Being so late in the 2018 season, you’d think that the ladder would be settling down and the top and bottoms sides preparing for either finals or for a fresh start next season. However, in Division 2 that is definitely not the case. UHS-VU have now snatched first position on the ladder from Old Paradians, who have, up until now, held it all season. The ever-changing bottom five are on the move again, with Emmaus, Power House, Bulleen and St Johns locked in an intense fight to take any points they can get to avoid the dreaded relegation drop. Will UHS-VU retain top spot? How will the Raiders react to their two consecutive losses? Let’s see how Round 16 went down…
Yarra Old Grammarians vs St Johns
It was a day out for Yarra Old Grammarians who flexed their guns against St Johns, coming out 68 point winners in front of their home crowd. The Bushrangers, who now are secured in the top four, held the Jocs goalless in the first half, taking advantage of their slow start while also piling on 10 majors to lead by 62 points at the main break. Coming into the third quarter, it was domination from the Jocs boys, who managed to kick five goals and hold the large spread of Rangers goal kickers to one only. But it was too little too late as the Rangers didn’t back down, refusing to give up their well-earned lead. They added six goals to two to take the points and finalise the all-important final four. Forward Brendan Lee was the stand-out for Yarra with five to his name, with David Wildsmith booting three more. For St Johns, who are on edge with two weeks remaining, Aaron Thornton kicked three to take his goal tally to 41 this season, while Anthony Brannan was best for the side.
Old Paradians vs UHS-VU
The battle of the best and a possible finals preview, turned into a UHS-VU onslaught, with the Vultures convincingly beating previous top-of-the-table Old Paradians by 57 points. The Raiders, who were held to their lowest score of the 2018 season, were well in the game in the first half, trailing by only one goal at half time. But, after halftime, the pressure from the Raiders was diminishing, with the Vultures going into the next gear and booting four unanswered goals, led by Jack Bishop’s three. The Vultures back men did all the work in shutting down a usually very high-scoring, multi-facetted forward line of Old Paradians and only leaked one goal in the final term, bringing the Raiders total to five majors for the day.
UHS-VU’s best on ground votes went to Tom Howard with one goal, with support from Luke Bell across the ground. In a tough day for Old Paradians, captain Chris Kandilakis stood tall with one goal, but it’s time for the Raiders to regroup for the al-important finals series only two weeks away.
MHSOB vs Emmaus St Leos
MHSOB are fuming after giving up a six-goal lead to allow a fighting Emmaus St Leos side to come from behind to snatch a glorious five-point victory. The Unicorns, who lead all day, fell short in the end and failed to ice the cake, with a hungry Animals side pushing to the very end. With a five goal to two first quarter, Melbourne High looked to be comfortable to hold out Emmaus, but even a slow start couldn’t stop the surge that would occur later in the game. However, the third quarter was purely on Unicorn terms, with six goals to two scored, led by Kane Smith’s five majors, taking his goal tally to 57 for the season. But a much-needed three quarter time break gave the Animals time to refresh and rethink their exhausted game plan. Then, Darcy Burke’s four goals lead his side to their gutsy final quarter comeback, where the Animals piled on six goals to one to take home the much-needed four points in a stunning victory. Alex McDougall was also named in the best for the Animals, who go into next week to decide their season’s fate.
For a disappointed MHSOB side, who officially are out of finals favour, Will Suhr and Ben Burton (5) were given the votes.
Power House vs Whitefriars
The Whitefriars shook off a third-quarter surge from Power House to help their push for second spot on the ladder, winning by a comfortable 36 points away from home. Strong early work from the Friars defence held the House to only three goals at halftime, with the Friars forwards sharing a big nine between them. Power House’s half time break did give them a glimmer of hope when they came out in the third to tighten their defence, holding the Friars to only one goal, while also kicking four of their own, to close the gap to 18 points.
But it was Whitefriars poise and cleanliness under pressure and their ability to finish off four quarters hat got them over the line, holding Power House goalless in the final term.
Power House’s Ryal Yak had three goals, with Fiachra O’Deasmhunaigh best in defence.
Whitefriars jet Michael Nitas was awarded BOG after his four-goal haul, supported by game-long efforts from Mitch Geilings and Adam Pearson, who now go on to make a big statement in the finals.
Bulleen Templestowe vs Eltham Collegians
A big percentage boost has gone the way of Bulleen with their massive 123-point win over a deflated Eltham Collegians side. Bulleen, who were in desperate need of these four points, were led by a stellar seven-goal performance from Ashwyn Mohandas and a six-goal haul from Jack Cowell. What began as only a three-goal margin at quarter time soon blew out to a five-goal lead at halftime. But, the Bullants’ damage was not stopping there. They stacked on nine unanswered goals to extend the margin to 92 points at the last break. The Turtles didn’t score a goal until the end of the last quarter, where they booted their fourth of the day. With a spread of 10 Bullant goal kickers, it was hard for the Turtles to find ways to close down many targets across the ground. The only positive for Eltham is that they did not kick a point, with Josh Hall the strongest for his side. For the winners, Harry Vogler was named in the best.
Emmaus St Leos vs Bulleen Templestowe
After their much-needed percentage boosting win last week, Bulleen Templestowe are in a good position to pip an up-and-about Emmaus side who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last week. Both sitting around the danger zone, they’ll be playing a high-contested game of physical footy for the four points. If the Animals win, they will jump above Bulleen, but, if the result swings the other way, the Animals season will be in real danger…
Yarra Old Grammarians vs Old Paradians
Two of the highest scoring teams in Division 2 face off in yet another possible finals tester. Yarra Old Grammarians will be ready to play a high-scoring match and will want to hurt the Raiders in the middle. Old Paradians on the other hand will be looking to refine their game-plan after figuring out what went wrong over the past two weeks against some of their possible finals contenders. Last time they met, it was the Raiders who took the points convincingly, but their late season slump this time around gives Yarra he perfect chance to jump up and push for a percentage boost and even second spot on the ladder.
Eltham Collegians vs UHS-VU
UHS-VU have now proved that they are the new force to be reckoned with and will go into this game clear favourites. However, the Turtles ae playing for pride and in front of a home crowd, will throw everything they’ve got on the line to attempt to notch up their second win of 2018. The Vultures will enjoy the wide ground at Eltham and can carve up the Turtles with their spread and speed. This game could be a great percentage booster for Uni High if they can get the game on their terms early.
Power House vs MHSOB
The devastating slide of MHSOB has put them out of finals contention, but has not dampened the eagerness to prove themselves in these finals rounds. However, Power House has relegation to play for and will be all guns blazing come game time. This one will be a game of inches, with the team willing to put in from the backline getting the points. Last time they met, the House struggled to stop the Unicorns small forwards, but on their smaller home ground, they’re more comfortable. The House have a real chance to get up, but it’s high time he Unicorns had a hard-fought win.
Whitefriars vs St Johns
Still in contention for a top-two finish and a double chance in finals, Whitefriars are outing it all on the line to take down a fiery St Johns side, who need this win to steer them further form the dreaded bottom two. Both teams have a lot on the lines with different aims in mind, so watch for a mental and physical battle of the side willing to put it all on the field. If it’s a dry day, the Friars boys shouldn’t lose and can pile on the goals if the game is in their terms. But the Jocs have proved more once that they’re a physical team unafraid to take risks around the ground to find a way to score goals. Will be interesting to watch if a slow start effects either side also.