William Buck Premier: Look out, here come De La

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By Andrew Leonard – @Lennytalk

De La Salle finding their feet in 2015.

It’s been a long time between drinks for those of us yearning for club football. The two-week break requires a reality TV style recap. A few columns back I consigned De La Salle to Premier B footy in 2016. It still may prove correct, and yes it’s dangerous to make an early call on a club’s future in William Buck Premier, but it’s better than having splinters in your backside. Isn’t it? De La Salle has shown great guts and determination in the past fortnight in trying to extract themselves from the bottom two. Goal 1 has been reached with De La moving from the bottom of the table, leapfrogging Beaumaris as they recorded back to back wins for the first time this year.

De La Salle’s win over University Blues was no surprise to many of our radio brethren, as all foresaw a victory for the visitors on Clash Jumpers on Saturday morning. Coaches will guard in-house secrets like Fort Knox, but one thing remains the same, scoreboard pressure. In the past fortnight, De La Salle has scored more goals after half time than they had in the first half. De La Salle, have proven to be good starters this year –Beauy the exception – often leading more fancied teams at the main break before a second half capitulation. Again they started well and more importantly carried on after the break to beat Blues on their own patch. Forato has been immense the past few weeks and he shone again here. Equally Ross Young has had a purple patch of late and again he tried tirelessly for Blues. In the end, De La’s midfield exerted their influence over Blues and that was that.

Old Carey’s hold on third spot had been weakened in recent weeks and a loss at Old Xaverians would have seen them slip from the four. The game was played on the Roche Oval of Xavier College and Xavs have been almost unbeatable in recent seasons when they have returned to school. Matt Handley created problems for the Old Carey defenders and where he was taking marks, Carey’s forwards weren’t. A half time lead of four goals crept to almost five at one point but a late Carey goal before three quarter time had them within range. Old Carey’s pressure on the ball carrier lifted in the second half and shone like a beacon in the final term as they piled on five goals to none to steal a win that kept them locked into third spot. Sam Cust set up much of the play for the Panthers as they stormed home, whilst Rimmington and Howat were responsible for much of that increased pressure. In a sad note, Luke Ball – playing his second game – hurt his knee in the final term as an opponent fell across it. His own analysis on 3AW on Saturday night was that it was a minor medial strain, but scans will reveal more. Here’s hoping that his Xavs career is not over just yet.

Beaumaris took the game to St Bernards early at the Aquarium before the Snowdogs ran riot after half time to record their biggest win of the year. Tom Sullivan was a standout with five goals fro midfield, whilst Chad Jones wreaked his own havoc with four goals. It was the consummate performance from Anthony Rock’s men. Holding the Sharks to four goals, whilst maintaining their own attacking form at the other end. Beaumaris will be disappointed; two second half fade outs in two weeks has not been their habit this year and a two week break comes at a good time for them.

If there were any question marks about Old Trinity, it was that they hadn’t really buried a side this year. Well you can strike that from the record now. The T’s blew Collegians off the Daley Oval with a fifteen goal to seven second half as they kicked their biggest score of the year. Ed Weatherson kicked four goals, but it was again the team performance that stood out. Eleven Old Trinity players kicked goals. Andrew Kyriacopoulos has lifted his game in the absence of Iezzi and again more new names featured in the best players as a new batch step up to take the load. For Collegians, their form run was rudely interrupted by the Queen’s Birthday and perhaps the next break might see a reverse in fortunes again.

University Blacks again fired strongly in the first quarter and the only surprise was that Old Scotch weren’t prepared for this. Since Blacks commenced winning again, they have only lost one first term. In their last three matches, Blacks have averaged at least five goals in the opener. The fact the Cardinals won the game after quarter time should not be lost on Old Trinity who the Students confront after the mid season break. Alistair Robbins again shone with four majors, whilst Simon Hogan distributed plenty of football through midfield for Blacks. Sam Barnett did his utmost with four goals of his own and Jack Bull is playing his best footy yet for Old Scotch, he is just one or two mates short at this stage.

So whom does the break suit? If you are a good enough player you might not have had a break at all. The U23 Carnival in Tassie has been run and won, and the VAFA’s full card of representative matches against AFL Vic Country experienced a miserable Bendigo afternoon. Well done to all William Buck Premier players that represented the Big V. Well done to all those that managed an overseas escape to warmer climes. I’m not sure really what it will do for our premier ten. There will be winners and losers and no doubt the break will be used as an excuse or a rejuvenation depending on your circumstances. All we know is there are seven weeks left save yourself, make history, or lock in your best possible chance of making a run in September. It’s great to have the footy back.

Round 12 tips:

University Blacks v Old Trinity

Old Carey v Beaumaris

Collegians v Old Xaverians

St Bernard’s v Uni Blues

De La Salle v Old Scotch