VAFA Div 1 – half-yearly report


Something which has always stuck in my head was the approach an old coach of mine had toward the football season. He would divide it into four parts: pre-season, rounds 1 – 9, rounds 10 -18, and finals. I did not entirely agree with him because, more often than not, we would end up missing the final part of the year! But as we approach both the end of June and the beginning of round 10, I think we would all concur that it is the half-way way point in more ways than one, and thus the ideal opportunity to sit back and reflect on what we have learned through the first part of the season.

Peninsula: the Pirates took a slight stumble a fortnight ago, but that has proved to be their only blemish thus far. With some experienced faces (such as Shaun Payze, Stefan Barbour and Brett Brisbane) enjoying their best season for a while, a finals berth is now assured; and were they to drop out of the top two it would be a huge surprise. Highlight: the 88-point crushing of finals rivals NOBs in round 2. A+

North Old Boys – St. Patrick’s: apart from the afore-mentioned, and totally uncharacteristic, caning they received at Mt Eliza early on, NOBs have since been consistent. And, to an extent, they have probably flown under the radar, going about their business with a minimum of fuss with Matt Keown and Adam Oakley carrying on last year’s excellent form. Now six points clear in second place, a double-chance is theirs for the taking. Highlight: the two-point win over Whitefriars in round 7, in which NOB-SP hung tough. A+

Old Geelong: the verdict is still out on Frank Dunnell’s men, mainly because of their inconsistency. Last week presented the perfect chance to silence the doubters, but a horrible loss to MHSOB ensued. However, with forward targets Paul Ellis and Callum Wood firing, Old Geelong are a much improved outfit this season, but a finals appearance is not yet locked away. Highlight: undoubtedly, the come-from-behind victory over the previously unconquered Pirates. A

Old Mentonians: it is a credit to all at the Panthers that they have turned the club around following such a difficult year in 2011. The Mordialloc experiment seems to have worked, and the future looks bright with a large number of younger types playing good senior footy. Instructively, the three losses have been to the clubs above them, which indicates they might not quite be ready for promotion. Highlight: the five goal defeat of Friars in round 6. B+

Whitefriars: usually so strong at home, the Friars have surprisingly dropped three games at Donvale (two by less than a kick). Only half a game outside the four, and with names such as Abdallah, Petracca, Mirabella and Hogan now back in good touch, Whitefriars are keen to make up for lost ground. B

MHSOB: having won four of their last five, the Unicorns are also only two points out of the four. But it seems they just cannot go with the big boys of the comp at present, as their percentage would attest. Highlight: last week’s defeat of Old Geelong. B-

Ormond: three and a half wins sees the Monders clear of the relegation zone, but with not enough credits in the bank to challenge for finals action. Matt Oaten, Henry Simon, Ryan Martin and Boyd Upstill have been the best in a real up-and-down first part of the year. Highlight: the 128-point thrashing of the Saints in round 1. C

Williamstown: an excellent pre-season gave no clues to the disappointment which would follow. The Cys have a huge fight on their hands to avoid the drop. Highlight: the fighting 21-point win over Glen Eira in round 7. C-

Glen Eira: after the pre-season loss of some quality players, the Saints have found the going tough in the higher division, and to stay up must now find a couple of wins in the run home. Highlight: the 77-point defeat of fellow battlers St. John’s. D

St. John’s O.C.: the youngest outfit in the comp have been out-muscled on many occasions, but one cannot fault their competitive spirit. So it would not surprise if they caused an upset against one of the big boys. Undoubtedly, the 1-point victory over Ormond. D

Preview: Whitefriars are now back on course for finals and should have few problems with the Unicorns at home. Down on the peninsula, the Pirates will be far too strong for the Jocs. Ormond should bounce back from last week’s narrow defeat to account for the Saints, whilst the Panthers have too much to play for to drop this game against Williamstown. Possibly the most interesting contest will be played out at Como Park, where the OGs will be looking to re-discover their form of a fortnight ago. I am expecting Old Geelong to pip NOBs in a close one.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

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