Sticking to the script

VAFA Division 1 – Round 15

It was the late Alan Jeans who said that footballers are like sausages. “You can fry them, grill them, curry them, put apple sauce with them. They’re still sausages; all you’re doing is dressing them up”. The words of the master coach came to mind when I sat down to pen this week’s review of Division 1 matches. What could I write about this week? How could I dress up the column to make it more interesting? And then it came to me: just talk about the footy. No begging for lunches. No anti-Olympic rants. No obtuse Nick Wynne-type streams of consciousness. Just talk about the footy.All results went according to script last week, with the top five teams on the ladder all recording wins. It was only the margins which were of any surprise. The predictability of the round made the tipster’s lot an easy one. Indeed, looking back, there have been precious few upsets this year. The biggest boil-over remains OGs’ round 8 defeat of the Pirates, closely followed by the Saints’ one-point victory over the Panthers a fortnight ago. However, there would be no surprise in store for Peninsula this week. The Pirates thrashed Williamstown in all facets of the game, but most particularly on the scoreboard. Amazingly, there were only seven pirates who failed to notch up a major. At the vanguard of this awesome display of fire-power was a seven-goal Stefan Barbour, whose name will surely feature prominently when the umpires’ votes are tallied at season’s end. He was ably supported by Nick Fisher and Vaughan Clarke. Undoubtedly, the only highlight of the day for Williamstown was the long bus journey home from the peninsula.

After consecutive testing road trips to play the top two teams, Whitefriars returned to home territory for the must-win game against Glen Eira. After an even first quarter, the Friars turned on a dominant performance to win by 146 points. The goals were shared around by no less than twelve players. The home team’s running brigade reveled in the excellent conditions and open spaces of Friar Park with Dan Tibaldi, Brendan Stafford, Tom Pollett, Emille Abdallah and Chris McDonald the pick of an enthusiastic bunch. The Saints, after two wins on the trot, were given a stark reminder of the quality chasm between the top and bottom teams. Best for Glen Eira were Jarryd Bloink and Julius Waras Carstensen.

It had been a long time between wins for Old Mentonians, but they just did enough to get the job done and stay in mathematical finals contention against St. John’s. In windy conditions, the visiting Panthers took a slim five-point lead into the first break, and had slightly increased that margin at the half. But like so often this season, the Jocs did not go down without a fight; they put in a gallant second-half performance, undone only by a brief period in the third term when Old Mentonians booted four unanswered goals. This would be the defining period of a scrappy but hard-fought match, with the Panthers running out 37-point winners. Best for the victors were ruckman Dustin Mills, who booted seven goals, and Tim Wigney. Half forward Ryan Thomas and midfielders Jeremy Diaz and Keith Ash were best for St Johns.

At Como, Old Geelong kicked 5 unanswered goals in the first term to open up a break over their neighbours from MHSOB, which they maintained for the rest of the afternoon. The Unicorns fought back in the second half, but it was too little too late. Meanwhile at Gillon, North Old Boys – St Patrick’s made it thirteen on the trot with an 84-point win over a disappointing Ormond.

Preview: As North Old Boys and Peninsula edge inexorably closer to a second-semi showdown, they must take care to concentrate on the tasks at hand; today that means visits to Melbourne High School and Glen Eira respectively, where both should have no trouble. The Friars need to keep winning to ensure finals action, and today should account for a Monders team who now appear to be looking to 2013.

Knowing that defeat will edge them closer to the relegation precipice, Williamstown have the  chance to record their fourth win of the season when they host St John’s today, and I suspect they will join the Saints on four wins. Old Geelong visit Mentone Grammar in what looms as a real danger game for the Oggers. I am tipping a rare upset: the Panthers to keep their finals aspirations alive for one more week at least.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

Leave a Comment