With season 2018 almost done and dusted, the battle for relegation contains only St Johns and Emmaus St Leos, while the minor premiers have been decided in UHS-VU.
Is it early signs of a tank running on empty for Old Paradians, who lost their third game in a row to an up and about Yarra Old Grammarians? Are Whitefriars the real deal when finals roll around? And at the other end of the table, only three teams remain in the fight to stay alive, with Power House, despite their loss, safe from danger and Bulleen Templestowe secured well away from any worry. Round 17 has set up what will be a very intense Round 18 and then a very interesting finals series. Let’s see how Round 17 went down.
Emmaus St Leos vs Bulleen Templestowe
In what was a crucial day for both sides, it was Bulleen Templestowe who prevailed and saved themselves from relegation with a 42-point win over Emmaus St Leos. A clean four-goal first quarter put the Bullants in prime position to hold off any Emmaus surge. However, the Animals could not get themselves into the game, managing only 3 goals up to half time. It was a blow-out in the third quarter with Bulleen kicking four goals and holding Emmaus to only one going into the last quarter. Both sides booted four each in the last term, but due to their slow start in the first, the Animals couldn’t get themselves back into contention. Pat Moio was BOG for the Bullants, ably supported by Anthony Lucisano (3) and Jack Cowell’s (3) smart kicking. For the Animals, who look to round 18 for their must-win to stay alive in Division 2 in 2019, Mr Consistent Newbegin Baxter booted two and Paul Baranello was strong. Bulleen are now officially safe from relegation and breathe a sigh of relief. Emmaus on the other hand are devastated with their performance, with next week the one to decide their fate.
Yarra Old Grammarians vs Old Paradians
A low-scoring and down Old Paradians have lost their third game of 2018 and now fear losing their double finals chance to an excited Yarra old Grammarians side by 69 points. In what was a taste of finals footy, the game began tightly with both sides only leaking one goal each in the first quarter. The same fierce competition continued into the second quarter, with the Raiders down by only 14 at halftime. The Bushrangers missed 12 goals in the first half, which would have strengthened their lead for the rest of the game, but they made up for it in the second half. The composure of the Rangers in the last quarter proved them the worthy team for the four points as they ran away with seven goals, while also shutting down the Raider forwards for only one more goal in the final term.
Kelvin Moore (5) and Michael Scott (4) led the way in front of goal for Yarra, with Simon Yeo awarded BOG votes. Raider Chris White kicked four, with support coming from Aaron Serafin. The Raiders seem to have recently struggled to play a full game of footy, with their biggest fall out coming late in games. Even though they are competitive early, they seem to be unable to capitalise on their hard work. This may be an issue comes finals time.
Eltham Collegians vs UHS-VU
UHS-VU are the official Division 2 minor premiers with their massive 156-point win over bottom-placed Eltham securing what is currently the cleanest run to the 2018 finals series. Eltham were in the game in the first quarter, holding the Vultures forwards to only four goals, while they botted two of their own. But it was a disappointing and different story in the second quarter for the Turtles who let UHS-VU flood and score nine goals to one to put the game out of reach. Led by Tom Water’s eight majors and Brandon Jackson’s seven, the Vultures piled on a massive 17 second-half goals and held Eltham goals after halftime. The UHS-VU boys are a serious force to be reckoned with and comes finals time should continue their second half of the season undefeated run if they stay on track.
James Dimattina (2) was named in Uni High’s best and was a part of their nine goal kickers who tore apart the Turtles. Josh Hall was recognised as the Turtles best while the consistent Paul Vidinopolous kicked one.
Power House vs MHSOB
Power House were pushed off the podium by MHSOB, who had a second-half surge to take the win by 32 points and leave on a high note after their latter-season downfall that saw the miss the finals. The House and Unicorns were neck and neck across the ground with only seven points in it at the first break. The battle turned fiery with a lot of talk on and off field, but it was the Uni High boys who capitalised on the House boys’ frustration late in the second. In the final minutes of that second quarter, the Unicorns kicked three to trail by only seven points at halftime. Kane Smith’s seven goals lead his Unicorns back into the game in the third, as they shut down the House’s run on and undid their defence, while also holding the House to only one major. Over the second half, Power House managed to kick themselves out of the game, with 1.10 to their name. Contrarily, the Unicorns had 9.1. Matt Sibberas was named best for Melbourne High along with Bradley Jordan. Power House’s Dec Nannery was again strong with three goals, supported by Ryal Yak through the middle.
Whitefriars vs St Johns
A five goal to one first half was all it took for Whitefriars to seal the deal over a deflated and in danger St Johns side by 84 points. From there it was game over for St Johns who only kicked two goals to halftime and fell apart in the backline, allowing the multi-facetted forward line of the Whitefriars pile on another five majors. The pedal was taken off in the third, as both sides kicked only two goals but the Friars boys are known for their hard fighting final terms and were eager to boost their percentage in the fight for a top-two- finish. With a spread of 10 goal kickers, led by Corey Dineen (3) and gun Michael Nitas (2), the Friars boys kicked five to one in the last term to send the Jocs into the firing zone next week to stay alive in D2. Ciaran Hickey (3) was given BOG honours for Whitefriars, while the ever-consistent Glenn Costas (1) was best for the Jocs, who will be doing whatever it takes to keep up in Division 2.
As we wave off home and away season 2018, let’s see how each team should fair against their round 18 opponents.
UHS-VU vs Power House
Old foes meet again in the final round of 2018, with two different stories able to unfold. UHS-VU are officially Division 2 minor premiers and Power House are officially safe from relegation but the intensity will be in full-force. They know each other’s game styles very well but UHS-VU have the one-up on the House and can use the ball cleanly, but may choose to rest some players for finals. Brandon Jackson (UHS-VU) will be also looking to add to his goal kicking tally to take home the most goals in Division 2. Power House will want to finish off 2018 on a high, but if they kick like last week, they can kiss those four points good-bye.
Old Paradians vs Eltham Collegians
Eltham will be playing for pride as they exit Division 2 with only one win in 2018. Old Paradians have now officially lost top spot and may be resting for their finals campaign coming up but will be sure to draw a big crowd for their last home game. The Turtles have had a rough season but will give it all they’ve got, led by a gallant playing president Jamie Hyndman and a side who has held themselves together for the whole year. The Raiders have a lot to prove as they head into finals and this week could be a turn-around for the out-of-favour contenders.
MHSOB vs Yarra Old Grammarians
Early this season, MHSOB and Yarra Old Grammarians were locked in a fierce battle for fourth spot on the ladder, but both sides have taken very different paths in the latter half of 2018. With the Bushrangers locked in and safe for a finals berth and MHSOB clearly safe from relegation, it may be the Unicorns who come out on top if Yarra plan to rest up before finals. MHSOB will be spewing that they lost their finals chances and will be fired up to take the Rangers down.
Bulleen Templestowe vs Whitefriars
Whitefriars could drop to fourth spot if they lose their final game against an up and about Bulleen Templestowe side. It’s a game of pride for the Bullants who’ll want to perform for the last time in front of their home crowd. The Friars forwards will be looking to pile on the goals to add to their big bags for 2018. Keep your eyes on Nitas (Whitefriars) in front of goal. The Bullants could take a surprise win if they take the game on from moment one and leave 2018 with a bang.
St Johns vs Emmaus St Leos
This is the game of the round with the outcome being the end of one side’s Division 2 run. Both sides had horrible losses last week that may have been tough, but definitely didn’t dampen the fire within. St Johns and Emmaus St Leos will be putting their best teams on ground for the last battle on Joc territory, with all important four points saving one team only. A draw sees Emmaus St Leos relegated due to less points. The Jocs are cleaner around the footy but if the Animals are fired up, they’ll play low footy and can beat the Jocs with their pace.