Our top flight teams left nothing to chance over the weekend knowing full-well they won’t be seen again for 21 days.
Collegians are riding a roller coaster in 2022 with big ups, big downs and everything in between. St Kevin’s reign supreme at the College, Old Melburnians ended the dominance Old Scotch has at their own school. Despite losing to Uni Blues it was a much improved performance from the bottom of the table St Bernard’s as Caulfield triumphed over Old Trinity.
Out bayside, every selection went the way of Old Brighton in the build up. 40 seconds into the game you’d have been forgiven for thinking it would be a walk in the park for the Tonners. Doyle, to Kennedy, to Hill, to goal. From there though, it was all Collegians as the purple army went to work keeping the home side to just three goals to three quarter time, kicking 11 themselves and having an unassailable 44 point lead.
Since being embarrassed under the Friday night lights against Old Melburnians, Collegians have now won three in a row by 29, 39 and 28 points. Jared Rivers has been afforded the luxury of having a fit group of players and handy selections to pick from. They’re well and truly out of any relegation discussions for 2022, instead of asking how they will stay up, they’re asking about how we can get to fourth on the table.
Old Brighton put in their lowest performance of the year from a scoreboard perspective. Inaccuracy in front of goal, the inability to make Collegians pay when momentum was on their side. It’s starting to become a trend for the Tonners, despite winning games, four of their last five they’ve kicked more behinds than points and with the competition so even, they’ll want to take every chance they get in front of the sticks.
In the RSN Carnival Match of the Day, St Kevin’s took every chance afforded to them in an opening quarter blitz against Old Xaverians that sealed the deal on the game. Seven goals to one set up a 38 point buffer at the opening change with Paddy Kerr looking ominous. While SKOB had the aid of the breeze, the ball movement was slick, the pressure around the contest had the red and black mafia second guessing themselves and hurt on turnover.
The game became a grind from quarter time onwards and Xav’s worked their way back into the contest on the scoreboard, Marcus Stavrou led from the front getting his hands on the ball at all costs, kicking two goals. Cam Hodges was doing the same the other way for St Kevins.
Michael Pisker was the brick wall in defence, it took until the final quarter for Xavier Richards to come into the contest as Xaverians pressed hard. Inaccuracy in the last quarter (3.7 to 1.0) cost the Xaverians from being even closer on the scoreboard.
St Kevin’s two losses this season have been by 9 points and 3 points, both away from home. They’re proving to be an anywhere, anytime team. Just the way Plugger Lynch likes it.
University Blues is outside the top four, equal with Old Xaverians but an inferior percentage. At half-time on Saturday there may have been some questions around whether they’d be up for the fight against St Bernard’s.
Held to three goals, trailing by 26 points and staring down the barrel of a third straight loss. Some words of inspiration from Guy Martyn and the Blues flipped the script in the second half kicking seven goals to two running out 20 point winners.
Sam Grimley, again the focal point up forward with another five goals to his name. He won’t be beaten on the sharpshooters table from here with 41 in total. Paddy Kerr (26) and Tom Baker (26) the next best.
The Snowdogs put together their best first half of the season, Darren Colaco kicked three for the home side. It fell away in the third term as Blues gained the ascendancy and didn’t look back from there.
Old Melburnians are 2% behind Old Brighton who’ve retained second spot on the ladder despite the loss to Collegians. OM’s were in the tightest contest of the round to three quarter time with the game taking a similar to trend to the earlier encounter against Old Scotch at Elsternwick Park in Round 7.
Trailing by 2-points at three quarter time, the Navy Blue stormed home with six final quarter goals to win by 25 points and respond after last week’s loss to St Kevins.
Tom Baker (6) was the shining light in the forward line and has been a terrific recruit for Paul Satterley’s forward line. Working in tandem with Jackson Paine, Justin De Steiger and when he’s available (like yesterday) Sam Dunell.
Old Scotch can take a lot away from this season when it’s all over, they’ve been in every contest this year. Another 9 individual goal kickers as part of the loss. They’re on the next rung of teams outside the top 4 with Collegians and if the progress continues on this trend, it won’t be long before they’re taking the next step.
It may have felt wobbly at quarter time for Caulfield at Glen Huntly Oval as Old Trinity took the opening term honours without fully capitalising. The Fields turned it around in the second term with six goals of their own. Before running away from the T’s in the second half.
Jack Ellwood, Isaac Morrisby, Nick Baltas and Keegan Stewart all kicked three majors each. Three out of the last four matches the Fields have had over 25 scoring shots at goal. Maybe the formula for Punchy Williams is to wind back the clock to the great era of Malcolm Blight, leave the defence to the others and focus on kicking a higher score than the opposition. They’re showing the capabilities of kicking big scores.
In a game that had little to cheer about for the T’s, Myles Scott has been a shining light for the T’s in the last fortnight. The best Jamie Cassidy-McNamara can do is chalk it up as another learning experience for him and his developing group. Last week, they couldn’t miss in front of the goal. When they had the momentum against the Fields, they were unable to take a firm grasp of it.
There are 7-games remaining in the home and away season. A fortnight to get the aches, pains, niggles and travel out of the way. Some clubs will be thankful for the bye, others will wish this time away as quickly as possible.
For me, July 16 can’t come quick enough. See you in Round 12!
Photo: Bruce Tobin, Collegians FC