PREMIER C SCRIBE

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22.09.2012

ROYS BELT NODDERS, EARN A CHANCE AT REDEMPTION

Many have tried, but only Whitefriars in 1998/99 and Uni Blacks in 2004/05 in the past fifteen years have been able to achieve what Parkdale sets out to do this week: win Division 1/Premier C back-to-back senior premierships. Standing in their way is a formidable Fitzroy unit, their confidence restored, following an emphatic win over Mazenod in the preliminary final. Both clubs enter Premier B in 2013 for the first time, which is a credit to everyone involved at Parkdale Vultures and Fitzroy. But you can be sure none of the senior players who take the field on Saturday will be satisfied and we are hoping for an epic clash between these two great sides.

Fitzroy earned their ticket to the grand final on the back of a fantastic display against the Nodders. The game was tight throughout the first half and, as with most games of this magnitude it was the big guns who were standing up for both sides: Vansittart and Ablett in the red corner; Bourbon and Reed in the blue. Two late Roy goals gave them the ascendancy as the teams headed into the rooms and it shaped up to be a critical third quarter.

There was only one team in it for the premiership term. Fitzroy dominated, with 6.3 to 0.1 to put the result beyond doubt. The few Nodder encroachments on the defensive 50m arc were quickly repelled by the stubborn Roy defence. Jack Simcoe and Sam Baker were standouts and Matt Brown was hitting the scoreboard. Cowan, Phibbs and the Chamberlains were doing their best to keep Mazenod in the contest, but they were unable to stop the onslaught. The game was effectively over before play resumed for the final quarter, but Fitzroy wasn’t done yet, extending the margin and setting things up beautifully for a rematch with the Vultures.

Getting back to rare as rocking horse premiership feats in Premier C, St Bede’s/Mentone is the only club in recent memory to sweep the under 19/reserve/senior premierships in a season, something Fitzroy will be attempting to do. The Vultures have already tasted their premiership success, with their under 19s raising the cup last week. Some of these baby Vultures might have to put their premiership celebrations on hold, as a few of them, Lewis Emmerson and Charlie Dillon in particular, probably deserve a long look from Sam Radford on the training track this week.

In the three matches between the teams this year, the Vultures have done the job each time, with the most recent two clashes resulting in Fitzroy being dismantled. The Roys haven’t managed to get ten goals against Parkdale in a game so far and, on current form, that’s not going to get them the victory. They did hit the scoreboard heavily against Mazenod, but this is another step up. It hasn’t really been a year for massive bags from the Roys forwards and it’s probably going to take Ablett, Angiolella, Cations or someone else to bob up with a bag of five or more. 

The other end was where the game was ripped away from Fitzroy last time, as their defence simply had no answer for Matt Boland and Lachlan Oakley. Boland has got off the chain both times he has lined up against Fitzroy and when you factor in Darren Rochford (61 goals this year) and Sam Larkins (averaging over four goals a game), it’s almost a case of picking your poison. As with their forward line, Fitzroy’s defence was sensational in the preliminary final, but they need to be outstanding again to contain this Parkdale side. 

With the similarity in colours between the two clubs, the Roys will be taking the field in their snazzy new gold clash guernseys. These things look absolutely sensational and should be big sellers from the Roys store (of course, winning a premiership in them probably won’t hurt the sales figures).

The Fitzroy contingent will be out in force and since Trevor Barker is only a few clicks away from Gerry Green, you can be sure that there will also be a lot of support for the Vultures. With Marcellin in the reserves and St Kevin’s in the unders, it should be a great crowd and a strong advertisement for Premier C football. 

It would be a brave tipster to go against the Vultures, who look to be on a mission. On the other hand, if the Roys can get up in the curtain raisers, that could provide a tremendous motivation for the seniors to give Fitzroy one of the most memorable days in their rich history. They’ve got plenty of stars and they will leave it all on the ground. But it won’t be enough. Parkdale to win by four goals and David Robbins to be named best on ground.

15.9.2012

PARKDALE EARNS PROMOTION; EAGLES BOW OUT

Rarely are the highs and lows of football more evident than when September rolls around. No matter how confident all four teams are of raising the cup, one always has to go home after the first week. On the other hand, another team gains promotion and a week off to recuperate before the grand final.

In a wet and blustery day on Saturday at Trevor Barker Oval, it was the Roys who continued their great form from the previous week, to hold a nine-point advantage over the Vultures at quarter time. But from there, it was all one-way traffic, with Parkdale kicking 8.5 to zip in the second quarter, to turn a slight deficit into an almost unassailable lead in thirty minutes. It’s that kind of precision that not only confirms why this team finished on top of the ladder after the home and away rounds, but also gives leaves their shell-shocked opposition wondering what they can do to stop the onslaught. It did slow down in the third quarter, but the scoreboard was still ticking in the wrong direction for those who were hoping for a comeback, or even a tight contest. Lachlan Oakley, in only his third game for the season, reminded everyone why he is such a dangerous player at this level. The Roys simply didn’t have an answer for him, or Matt Boland, who both kicked six goals. At the other end, the Fitzroy forwards were starved for opportunities, going goalless again in the third quarter.  

The Parkdale machine continued unabated in the final stanza, the class of players like David Robbins and Mark Kidner was evident, as they continued to build on the lead .The Roys live to fight another day and while the performance of players like Josh Vansittart, James O’Reilly and Rory Angiolella is hard to question, they’ve now seen the level that they need to get to, firstly to get another crack at Parkdale; and secondly, if they want to win the flag.

The Roy Boys would have been very interested observers in the proceedings at Box Hill. Marcellin and Mazenods had different journeys to reach the first semi final; with the Nodders making their first appearance in the top four on the eve of the finals, while the Eagles were permanent residents after round 4. A difficult game to pick a winner between two very evenly-matched sides, something the final margin indicated.

Marcellin got off to the better start, earning a seven point advantage by the quarter time break. They were able to improve on this in the second quarter, with Joel Crimmins, in season-best form, leading the assault. He was joined by the recently-crowned Zachariah Medallist, Jarrod Carlson, who was in everything. At the other end, Tim Bourbon was dominating for Mazenod and Stuart Inglis’ best game of the season was coming at the right time. Inaccuracy cost the Nodders, with only one goal from seven scoring shots in the second term to hand the Eagles a 14-point lead at the main break.

With the match still very much in the balance, Adrian Connolly urged his troops on and they responded in the premiership quarter, winning their share of the contests and, importantly, converting their chances. The lead was theirs, as they headed into the huddles with the momentum on their side. The final quarter was a classic struggle, everything finals footy represents. With Marcellin making a final charge, it was a desperate Nodders defence, led by Byron Bonner, that managed to hold tight and keep the score in their favour, when the siren sounded, signalling the end of Marcellin’s premiership dream.  Jake Symes, Matty Gasparini, Ash Viney and Peter Augustin were their standouts, though the Eagles failed to find a multiple goalkicker on the day.

Last week’s results leave us with Fitzroy and Mazenod fighting for survival, in what should be another epic at Sandingham. They haven’t met in over two months, with the Nodders handing out a nine-goal belting on that occasion, reversing the result from earlier in the year. Recent form is all with Mazenod, having knocked off two of the top three sides in the past two weeks, while the Roys have the advantage of having the extra day to prepare, along with the experience they gained from playing at Sandy last week. After a horror final three quarters last Saturday, it will be interesting to see if the Roys’ forward line can get back on track, or whether the Nodders will be able to keep the clamps on. With my exposed form on the tips suggesting that both teams would be keen for me to pick the other, my apologies to Fitzroy. I think they will bounce back with a win and book their spot in Premier B for next year.

8.9.2012

FITZROY GOALFEST SECURES SECOND SPOT

With all five Round 18 games in Premier C having direct implications on the composition of the top four, spies from Fitzroy, Marcellin, Mazenod, PEGS and Old Camberwell would have been scattered at the different grounds, reporting back to HQ with exactly what their clubs needed to get to the promised land. In the end, the big winners were the Roys and the Nodders, who claimed second and fourth spot respectively, with great wins.

One positive for Mazenod was that the number crunchers weren’t required. The equation was simple: win and they stayed in; lose and it would take a miracle. In front of a partisan crowd at their beloved Central Reserve, they booked their spot in the first semi final. The Nodders started well, but were inaccurate, with 19 scoring shots to eight only translating to a 26 point margin at the half. The inaccuracy continued through the third quarter, but the Nodders were in complete control, with the game over at three quarter time. From there, the sting went out of the contest and the game meandered towards the final siren.  David Regan was Mazenod’s best player, while Ben Phibbs was back near his best and Chamath Jayaweera bagged five. For the Vultures, the loss was disappointing, but they finished clear on top for a reason and they will regroup in time for the highly anticipated clash with Fitzroy. Mark Kidner was their best.

PEGS certainly did everything they could to make it to the top four, chalking up a big win at Monash. It was a polished display from the Grammar, who won all four quarters to finish the season on a high note. Chris Goullet capped off an outstanding season with another dominant performance, while Brett Hannah’s form, since promotion from the under 19s, has been another highlight. For the Ashes, George Smyth, Andrew Hickey and Sam Baring again stood up.

Old Camberwell needed Mazenod and PEGS to lose, along with winning its own game, to get back into fourth and they managed to hold up their end of the bargain, getting home in a cliff-hanger against Rupertswood. Warren Carlyle and Rohan Kapoor starred for the home side in the win which ended a frustrating year on a high note. From Rupo’s perspective, the usual suspects all stood up: Leigh Brennan with six, Lachlan Baddeley, Mitch Gaunt and Matthew Quigley. 

As the Eagles made the short trip to Brockwell to take on Banyule, they were well aware that they needed to win big to give themselves a chance of hanging on to second spot. Unfortunately for Marcellin, the Bears had other ideas and, with scores from Brunswick Street no doubt being relayed through, the cue needed to be put in the rack. Tom Jones has blossomed for the Eagles and Jarrod Carlson had another great game. For Banyule, Ryan Hay was their best, kicking four.

With half a percent separating Marcellin and Fitzroy after Round 17, it was basically a case of the Roys needing to beat the Rovers by more than Marcellin beat Banyule to take second spot. And after a pretty pedestrian first stanza, Fitzroy produced three of the finest quarters any team has displayed this season, ramming home 28 of their 32 goals and pushing the margin in the vicinity of 200. Fifteen Roys got their names on the goal kickers list, with Cations notching six. Jack Parkinson and Josh Vansittart were other standouts in a win that will fill the Roys with confidence ahead of their finals campaign. The Rovers skipper, Leigh Fletcher, finished the season as he started, at the bottom of every pack and giving his side everything he had.

 

Parkdale Vultures v Fitzroy

The finals commence on Saturday, with the second semi between Parkdale and Fitzroy at Trevor Barker Oval, in Sandringham. It’s hard to know how much to take out of the performances in Round 18, as the importance of their games to the teams’ final standings were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Sandringham is a tough ground to play on and it’s often blowing a gale down there, so the team that adapts quickest to the conditions will have a distinct advantage. Parkdale won both games during the season, but I think the Roys might turn the tables and be the first team to earn promotion to Premier B Section for 2013.

Marcellin v Mazenod 

Mazenod and Marcellin will do battle in the first semi on Sunday at Box Hill. The Nodders have had a fantastic run after a 1-4 start and have a real belief that they can beat anyone. Meanwhile, Marcellin has been one of the standout teams all season and they were also able to knock off the Vultures in the past month. It will be a star-studded contest between two proud clubs and it should go right down to the wire. I’m tipping Marcellin to just get up in a thriller.

1.9.2012

PRESSURE IS ON FOR FINALS SPOTS

Just one round left in Premier C and only top spot and relegation is certain, with a mighty struggle still to be played out between Mazenod, PEGS and Old Camberwell for the final spot in the top four.

The Rovers would have given themselves a great chance at scoring that elusive victory against Monash, in their last home game of the season. But, unfortunately for the home side, they couldn’t get out of the blocks in the first quarter, as the Ashes built a considerable lead, behind the brilliant play of Tim McKenzie. An improved second quarter saw the Rovers creating more opportunities, but failing to convert, going into the rooms with 2.13 on the board. It got worse from there, as the Ashes kept them scoreless in the third, while piling on five goals of their own, to put the result beyond doubt. Ewan Flanagan and Zac Ledin were immense for the Blues, while Leigh Fletcher was BOG in his 150th for the Rovers.

The Vultures were clearly out to make a statement in their final home game for 2012 and Banyule unfortunately was on the receiving end of perhaps the most polished display of football we’ve seen this year. It was all over by quarter time and the margin went past three figures during the third quarter. Matthew Boland was back, kicking six as one of an incredible nine multiple goalkickers. Mark Kidner had his best game for the year and Charlie Dillon injected a bit of youth into the veteran Parkdale outfit. The Bears struggled to find a consistent avenue to goal, with young Biscuit Tin providing a bright spot.

With both Old Camberwell and Marcellin being on a bit of a roller coaster over the past month, who knew what was going to happen in this clash of traditional AGS rivals? It ended up being Old Camberwell who reversed their recent form, getting on top in the second quarter and keeping the Eagles at bay, to grab a famous victory at Marcellin and keep their finals hopes alive. Bennett, Kapoor and Hart were the standouts for the visitors, while Jarrod Carlson was at his brilliant best for the Eagles, who are now no certainty to hang on to the double chance.

An incredible game was played out at PEGS, between two teams with everything to play for. It looked like Mazenod was going to close the door on PEGS and Old Camberwell, as they opened up a five goal advantage at quarter time. The home side bounced back in the second, restricting the Nodders to a single point for the stanza and cutting the margin to less than a straight kick. The tables were turned again after the teams emerged from the changerooms, with Mazenod again skipping away to a 23 point lead at the final change. But, in an amazing final quarter, PEGS banged home eight straight, as the Nodders again went goalless in the final quarter. Brett Hannah has been sensational for PEGS, since coming up from the unders and Chris Goullet was as busy as usual. Byron Bonner did his best to stem the flow, but it just wasn’t enough and the Nodders must regroup in a hurry, in order to book their place in the finals.

Out at Salesian, the game between Rupertswood and Fitzroy played out as you’d expect, when one team is stuck in the middle of the ladder and the other is pushing for a top two spot. Fitzroy was never seriously challenged and kept Rupo scoreless in the second and fourth quarters. The second term, in particular, wasn’t one for the archives, with just four points added to the scoreboard from quarter time. Matt Kyroussis was outstanding for the Roys with four goals and Jack Dalton was very solid in the win, which leaves them just half a percent behind Marcellin for that top two spot. Lachlan Baddeley and Nash Egan were the standouts for Rupo.

This week, Mazenod again just has to win to hang on to fourth spot. Problem is, they’re playing against the Vultures. But I’ve just got a feeling that at home and with Parkdale being locked in to top spot, the Nodders will win this one. PEGS travels to Monash and, if Mazenod slips up, the last finals spot is theirs to lose. They’ll be up for this one and will win well. Old Camberwell will also be playing for a chance at fourth spot and will do the job against Rupertswood at home. Marcellin will beat an undermanned Banyule and Fitzroy will end the Rovers’ very tough season, but even if these games are blowouts, you can be assured that there will be a great deal of interest in the results, to see which team earns the right to meet Parkdale in the finals.

B: Jack Parkinson (Fitzroy), Steve Oldman (Mazenod), Sam Baring (Monash Blues)HB: Tim Boland (Parkdale Vultures), Simon Bennett (Old Camberwell), Byron Bonner (Mazenod)C: Jarrod Carlson (Marcellin), Leigh Fletcher (Hampton Rovers), Sean Towner (PEGS)HF: Brett Hampton (Parkdale Vultures), Darren Rochford (Parkdale Vultures), Luke Ablett (Fitzroy)F: Adam Barclay (Banyule), Leigh Brennan (Rupertswood), Chamath Jayaweera (Mazenod)R: Warren Carlyle (Old Camberwell), Josh Vansittart (Fitzroy), Tim Bourbon (Mazenod)I/C: Ashley Viney (Marcellin), Matthew Quigley (Rupertswood), Bart Walsh (Banyule),Chris Goullet (PEGS)

 

24.8.2012

PEGS STILL IN THE HUNT

It’s going to be a classic final fortnight in Premier C. The top three now entrenched and Mazenod, PEGS and Old Camberwell are all still realistic chances to see finals action with some huge clashes involving these teams over the last two rounds. There’s no doubt the team which ultimately snaffles fourth place will have earned it.

Mazenod hosted Banyule at Central Reserve and it was a contrast between the teams coming in. The Banyule senior lineup contained just five players from the team that took the field in last year’s Division 1 Grand Final and had to take on the Nodders, who are building up steam ahead of a possible finals campaign.  The results were predictable, with Mazenod putting their foot down after half time, though poor conversion kept the margin to 62 points. Tim Bourbon is having a stellar season for the Nodders, while Nick Thomas is really starting to find some form at the right end of the season. Adam Barclay, with his five goals and Bart Walsh were all class, as usual, for Banyule and it was a great welcome back to senior footy for Josh O’Conner, with an effective tagging job on Ben Phibbs.

The top side at home against a winless bottom side looked like a mismatch, but those plucky Rovers stuck around until halftime again, before Parkdale got on top in the second half with ten goals to one to run away with it. Sam Larkins looks like being a real wildcard for the Vultures in finals, with fifteen goals from his three senior appearances this year, including seven on the weekend and Rochford was in the thick of it again with six. Leigh Fletcher continues to find the footy for the Rovers and Luke Verma played a ripping game.

High stakes in the game between PEGS and Old Camberwell, with the home side getting over the line and striking a critical blow to the Wellers’ finals hopes. With a five goal deficit at the final change, the Wellers kept PEGS to a point, but couldn’t do enough damage on the scoreboard themselves, to go down by 22. Daniel Flaherty dominated for PEGS and Daniel Ryan also adapted well to the tough conditions. Rohan Kapoor and Damian McGuigan have stood up for the Wellers in recent times and were good again.

Marcellin travelled to Sunbury to take on Rupertswood and after the Eagles got on top in the second stanza, Rupo showed some ticker to bounce back and lock the scores at three quarter time. But on the resumption of play, it was all one way traffic, with the home side being kept scoreless in the final quarter. Simon Abrahams was brilliant for the Eagles and Ash Viney has been outstanding recently. For Rupo, Ben Gay has come on in the latter stages of the season and Mitch Wilson was excellent.

Conditions could not have been more difficult at Brunswick Street, as Fitzroy took on Monash. The heavy rain had cleared, but the puddles remained and the wind was also causing some issues. But, although just six kicks went through the big sticks all day, the Roys managed to keep in front all day, showing why they are still an outside chance for a top two spot, with a tough win. It was no surprise to see mudlarks like Josh Vansittart and Jim O’Reilly excelling in the conditions. Tim McKenzie was the best player for the Ashes, who have hopefully thawed out ahead of a big chance to get their third win of the year this week.

That game will be against the Rovers, who will also like their chances of finally getting to sing the song in 2012. It should be a really good game between two teams who are better than their records indicate. I’ll go with Monash, in a close one.

Another day on the Green for Parkdale against Banyule, who could apparently rustle up a pretty competitive team from their unavailable players at the moment. The Vultures to lock in the double-chance.

Out at Marcellin, the Wellers dropping by for a visit, in a game with massive implications for both teams. Old Camberwell simply needs to win to have any chance of getting back in the four, while a Marcellin probably means they can’t be overtaken in the top two. I’ll go with the Eagles.

Speaking of big games, PEGS hosts Mazenod, in a classic eight point game. The equation is simple for the Nodders: win and the top four is sealed. Easier said than done at PEGS though and I’ll go with PEGS to keep the door ajar.

Rupertswood is at home to Fitzroy and, if other results go their way, the Roys can stay in the hunt for a top two spot. They’ll be up for this game and will get the win.

NODDERS CLAIM FOURTH SPOT

With three rounds of the home and away season remaining in Premier C, we’re set for a great run in to finals. Marcellin’s stunning return to form against the Vultures gives those two sides the inside running for the double chance; while Fitzroy and Mazenod’s wins resulted in the Nodders overtaking Old Camberwell in fourth position. PEGS and Banyule are still in the mix and it promises to be an intriguing final couple of rounds before finals.

PEGS headed down to Boss James, for a date with the Rovers and kept themselves in finals calculations with a solid win. An amazing fifteen goals went through in the first term, with twelve of them coming off PEGS’ boots. Hampton gradually got things back on their terms and managed to take the honours in the second quarter to give themselves a sniff. But it was again PEGS who were quick out of the blocks when play resumed, putting the result beyond doubt in the third, before the Rovers got a few back towards the end, nearly pushing their score past triple figures for the first time in 2012. Chris Goullet has been in sensational form recently and was one of seven multiple goalscorers for the visitors with three. Jones and Towner were solid as always and Daniel Flaherty kicked five goals. From Hampton’s perspective, Nathan Smith was a welcome inclusion and Fletcher and Donald were busy.

The Ashes had Mazenod at home and, with Fitzroy and Old Camberwell locking horns elsewhere, a win was all the Nodders needed to take fourth spot. And that was how Adrian Connolly’s men played it, winning every quarter to run out easy victors. Nick Thomas, Tim Bourbon and the Chamberlains were important players for the Nodders, who now hold the upper hand in the race for fourth spot. Alex Armstrong played his best game of the year for the Blues and big Joe Cosgriff was back to his early season form.

Out at the barnyard, the Wellers and Fitzroy were fighting for third spot, with the loser dropping to fifth, if, as expected Mazenod was able to beat Monash. Conditions suited the mudlarks and the Roys started like it meant more to them, banging through seven straight to a single point from the home side in the first quarter. Fitzroy’s wayward kicking has been a source of consternation at times this season for Pickers, but another two without a blemish, made it 9.0, while the Wellers got themselves back into the game, kicking five for the quarter. That’s as close as it would get though, with the Roys piling on another five goals in the third to seal the win. Only three players managed to register a sausage for the Wellers, with Warren Carlyle contributing three. Jack Parkinson was outstanding for the Roys and Matthew Kyroussis kicked four.

Marcellin had an excellent return to form against the competition’s pace-setters, with a fighting 21 point win against Parkdale. The Eagles started strongly in front of their home supporters, but it was a seesawing game in the first half, with the Vultures gaining control and taking the lead into the half time break. When the teams came out for the second half, Marcellin played like a team that was ready to fight for its position in the top two, taking the lead back and finally running away with the game to register a crucial win. Jarrod Carlson was at his brilliant best for the Eagles and received good support from Anthony Beaini and Ash Viney. For the Vultures, Tim Boland and Mitch Grant were sensational.

In a hard fought contest out at the cave, Banyule kept themselves in the hunt, with a tough win over Rupertswood. The momentum was with the visitors, after a six goal to one second quarter saw them head into the rooms with a narrow lead at halftime. It was the Bears who responded, with a solid performance in the premiership quarter providing the impetus for the win. Ryan Hay played a phenomenal game and Jake Rice was important in the win for Banyule, who need something special from here to qualify for the four, but can’t be counted out. Brent Swallow was a clear BOG for Rupo.

This week, we have Mazenod hosting Banyule, in a crucial game for both sides. The Nodders will be fired up after finally cracking the four and I think they’ll take the points. Hampton heads to Parkdale and the Vultures will bounce back in convincing fashion. PEGS hosts Old Camberwell and I’ll stick with the home side in this important clash. The Eagles travel to Rupertswood and with every win critical to keep their top two spot, they’ll do enough. And Fitzroy will take the honours at home against Monash, to keep the pressure on the teams above them.

 

 10.8.2012

ASHES HALT LOSING STREAK

As I reflect on the happenings of the weekend, wondering what sort of column vibe I’m going to put out for you good people each week, I assess the results from Premier C and how they balance with what earlier predictions. Going through the process this week made me think of the James Magnussen commercial and the unfair treatment endured by the ‘T’, just for having a different (and, as it turned out, correct) opinion. I figured the Monash Blues were a far more appropriate subject for one of these commercials. Their 2012 season has been a year of ‘almosts’ and ‘not quites’. Now consigned to their fate and with the pressure off, everything clicked, as the Blues claimed the prized scalp of Marcellin. And it’s difficult not to feel good for them, after eleven weeks of disappointment. Well done, lads.

Mazenod and Rupertswood did battle at Central Reserve, with both teams desperate to stay in touch with four. The tight battle that many would have expected never eventuated, with the Nodders convincingly winning every quarter, pushing the margin out past triple figures before the final bell. Thomas and Jayaweera combined for twelve Mazenod goals and Ben Phibbs was at his best. It was a more difficult task to find Rupo winners, but Ben Gay’s continued emergence at senior level was a bright spot.

The game at Clayton was the upset of the season, with the Blues getting over the Eagles in convincing fashion. The first quarter set it up for Monash, piling on five goals to none. Marcellin started to work their way back into the game from there, as good sides do, and the Eagles were within striking distance at the last change. The Ashes would have none of it though, taking control again in the last quarter and registering a famous victory.  George Smyth was in the thick of the action for the Blues, while Zac Ledin was again a good contributor. Matthew Holmes never stopped trying for a disappointing Marcellin, who will want to regroup quickly to maintain their hold on a top two spot.

Old Camberwell hosted the Rovers and returned to the winners list, with a confidence-boosting 98 point triumph. With the Wellers acutely aware of the possible implications of a loss, it was expected that they would burst out of the blocks, but it was Hampton that got on top early and took a handy two goal lead into quarter time. From there though, it was one way traffic, a ten goal second quarter starting the onslaught that didn’t let up until the game was over.  Sam Killworth put through six majors on his way to BOG honours, while Jordan Heffernan was solid. Emerging stars, Jack Wilson and Jay Dillon were dynamic for Hampton, who must bounce back quickly to record that elusive first victory.

A huge result at PEGS, with the Vultures storming home in the last quarter to snatch victory from the home side who had led all day. A heartbreaker for PEGS to lose in that fashion to the competition pacesetters and significantly damage their finals chances, but Parkdale showed why they have now become the clear flag favourites, by being the team to finally beat PEGS at PEGS. Mitch Grant was excellent for the visitors, whose confidence must now be sky-high. Ryan Jones gave everything he had for the Grammar and Dave Forrest kicked five, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.

After losing their previous three, Fitzroy bounced back at Brunswick Street, with an emphatic nine goal win against Banyule. After Banyule opened the scoring, the Roys put the foot down, particularly in the second stanza, to go into the rooms with a seven goal lead and total control of the game. It was a more competitive third quarter, but the Roys will be ruing an opportunity missed to really put the Bears to the sword and boost their percentage, scoring 1.7 in the last quarter. Ablett was back, creating havoc in the forward line and Sam Baker had one of his best games for the year. Bart Walsh starred in the middle in a day to forget for Banyule.

 

4.8.2012

WHO LEFT THE GATE OPEN?

I like to think I have an inquisitive mind. I want to know what ‘permeate’ actually is, before being told that my milk is free of it. I wonder if Michael Slater being sent to the purgatory of the synchronised diving commentary team is actually a mockumentary currently gracing our airwaves. And I will continue to attempt to decipher just what is going to happen with the clubs currently occupying positions 3-8 on the Premier C ladder, by the end of Round 18.

Mazenod went down to Hampton for a date with the Rovers and their finals contender status on life support, if they didn’t win. Conditions were trying, but in wet weather, there aren’t many better decks in the VAFA than Boss James. The Nodders played with desperation befitting their current situation, to push the lead out past 50 points by half time. Chamath Jayaweera was at his elusive best, on the way to a BOG performance and young gun Josh Cowan continues to shine. The Rovers again showed resilience to win the second half against an inaccurate Mazenod, but by this stage the horse had bolted and the Nodders were able to register an eight goal win. Matthew Innes was in top form for the Rovers and Ed Turner continues to make the most of his opportunities in front of goal.

Parkdale came up against Monash and played like a team that deserves top spot on the ladder winning their fifth straight in a polished display. Once again Monash was a tough opponent, but squandered opportunities in the first half and an indifferent display in the second half proved costly, as the Ashes fate for this season was confirmed. Sam Larkins kicked four for the home side in his senior debut, Sullivan and Hampton were in the thick of things and Robert Swayn was sublime. For the Blues, Zac Ledin has been in good form recently and Jordan Bell provided excellent support.  

An important clash took place at Marcellin College with huge finals implications hinging on the result. Fitzroy’s chances weren’t helped by the absence of Ablett and O’Reilly, and the conditions suggested that the game was going to be a slog. The Eagles got in front early and managed to maintain for the rest of the day, with the only goal of the final quarter sealing a crucial win. Peter Augustin made it two BOG’s in two weeks for Marcellin, whilst a tough day for the goal kickers, Scott Cations’ three snags for the Roys helped keep them in the game.

It was going to take a major turnaround for Banyule to reverse the result of their Round 5 game against Old Camberwell. The return of their skipper, Michael Christian, provided the impetus and Brandon Kelly and Tore Valvo debuted for the seniors. After an even first quarter, the Bears started to take control. Banyule played great wet weather football, pushing the ball forward at every opportunity and cutting off the Wellers on several occasions, as they tried to bring the ball back through the corridor. Bart Walsh was controlling the game from the midfield, Ryan Hay set up the play from the wing and Adam Barclay bobbed up with four goals, as Banyule recorded a confidence-boosting win. Rohan Kapoor played his best game for the Wellers, who again find themselves in danger of dropping out of the four. 

If PEGS had managed to get up against Rupertswood, they’d be fourth on the ladder right now. Instead, the 22 point defeat leaves them in seventh. Rupo played terrific football after a topsy-turvy first half, adding six goals to PEGS’ two after half time to turn a small deficit into a relatively comfortable win. Brent Swallow, Nash Egan and Ben Brennan were the best players for Rupertswood, while familiar names Goullet, Jones and Towner stood up for PEGS.

It’s tough enough trying to pick a match of the round this week, let alone who is going to win on Saturday. Mazenod hosts Rupertswood at Central Reserve and I guess when in doubt, stick with the home side. Marcellin heads down to Clayton and given how important wins are for them between now and the finals, they won’t drop this game. Old Camberwell takes on Hampton Rovers at the barnyard and will get the win to maintain their top four status. PEGS takes on Parkdale and, in an upset, I’m going to stick with PEGS at home until they prove me wrong. A fourth straight loss to Fitzroy would drop them down as low as seventh, while Banyule could find themselves in the four if they can win and other results go their way. Tough one to pick, without knowing the availability of some Fitzroy stars, but I’ll assume they’re back in and manage to win a thriller.

28.7.2012

Just another weekend round these parts in Premier C. Two of the premiership fancies were absolutely belted, the Vultures probably played their best footy of the season to earn top spot, Old Camberwell signalled their return to form with a great win and PEGS inherited the tag of the outsider most likely to take a spot in the four from Mazenod.

Spirits were high at Boss James before the main game, as the Rovers’ scoobies got over the line, with a late surge, to register their first win of the season. And, had it not been for a period in the third quarter where Rupo was able to bang through seven goals in a row, the home side might have been able to challenge as well. Hampton has made the jump from borderline uncompetitive at the start of the year, to now just being let down by lapses at crucial stages during games and we now wait for them to take the final step towards sustained four quarter performances. Mitchell Gaunt has been one of the stars for Rupo throughout the season and continued his great form, young Chris Kendall got another chance in the main game and showed he belonged and Baddeley and Brennan were significant, as usual. Ritchie Atkins was enormous for the Rovers and will do their chances of a win in their remaining games no harm, if he can continue to make an impact.

Speaking of teams with a penchant for costly lapses, the premiership quarter was what did the Ashes in this time at the uni, with Banyule kicking 6.2 to 1.4, turning a three goal deficit into a ten point lead and set up the win. Adam Barclay was sublime with seven goals, opening up a sizable lead in the league goalkicking race. Ash Brown contributed four and French and Cusack were others who stood up in the win. Lachlan Inglis had his best game for Monash , while Patrick Featonby and Damien Hatch look like being future stars for the Blues.

PEGS moved into fifth place on the ladder and couldn’t have looked more impressive, easily accounting for the ladder leaders by 67 points. It was a thorough domination by the Grammarians, increasing the margin at each break, as the Eagles just couldn’t get anything going. Trent Skurrie had a sensational game and was ably supported by Daniel Flaherty and David Forrest, with his six goals. Peter Augustin and Jarrod Carlson could hold their heads high for Marcellin, who will be keen to bounce back immediately.

The Roys are another team that will look to get their mojo back following two straight big losses, the most recent being a 68 point defeat at the hands of the new top team. As PEGS managed to do against Marcellin, the Vultures won every quarter, with Fitzroy having no answer for the Bolands and Rochford and Sullivan also dominating in a scary display. The Roys would be feeling a bit shellshocked after being dismantled twice in July and, in a team with few winners, Greg Hesse stood out in his first senior game. Fitzroy has added two points for each goal they’ve managed over the past two weeks and this is something that needs to be fixed quickly.

Hats off to Old Camberwell, who showed how important their current position is to them, with a great win at home against Mazenod in the clash for fourth place. After a slow start, the Wellers kicked into gear, with Jack Duke kicking six, to make it 20 from his last four starts. Phil and Simon Bennett were immense for the Wellers and Warren Carlyle stood up with a big game. Byron Bonner’s stellar season continued and Nick Thomas played a great game for the Nodders who can’t afford many more slip-ups, if they hope to make it to September.

This week we’ve got Mazenod at Hampton Rovers and the Nodders will have to be on their game to get the win. They’ve got too much to play for though and they won’t let this one slip. Parkdale hosts Monash and, with the Vultures looking dominant with their full side in, they will have another win. Marcellin plays against Fitzroy, in what will be a fierce contest between third and fourth. Very difficult to pick a winner here, but I think Fitzroy might turn their recent form around and hand the Eagles their second straight loss. Banyule plays Old Camberwell at the cave and, while the Bears need the four points to keep their slim finals chances alive, I think the Wellers will knock them off. Finally we’ve got PEGS travelling to Rupertswood and the visitors should be good enough to get the win and keep the pressure on the teams above them on the ladder 

 

20.7.2012

HERE COMES MAZENOD

For the seventh week in a row, the top four in Premier C is occupied by Marcellin, Parkdale, Fitzroy and Old Camberwell. But some genuine contenders are beginning to emerge from the middle of the ladder, with PEGS capturing a big win away from home and Mazenod comfortably accounting for another premiership fancy. The battle is on for fourth spot and, given the recent happenings at Wimbledon, the obligatory Andy Murray joke seems incongruous.

Fitzroy was the latest team to lower its colours to the Mazenod express, with the Roys capitulating completely to manage just one goal after quarter time, as the game turned into a rout in the second half. On a muddy deck at Central Reserve, Ablett kicked three in the first quarter to get the day started in promising fashion for the visitors. But it was the Nodders who gradually started to win the contested ball, to give their forwards ample opportunities. It was a true team effort and one which suggests that Mazenod could do some serious damage, if they find themselves in the top four when September rolls around. After a couple of quiet weeks Chamath Jayaweera was back to his best with five, while Louis Greco was fantastic in his first senior game of 2012. Luke Ablett was clearly Fitzroy’s best in a display that Michael Pickering will be hoping was just an anomaly.

Out at the Barnyard, Old Camberwell got back on the winners list, with a gritty performance against the struggling Blues. The game unfolded in a similar fashion to the one at Central Reserve, with the visitors gaining the early ascendancy and then struggling to score after quarter time. It was a real slog until the final quarter, where the Wellers put on six goals to one, to cement a solid victory. Jack Duke continued his good form in front of the sticks, while big Warren Carlyle chipped in with three and Damian Proksa came up from the under 19s to give the Wellers a welcome spark. It was another young gun who stood out for the Ashes, with Patrick Bryce playing an outstanding game.

Russell Barnes’ men continue to earn respect, matching it with the competition’s pace-setters in the second and third quarters, before succumbing. Ultimately, the Eagles’ good work in the first quarter set up the result, with a couple of fifty metre penalties costing the Rovers dearly. After an entertaining battle, seven goals to the home side in the final stanza pushed the margin out near ten goals. Jarrod Carlson was in top form, joining Gasparini, Crosbie and Matt Bortolotto, as Marcellin’s multiple goalscorers. For the Rovers, Leigh Fletcher and Matthew Innes were prominent again and it was good to see Ritchie Atkins back on the field in the ones and amongst the goals.

An important game between two sides hoping to make a push for the four unfolded at Brockwell, with PEGS paying the Bears a visit. In an extraordinary first quarter, fourteen scoring shots were recorded in the first term, with Banyule putting 0.8 on the board, to PEGS’ 0.6. There was more of the same anaemic scoring in the second quarter, with PEGS taking a slight advantage in at half time. It was the visitors who reversed the trend earlier and managed to put through more goals than points in the second half to edge further ahead and take the priceless four points home with them. Rob Baddeley played his best game for the season for PEGS and was instrumental in the win, while Luke French continues to produce for the Bears.

The Vultures did what they needed to at Rupertswood, resisting a late fight back by the home side to win and take second spot on the ladder. Sean Hendricks’ outstanding season in the unders has been rewarded with opportunities at senior level and he repaid the faith with a terrific game and joining familiar names like Boland, Rochford and Hampton as standouts for the Vultures. Tim Neely was a catalyst in Rupo’s revival, but they just couldn’t get over the line, in what may prove to be a costly loss.

This week, Rupo heads out to Boss James to do battle with the Rovers and while I don’t think it will be easy, they should be good enough to win. The Ashes and Banyule will both be desperate for a win, so here’s hoping the contest will be fearsome at Frearson, though I think Banyule will get up. PEGS hosts Marcellin in a season-defining game for the home side against their old rivals and I’m going for them in an upset. And finally, we have two games with huge ramifications for September. I think Fitzroy will manage to get the points against the Vultures, while Mazenod will continue their great form against the Wellers, to take fourth spot.

6.7.2012

RELEGATION ALREADY SET?

So, the state of Premier C play after Round 10 is that the relegation race is looking close to done, while Parkdale’s win opens up a sizable gap between the top three and the rest. Over the next few weeks, it looks like the neutral interest will centre on the five-team race for the right to secure the last finals position.

At Boss James Reserve, the home side continued to show considerable moxie giving their supporters hope that the first win isn’t far away. This time it was an accomplished Banyule that managed to hold the Rovers at bay. Strangely for both sides, the difficulty was scoring at the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">David St</st1:address></st1:Street> end of the ground which seemed to be favoured by the breeze. Just a single goal was managed in that direction for each of the first three quarters. The difference in the end was the Bears managed to break this trend in the final term, putting through seven to set up a 47-point win. Banyule started the game undermanned, as the Shepherds’ chariot ran into troubles on <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Punt Road</st1:address></st1:Street>, leaving the visitors with 20 men until just before quarter time. Rick Brockwell was very disappointed with the second quarter, some missed opportunities in front of goal the only reason the Rovers didn’t head into the rooms with a lead. After the resumption of play, the Bears kicked into gear and were never seriously challenged. Ian Stokes made it back to back BOGs, Truefeldt was his usual busy self and Barclay, Langford and Masters combined for twelve goals up forward. Ed Turner continues to provide a consistent target for the Rovers, ‘Speedy’ McPherson was magnificent in his return game and some more promising youngsters got their chance at senior level.

Marcellin’s  winning streak screeched to a halt at Central Reserve, as the Nodders put themselves on the cusp of the four. It was a struggle all day, with the teams combining for just seven goals by the last break. Mazenod’s persistence was eventually rewarded though, pulling away to a match-winning lead in the final quarter. Nick Thomas and Luke Greco had their best games of the season for the winners. Ben Phibbs continues to find form, while Oldman, Bonner and Kelly were others to shine on a typical winter’s day. Steve McPherson would be concerned with Marcellin managing just seven scores for the game. Tom Jones and Matthew Holmes were a couple of Eagles to stand up in a tough day at the office.  

It was a bitterly disappointing result for the Monash faithful at the university, with their game against Rupertswood obviously a must-win for the club to consolidate their spot in Premier C. It just seemed to be a case of the visitors wanting it more than them, with Rupo winning every quarter and moving back into finals calculations, having now offset four straight losses with back-to-back wins. In conditions that weren’t conducive to dominant key forward play, Leigh Brennan stood out with five goals. Matthew Smith was unstoppable and Jarrad Bradley has proved to be a valuable addition to the senior side in recent weeks. For the Ashes, it’s a long way back now and they will need to win most of their games for the remainder of the season to have a chance of staying up.

Anticipation was high for the rematch between the Vultures and Old Camberwell. Finals positioning was at stake and the teams fought to a stalemate last time they met. Parkdale set up the win by booting six goals to one in a polished first quarter. The Wellers gradually worked their way back into the game and stayed within striking distance, but the Vultures were able to hold firm to register the important win. A great battle emerged between the gun forwards at either end, with Rochford kicking five for Parkdale and Duke responding with six for the Wellers. Brett Hampton was a constant thorn in Camberwell’s side and David Robbins has been dominant whenever he has taken the field this season. 

With the result at Parkdale, PEGS could have moved into the four with a win against Fitzroy. But, unfortunately for the Grammarians, the game was practically over at quarter time, booting eight goals to one.  The Roys now draw level with Marcellin on the ladder. Jack Parkinson had an outstanding game and joined Luke Ablett as Fitzroy’s best in the win. For PEGS, they remain right in the hunt for a finals berth, but will need to produce a more consistent performance over the coming weeks. The continued good form of Ryan Jones and Sean Towner was a positive to come out of an otherwise ordinary day.

This week, I’m picking Fitzroy to make it seven in a row against Mazenod, Old Camberwell to return to form against Monash, Marcellin to be too good for Hampton Rovers, Banyule to continue PEGS’ problems away from home and the Vultures to get over the line against Rupertswood.

FITZROY

OLD CAMBERWELL

MARCELLIN

BANYULE

PARKDALE VULTURES

 

29.6.2012

PEGS WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE

Not a lot of movement on the ladder after the completion of Round 9, with the biggest result being Rupo’s upset of the Wellers. Rupo’s win makes it a long way back now for the Blues and Rovers to avoid relegation, while Old Camberwell inherits the shakiest ground of the teams currently in the four.

It was a depleted Fitzroy that took the field against the Rovers at Boss James and Hampton was pretty competitive throughout. Ed Turner was lively again with three goals and Tom Youl continues to produce. In the end though, it was just a case of the Roys being too strong, never being seriously challenged. With boom recruits, Ablett and Vansittart, missing this one, a couple of other first year players stepped up, with Matty Brown and William Fenton highlighting how strong this year’s recruiting crop has been and Scott Cations helping himself to four snags. 

With a heart-stopping win over Mazenod at home the Vultures moved back to terra firma inside the top four. It was a see-sawing contest, with Parkdale kicking four goals to one in the first stanza, which was a precursor to the problems the teams would have scoring to that end all day. It nearly saw the Nodders notch a famous victory, with 4.3 to 0.2 in the last quarter leaving them short by just five points. Mitch Grant’s performance was a big factor in the Vultures managing to keep their noses in front, in what their supporters will probably look back on as one of the most important wins of their season. Josh Cowan was fantastic for Mazenod, while Rees Thomas was a good target in the forward line.

They took a while to shake off those pesky Bears, bet eventually Marcellin did enough to retain top spot on the ladder with a fifteen point victory. It wasn’t long before the Eagles realised they were in a contest, with Banyule holding the lead at quarter time. Ian Stokes made a sparkling return to the senior side, while Adam Barclay and Jack Langford combined well in the forward line. But it’s no fluke that Marcellin heads the ladder at this stage and they kept grinding it out to gain the ascendancy and register another quality win. Big Anthony Beaini controlled the game from the stoppages and, with the usual suspects not having their standard impact on the scoreboard, Matt Gasparini and Robbie Costanzo picked up the slack.

At the Grammar, PEGS had a massive final quarter to get over the Ashes and move into outright fifth, just two points behind the Wellers. It was the Blues who held sway for most of the game, taking a handy fifteen point lead when the oranges were passed around, behind Dean Page’s heroics. But PEGS can never be counted out at home and it looks like the Ashes only budgeted enough fuel for three quarters with the home side coming from the clouds for a great win. Ryan Jones played a ripping game and big Trent Skurrie was important for PEGS.

Monash’s disappointment was compounded by the boilover at Salesian, with Rupo ending their losing streak against Old Camberwell. After not tasting defeat in the first six rounds of 2012, the Wellers have now dropped three of their last four and need to quickly regain their mojo. With little separating the teams throughout the day, it was the home side that managed to hang on for the victory. Leigh Brennan was again effective in the forward line, while Tim Neely played his best game for the club, to join Brad Slater and Lachlan Baddeley as the catalysts in the win. Jack Duke could hold his head high, playing an immense game for the Wellers with five goals.

This week we have the Rovers travelling to Banyule and, with the Bears needing to make up some percentage on the top teams, I think they’ll be ruthless in this game. Mazenod hosts Marcellin and the Nodders will realise just how important this game is for their season. Only two points separated them in Round 3, but with seven wins in a row to their credit, I’ll stick with the Eagles. The Monash v Rupo clash takes place at the uni and this is a vital game for the Ashes to stay in Premier C for 2013. With the disappointment at PEGS still burning, I think the Blues will finally record their second win. 

Parkdale and Old Camberwell play at Gerry Green, with third spot up for grabs. The Vultures are currently playing better football and I’ll take them at home. If the Wellers fall against the Vultures, PEGS could find themselves in the four at the end of the round. All they need to do is win for the first time in white shorts this year, against the second placed Roys. I think Fitzroy will manage to win a close one.

22.6.2012
MARCELLIN MAKES IT SIX STRAIGHT

It was a week of beltings following the Queen’s Birthday break, with the Eagles gaining a bit of breathing room at the top of the ladder following a big win over the Wellers. With two of the top four losing the ladder has bunched up again in the middle, setting the competition up for a crucial round of matches this week.
Mazenod continued its resurgence; their third win on the trot putting it right back in the hunt. The Nodders welcomed back Phibbs and started firing in the second quarter, banging on seven goals to zip and setting up the win. The Ashes had all sorts of problems at that end of the ground, putting 0.4 on the board in the second and fourth terms. Rees Thomas made it sixteen goals from his last three outings, kicking four to lead the Mazenod attack. Ben and Michael Chamberlain were also important contributors in their big win. For the Blues, Cunnington and Griffiths battled all day, but they never found a consistent avenue to goal.
Out at the Grammar, Nick Bartram returned to the line-up in style, with six goals in a dominant display against the Rovers. It was a good return to form for the Grammarians, who realised they were in a contest right from the first bounce. PEGS kicked into gear in the second stanza, with 8.8 to 0.2, to put the result beyond doubt. Sean Towner was at his brilliant best, with four goals as the Essendon boys piled on sixteen in the second half. While it’s hard to find positives when your side has been done by 24 goals, there’s no doubt that Hampton is improving, with the inability to sustain their competitiveness for four quarters proving their downfall. Ed Turner was lively, bagging four goals, while Innes and Fletcher were good again.
Out at the Cave, Banyule reversed the result of the 2011 Division 1 grand final, with a big win over Parkdale. It was a back-and-forth contest in the first half, with just nine points separating them as they headed to the change-rooms. When play resumed, it was all Banyule, with the Bears putting on nine goals to two, to run out winners by 50 points. Adam Barclay helped himself to another bag and Jake Truefeldt was immense. Sam Radford was within his rights to be disappointed with the fade-out, though Paul Sullivan’s best game for the season and the continued good form of Brett Hampton were highlights. While the win certainly would have been satisfying for the Bears faithful, due to last year’s finals disappointment, in the here and now, the win was crucial to breathe life into their season.
Steve McPherson’s boys travelled to the Barnyard and showed that they have no intention of giving away top spot any time soon, completely dominating the contest from start to finish, to win by 82 points. The Bortolottos were a constant threat, combining for eight goals, while Jarrod Carlson capped off an amazing month of football with yet another best afield display. For Old Camberwell, Chris Bell earned promotion to the late game and distinguished himself with a quality performance. The Wellers have now dropped two of their past three and they’ll be desperate to return to the winners list this week. 
With Old Camberwell and Vultures slipping up, Fitzroy was able to take second spot with a commanding 50 point win to make it five in a row. John Clark celebrated his 100th for the Roys and they dominated the first half, with eleven goals to three. After the main break, an improved performance from Rupo made it a more even contest, but the result was never in doubt. Chris Polidoras and Matthew Brown were the best performers for the Roys, while Mitchell Gaunt and Lachlan Baddeley were again solid for Rupertswood.
Fitzroy travels to Boss James this week to take on the Rovers. While Hampton has gradually improved, Fitzroy has not lost since the first week of May and they will win comfortably. It’s an eight-point game at Parkdale and I’m going to go with Mazenod to continue their fantastic recent form to hit the midway point at 5-4. Marcellin and Banyule square of at the College and while the Bears certainly can’t be underestimated, it would be a brave tipster to go against the Eagles. PEGS back up from their big win last week against another team that is desperate for a win in Monash. The Ashes must be a bit deflated after six straight losses, and I think PEGS will be too strong. Rupertswood is back at home against the OC, with both teams looking to turn around some mediocre recent form. I think this game is too important for the Wellers to drop and they will give Rupo their fifth straight loss.
FITZROY
MAZENOD
MARCELLIN
PEGS
OLD CAMBERWELL
16.6.2012
TOP FOUR ESTABLISH SOME BREATHING ROOM

It took seven rounds, but a breakaway group has emerged. With most results going to script, the top four have given themselves a bit of elbow room from the peloton of Mazenod, Banyule, PEGS and Rupertswood. From there, another clearly-defined gap to the relegation zone, currently occupied by the Blues and the Rovers. A couple of weeks left to the halfway point, which will be a critical time for the also-rans to try to get a positive win-loss ledger.
In Round 7, Monash hosted Fitzroy at the university and the Ashers came out firing, establishing an early lead at the first change of ends. Andrew Hickey was busy and Ewan Flanagan was having his best game of 2012. Unfortunately for the home side, the disappointing first quarter stung the Roys into action, seizing control of the game and then putting it beyond doubt, with ten goals to two in the second and third quarters. Ablett stepped up in Vansittart’s absence and Angiolella continued his impeccable form over the past month, bobbing up for two as part of a balanced Fitzroy scoring attack. Ashers supporters will take solace from the fact that their boys were again competitive against quality opposition, but Tim Powell’s men need to start getting some wins on the board quickly.
The mob from Sunbury is another side that will be desperate for a reversal of form, slumping to a third consecutive loss, this time at the hands of competition pacesetters, Marcellin, who powered away after halftime with twelve goals to four. Ash Viney consistently drove the Eagles forward throughout the day in a BOG performance, while Gasparini, Augustin and Holmes were notable, with their attack on the ball. Rooey Crosbie and the Bortolottos were again amongst the goals, but it was the Marcellin custodian, Jake Symes, who provided the highlight of the day, dobbing one from the boundary line in front of the scoreboard, in a rare foray forward. At the other end, Brennan was potent with five and Mitch Wilson continues to impress with his nose for the goals. As always, Baddeley and Quigley’s commitment couldn’t be questioned.
The Nodders took their show to the Bear Cave and the game was well and truly over by the time the teams hit the change rooms for halftime, with Mazenod piling on fourteen goals and conceding just two. The usual suspects, Byron Bonner and Tim Bourbon were starring again and Tavis ‘Soapy’ Vallance took his good recent form in the scoobies into the late game. It would have been easy for Banyule to throw in the towel, but to their credit, they toughed it out and it was a pretty even match after halftime. Of course, it’s difficult to focus on positives after your team has just been done by twelve goals, but Adam Barclay was a major catalyst in the improved second half, finishing with a bag of five for the day. Luke French and David Gayfer were other Bears to stand out, in a disappointing day. Chanath Jayaweera looks to be getting back to his best with twelve goals in the past two rounds, including eight in this game. 
The Vultures took on Hampton Rovers at Boss James Reserve and left with a confidence (and percentage) boosting win, while the Rovers showed signs of gradual improvement, managing to win the third quarter against very strong opposition. But the Vultures finished the game like a premiership contender should with a seven-goal final term. Darren Rochford led Parkdale’s six multiple goalkickers with half a dozen and Liam Platt was back to his best. Jack Massie was a good contributor for the Rovers and Youl and Power battled hard.
A big third quarter by an accurate PEGS unit gave the Wellers an almighty scare on their home patch, but after that, Old Camberwell showed why they are a flag favourite, booting five goals to nil to run out comfortable winners. It was a frustrating performance by the Essendon boys, with the game lost in the second and last quarters, where they managed just one goal. On the other side of things, the Wellers ultimately bounced back from their first loss with a morale-boosting win, which is always a massive boost, heading into the Queen’s Birthday. Damian McGuigan was phenomenal for the home side and the Bennett boys were standouts. PEGS’ disappointing loss would be offset by the clear signs that Chris Goullet and Trent Skurrie are getting close to their best form.
This week Mazenod will make it three in a row against Monash, PEGS should win easily at home, Banyule will get a bit of revenge from the 2011 Division 1 Grand Final, Fitzroy will keep marching on against Rupertswood and Old Camberwell will take top spot back from Marcellin in a classic. 

2.6.12
MARCELLIN GRABS TOP SPOT
We are now a third of the way through the season and an outright top four has emerged in Premier C Section, with Fitzroy’s win taking them clear of Banyule, PEGS and Rupertswood in fourth place. The result out at Brunswick Street also gives us a new ladder leader heading into Round 7, with Marcellin overtaking the Wellers in top spot.
Mazenod welcomed Hampton Rovers to Central Reserve in a battle of the two bottom sides. And by the final siren, the Nodders had lifted themselves well out of the danger zone, with a 173-point win. Rees Thomas, David Regan and Chamath Jayaweera combined for sixteen goals, with another of the Nodders’ eight multiple goal scorers, Tim Bourbon, having probably his best game in what has been a scintillating 2012 for him so far. The leaders for the Rovers were the standouts, vice-captain, Ed Turner, contributing all of their three goals and their skipper, Leigh Fletcher, again being named their best player. Tom Youl and Matt Innes also played well in their 200th games for the club.
PEGS made the trek down to Gerry Green Reserve to take on the Vultures and Parkdale won by 82 points, in a performance that would have delighted Sam Radford. Matthew Boland was back for the home side and booted another nine, taking his tally to seventeen in the past two weeks. David Robbins returned and dominated for the Vultures and young gun Lewis Emmerson was another standout. PEGS would have headed home a bit shocked at how easily they were taken apart, after heading into the match in great form. Sean Towner, Chris Goullet and Dave Forrest, with his four goals, did their best to keep the Grammarians in the game.
The Eagles soared to top spot on the ladder, on the back of a 40-point win at the college against the Ashers, and other results falling their way. The damage was really done in the first term, with Marcellin opening up a 26-point lead at the change of ends and holding the Blues at arm’s length throughout the day. Monash challenged at different stages, but it seemed like the Eagles always had an answer and they were able to extend their lead in the final quarter by holding the Ashers goalless. Marcellin’s Jarrod Carlson was best on for the second week in a row and big Anthony Beaini controlled the airways. The Blues received good service from Andrew Hickey and George Smyth.
Banyule headed out to Sunbury to take on Rupertswood in a critical game for both teams. The deck out at Salesian College had handled the constant rain in the lead-up very well and it was the visitors, with five enforced changes from Round 5, who got the jump in a fantastic first quarter. Adam Barclay celebrated his selection to the VAFA senior squad by kicking four of the side’s seven, which allowed Banyule to take a 28-point lead into quarter time. This advantage was extended to a match-winning 54 points by the ten-minute mark of the second quarter, before Rupertswood started to get into the game, cutting the margin back to seven goals at the main break. As conditions deteriorated in the second half, it turned into a battle of attrition, with the Bears showing how valuable early goals in those conditions can be, only adding two to their tally in the second half, but still holding on for a comfortable win. Barclay finished with a bag of seven and Michael Christian was cutting off everything across half back. Rupo would be disappointed with their start to the game and ruing some missed opportunities in the last quarter, however the work-rate of Todd Podolczak and John Corso couldn’t be questioned.
Old Camberwell had their first defeat for 2012, in a topsy-turvy contest at Brunswick Street. The Roys opened up a 23-point lead in the first quarter, only to see it swiftly erased, as the rain came and the Wellers piled on 6.1 to 0.1 in the second stanza. It was an arm wrestle in the third, with Old Camberwell’s good kicking allowing them to maintain a slender advantage with 11.5 against Fitzroy’s wasteful 8.13. Going into the wind in the last quarter and with the rain returning, the Roys dug in, finally taking the lead in the closing minutes of the game. In a desperate finish, the Lions managed to keep the ball out of the danger zone, to ensure they got the result. Rory Angiolella was terrific for the Roys, along with Vansittart and Ablett, while Bennett and McGuigan were the Wellers’ best.
In Round 7, the Vultures will knock off the Rovers; the Roys will continue their ascent up the ladder at the Ashers’ expense; Marcellin to knock off Rupo at home; Banyule to beat Mazenod in an interesting matchup; and Old Camberwell to bounce back against PEGS.

26.5.12
PEGS SIGNALS ITS INTENT

As the Premier C season steadily propels itself towards the one-third mark, we are starting to see some separation on the ladder. But whether this is the point where we see the top sides pull away from the rest of the combatants, or whether the logjam is re-established, remains to be seen.
The Rovers have hosted the top two sides in C section in the last two weeks and the results have not been pretty: five goals for; 53 goals against. This time it was the Eagles that had a percentage-booster, easing the margin out past a hundred in the third quarter, before running out winners by 134 points. The Bortolotto brothers and Rooey Crosbie combined for sixteen goals, while Trent and Jaz Carlson had their best games of the season. It’s like a broken record, but you’ve got to hand it to Leigh Fletcher, who continues to do a fantastic job every week. Karl Amon was a welcome inclusion from the Sandringham Dragons with three goals and the Rovers are likely to find a senior guernsey somewhere for him, should he have a week off from the TAC Cup. Tom Youl was also prominent in his 200th game for the club.
Monash and Parkdale clashed out at Clayton and, with Matthew Boland swapping his Collingwood stripes for a Vultures jumper, the Blues’ defence was always going to have a big task. As it turned out, Boland was the difference, bagging eight in a 26-point victory for the visitors. Parkdale held the edge at halftime, on the back of some straight kicking compared to some Asher inaccuracy. And after the resumption of play in the second half, the Vulture established a commanding lead, which was enough to hold off Monash in the end. Matthew Ryan stood up for the Vultures in a terrific performance and it was McKenzie and Ree-Goodings who did their utmost to try to keep the Blues in the contest.
For Rupo, it was the wrong result at Wright Road, PEGS capping off a good month of footy at home with a pretty surprising 94-point victory, which will no doubt make those sides above the Grammar sit up and take notice. David Forrest contributed five goals for PEGS, to make it fourteen from the last three starts, while Chris Goullet was outstanding and Sean Towner had another great game. The game was effectively over at halftime, with Rupo’s lack of a consistent avenue to goal proving to be a massive problem. Matthew Smith was their only multiple goalscorer and never stopped trying.
With Mazenod coming off a good win, the battle at Fitzroy was earmarked as a potential danger game for the Roys. The teams traded goalless quarters in the first half, though the Roys responded to their barren first quarter with seven in the second to set up the win. Vansittart was given too much latitude and Rory Angiolella was a consistent target in a balanced attack. The home side converted its dominance of general play on the scoreboard in the fourth, to run out comfortable winners. Seven multiple goalkickers was a feature of a polished Fitzroy display. Rees Thomas had another big game for Mazenod.
The Wellers remain undefeated, with a comprehensive win over the Bears at the Barnyard. Banyule wasted some early opportunities to get on top and OC took the initiative, with three late goals meaning they headed into the rooms at halftime with the lead and all the momentum. Rick Brockwell moved the magnets around in the forward line and the Bears responded with two quick goals to start the third quarter, pulling it back to an eight point deficit. But from there, it was fourteen on the trot for Camberwell, as they put the wounded Bears to the sword, with 25 entries into the arc in the final quarter alone. A three-pronged attack, featuring Killworth, Duke and ‘Juggas’ Eade produced twelve goals for the Wellers. Tim Cusack continued his sensational 2012 form for Banyule.
Round 6 sees the Rovers heading to Central Reserve in a battle of two teams in a game Mazenod should be good enough to win. Parkdale is at home to PEGS and this is a tough one to pick, as both teams are in good form of late. With little to separate them, I’ll go with the home side to take the points. Two teams going in opposite directions meet at Marcellin College and it’s impossible to go past the Eagles in their current form. Rupo are back at Salesian against Banyule, with both teams very keen to bounce back from sub-par displays. I’ll go with Rupo in a tight one. Finally, we have Fitzroy against Old Camberwell, in what may be the most anticipated game of the year thus far. While it’s tough to go against the Wellers, I think the Roys will give them their first loss for 2012.
19.5.12
WELLERS OUTON THEIR OWN
The Round 4 dust has settled and we are now left with Old Camberwell clear on top. And, with Mazenod opening its account against the highly-regarded PEGS, nine of the teams in the section can legitimately go into the second month with optimism about their September chances.
The focus for the Rovers now turns squarely to survival in Premier C, after another big loss to the Wellers.  Following the buzz surrounding the revamped Boss James, with the official reopening duties being performed by life member Sue Anderson, Hampton was given a football lesson from start to finish, managing just two goals for the day. Camberwell’s spearhead, Jackson Eade had nine, with Jack Duke contributing five. The Rovers’ skipper, Leigh Fletcher, again set the example and is looking the goods to claim a remarkable fourth straight best and fairest at this early stage. For the Wellers, Andrew Clarke continues to shine and Alex Lattuada made the most of his promotion to the late game.
Following PEGS’ Round 3 win over Fitzroy, Mazenod’s narrow victory over the Essendonians might be considered an upset. However, those who have been following the ebbs and flows of the Nodders’ in 2012 probably figured that a prized scalp was just around the corner. It was a tight contest all the way, with Mazenod adding a frustrating, but ultimately sweet, 1.8 to PEGS’ 0.2 to have its noses in front at the final siren. Rhys Thomas, Byron Bonner and Tim Bourbon have consistently been catalysts for the Nodders in 2012 and again played well, while Dave Forrest followed up his good recent goalkicking form with another four and Sean Towner was PEGS’ BOG for the second week running.
After wins against Rupo and Fitzroy at Gerry Green in the first three rounds, Parkdale’s Nest was quickly developing a reputation as a place that would be fairly unkind to visitors looking for a victory in 2012. But, just like that, the Eagles swooped on the Vultures in Round 4, leaving with a confidence-boosting 47-point win. The game was won in the second and third stanzas, with Marcellin piling on ten goals to three. Luke Considine was on fire for the Eagles and JB made it eight from the last two rounds, with another four. Darren Rochford had three for Parkdale, who, despite a good first month following promotion, would be concerned that they have only managed to break ten goals once so far this year.
The Bears welcomed the Roys to the Cave with the home side wanting to make it three from three at home in 2012. The Roysestablished a handy lead by the end of the first quarter, which they were able to maintain for much of the day, before putting the foot down in the last for a five-goal triumph. Ablett, Pickering and McGee each had three for the victors and John Clark played a starring role. The Royswould have been encouraged by the performances of senior debutants Kyroussis and Pound-Palmieri and pleased that they got their defensive match-ups spot on, with Ash Brown the only multiple goalkicker for the Bears. Luke French had his best game for the year in Banyule’s backline and Mr. Reliable, Tim Cusack, continues to do his job every week, this time applying the clamps to Vansittart.
They have reason to be pretty pleased with their first four rounds at Rupertswood, currently sitting second on the ladder. The College has been a graveyard for travelling teams at this stage, with Rupo managing to run over the top of Monash in an entertaining encounter, to make it 3-0 at home in 2012. The Blues held a slender advantage for much of the day, as the hyphen, Earl Ree-Goodings, put on a clinic and Gareth Taylor was at his dangerous best around goals. Rupo refused to yield though and this week Leigh Brennan was part of a two-pronged forward attack with young gun, Mitch Wilson, who bagged five in a performance that would have the Rupo faithful very excited. Combined with Brennan’s four and mainstays Quigley and Baddeley doing what they always do, it was enough to get Rupo the four points in a great advertisement for Premier C footy. While ruing some missed opportunities during the early part of the year, the Ashes would be confident of their ability to compete with anyone and with their Scoobies undefeated with a percentage of heaps, competition for spots will be fierce at the uni.
This week, I think Marcellin will be far too polished for the Rovers; Monash to squeak past the Vultures in an upset, PEGS to knock off Rupo in a bit of a North-Western derby, Fitzroy to hold off a rejuvenated Mazenod at Brunswick Street and the Wellers to do enough against Banyule.

12.5.12
Nobody’s perfect!
That was fun while it lasted. We’ve only got to Round 4 and no teams left in the comp on maximum points (though we’ve still got two that are undefeated). Boasting a form line that’s been tougher to read than Finnegans Wake, it looks like Premier C is going to be a great season from start to finish, unless you’re a tipster. 
As the ‘Keep off the grass’ signs were being taken down at Boss James Reserve, ahead of its  relaunch this Saturday, the Rovers were under siege against a rampant Banyule at the Cave. The Bears defence had a clean sheet at quarter time and kept Hampton to just two goals all day.  The Rovers’ skipper, Leigh Fletcher was battling manfully in the middle and Cameron Sharp made a welcome return, but Banyule just had too many winners on the day in a 119-point victory. Adam Barclay was back to his best for the Bears with six goals, while Gayfer chimed in with four and Bart Walsh continued his good early season form. 
Monash was at Frearson against Old Camberwell and while it was a tight battle throughout, the Ashes were unable to capitalise on their narrow halftime advantage, with the Wellers getting home by nine points. In a low scoring encounter, Old Camberwell’s third quarter yield of 3.1 to one point ultimately got them home and with two wins and a draw from three games, they are now equal top of the ladder. Greg Tolson starred for the visitors and Ben Hart put in another dominant display, while Andrew Hickey was fantastic for the Blues, yet again. 
Rupo put the white shorts on for the first time of the Premier C season and the long drive home from Parkdale would not have been a happy one, succumbing to the Vultures by 32 points. Parkdale gained the early ascendancy on the scoreboard and managed to hold Rupertswood at arm’s length all day. Liam Platt was busy for the Vultures and David Robbins and Andrew Thompson celebrated their return to the side with strong performances. John Corso and Josh Smerdon had their best games for the year for Rupo and would be looking to build on this form as their team tries to return to the winners list in Round 4. 
The Eagles hosted Mazenod at Bulleen and Marcellin would be very happy to take the four points, just outlasting the Nodders in a cliffhanger. The loss leaves Mazenod at 0-3, which probably isn’t an accurate representation of how competitive they’ve been so far. It was the Bortolotto show at the college, with JB and Big B putting on a clinic, combining for seven goals in a sensational display. Augustine Patti was good for the Nodders in his first game of 2012 and Tim Bourbon was a solid contributor. 
Fitzroy, coming off a confidence-building win against Marcellin, went to PEGS, hoping to make it two in a row. But it was the home side that would continue its winning streak, with a big final quarter sealing the deal for PEGS. David Forrest was a great focal point for the victors, finishing with five goals and Towner, Skurrie and Biggs were all firing. Josh Vansittart played another great game for the Roys, Sam Baker performed well and Michael Cussen kicked four in a losing cause. 
This week, the Rovers are back at their beloved home, in what will be a huge day for the club. All three sides are playing there on the day and hopefully a massive crowd will be there to see the Rovers take on the Wellers. Old Camberwell has barely put a foot wrong in 2012, but they can’t afford to underestimate Hampton, who will undoubtedly be fired up for this one. Still, Old Camberwell has been very solid so far this year and I don’t think they’ll drop this game. Mazenod is back at home this week against PEGS and the Nodders would no doubt be feeling disappointed with no premiership points to show for three games, considering they’ve been thereabouts in all three games. It’s tough to go against winning form though, so I’ll tip PEGS in a tight one. The Vultures get their third game at home in the first month, this one against Marcellin. This should be a great game between two quality sides and I’ll tip the Vultures to win at the Nest. Fitzroy travels to Heidelberg to take on Banyule in a massive game for both clubs. While the Bears won’t be a pushover, I think Fitzroy will get their season back on track with a good win. Two sides looking to bounce back clash at Salesian, with Rupo taking on the Ashes. It’s never easy to get out of Sunbury with the four points and I think Rupo will get the points at their fortress.