VAFA Div 1 – Round 14: Give me footy

My wife thinks there is something wrong with me. Actually, she thinks there are lots of things wrong with me, but what she really cannot fathom is how disinterested I am in the Olympics. And it is true. I could not care less for Australia’s achievements in the pool, and on the other various courts and fields of play. I admire the athletes and their dedication, but I just cannot bring myself to sit through sporting contests which crop up on television once every four years.

The battle for control of the remote had extra spice this week. Because I love my footy: replays, analysis, panel shows, AFL 360, footy tweets, dream-team. From AFL down to junior footy. I just cannot get enough. So having fought (and, ahem, lost) the battle of the big screen, I decided to retire to the lap-top and, with four rounds remaining, do some serious thinking about what lies ahead for this division in the last four rounds.

It is obvious that North Old Boys – St Patrick’s and Peninsula Old Boys will play in the second semi-final. NOBs recorded their twelfth win on the trot with a comprehensive 7-goal defeat of Whitefriars. The top team’s experienced line-up was never really threatened, and they continue to produce an even spread of goal-kickers. The continued excellent form of Matt Keown is also a highlight. It was the second consecutive seven-goal defeat the Friars have suffered to a top-two team, and they now must really dig deep to find something extra which allows them to compete with the big two. Kudos to first gamer Michael Nitas, who stood up in the slush. And, on that point, an interesting question will be what effect the heavy home ground conditions will have had on the legs of the NOBs boys come finals time?

Second-placed Peninsula had no trouble dealing with Ormond, particularly after the Pirates went into the quarter-time break with a handy four goal lead, which meant it was pretty much game over from that point on. Whilst Sam Murray booted four, it is instructive that Peninsula also shared the goals around. It’s academic, but the Pirates’ mammoth percentage means that any stumble by NOBs would hand them top spot. Best for the Monders were Tim Naylor and Henry Simon. Old Geelong have third place all but sewn up. The Oggers were challenged in the first half by Williamstown but did just enough in the second half, with CYs falling away badly, to run out comfortable 36-point winners. Again, the victors had an array of goal-kicking options.

Old Mentonians found themselves on the wrong side of a one-point result, whereas Glen Eira have staked their claim for retention in this division with their second win on the trot. It seems that no-one is prepared to stand up and grab fourth spot by the scruff of the neck, with the Panthers most probably blowing any chance they had of playing finals footy with their second half surrender to the Saints. For Glen Eira, it was a huge win in the context of their season, with the second relegation spot now most likely to be decided at the Fearon in round 17. MHSOB predictably got the points over St John’s, and in doing so moved up to fifth spot (and only a game outide the four), but the Unicorns did not have it all their own way. The Jocs stormed home with a five-goal to zero final term, but again it was a slowish start which cost them dearly.

Preview: After four consecutive losses, the Panthers will return to the winners’ list with what will be an overdue victory over the Jocs. One of the longest treks in ammos footy is the journey from Willy to Mt. Eliza, and it will be a long trip home for CYs, who will be looking toward the next two weeks rather than today’s match. By contrast, the Unicorns will make the shortest of journeys: along the Yarra to Como. But they will find the Ogs’ form is too hot for them to handle at present. Whitefriars will be looking to sure up their position in the four, and should just account for the improving Glen Eira. NOBs, well and truly preparing for finals action, will play ungracious hosts to an Ormond side who can still mathematically reach the September action despite losing six of their last nine matches.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

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