By Tom Feldgen – @tfeldgen
Division 1 finally has a clear top four. Therry Penola and PEGS now sit third and fourth respectively and are a game and percentage inside the four. St Mary’s Salesian’s critical loss to Old Paradians has meant that some clarity is now present in the race for finals qualification. However, as has been the case all season, anything is possible and there are no doubt a number of upsets to take place in the remaining four rounds.
In icy cold conditions at Ferndale Park Old Paradians forced St Mary’s Salesian to suffer their fourth loss in a row after previously sitting on top of the ladder with eight wins and two losses. Despite the end margin being a mere 15 points it was a convincing performance from the Raiders who are absolutely storming home in the latter stage of the season. The scoring shots (30 to the Raiders, 20 to the Saints) were indicative of the tale of the game. Marcus Nolan continued his blistering form for the Raiders with three goals and another best on ground display, while Sean Miller and Andrew Tulipano also impressed. Nathan Evans battled away for the Saints and Michael Dolan kicked four. The Saints now desperately need to respond with a win in round 15 and hope results go their way in the remaining rounds.
Old Geelong silenced the doubters and cemented second position with a 17-point win in a low scoring affair against fellow premiership contender Therry Penola. The Lions never quite recovered from their slow start, which saw them left goalless at quarter-time. Callum Wood slotted three vital majors for the home side and Carl Joyce continued his inspired form with a dynamic performance for the Ogs. Chris Hoban kicked half of the Lions’ majors and superstar key forward Jarrod Bannister was held to the singular maximum. The Costello boys were back at it again, being amongst the strongest performers.
Out at Keysborough Old Mentonians made it five from five with a 30-point victory over Ivanhoe. The loss has all but ended the Hoes finals aspirations. The Panthers come out a little sluggish trailing by 12 at the first break, but lead at each of the following intervals as they found their groove. Kyle Conlon was the only multiple goal scorer on the field as he registered two significant goals for the Panthers, Aaron Hodges continued his hot streak of form and Brenton Schubert also impressed. Liam Jacob and Glenn Francis did their utmost to keep Ivanhoe in the contest.
PEGS cemented their position inside the top four and gave themselves a handy percentage boost on the way as they trounced Brunswick NOBSPC by 56 points at The Runway. Considering the blustery conditions, the quarter time score of 28-1 in favour of the home side meant the contest was all but over. NOBs simply lacked effort in the first stanza. This improved for the remainder, although it wasn’t enough to create a scare in the PEGS camp. Cam Livori was sublime with four goals and a stellar overall performance, David Forrest was outstanding and did much of the grunt work, while Andrew Khallouf continued his great form. Kyle Adams provided a lone hand up forward for Brunswick NOBSPC and Jeremy Nettleford continued his great form to be NOBs’ best on the day.
Unfortunately for Prahran-Assumption, they look to be headed to Division 2 in 2017 after suffering a 34-point loss to Whitefriars. After fully utilising the wind to lead by 22 at quarter time, the Two-Blues capitulated and the Friars kicked into gear. The Two-Blues were especially disappointing in the third quarter as they managed just two points despite the wind advantage. Whitefriars controlled the game after quarter time and extended their lead in each of the following quarters. Michael Nitas was their most prominent forward with three majors, Sean Currie continued his purple patch and Tim Baker was another standout. John Robbins made in five goals in the past two weeks for the Two Blues after adding two majors to his account and John Stocker was a shining light on a bleak day for the Prahran-Assumption army.
Tentatively, I am going to suggest that round 15 features some fairly clear cut fixtures in which the winner should be easy to predict. However, last time something along those lines was proclaimed it was upsets galore! And that may well be the case if the trend of Division 1 continues on the weekend. Despite all of this I’m sticking with the favourites and am praying to the footy gods to help me regain some pride in my tips.
Brunswick NOBSPC v St Mary’s Salesian
Old Geelong v Whitefriars
Ivanhoe v Therry Penola
Old Paradians v Old Mentonians
PEGS v Prahran-Assumption