The ever-changing Division 2 ladder is never settled as the race for the finals is on, while at the other end of the ladder, 5 sides are battling to avoid the dreaded drop.
At the mid-point of the season, Old Paradians and UHS-VU lead the pack with the early pacesetters, Whitefriars and Yarra Old Grammarians closing out the top 4. Melbourne High sit just outside while Bulleen, St Johns, St Leos, Power House and Eltham are locked in a tough battle to determine who will play in Division 3 next season.
All sides will take the well-earned break to regroup. It will be a chance to refresh their players before a full-on second half of the season onslaught.
Here’s how Round 9 went down.
Eltham Collegians vs Old Paradians
The hard work has almost paid off for a fighting Eltham Collegians side, who tested the ladder leaders and flag favourites Old Paradians, going down by only 23 points at their home Eltham College. It was a tight battle throughout the day, with the battle on at both ends with Boundy (Raiders) kicking four and Vidinopolous (Eltham) booting three. The Turtles were close all day but they didn’t have the cattle when it counted as the class of the Raiders prevailed. Nolan was the star of the show for the Raiders, followed by Hunt and Gilmore’s valuable inputs. Vidinopolous was named best for the Turtles along with Enright and Robertson’s assistance.
Power House vs UHS-VU
The 2017 Division 3 Premiers came out to play and demolished an undermanned and injury depleted Power House side by 70 points. The first quarter looked to set up the game as a closer battle with the House kicking two to UHS-VU’s three, but the handy kicking from McAdam (6) and Jackson (4) settled the Vultures as they went on to kick six more before half time. A battling House side were stopped in front of goal and struggled to stop a variety of goal kickers. Tassone was the standout for the House, supported by Circosta and Ritchie while the Vultures had a share of goal kickers but Brambley and Allen dominated while “Gilbert” McAdam was the star of the show.
Bulleen Templestowe vs Emmaus St Leos
This game was decided in the first quarter as Bulleen Templestowe stamped their authority over Emmaus St Leos and came home 97 point victors. Holding the Animals goalless in the first quarter, the Bullants extended their dominance to lead 10 goals to one at half time. With a spread of nine goal kickers, led by Dimopoulos’ four, Bulleen piled on another 10 goals in the second half and halted any chance for the Animals to fight back, holding them to a total of six for the game. The Animals couldn’t find their feet across the ground as they were shut down by the hardworking Bullants Vogler and Wilson. Dakin was again strong for the Bullants with three to his name.
St Johns vs Yarra Old Grammarians
A strong defensive performance from Yarra Old Grammarians halted any chance that St Johns had in front of goal, as the Rangers piled on the pressure to take the chocolates by a comfortable 90 points. After a close first half, with the Jocs only trailing by four goals, Yarra came out fresh and only allowed them one more goal for the rest of the game booting 11 goals to one after half time.
The Rangers BOG performances came from Fleming and Woolley around the ground. Harbeck adds seven to his leading goal tally, with Cooper the other big kicker with five. The Jocs had Mourant kicking five and Costas named best, in a performance they’ll be keen to move on from.
Whitefriars vs MHSOB
Holding MHSOB scoreless in the first quarter and keeping them to only 5 goals for the game, Whitefriars have stayed put in the top 3 taking the win by 30 points. It was a low scoring affair with the Friars ably shutting down the Unicorns up forward and clogging up their fast run on through the middle. While the Friars only managed to kick four more goals after the first quarter, their ability to lock down and play a defence game won them the four points.
Tran was again the shining light for MHSOB, with single goals from Hayes and Smith, who is pushing for top spot in the competition goal kicking. For the winners, who were missing consistent goal kicker Nitas, goals came from Neate (2) and Perrin (2), with the BOG performance being handed to Leonard.
Round 10 Preview:
Emmaus St Leos vs Power House
It’s a chance for a clean start for both sides as they meet again to battle it out to stay alive in Division 2. It will be a tough game of contested ball, as both sides like to crowd the corridor and play physical man-on-man football. A loss to either side could prove fatal to their chances of survival in Division 2, so this is the perfect chance to regroup against an evenly matched opponent. A close encounter is expected.
UHS-VU vs St Johns
Now sitting second on the ladder in what has been a near-perfect first half of 2018, the UHS-VU boys will be refreshed to take on St Johns, who are looking to come back after slumping towards the end of the first half of the season. The Vultures will be circling while St Johns will need to work hard to keep in touch. UHS-VU’s spread of goalkickers and midfield depth will challenge the Jocs who will need to be efficient with hand and foot to compete.
Yarra Old Grammarians vs Whitefriars
Attempting to hold fourth spot on the ever-changing ladder, the Rangers will stop at nothing to take down an evenly matched Whitefriars side. Both teams are the highest scoring in the competition, so it will be the battle of the forwards in Nitas (Friars) and Harbeck (Rangers) and more importantly, the battle of the defenders and who can shut down the fast breaks and multiple outlets in the forward lines. Yarra look to be building and their game style on their smaller ground might just swing the result their way however the Friars have plenty of options round the ground
Old Paradians vs Bulleen Templestowe
After a scare against Eltham in Round 9, the Raiders will come into Round 10 ready to steady the ship and build on their big percentage. Bulleen however have proved they are no easy beat and they will be eager to push closer to a chance for a finals berth. This could be the game of the round as both sides are quick and know how to pile on the goals when given the chance. Watch for the middle men battle which can make or break the goal opportunities. Whoever gets out of the blocks early will hold a big advantage.
MHSOB vs Eltham Collegians
Both coming off bitter losses and looking to prove their worth, this game could be closer than first thought. Eltham showed in Round 9 that they can test the best in the business, so it’s now time to take that belief and hard work one step forward to take the much-needed 4 points. MHSOB have now dropped to fifth spot on the ladder and are ready to come back fighting for the win to put them back into the finals race. If other results go their way, they may find themselves back in the top 4 but they’ll need to put in the work to outrun and stop the young players from Eltham, who will come back extra fresh from the week off.