What an exciting start to the 2019 Division 2 season, with each match producing its own little fairy-tale for the winning clubs. Yarra Old Grammarians and Whitefriars have shown they may be forces to be reckoned with in 2019, with Power House and Hawthorn narrowly fumbling at the last hurdle which may prove costly come the latter end of the season if they do not improve quickly. It’s set to be an intense and close year! Let’s see how Round 1 unfolded.
Brunswick FC vs Whitefriars
Whitefriars have fought off an exciting Brunswick side, who pushed hard to make their presence known, but fumbled in the end, with the Friars taking their four points by 49 points away from home.
It began as a goal-for-goal affair with super jet Friar Michael Nitas booting six, as he competed with Brunswick’s Francis Evans’ four majors. After a sluggish start and 10 misses in front of goals, the Friars shook off their Pre-Season jitters and turned on the show, dominating around the ball and kicking 14 majors after half time. With a spread of eight goal kickers for the Friars, their option in front of goal may be unmatchable in 2019. BOG Friars votes rightfully were awarded to Nitas, alongside Nick Burgin for Brunswick. Darcy Heenan was also a noticeable presence for Brunswick.
The Friars showed they are a strong force that will not be pushed from the top, where they believe they can settle and compete in 2019.
Bulleen Templestowe vs MHSOB
The closest game of the round ended with the four points awarded to a fresh-faced Bullen side, who pushed home for a seven-point victory over MHSOB. After a goalless first quarter, the Melbourne High Unicorns tore through their woes and booted seven majors to trail by only 13 points at halftime. However, the early work from the Bullants kept their noses in front. Additionally, their defensive work to shut down any options for the Unicorns in front of goal in the third term, allowed them only one goal leading into the last quarter. Despite their four goals in the final term, led by Scott Braithwaite (4 goals), the Unicorns slow start proved costly as the Bullants weathered the storm and pulled off their gusty victory.
Bulleen’s Kristian Cherbakof (4 goals) and Anthony Lucisano (3 goals) again are proving worthy of our attention this season and will be in the mix to win the goal kicking award of their form continues. Best on ground votes were awarded to Ethan Mainieri from the Bullants, while the Unicorns’ Ben Hennessy was prominent across the ground.
Hawthorn vs Yarra Old Grammarians
Star recruit Luke Barker may be the key to success that the Bushrangers have been searching for, as he led the troops to a 22-point win over a gallant Hawthorn side. In what was a very free flowing game of footy, 38 goals were shared between both sides, proving the quality of both sides in 2019. The lead changed hands multiple times in the first half before Yarra edged out to a 5-goal lead in the third and looked like kicking away. To the Hawks credit, they hung in and never gave up, edging to within 2 goals late in the last. Yarra managed to kick a couple late to put the result beyond doubt. Trav Whittle relished his new role up forward kicking 6 majors, supported by a strong performance from Cameron Allum. The ever-trusted Justin Raiti also booted two goals in his sides loss.
For the Rangers, a spread of 10 goal kickers led by Barker’s 8 and Dave Wildsmith’s 4, the Rangers out on a show across the ground, with Rory Chipman ferocious elsewhere.
Power House vs Ivanhoe
The wind picked up and so did the boys from Ivanhoe, storming home 28 point victors against a tired Power House side at the Ross Gregory Oval. It was an intense contest with both sides putting their bodies on the line all afternoon.
The House held steady in the first quarter, booting 4 goals to three, kicking away in the second term to hold a 14-point halftime lead. Lack of fitness proved costly for the House, as the ex-division one Hoes came out all guns blazing in the second half and kicked nine goals to Power House’s two.
For the House, River Carroll’s two goals capped off his fiery return and was ably supported by debutant Brett Scotland won was awarded the BOG votes. Debutant Eli Stanley was also hard at the ball all day. For Ivanhoe, who go into next week confident, Sam Tansley was dominant in front of goal with three majors, followed by Dan Jones’ two majors. Support around the footy came courtesy of Nathan Valkanis.
ROUND 2 PREVIEW:
Ivanhoe vs Bulleen Templestowe
After their come-from-behind win last week, the Hoes will be up and about coming into a tough battle with the new and improved Bulleen Templestowe side. The Bullants have rejuvenated their side to become a competitive and fast-paced force to be reckoned with, however, meaning that Ivanhoe will have to play the same ruthless football and mirror their second-half performance from last week. The Bullants fiery footy is driven by Anthony Lucisano and David Dakin, both key players who will need to again take charge to manage and combat the intense and quick-clearing Ivanhoe structure that crumbed Power House last week. For the Hoes, the Bullants must find a way to stop the pressure from Nathan Valkanis, who proved his worth last week in a side looking for redemption.
MHSOB vs Brunswick
The MHSOB boys will be devastated after their hard comeback last week feel short in the end, using that loss as motivation to regroup and play their preferred style on their home turf. The Brunswick crew will be feeling the same, eager to show their opposition their true capabilities on field. It’s time for the Unicorns to take their game to the next level, needing to add the scoreboard pressure that they lacked against the Bullants last week. A more direct line of fire from the backline and through the midfield to reach the goals will allow the pressure to be taken off the forwards as each play will be set up to advantage.
Will the Unicorns be able to find key forward Scott Braithwaite when they need him most and will the midfielders be able to clear the ball to their advantage?
Similarly, Brunswick need to prove on the scoreboard that they deserve to play finals. This season in Division 2, even after Round 1, the stakes are higher and scoring more goals is expected from teams wanting to go all the way. Brunswick must create a clear plan to pinpoint the key forwards or surprise packages who will assist in front of goal.
Whitefriars vs Power House
The Friars are here to show the Division 2 boys that defenders have a tough job ahead as they aim to compete against their multitude of trusted forward players. Their poise and hunger around the footy makes a perfect team game that is hard to fault, so the House must be able to break their free ball flowing down and work on a more contested style.
The House will be fuming after they let their chance to grab four points slip last week, but will focus on prolonged periods of fitness and stringing together four quarters to finish off a game as strong as they started it. The biggest issue for the House’s backline, led by Jacob Avery, is the multitude of goal kickers, spearheaded by Friars star Michael Nitas who is in shape to take out the goal kicking award this season. Watch out for the head-to-head encounter between Nitas and Power House’s Dec Nannery as they battle it out in front of the big sticks.
Yarra Old Grammarians vs Glen Eira
Glen Eira will be rested and ready as they inaugurate their season against the high-flying Yarra Old Grammarians. Coming off last weeks’ comfortable win, the Rangers on the other hand have tried and tested their game style, which has proven to be successful in the opening round. Luke Barker has been a game-changing pick-up for the Rangers up forward, but needs to ongoing support from the midfielders to make his job easier.
Glen Eira’s exciting burst footy will match up well with the Rangers, as both sides will try to take the game on and force their opposition to succumb to their game style.
The key will be if Glen Eira’s backline will be able to halt not only Baker’s unstoppable and ferocious attack, but the other variety of capable men who often can go unnoticed in front of goal. If the Gryphons can show competitive signs and bring four quarters of cunning football together against arguably one of the best sides in Division 2, they’ll be sure to be comfortable to take on the rest of competition.