By Ben Pollard
We all got a sleep-in last week, but wasn’t it good to have footy back on the weekend? Round 12 was the start of a very important stretch of games with finals just around the corner…
– On paper, U13 Div 4’s Oakleigh (10-1) should’ve accounted for St Kilda City Red (2-9) quite easily on the weekend… But just like their counterparts have been doing in the AFL, the Saints showed a lot of pluck. St Kilda found themselves 11 points up at three-quarter time in a low-scoring contest, but the Dragons were classy when it mattered, steaming home with two goals to none in the final term to win by four points. Michael Kouloubos and Maurice Smith were exceptional in this hard-earned victory.
– Two sensational finishes in U11 Blue and two unlucky results for teams vying for that crucial fourth place in finals… Fifth-placed Hampton had a 10-point lead over third-placed St Peters at halftime and still had a four-point lead at the last change, but was overrun by two points – Ben Meo was a star for St Peters in their successful charge to victory. That result meant fourth-placed Dingley Red could’ve slipped two games clear of Hampton if they defeated second-placed Cheltenham Dale, but you guessed it – the Dingoes gave up the only goal of the final term to lose by four points. Ben and Josh Maillard were both superb as the Panthers broke Dingley hearts.
– What a gutsy win from Highett in U13 Div 5… The Doggies were blown out of the water early by Prahran Blue but came back to restrict their opponents to just four behinds in the second half. Joel Iseli and Ayden Rogers were superb as Highett claimed just its third win of the season by six points.
– U17 Div 1’s Ormond teased Caulfield Bears for three quarters… Then put the foot down good and proper! A strong third term from the Bears had them within four points at the final change, but Ormond just went BANG with five goals to one in the last stanza to seal it. Nicholas Houghton was crucial for the winners with three snags.
And of course, the Girls:
– The U15 Girls finals are upon us this coming weekend, with all eight teams playing off in an AFL-style finals series. The bottom four teams played their upcoming finals opponents in a full dress rehearsal on the weekend… And the Waverley Park Hawks will attempt to defeat Mt Waverley Falcons again in Elimination Final 1, while Mordialloc-Braeside will try to knock off Ajax Jackettes once more in Elimination Final 2. Meanwhile, St Peters secured top spot with a low-scoring 11-point win over East Brighton Vampirettes and will now play East Sandringham East in Qualifying Final 1. East Sandy defeated Highett by seven points on the weekend, and the Bulldogs will now have to recover for Qualifying Final 2 against East Brighton. There’s not much between the top four, which should ensure a ripping conclusion to the season!