Rain, mud and shellackings

V.A.F.A. DIVISION 1 REVIEW (Rd 12)

It would give me great pleasure, dear readers, to be able to announce that last week saw a round chock full of cliff-hanger finishes and nail-biting contests. That under grey and rainy skies there were battles decided by less than a kick. That there were heroes anointed after successful post-siren shots at goal. Alas, the opposite is true: the average winning (and thus losing) margin in round 11 was a whopping 98 points.

Ironically, the closest game was at Thomas Carroll, where bottom team St. John’s battled bravely all day but ultimately went down to Ormond by 55 points. With the Monders getting the early jump, the Jocs were never able to peg back the seven-goal half-time lead. Best for Ormond were Dylan Elkman and Henry Simon, whilst for St John’s it was Liam Mara and Jeremy Diaz.

Peninsula recorded the largest winning margin of the season to date was posted by Peninsula Old Boys in their huge 182-point demolition of an undermanned MHSOB. Veteran Shaun Payze (8 goals) led the way for the Pirates, who quickly put the disappointment of the previous week behind them. Big Brett Brisbane (5 goals) offered good support, whilst Nick Fisher was in everything. The Pirates had fourteen goalkickers. For the Unicorns, best were Lachlan Evans and Steve Villani.

At a very heavy Gillon Oval, North Old Boys – St Patrick’s did not have it all their own way in the first half. In fact, they were only 15 points to the good at the main break. However, from that point on it was one-way traffic, with the home team outscoring the visitors 15 goals to 4. Best on ground was NOBs veteran – and new games record holder – Dan Tonkin. Matt Keown was again in the best, and must be firming in the odds for comp b & f.

Whitefriars consolidated their position in the top four with a comfortable win over a disappointing Old Mentonians. Led by a powerful performance by Rob Petracca (5 goals), the Friars at last produced a consistent four-quarter effort to run out 71-point winners. Good support came from Brendan Stafford ad Dan Hogan. The Panthers were jumped in the first term in heavy rain, with the Friars’ half-back line impenetrable. Best for Old Mentonians were skipper Brad Norton and Tristan Strange.

Coach Frank Dunell left Como Park early, making a dash to Brisbane to be on hand to watch his son Sam make his AFL debut. It mattered little, with his Old Geelong charges powering away to a 98-point win over Glen Eira. Even without key forwards Ellis and McEvoy, it was a truly impressive goal-kicking display.

Preview: Today, at their second home in Mordialloc, Old Mentonians’ season is on the line. Notch up a win against the top team and they are still in the hunt. Lose, and they will most likely be two and a half games outside the four, with virtually no hope of finals action. The Panthers have come a long way this season, but I think the imperious present form of NOB-SP will hold sway.

Whitefriars, looking to add to their five on the trot, make the daunting journey down to the Pirates’ stronghold. In what I expect to be a sensational game between two finals-bound teams, Peninsula’s awesome strike-power should ensure it kicks a winning score. Ormond have been amazingly competitive – their biggest losing margin has been 31 points – but Old Geelong will be looking to shore up their final four position and will have no excuses to drop this one.

I have not tipped Williamstown very often this year, and rightly so. But after the pummelling the Unicorns received last week, the CYs might just be able to sneak over the line against MHSOB. A Willy win would add even greater interest to the relegation stakes, which will be in sharp focus at Packer Reserve. Glen Eira beat Jocs by 77 points last time these teams met, and although I expect the result to be the same, I reckon it will be a lot closer than that.

Smokie says: Can all clubs and correspondents please send me their reports and news by Monday evening. Email: dd.mjd@bigpond.com. You can also follow me on twitter, where I regularly tweet Division 1 updates on Saturday afternoons: @smokiedawson.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

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