The battle for that ever-important final four spot is firing between Yarra old Grammarians, MHSOB and Whitefriars, with all games from now being eight-point matches, meaning that a win benefits your side, but also steers you four points clearer from your opposition. The bottom six are on the move in the battle to avoid relegation. Power House’s second win in a row puts them in the box seat to avoid relegation, while St Johns and Emmaus St Leos all battle with percentage. If you want to survive in Division 2, the fate is in your own hands…
Emmaus St Leos vs Old Paradians
The Raiders are one step closer to making their season a clean sweep with their convincing 78-point win over Emmaus St Leos, who are attempting to stay alive around the relegation zone. It was an exciting start for the Raiders who kicked seven to two goals and beat the Animals with their pace from the get-go. St Leos were held to only one goal in the third quarter thanks to a well-planned Raider defence. At the other end of the ground, the Animals defence struggled to stop the blitz of 14 majors, led by Nolan (3), Boundy (3), Jeffrey (3) and Penny (3). It’s hard to see anyone beating a well-put together Raiders side while the Animals go back to the drawing board to plan for the finals weeks of 2018.
Yarra Old Grammarians vs UHS-VU
UHS-VU were in the box seat all day and sealed their 13th win of their 2018 campaign, defeating Yarra Old Grammarians by 44 points. The second-placed Vultures started comfortably, using a fast-paced midfield to open up the game and boot five goals. Led by Jackson’s three majors, after half time, UHS-VU halted the high scoring from the Rangers and applied pressure of their own from the defence into the forward line, while also booting 15 more goals of their own. The Vultures had a spread of 11 goal kickers. The Rangers on the other hand were slowed down by a cleaner Uni High side, who seem to be far more prepared and able to shut down high pressure. The Bushrangers regardless have shown that they are capable of demolishing sides with their multiple scoring outlets, but if they want to prove their seriousness in Division 2, they’ll need to figure out a way to beat the very best. For Yarra, Harbeck kicked three to add to his tally, while Chipman was given the votes. Howard and McAdam were awarded best-on-ground honours for the Vultures.
Eltham Collegians vs St Johns
St Johns have had a come from behind win against a gutsy Eltham side, who let their winning chances slide in the last quarter. The Jocs, who won by five points, struggled in the first quarter to capitalise on the scoreboard, only kicking one and leaking three for the Turtles. It was the same story until three quarter time, with Eltham cooperating coherently around the ground to crack open the Jocs’ defence and score much needed goals to extend their lead. Up by 11 points at three-quarter time, The Turtles suddenly slowed down and allowed the Jocs to take the chance to pressure the scoreboard. The Jocs ended up kicking four majors and a handy number of points (20) to steal victory from the jaws of defeat and keep treading in Division 2. BOG votes for the Jocs were awarded to the reliable Costas (4), with other support from Scott (1) and Thornton (3). For a disappointed and deflated Eltham side, who simply ran out of legs, Gutterson kicked three and Smith was named best.
MHSOB vs Whitefriars
The Whitefriars boys have shown again that they’re a serious finals contender beating MHSOB by 25 points, sending the Unicorns spiralling downward and further away from a finals berth. MHSOB were slow off the block and managed only two goals, while the Friars responded with five in the first. While the Unicorns fightback occurred in the second quarter with four more goals, it was too little too late as the Friars refused to give up their hard-earned first quarter lead. The Friars then piled on six majors for the rest of the game as the Unicorns couldn’t stop the onslaught in front of goal. The only upside for MHSOB was their steady and accurate finishing in front of goal, as they missed only four shots throughout the day. BOG honours for the Whitefriars went to Murray, who was supported by Tibaldi (2). Whitefriars stalwart Nitas booted three, with support from Dineen who also had three. For the Unicorns, Smith kicked three and Tran, ably supported by Pagonis were named best for their side.
Power House vs Bulleen Templestowe
It was a game of inches with the result going Power House’s way, defeating Bulleen by 29 points to keep their Division 2 hopes alive. What started as a goal-for-goal affair soon turned into the House’s game, when they kicked five third-quarter goals, to lead comfortably into the final term. Power House dominated the final term but only managed an astonishing one goal and 12 behinds. The take away from the game was the hard efforts from every player on both sides, with every contest a vital one with hard hits and skilful ball use, inching each side to the end.Nannery and Stubbs kicked three each for the House, with Ritchie strong through the midfield. Wallis was strongest for Bulleen, with Cowell (2) the only player with multiple goals.
It’s the tail of polar opposites as Yarra Old Grammarians are fighting to hold their spot in fourth place while at the other end, Emmaus St Leos are desperately trying to escape the bottom two. The Animals rely on a few key players weekly, but in this crucial make-or-break period, it’s time for a broader spread of contributors to chip in to make them a team that’s hard to beat. The Rangers will be eager to boost their percentage and retain their finals spot.
MHSOB are fighting hard to work their way back into the top four, so this game will keep them in favour or diminish their chances all together. UHS-VU are the biggest surprise of the 2018 season, having only dropped one game thus far and will be confident to boost their percentage. In the battle of the high schools it will be interesting to follow whether the Unicorns have got what it takes to match with the big boys.
Eltham’s gusty effort last week sees them eager to go one step further and test an up-and-about Power House side, urgent to take the four points and stay in Division 2. If the House can play an un-congested game, they’ll be able to beat the Turtles. However, the Turtles are playing contested game, so it’s a game of who can play clean football. Power House may be reliant on a tall forward line, so it’s Eltham’s job to match with defensive height. Both teams are looking to prove their worth in the bottom six, but a positive result will change the fate of the season for either side.
Both desperate to keep their Division 2 chances alive, this is a must win that will set the fate of St Johns and Bulleen in 2019. Bulleen were devastated after their loss last week, so watch out for a high-pressured game through the midfield and a more defensive-style game from both sides. The side that takes the biggest chances and tries to break the shackles will come away with the most valuable four points.
The battle of the best, Whitefriars and Paradians, is here again and this time, the Raiders are looking to keep their perfect record alive, while the Friars are looking for four extra points and a percentage boost to get them back into fourth place. Last time they met it was the Raiders who took the chocolates, but a newly rejuvenated Friars side, coming off last week’s win, will be out to test the top-of-the-ladder team. Watch for a high scoring, high intensity and high skill game of the round. This could be a taste of finals footy.