Jack Jovanovski reviews Round 19 in Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear VFL, with the race to the finals losing a contender, and the minor premiership being decided.
Footscray 20.9 (129) def. Essendon 5.5 (35):
Footscray has claimed another top 8 scalp with victory over Essendon at VU Whitten Oval on Saturday afternoon, winning by 94 points – taking the Bulldogs late season winning streak to six games. After a relatively tight first quarter, the Bulldogs piled on eight goals in the second term to establish a nine-goal lead at half-time. After building on their half-time lead in the third quarter, Footscray cemented the astonishing win with an eight-goal-to-one final term. As a result, the Bulldogs jump to second position on the ladder (with a league-best percentage of 150.7), while Essendon slump to fourth spot after sitting in first position only a few weeks ago.
Bulldogs youngster Rhylee West (29 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles and four goals) was among the best and continues to push for an AFL recall after debuting a few weeks back. Also impressive for Footscray were Callum Porter (35 disposals including 23 handballs), Lewis Young (23 possessions and 15 marks) and Reuben William (15 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and four goals). For the Dons, skipper Aaron Heppell (31 disposals, four marks, nine tackles and a goal), Michael Hartley (20 possessions, five marks and three tackles) and Brayden Ham (22 disposals, five marks and three tackles) were all top performers in a losing side.
Next week, Footscray will travel to Arden Street Oval to take on North Melbourne on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, Essendon will look to get back on track when they host ladder-leaders Richmond on Saturday afternoon in the video stream game.
Werribee 11.10 (76) def. Box Hill Hawks 7.9 (51):
Werribee has secured its final spot and put a sizeable dent in Box Hill’s chances of returning to finals action in 2019, after they emerged victorious over the Hawks by 25 points at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday afternoon. After a tight, high-intensity first term, the Tigers were able to steadily extend their lead at every change until the final siren, asserting their dominance as the game wore on. Despite Box Hill reducing the margin to two goals early on in the fourth quarter, Werribee was able to steady the ship and secure their fourth consecutive win with eight individual goalkickers. As a result, the Tigers remain in fifth position, as they prepare themselves for a 2019 finals assault. Meanwhile, Box Hill drops out of the top eight into ninth spot (however they have played one less game than the eight-placed Casey Demons).
Midfielders Michael Barlow (43 disposals, four marks and seven tackles) and Tom Gribble (32 possessions, three marks and seven tackles) were outstanding for Werribee, while Joel Bennett (21 disposals, eight marks and six tackles) was also impressive. For the Hawks, ruck Marc Pittonet (17 disposals, three tackles and 63 hit-outs) was arguably best afield, followed by Harry Morrison (24 possessions, four marks and three tackles) and Teia Miles (19 disposals, five marks and a goal).
In Round 20, Box Hill will hope to keep its season alive when they host the Northern Blues at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, Werribee will have a bye week before playing Williamstown in Round 21.
Port Melbourne 10.14 (74) def. Frankston 8.11 (59):
Port Melbourne has secured an important victory in the context of this year’s finals race, beating Frankston by 15 points at Adcon Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Borough were fast out of the gates, kicking five goals to one in the first term to lead by 27 points at quarter-time. However the Dolphins, refusing to let Port Melbourne run all over the top of them, responded clinically with a five-goal-to-two quarter of their own, to trail by only 14 points at half-time. The Borough, realising the importance of this clash, steadied the ship kicking three goals to two in the second half and managed to come away with the win and a guaranteed spot in the 2019 VFL ‘Love the Game’ finals series. Port Melbourne now sits in seventh position on the ladder, while Frankston remains in 15th spot.
Jarryd Blair (25 disposals, three marks and nine tackles) had arguably his best game for the Borough this season in what was a stellar all-round performance. Teammates Eli Templeton (29 possessions, three marks, four tackles and a goal) and Khan Haretuku (16 disposals, seven marks, four tackles, 13 hit-outs and a goal) were also impressive in the win. On the other hand, Will Fordham (27 disposals, three marks, eight tackles and a goal) and Josh Newman (28 possessions, two marks and five tackles) were — as they usually are — among the best afield for Frankston. Alfie Jarnestrom (23 disposals, four marks and six tackles) was also eye-catching in a losing side.
Next week, Port Melbourne will look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval to take on Sandringham on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, Frankston will look to stage an upset when they face Casey at Casey Fields.
Williamstown 13.13 (91) def. Coburg 7.11 (53):
Williamstown extending its winning run to six-games with a 38-point win over Coburg at Downer Oval on Saturday afternoon. After trailing by a point at quarter-time, the Seagulls kicked five of the next eight goals to lead by nine points at three-quarter-time. Knowing the result was far from final, Williamstown unleashed a five-goal onslaught in the final term – including two each for Joel Ottavi and Sam Martyn – and reduced the Lions to one major to win their sixth game in a row. As a result, the Seagulls leap above Essendon into third position on the ladder, while Coburg remain in 14th spot.
Nick Meese (16 disposals, 11 tackles and 60 hit-outs) was dominant for Williamstown in his first game since Round 15, while Willie Wheeler (27 possessions, eight tackles and a goal) and the aforementioned Martyn (13 disposals, two marks, four tackles and three goals) were also impressive performers. Meanwhile, Luke Bunker (20 disposals and 18 tackles) continued his strong form this season for Coburg, as well as Marcus Lentini (31 possessions, two marks, four tackles and three goals) and Tyson Lever (24 disposals, five marks and five tackles), who were also eye-catching for the Lions.
In Round 20, Williamstown will host Geelong at (TBC) on Sunday afternoon in what is shaping up to be a blockbuster clash in the Channel 7 game. On the other hand, Coburg will have a bye week before hosting the Bulldogs in Round 21.
Geelong 21.12 (138) def. North Melbourne 5.6 (36):
Geelong has claimed a crucial percentage-boosting victory, beating North Melbourne by 102 points at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Cats were dominant from the get-go, kicking six first-quarter goals to North Melbourne’s one. They followed that up in the second term, kicking five more goals of their own while keeping the Kangaroos scoreless. Geelong cemented the win by kicking 10 of the next 14 goals in the second half. Geelong, who climb up to sixth position on the ladder (the highest they’ve been this season) as a result of the win, are tied on points with Werribee despite having played one less game than them.
Charlie Constable (41 disposals, two marks, three tackles and two goals) had a magnificent outing for Geelong as he continues to push for an AFL recall. Teammates Jamaine Jones (13 possessions, two marks, twelve tackles and three goals) and James Parsons (33 disposals, three marks and three tackles) were also prolific in the win. On the other hand, Nathan Hrovat (36 disposals, five marks and five tackles) responded brilliantly to his AFL omission last week, as he was undoubtedly best-on-ground for the Kangaroos on the day. Ruck Tom Campbell (25 possessions, seven marks, three tackles, 20 hit-outs and two goals) was also superb, as he continues his remarkable form this season.
Next week, Geelong will look to continue their winning ways when they face Williamstown at Downer Oval on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, North Melbourne will look to put an end to Footscray’s winning streak when they host the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.
Richmond 19.14 (128) def. Northern Blues 12.12 (84):
Richmond toppled the Northern Blues by 44 points in a high-scoring affair at the MCG on Sunday afternoon, to claim their fifth consecutive win. The Tigers opened the game in stellar fashion, kicking seven first-term goals to lead by 37 points at quarter-time, and followed that up with another four goals in the second term to lead by 50 at the half. The Blues, however, battled back in the third quarter, kicking five goals to Richmond’s three to reduce the margin back to 37 points. Although, the Tigers flexed their muscle again in the final term, kicking five goals to three to close out the victory. As a result of the win, Richmond remain in first position on the ladder, cementing the 2019 minor premiership. On the other hand, the Blues sit in tenth spot, one win outside the top eight.
2017 premiership hero Jacob Townsend (27 disposals, nine marks, three tackles and three goals) was among Richmond’s best in the win, joined by Jake Aarts (24 possessions, six marks, four tackles and three goals) and youngster Patrick Naish (23 disposals, five marks and a goal). As for the Blues, Matthew Kennedy (28 disposals, six marks and five tackles) was without doubt the best afield. Ben Silvagni (eleven possessions, seven marks, four tackles and two goals) and Paddy Dow (22 disposals and two tackles) were also impressive in a losing side.
In Round 20, Richmond will travel to Windy Hill on Saturday afternoon to face the Bombers in what should be an entertaining video stream clash between two top-four sides. Meanwhile, the Blues will face the Hawks at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday afternoon as they look to keep their top eight hopes alive.
Collingwood 5.12 (42) def. by Casey Demons 8.9 (57):
Casey Demons moved into the top eight with a 15-point win over Collingwood at Victoria Park on Sunday, with the loss ending the Magpies finals’ hopes. Casey kept their opponents goalless for two quarters – in the second and third terms – helping set up their most important win of the season. The Magpies kicked the first two goals of the final term to reduce the Demons’ lead to just two points seven minutes in, but the Demons steadied kicking three of the last four goals for the win. The victory helped the Demons move inside the top eight, half a game clear of Box Hill Hawks. For Collingwood, the finals hopes are lost, as they only have one game to play left this season, and are currently a game plus 17% outside the finals positions.
Marty Hore (26 disposals, 10 marks) was again among the best for Casey, along with Declan Keilty (12 disposals, eight marks) and Jack Hutchins (12 disposals, 10 marks). Lachie Tardew (28 disposals, five marks and six tackles) was best on ground for the Magpies, followed closely by co-captain Alex Woodward (32 disposals, seven tackles) and Ben Crocker (22 disposals, eight marks).
Casey return home next weekend to tackle Frankston, while Collingwood has the bye before traveling to Box Hill Hawks in the final round.