It feels like there are two different competitions with the top sides locked in an intense final four fight, with the bottom sides putting everything on the line to remain alive in Division 2 in 2019. While Eltham’s fate is all but almost unfortunately sealed, Power House, St Johns, Emmaus and Bulleen are fighting hard to prove their worth. MHSOB missed a key opportunity to keep in touch with the top four, while the Friars have caused the biggest upset of the season, beating previously undefeated Paradians and remaining in contention for a top-two berth. Let’s see how this week went down.
Emmaus St Leos vs Yarra Old Grammarians
It was a game from both ends of the spectrum today but it was Yarra Old Grammarians who took the chocolates by 48 points against a fading Emmaus St Leos. The Rangers, whose win looks to have secured them a finals berth, broke away after halftime and held off a spirited Animals outfit. The end result didn’t truly reflect the closeness of this game, however, Yarra’s cleanness and composer when the pressure was on proved the difference. If the Bushrangers continue on this path, their top four spot is safe and they’ll take on the best in September. Michael Scott booted four for the Rangers while James Fleming (1) was awarded best on ground. Newbegin Baxter was back to his best for the Animals, supported by two goals from Lachlan Gunn.
UHS-VU vs MHSOB
In the battle of the old schools, The Uni High boys have left no man alive after they comprehensively beat a deflated MHSOB side by 112 points, led by Brandon Jackson’s seven majors. What began as a tighter battle, goal for goal in the first term, soon turned into a UHS-VU showcase, with the Vultures piling on nine goals, only allowing the Unicorns to kick four goals for the whole game. With their ten-goal lead at three-quarter time, the Vultures sealed the deal with a big last quarter, led by Tom Waters (2) and Michael Healey, who held the Unicorns scoreless in the final quarter. Kane Smith was the only shining light for Melbourne High with three majors. UHS-VU proved with this win that they’re a serious finals threat in 2018.
Eltham Collegians vs Power House
Power House are one step closer to staying safe in Division 2 with their second-half domination of Eltham, giving the House a 42-point victory and their third win in a row.
It was a scrappy first half with no real standout side, almost goal-for-goal up until halftime, where the House took a two-point lead.
But a halftime refresher saw Power House come out all guns blazing in the third and pile on six unanswered goals to put them 42 points in front leading into the last term, led by Declan Nannery (3) and Brent Ritchie around the ground. With the sting out of the game, both sides managed one goal each in the final term. Kane Goodwin was strong in front of goals with four. For an undermanned Eltham who fought hard all day, Jack Fitzgerald was dominant across half back, while Brayden Meade had three goals to his name.
St Johns vs Bulleen Templestowe
What was a tight battle all day went the way of St Johns, who held off a final quarter surge from Bulleen to win by 11 points and keep them in contention to stay alive in D2. With the Jocs failing to take their chances in front of goal in the first, the Bullants looked set to capitalise on the oppositions mistakes, but four goals from the Jocs in the second quarter brought them back into the do-or-die game. With only five points in it at halftime, forwards from both sides piled on the goals to keep the match neck and neck. Three goals from the Bullants’ Jack Cowell was matched with Joc Josh Mourant’s four, but the Bullants battled inaccuracy in the second half and allowed St Johns the steady their ship and come home with the four points they desperately needed. Next week is a must-win for both sides, but this win has boosted the confidence of St Johns only. Harry Vogler was best for Bulleen, while BOG votes headed to St John’s Rohan Scott with four goals.
Whitefriars vs Old Paradians
Whitefriars have pulled off what is arguably the most satisfying win of their 2018 campaign, holding out all day to beat the previously undefeated Premiership favourites Old Paradians, by seven points in a tight tussle. The Friars got out early and took their chances in front of goal, booting six goals to the Raiders two. With a 20-point lead at halftime, Whitefriars looked set to take on the second half and seal the points. However, after a halftime pump up the Raiders chipped their way back into the game, kicking five majors and holding the Friars goalless in the last term. But it was the strong first quarter performance from the Friars and the failure from the Raiders to capitalise in front of goal that handed Whitefriars the four points, putting them back in contention for that all-important top-two spot.
Whitefriars gun spearhead Michael Nitas booted four majors in his push to take the competition goal kicking award, with Mark Richards continuing his consistent form. Old Paradians looked to captain Chris Kandilakis (2) and Chris White who led his sides late push.
Yarra Old Grammarians vs St Johns
A do-or-die for St Johns, with Yarra Old Grammarians in prime position to hold on to fourth place. On a dry day, the Bushrangers are trusty in front of goal and out of the middle are hard to follow and shut down. St Johns will play a hard-contested game, which will be interesting to watch, to see whose game plan prevails. Yarra are pushing for a big win to boost their percentage and stray further from MHSOB, while St Johns need this win if they want to live another day in Division 2.
Old Paradians vs UHS-VU
This game is shaping up to be a true taste of finals footy with the top two sides facing off in a battle on Raiders territory. May be a great time to test out tactics and game plays in preparation for finals in a few weeks. The Uni High Boys are in fine form while the Raiders are eager to bounce back after their shock first loss of the season last week.
The only loss for the Vultures this season came when they went down to the Raiders earlier this year, so they are ready to make amends. This is a potential grand final clash.
MHSOB vs Emmaus St Leos
After dropping serious percentage when they lost the UHS-VU last week, MHSOB must find strength within to take down a fighting Emmaus side, teetering on the edge of relegation. The Animals have the guts, but it’s time to string together a four-quarter performance and take the four points they’re searching for. MHSOB are devastated after their disappointing loss last week and want to redeem themselves. The Unicorns must win the last three games to have any chance of pushing for the final four, so it’s time to step up, using their pace and their multi-facetted forward line to take the win.
Power House vs Whitefriars
Whitefriars are looming as a dark horse, so don’t write them off as a premiership contention anytime soon. Their best football is as good as anybody’s. However, Power House’s form in the recent weeks has been much improved and on their smaller home deck, they are capable of causing an upset. Watch for the battle of the forwards, with Whitefriars Nitas taking on the Power House back men. While at the other end, the Friars blunt the effectiveness of the twin towers Matt and Steve Devine.
Bulleen Templestowe vs Eltham Collegians
Eltham’s fate is almost sealed unfortunately for season 2018, but they’ll need a miracle and three wins to save themselves from the dreaded drop. It all starts this week when they take on fellow strugglers Bulleen. The Turtles form in recent weeks has been much improved, coming close on a couple of occasions, so it’s all or nothing with an opportunity to notch their second victory and see the daylight at the end of the tunnel. The Bullants are disappointed after last week’s close loss and will be ready to grab the four points they desperately need to stay alive.