett bagged four as the Tigers were dislodged from fourth spot. Morrow, Huxtable and Moilivas (3) were the ‘Bee’s shining lights.
Like drawing a wide barrier, McKinnon Reserve requires tactical nous and Hoes’ coach Craig Hunter almost pulled off the impossible in a white-knuckle-one-point encounter with Old Haileybury. Banking at every turn and kicking straighter (Nick Butler 3), Old Ivanhoe looked likely as they led throughout, but failed to apply enough scoreboard pressure. The fast-finishing Bloods managed to get a nose in front in the nick of time; Ferguson (3) and Gleadhill prominent while Rhy Gieschen (2) was best for the visitors ruing what might have been.   
Not unlike the Royal Mile (Ascot’s home straight), Royal Parade is the historic home of the most endearing sporting fields with an afternoon tea fit for a King. As the large crowd filed in for scones with clotted cream, Uni Blacks went into the sheds seven points to the good, the dark sky a portent of things to come. Black’s captain Dan Costello and Beauy x-factor Tom Dean both missed with injury, but it was the sickening lower leg crunch to Jackson Leigh in the third that seemed to galvanize Gower (5) and Cathcart (2) shooting the Sharks into the lead. Their backline repelled repeated Uni advances in a heart-stopping final few minutes, Harry Lahy brilliant for Blacks along with Delahunty and Slabbert (3) but unable to stop Beauy’s momentum, going down by two points. 
THIS WEEK 
A personal thank you and fond farewell from me to the only Voice of the VAFA, Michael Fitzgerald. Good luck Fitzy!
Having toppled the fancied Blacks, Beaumaris will need to keep the swagger in check as they host the rebounding Tigers and Old Ivanhoe will throw everything at the Jackas to restore their hard-to-beat reputation at home. Old Brighton may find the going harder as the Bloods regroup at the Haileyburian alma mater while OMs point the Disco eastward to Oakleigh to laud it over the Krushers. The big one at T H King sees St Kevin’s and Uni Blacks in the anticipated season blockbuster: there’s no reason to think the tri-colours can’t perform a clean-sweep of the comp, yet the Uni’s loss to Beauy takes the lofty weight of pressure from their shoulders. As night unfolds and our girl saddles up in the northern hemisphere sunshine, I imagine a symbolic Black-out will descend both here and there for the anointed twenty-two. One will achieve the magical milestone; the other will falter at the last. Do I mean the nag loses? Not on your Nelly.

 16.6.12
Premier BBy Di Langton
FORGING AHEAD
Refreshed after the long weekend (and without a single Premier B participant in the senior Big V team that travelled to Sydney), all ten teams should be raring to go this round with a little more spring in the step. 
But first a recap of round seven, which saw a few stellar lights missing with U23 Big V duties, and a couple of surprise results; most notably Oakleigh’s out-maneuvering of fifth-placed Werribee at Soldier’s Reserve in their first win of the year. The Tigers looked ominous early and had the Krusher defence under siege, but the Oaks hit back to hold a slim five point advantage at the long break. An enthralling battle ensued and given Oakleigh’s shaky third quarters this year, the Krusher faithful were more optimistic than confident. But the doubters were silenced with a solid display and the Krushers headed into the final stanza with a one-goal advantage. Werribee regained the ascendancy but the Krushers were not to be denied, clawing back the lead and running out 15 point victors. A very happy and relieved coach joined the delirious Krusher fans in a long-awaited post match celebration. Dermot Cleary and Tim Scott booted three each for Oakleigh, Mick Harold and Tim Doherty amongst their best; while Aaron Taylor (6) and Josh Huxtable were best for the Tigers. 
The return of the wandering minstrel, Dan Anthony, added potency to Old Brighton’s forward line in a stirring seven point win over Old Melburnians at South Road. Anthony contributed five majors in a tight arm-wrestle with the dark blues who dominated early and looked to have the home boys scrambling. But the ‘Tonners put on a seven goal burst in the second term via the excellent work of Leigh Hendra, capitalising on Jordan Portelli’s (4) ruck work while Michael Dewar (4) slipped behind the surging OMs defences. The visitors mounted a final challenge however to take a three-point advantage at the final change, and the desperate ‘Tonners’ forged to the lead with goals to Portelli who went forward when Jack Beaton had an impressive spell on the ball. OM’s were valiant in defeat, Tim McLardy and Lachie Bennett amongst their best, each kicking three. 
An expectant crowd looked on at King Oval as SKOBs hosted the Haileyburians; new faces abounded as St Kevin’s blooded four debutantes and OH were also missing some regulars. The game see-sawed and although the tri-colours led by 17 points at the long break it was by no means decisive. Once again Jock Marchesani gave a spirited third term, combining good forward work with some tough centre clearances alongside partner in crime Karl Wissell. Plugger Lynch and the Dowd brothers were prominent but it was a very even team effort that saw SKOB run out 47 point victors in arguably the best of their seven straight victories. Matt Lillie and Hamish McLauchlan were named in the Bloods’ best.
Beaumaris handed AJAX a football lesson at Shark Park, outplaying the visitors in most facets of the match. Beauy won the first three quarters comfortably but to the Jacka’s credit they scored five goals in a courageous final term. Richie Simons was best for AJAX with 6 goals in the key forward post while at the other end Adam Caplan fought hard. Callan Buckley and Nick Dickinson (4) were outstanding for the Sharks. 
Jim Binney stepped up a notch kicking three for Old Ivanhoe at Pine Lodge as they put up a gallant effort against a superbly balanced Uni Blacks outfit. Evan Spargo was another bright spark for the beleaguered Hoers who offered a much tighter backline, but went down nonetheless by 35 points, unable to counter the Blacks’ multiple scoring options. Jake Matthews (2) their best along with John Delahunty and Harry Lahy.    

THIS WEEK The ‘Tonners are enjoying a wonderful purple patch and should continue that trend with a win over Oakleigh at the beach, while AJAX won’t be so happy at home hosting St Kevins who should also keep the unbeaten dream alive, at least for another week. The Bloods will expect to be quietly celebrating in their home-rooms after their encounter with Old Ivanhoe, but it’s a little harder to predict the fortunes of Old Melburnians and the Tigers at the Junction with both coming off surprise losses. Werribee are extraordinarily confident on the road (yet not so dominant at home) and could be an upset here. The undisputed match of the round will be second-placed Uni Blacks hosting Beaumaris in third spot. Available personnel may dictate the outcome, and certainly the margin, but all things being equal the Varsity should salute in a cracking contest. Please email your match reports, thoughts and feelings to [email protected] by Sunday evening. 
This week’s selections
Old Brighton v OakleighAJAX v St KevinsOld Melburnians v Werribee DistrictsOld Haileybury v Old IvanhoeUni Blacks v Beaumaris AFC

2.6.12
TERMINAL VELOCITY
Everyone loves a winner, but how long can you keep hurtling along, backing up week after week? Unbeaten runs are a rare phenomenon in this day and age; Port Melbourne’s stretch of 28 consecutive wins was commanding but ultimately unsustainable. Why, in the modern era, is it so scarce? Perhaps the playing field has levelled through advanced technology and innovations in recovery, support and the good old swab test. Maybe there’s no such thing as a psychological advantage anymore either, as a new generation thumbs its nose at traditional rivalries. Nevertheless, the Tontine has a firm place in our nation’s sporting psyche – we love the notion of a last-man-standing contest within a contest. Named after an archaic 17th century investment scheme (where the final dividend was paid literally, to the last bloke alive) the Tontine in Premier B sees unbeaten St Kevin’s on a direct collision course with equally un-blemished Uni Blacks in their looming R9 showdown. Scurvy, typhoid and pistols at twenty paces notwithstanding. 
SKOB’s winning streak was very nearly killed off last weekend anyhow in a cracking four-quarter contest with Beaumaris at TH King. McNicholas and Carroll rotating the ruck were standouts for Beauy, while Edgar (3) ran amok for the tri-colours. Trailing by five points at the half, St Kevin’s regained control of the clearances in the third and threw cult hero Jock Marchesani (5) into the forward line where he kicked three straight goals – firing up his team-mates, the freezing crowd and the famous Skobber BBQ all at once. Captain Anthony Lynch plugged holes all along the spine as Waldron went off with a quad and Bishop anchored the last line of defence just as the irrepressible Beauy forwards Gower (4) and Casey-Leigh (2) got creative. The home side clung to a two-point lead at the lemon break, coach Harford measured in his message to break the final stanza down into "five minute patches." In a thrilling finish with six lead changes and high drama as the Sharks found themselves down a man, the crowd clutched its collective thumping chest as Lynch kicked the sealer in his 150th game, St Kevin’s victorious by a solitary point.  
A reinvigorated Old Brighton side defied early reports of its demise to push Uni Blacks in a spirited display at the varsity. Defenders Edge and Homann held Blacks to just three first half goals and a solid third term saw the visitors poised for an unthinkable upset. But the Uni’s stronger bodies coped better in the wet, winning the ruck contests and breaking tackles. Scott Weekley dismissed the slippery conditions to gather and deliver with pinpoint accuracy, finding Jordy Foster who kicked five in his inimitable, laconic style. A couple of near-misses and a poster put paid to the ‘Tonners dying efforts, Blacks finishing stronger to win by three goals.
The Jackas arrived at Guest Road and promptly put the Krushers in a death-grip, keeping them goal-less in the first term and only poor conversion quelled a bigger blowout. Jake Lew was damaging with a bag of six and Adam Caplan took a sensational hanger to cap off a great effort around the ground.
Scoreless at the Junction Oval in the first quarter, Old Ivanhoe’s woes were looking fatal as Old Melburnians burned them in a comfortable 46 point win. Well served by Jeremy Beaumont (3) in a best on ground performance, OMs were barely challenged as Toms Bachet and Hywood had days out. Michael Mitris (2) toiled hard for the Hoes, for whom the bye can’t come quickly enough.
The surprise of the round was Werribee’s on-the-road battle with Old Haileybury that saw the Tigers lead by three goals at the half. The Bloods returned fire, breathing life back into a fantastic third term kicking five-zip to take an 11 point lead. But underestimate the west at your peril: they’re new, brash, and apparently didn’t get the memo about psychological advantages. Wayne Pelar was in vintage form, young Bolang impressed and Schibeci kicked four as the ‘Bees snuffed the home side by 4 goals. For Old Haileybury Lillie was solid again in the ruck and Corey Millard (3) added typical class. 
THIS WEEK 
As we head into Lizzie’s birthday hiatus next weekend, most clubs will welcome the chance to refresh, regroup, and in some cases totally reincarnate. AJAX are hot & cold but unlikely to strike against the Sharks at home, while Uni Blacks go into the break with a light training run over at Pine Lodge. In a traditional gloves-off stoush between district clubs, the Tigers at home should dominate the Krushers, while old boys, Brighton and Grammar, will be anything but genteel in a close affair at the Beach (before they all skip off to the snowfields swinging hands). The St Kevin’s faithful may need paddles and pillows on hand, however, at TH King as they host Old Haileybury … another close encounter might just see them topple over in the Tontine stakes.
Rod Jetta booted three for Oakleigh with Pat DiSiervi and Chris Lamb among their best.
26.5.12
PRELUDE TO A DREAM
Who doesn’t love a magical ending in sport? Miraculous victories against the odds, improbable wins that become the stuff of legend. Just last week we saw Chelsea grind out its first ever Champion’s League title, Port Adelaide snatched a surreal two-point win over North and Aussie golfer Rhein Gibson became the Cinderella-boy with a 16-under-par 55. A previously unheralded bay colt I’ll Have Another is on the cusp of greatness after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, twice edging out the favourite. He now heads to the Belmont Stakes hoping for that near-impossible holy grail of racing, the Triple Crown. Hasn’t been done since 1978 and legions of everyday punters will be cheering on the dream. See where I’m going with this? Sometimes the underdog – not necessarily overburdened with a stellar pedigree or perfectly timed preparation – can achieve the impossible. It takes endurance, cunning, finishing power, buckets of luck and the ability to bring the hammer down. 
Old Brighton showed what positive thinking and miles of Leukoplast can achieve when it sent out a battered but belligerent side against Old Ivanhoe to come up with its season’s first win. Hoers Heta and Steele controlled the ball in the air early, but ‘Tonner Portelli moved into the ruck where he brought the Brighton runners into the game; James North (3) was prominent around the ball, Hendra and Perrett soaking up first use. The 49-point win was a much-needed confidence boost for Old Brighton, which now needs to build momentum. Adam Baldwin was best for Old Ivanhoe, kicking three goals. 
Oakleigh remains winless after losing to St Kevin’s by 55 points at home, but showed encouraging signs despite a ravaged list. Without key position players Goldsmith (ankle), Ott (unavailable) and Holden (returned from whence he came), the Krushers fought valiantly, Tim Doherty their best while Dowd brothers Pat and Ben shone for SKOB and Henry Parkes booted four as the tri-colours continue their methodical early-season steamrolling of all and sundry.
Uni Blacks cruised over the Westgate Bridge and into Werribee where they exerted supreme control to run out confident 44 point victors. Major goal scorers were Huw Lacey (4) Jordan Foster and Adam Cook (3 apiece), while Tigers Chris Molivas and Aaron Taylor scored four each.
Old Melburnians reminded AJAX how tough the step up in grade can be; these two hadn’t met since the B grade relegation game of 2007 when the Jackas were ushered out. OMs dominated for three quarters, most impressive were youngsters Nic Daish and ruckman Nick De Steiger with his awesome vertical leap and funny little top-knot. Turnovers cost the depleted Jacka side who trailed by 50 at the last break but a heartier last quarter effort produced 6 goals to reduce the margin to 25 points. Richie Simon replaced injured forward Fayman and kicked five, while Routman (3) ignited with his trademark forward delivery. For the victors, Adam Marangon set up many forward moves to goal, happily received by the versatile Cam Beck who snagged five. 
The Sharks were in form early, hosting near-neighbours Old Haileybury with good run out of the centre, but the Bloods’ defensive unit staunched the flow, refusing to let Beauy get away and in fact led by a point at quarter time. OH maintained possession in the second, kicking five goals to nil which effectively set up the win going into the last break 34 points to the good. Unsurprisingly the Sharks rallied for a final crack, fighting out a gutsy last term to fall by 14 points. The Bloods’ dominant combo of Lillie in the ruck with the class of Seccull hitting up prime targets Meehan (5) and Coleman (3) helped bring the Shark’s winning streak to an end. Best for the home side were Callan Buckley and Alex Bennett.  
THIS WEEK As the field threatens to split apart into two, we should see some bona fide fighting spirit revealed amongst the haves and have-nots. It may not necessarily come from where it ‘should.’ Pleased with the win but smarting from a final quarter fade-out, OMs at home should punish Old Ivanhoe. Werribee under strain should be overpowered by the Bloods at McKinnon Reserve, while most would assume Uni Blacks a safe bet at home against Old Brighton. St Kevin’s look more likely to have the wood over the now-vulnerable Sharks, while the Jackas on the rebound should extend the Krushers’ losing streak at least another week. But as we all know, footy’s a funny game with the occasional fairytale finish. That’s what makes it so special. Expect an upset or two this round, in particular Oakleigh to bring home their first win. 
19.5.12
Close Encounters
In one of the tightest contests so far this season, Old Ivanhoe and Oakleigh fought it out at Pine Lodge in a riveting battle to claim that all-important first win. Nothing separated them early and in bitter conditions scores were locked at both the first and long breaks. A half-time rocket from Craig Hunter fired up the Hoes who came out and shrugged the Krusher stranglehold; kicking five goals to three in a pressure-packed third term. A quick score early in the last jammed on a little more scoreboard pressure, but the Oaks mounted a brave counter-attack cutting the margin back to a solitary goal with ten minutes on the clock. Krusher hearts rose, but again the tide turned; Old Ivanhoe steadied with two quickies to effectively seal the win and lose the dreaded cherry. Brave in defeat, the Krushers were well served by Cleary and Di Siervi, while Butler (6) and Delmonte (5) were creative and dominant up forward for the Browns. 
While Melbourne shivered in early-winter conditions, Uni Blacks and Old Haileybury put on an entertaining battle in the slightly sheltered yet still breezy environs of the University pavilion. After two tight first quarters the Bloods held a slim advantage, inspired by Hamish McLauchlan and Lachie Nash (3) showing flashes of individual brilliance, but early misses proved costly. OH pushed their lead to 20 points late in the third before Blacks went up a gear, four fast goals to snatch back a one point lead going into the final stretch. The final term was a showcase of Uni’s trademark finishing power; seven goals to overwhelm the gallant Bloods and secure a 32 point win. Notable performers were the sure-footed Crameri (4), Bart Mill and Huw Lacy (3).
Even though Werribee Districts and AJAX have many fresh faces that didn’t figure in their grand final line-up of 2011, there’s nothing new about the rivalry. The Jackers’ recent poor form was forgotten and Tiger injury woes disregarded as the lead switched in a classic contest between them. Werribee shot out to a three goal lead late in the second before a couple of AJAX quickies restored the status quo – Jacko Lew (4) and Fayman (3) back on song. Tigers Brent Morrow (4) and Molivas (3) hit their straps up forward and Matt Dean was superb in defence. AJAX ruckman White dominated in the third, Caplan patrolling half back but the home side rallied again to get within a goal with eight minutes remaining. Big stage hero Routman sealed the deal with a late snap and the Jackers were happy to confound us all …once again!
Old Brighton’s run of injuries continues with early losses against St Kevin’s (Rawlinson and Beaton) but the good news story was the return of Michael Dewar who looked gone for a decent spell after re-injuring his shoulder against Beaumaris. He kicked a pair and despite their dwindling bench the ‘Tonners fought a spirited first half led by James North racking up 20 possessions. Leading by just 15 points at the long break, the tri-colours dug in harder amid the howling gale; big ‘Al’ Waldron dominated the stoppages, young gun Henry Parkes (4) set the crowd alight with his dashing run and a much-anticipated cameo from Rick Ladson (2) didn’t disappoint as Skobbers trotted home in another ten-goal blowout.
At the Junction Oval the Sharks might have zoned out a little as Old Melburnians proffered just a single first-term goal, but the Beauy boys snapped to attention as OMs clawed back ground in the second and third terms to trail by just seven points with plenty of momentum going into the last, particularly inspired by Jack Macciolli and Cam Beck (3). Beauy steadied through Tom Buckley and DeFontenay, Gandy kicking three for the match to help the Sharks continue their undefeated run with a 15 point win, but perhaps exposing a bit of belly in the process.  
THIS WEEK 
A definite danger game for Beauy hosting the Bloods, they’ll be desperate to maintain their winning form ahead of next week’s clash with St Kevin’s, but I suspect we’ve seen a chink in their armour and Old Haileybury will match up well in a cracking game. With a bit of string and chewy gum Old Brighton might be able to get enough fit players on the park against Old Ivanhoe today, because seriously, when they finally pull four quarters together they’ll romp one home. Old Melburnians take on AJAX  in a pivotal game for both, and the unforgiving expanse of Soldiers Reserve shouldn’t faze Uni Blacks’ country stock too much, plus there’s always Werribee’s warm post-game hospitality. A veritable Kevin nightmare will rain down upon Scammell Reserve as the Krushers lose Holden ahead of a daunting clash with SKOBs. 

12.5.12
One tough Mudder
This weekend we say special thanks to Mum – in particular the wonderful collective Footy Mum. She who thought the filthy, muddy loads of washing were over forever when junior footy came to an end, and she could bid farewell to freezing hours on the sidelines, clubroom clean-ups and canteen rosters. 
Ah, bookclub awaits, a regular manicure, perhaps a mid-winter getaway to a cosy B&B. Sorry Mum! Mind you, she probably also thought her strapping young adult sons would’ve moved out by now too. 
There’s a footy mum in particular who embodies all manner of devotion and multi-tasking excellence who deserves a mention, anonymously of course. We’ll just call her Kerry. She’s a single parent, a Thursday night Nigella creating mouth-watering pasta for the lads, and variously she is game-day kiosk lady, cleaner, team manager, uniform-steward, inn-keeper, raucous joke-teller and staunch confidante of all. She talks proudly of each player not just her son, the club captain. She’s as committed to the footy club as ever, and they don’t come any tougher. Or softer. She personifies the hundreds of wonderful Footy Mums at every club, and we wish all of you a very Happy Mother’s Day.   
A terrific turnout of Mums and WAGs enjoyed a chicken & champagne lunch at SKOB’s Ladies Day last week; the girls overseeing their boys in another resounding win. Old Melburnians hung tough though in the bleak conditions and in fact had the better of the second term. Alex Armstrong and Lachie Bennett kicked a pair each, but an inspired third quarter proved St Kevin’s most ferocious display for the year: Karl Wissell and Glen Chivers winning the hard ball out of the middle and driving it forward for a 10 goal term and an eventual 89-point win.    
In the local derby against Old Brighton, Brayden Haynes’ mum cheered ‘Des’ as he ran onto Banksia Reserve in his 200th decorated game with Beaumaris. A hard-bodied encounter, the Sharks displayed superior kicking skills despite the conditions, but the ‘Tonners were revved up too with the return of Leigh Hendra’s aggressive tackling. Unlucky to lose key forward Tom Mentiplay early, Old Brighton’s David Jennings (3) stepped up while Andrew Edge was superb in defence and although dominant in the final term, the ‘Tonners fell short by 34 points. Tommy Dean continues his brilliant vein of form for Beauy along with Rob Cathcart, their hard running and tackling strength super impressive. Murton and Gowers kicked a trio each; the Sharks’ many teeth pushing forward to cover Matt Petering’s absence through suspension.    
Old Ivanhoe came tantalisingly close to a home victory over Werribee, leading at every change until the ‘Bees smashed them with five goals in the last to win by nine points. Adam Morrow led the way for the Tigers while Andy Panayi kicked three on VFL release. The Browns found their big go-to man in Brad Thompson (2), as Delmonte (2) and Nick Gieschen did the hard yards in a desperately disappointing loss, but kudos to Werribee for a grinding, fighting win.     
Oakleigh also came close to a first victory as they ran neck-and-neck with Old Haileybury for three quarters, just 4 points in it at the last turn. Ioannidis (3) was a solid contributor along with Wass, but the Bloods kicked away in an eight-goal final spree, shared amongst Ridgway, Nicolopoulos (3 each) and the finesse of Brede Seccull (2) also on VFL release.   Unable to score a goal until midway through the last, AJAX suffered its worst defeat in years at the hands of Uni Blacks with only poor conversion preventing the 76 point margin blowing out further. Geoff Measey and Nick Marks battled hard in the backline but were unable to stop Justin Crameri kicking five. He was ably assisted by livewire Charlie Richardson who snapped four in a best-on performance.     
THIS WEEK:  A couple of cracking clashes today. Old Ivanhoe host Oakleigh in a fierce battle for that coveted first win. This will go down to the wire, Krushers for mine. Old Brightonfans were encouraged by a bit more G&D last week but simply won’t have the answers to a rampant St Kevins at South Road today, while the Jackas will shake off their malaise at Soldiers Reserve in their grand final rematch with Werribee. But the ‘Bees want payback for September’s humiliation and although undermanned should salute. The Dark Blues have shown flashes of brilliance but inconsistency will be their downfall against the conquering Sharks at the Junction, while a royal contest will be waged in between Uni Blacks and the Bloods – both have shown plenty of finishing power and fighting grit. Blacks by a whisker.