Long may She reign


Although I am a staunch republican, there is one weekend each year when I make sure I raise my glass and toast Her Majesty, praising her generosity in granting her subjects a Monday morning sleep-in in mid-June. (I am told that this year is even more special, as there is some sort of jubilee taking place in the mother country.) The Queen’s Birthday always seems to be a most welcome oasis in what can be a long and grinding season, and it affords us all the opportunity to reflect upon what has transpired thus far.

Elizabeth may reign over the Commonwealth, but it is Peninsula Old Boys who are the kings of this division. However, their victory over Ormond was less than regal. Wasteful conversion in front of the sticks probably made the final margin look a little flattering to the visitors, but to the Monders’ credit they battled on to the end and made the Pirates really work for the three-goal win. Remember, the unbeaten Peninsula’s previous smallest winning margin had been 34 points.

North Old Boys – St Patrick’s have emerged as the most serious aspirant to Peninsula’s throne. Coach Richard Peoples would no doubt be ecstatic with his charges’ stirring two-point win at Friar Park, especially after Whitefriars seemed to be in control at half-time, leading by 14 points. But NOBs responded superbly, producing a six-goal third-term to lead at the final break by 7 points. A thrilling final quarter saw the home team dig deep to control most of the play. The Friars took the lead back with about 8 minutes to play and were looking threatening until NOBS rebounded from half back after the bounce and a mark and goal put them back in front. Despite several opportunities to pinch the game, Whitefriars could not get the lead back and were left to rue another close loss at home.

Old Geelong made it three on the trot with a convincing 10-goal win over Old Mentonians. It was a “hard day at the office” for the Panthers, who were jumped in the first term; OGs then comprehensively outplayed them for much of the afternoon, and OMs only managed a solitary major after half-time. The keys to the Oggers’ win were their quick ball movement, run and spread across Como. Best for the home team were Nick Betts, who controlled the middle, and Callum Wood, strong up front with 6 goals. For the Panthers, ruck-rover Luke Hull, wingman Dave Alexander, and ruckman Ben Naylor were the pick of an ordinary crop on the day.

MHSOB also made it three from three with a percentage-boosting 58-point win over the JOCs. St John’s were still in the hunt at half-time, but a goalless third term put paid to any thoughts of a win over the Unicorns. Best for the home team were Matt Phaedonos and Rhys Dyker, whilst for the Unicorns Jackson Bunting and Heath Taylor were part of an excellent tema effort.

Defence? What defence? In a high-scoring and entertaining shoot-out, Williamstown managed to out-shoot their fellow battlers Glen Eira by 21 points. The relief was palpable for coach Ian Rickman, who notched up his first win at the club. With eight players returning from injury, the CYs looked different in both size and quality across the park, although only two points separated the teams at half-time. Best for the Saints were Jarryd Bloink and Chris Higgins, whilst for Willy it was defender Nick Walsh and his partner in crime “Dr John” Gallivan.

Preview: NOB-SP should have little trouble in maintaining their streak, and make it six in a row with a big win over the Saints at Gillon Oval. Whitefriars, with players returning from injury, will be looking to make up recent lost ground with a big win over the young St Johns outfit.

In the match-of-the-day, Peninsula host the improving Old Geelong. Although I am tipping another Pirate victory, I will be most interested to see how the Oggers approach what will be a stern test of their finals aspirations.

An intriguing match-up looms at the high school, where the Unicorns will be looking to record a win over one of the teams above them. In fact, a win would see MHSOB replace their opponents in the four. But I am tipping Old Mentonians to bounce back from the hiding dished out by OGs.

With a win finally under their belts, I reckon Williamstown could make it two in a row at the Fearon. One thing is guaranteed, it will be a close one: Ormond have lost only three games and have never been blown away, with their biggest losing margin thus far being 31 points.

Contact details: Correspondents, don’t forget to keep those reports flowing in. Email me at [email protected] by Monday. And, for all up-to-the-minute Division 1 news on Saturdays, you can follow my tweets: @smokiedawson. Even if you are a monarchist.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Smokie – the Friars are having a tough time of it. I think they have a better team this year but the results aren’t showing. They need to start winning these close ones.

  2. Dips,

    The Friars are missing a lot of prime movers at the moment. If their poor run with injuries turns around in the second half of the year, they will be right in the mix.

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