By Matt Fotia
This weekend saw one side put their stamp on a division, one team set themselves up for a top three push and another showcase exactly what it’s capable of, but also wondering why it can’t do it more often.
Find out who, what and how, below in the Football Review.
Woori Yallock scored a 16 point win on the road over fellow Tigers, Upwey-Tecoma thanks to a six goal to none third quarter in a tight tussle at Chosen Avenue.
Joel Smith kicked five goals and Zak Monkhorst snagged three – whilst Kane Thompson and Joel Adams led the way for Woori Yallock around the ground.
These four points have set Woori Yallock up nicely for a massive month ahead. The Tigers are currently two games clear of Beaconsfield and Cranbourne in fourth and fifth place on the ladder and have the following fixtures on the horizon.
In Round Eight they host Narre Warren.
Despite being top of the ladder Narre Warren have only had to travel to the Valley on a couple of occasions, and have played the bottom two sides when they’ve come for a visit. This will be a real test for the Magpies facing an in form Tigers outfit on their home deck. It’s a different brand of footy and will be an interesting test for them – just ask Cranbourne.
The Tigers then head out to the beautiful Holm Park where they’ll play Beaconsfield. Woori Yallock were on the end of a big loss last time they headed out to the South East, but will have learnt a lot from that game. They’ll also have a stronger outfit on the park and will have taken notes on how Olinda Ferny Creek were able to contain the Eagles for so long at the same venue.
Following that is a guaranteed four points in the form of the bye before Woori Yallock host Wandin – a familiar foe who they defeated away from home back in Round Two.
If the Tigers can collect two wins to accompany their bye they’ll be sitting on 36 points and at a bare minimum in third position.
One win and the bye gets them to 32 points and a place firmly in the top five, if not top four.
It’s a massive month for the Tigers of Woori Yallock.
2. Transition Footy
Mount Evelyn flexed its scoring muscle on the weekend, destroying Belgrave – who I must apologise to for placing a ‘moz’ upon. I detailed how competitive they’ve been this season and take full responsibility for their defeat.
The Rovers had 47 scoring shots – booting 24 goals in a massive 112 point win, Daimon Kift the main culprit with a bag of six. Jed Thompson got four.
Scoring big scores is nothing strange for the Rovers at home. They’ve played four games at home in 2019 and have kicked scores of : 123, 76, 103 and 167. They also notched up 99 points in their away trip to Emerald.
The two outliers are the scores of 42 against Pakenham and 55 against Officer, both away from home.
Mount Evelyn are clearly a side that benefits from a high scoring affair. They had 12 individual goal kickers on the weekend – so they aren’t bereft of people who will stand up when goals are needed to be kicked.
So what does all this mean?
Well, Mark Fisher and his men need to figure out how they plan to replicate their smaller ground numbers, on the bigger grounds.
Do they need more hit up forwards?
From all reports sides travelling to the South East have found their forwards sitting either too deep and not having an impact on the game, or they come up to get the ball and have no one to kick to inside fifty. If the Rovers can find a couple of players to play as lead up half forwards who can operate from half forward to the wing, it could help them with their scoring woes on the bigger grounds.
Another reason could be the cohesiveness of the midfield run and carry.
If midfielders aren’t running together or ‘in waves’ it can be hard to move the ball quickly enough to create a one on one contest inside fifty. If the midfielders continually run in waves, handball chains can speed up the ball movement and open up more scoring opportunities.
What about kicking patterns?
If it’s a big wide ground, it should open up more angles for kickers. Rather than keeping vision narrow, spread the defence by using the width and create holes in the defensive zone.
Whatever it is holding Mount Evelyn back on the bigger grounds, they need to fix it. Because if they can reproduce their small ground scores on the bigger grounds, they’ll be a major force in Division One.
3. Midfield Marvels
Yarra Junction are far and away the best team in Division Two at the moment. The reigning premier smashed their most recent challenger Kinglake by 88 points at home on the weekend.
Kinglake kicked the opening two goals of the game before the Eagles flicked the switch and began walking the ball out of the stoppages and booted eight goals in a 15 minute burst. The Lakers were helpless.
By the ten minute mark of the third quarter Kinglake had managed to work their way back into the contest and trailed by just 12 points.
Then it happened again.
The Eagles torched the Kinglake midfield for the next 15 minutes kicking six goals and snuffing out any chance of a Lakers win. They kicked another six goals in the final quarter as well, keeping Kinglake goalless at the same time – just for good measure.
Kinglake weren’t poor by any stretch of the imagination. They weren’t at their best, but they battled hard, took most of their opportunities and their back six did well considering the midfield dominance of the Eagles.
Yarra Junction have the following players that can run through the middle of the park at any given stage.
Allan Chandler, Bradley Clark, Cameron Hoare, Ewan Wadsworth, Leigh Hoffman, John Holmes, Sam Cannon and an absentee from yesterday’s clash Jesse Bombinski.
Add onto that list half back flanker Josh Hammen, who could have a stint if need be, as well as Michael Houston. Plus their ruckman Troy Armstrong is a monster both in the air and around the ground.
Key forward David Johnson said that this midfield group is one of the best he’s played with and is key to their success.
With depth like that, it’s hard to argue with him.