Premier C Preliminary Final Preview: Ormond vs Ajax

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Alisha Min

REVIEW

So many things for minor premiers, Williamstown CYMS, to celebrate following their Saturday afternoon victory over Ormond to the tune of 28 points; (1) Their perfect season continues, (2) they’ll feature in the 2019 Premier C Grand Final & (3) they’ve earnt subsequent promotion to Premier B in 2020 for the first time in the club’s history. A vast improvement on their 104-point loss in Round 15, the Monders were well led in this instance by young gun Dae Szydlik (BOG), as well as Hamish Ramsay and Max Kennedy, but the class of the CY’s unit – this time headlined by equal leading Premier C goalkicker, Lachlan Fairley (3), plus Russell Ackerley and Damon Tucker – proved a cut above once again. With an incredible average winning margin of 68 points during the home & away season, Ormond are just the fourth team this year to be within a 30-point margin of the Grand Final bound CY’s come the final siren – a glimmer of hope that perhaps they can be beaten in the season decider.

Vastly different conditions greeted Ajax and Old Ivanhoe in the elimination final at Trevor Barker Oval on Sunday afternoon, and despite their being only a point in it at 3QT, the Jackas stretched to a 10-point victory to make it win number eight in a row (11 for the year) and book their place in the Preliminary Final.  With torrential rain and wind pelting the ground, both Ajax and the Hoers experienced relatively low scoring afternoons comparatively to their usual standards, though it was the latter who looked better placed at half-time with a 14-point lead. Despite the standout efforts of Michael Mitris (1), Hamish Shepheard and Kane Veliou, Old Ivanhoe were simply unable to quell the determined Jackas – who were ably led by Jordan Cohen (1), Richie Simon and Toby Sheezel.

PREVIEW
Preliminary Final: Ormond vs Ajax

Ajax certainly made the most of their first finals appearance since 2011 last weekend, and they carry some pretty enviable momentum heading into this weekend; their last remaining obstacle to a 2020 Premier B return, and opportunity to seize Premier C silverware. Standing in path, and determined not to let them pass, is our reigning Division 1 Premiers, Ormond – a side no stranger to finals footy having participated in three finals campaigns in that same period (2011-2018).

With Ajax’s Jake Lew sitting atop the goal kicking leader board with 42 majors for the year, and with club captain Nick Lewis polling 14 votes to finish 5th in the 2019 Zachariah Medal count, the top end talent in this side is abundantly clear. The club have a lot of faith in players like Charles Hamilton, Brent Shapiro and Daniel Janover-Rocha, as seen in their combined 24 times in the best throughout the year, and they’ll need a field of contributors if they hope to replicate their 39-point Round 18 victory over this week’s rivals.

In what is arguably one of the more difficult section jumps in the VAFA competition (Division 1 to Premier C), the Monders have done fantastically well to retain talent from their 2018 premiership winning team, and have overall had an outstanding season since their promotion at the conclusion of last year. Familiar names Simon Buckley, Max Kennedy, Dae Szydlik and Ethan Hanley will be ones to watch this weekend, with Kennedy proving a particularly big-game performer following his BOG medal in the 2018 Division 1 Grand Final, and he continued to lead by example in last week’s Semi-Final loss. Looking past their defeat at the Jackas hands in the final round of the home & away season, the Monders experienced success against their Preliminary Final opponents in Round 8 thanks to a five-goal Buckley outing at Gary Smorgan Oval.