By Matt Fotia
Come to the front of the class and collect the folder with your name on it – It’s mid season report time, this time Division One is under the microscope.
Check out each clubs highlight, lowlight, overall grade and more below.
Monbulk (1st) P 8 W 8 L 0 32 points
Points Scored – 746 (Ranked 1st)
Points Conceded – 365 (1st)
Leading Goal Kicker – Shane Williams (26 Goals)
Highlight – There’s been plenty to like for coach Andrew Williams, but it would have to be their ability to win games, despite playing below their best – especially at start of the year. It’s what good sides do.
Lowlight – Goal kicking. They’re the least accurate side in the division when in front of the big sticks. They’ve kicked 102.134 this season – that’s a conversion rate of 43%.
They should be even further ahead on an attacking front.
Overall – They’re undefeated. They’re the best defensive unit and the best offensive unit in spite of their goal kicking woes. They’ve won the tough gritty ones and they’ve won with some ganache. All they need to do now is keep it up.
Grade – A+
Pakenham (2nd) P 8 W 7 L 1 28 points
Points Scored – 707 (3rd)
Points Conceded – 425 (2nd)
Leading Goal Kicker – Matthew Ryan (11)
Highlight – The Doveton shut out. Coming up against a Doveton side on a wave of emotion, playing an attacking brand of football and on their home deck, Pakenham were up against it. But the Lions completely shut them out, controlling the game with their high possession style.
Lowlight – The Monbulk mauling. The loss isn’t the worst part, it’s the way the Hawks did it. Monbulk collected a number of intercept marks and were able to cut through the Lions team defence, isolating Shane Williams who kicked 10.
Overall – Went under the radar in the pre-season due to a lack of social media hype it would seem. Besides a bad day against Monbulk the Lions have been awesome.
Only twice have they conceded over 60 points, on the two skinniest grounds in the competition, which made their pinpoint kicking game harder to execute.
Grade – A+
Doveton (3rd) P 8 W 5 L 3 20 points
Points Scored – 632 (5th)
Points Conceded – 557 (4th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Mitchell Pierce (15)
Highlight – Has to be the Round One win over Officer. After a winless season in 2018 the Doves had gone hard in the off-season and were pumped up in front of their home crowd as they battered the pre-season premiership favourite Officer. Emotions were running high post game in a big day for the club.
Lowlight – The Mount Evelyn loss will be their biggest disappointment, due to their defensive output. The Doves are underrated as a defensive outfit, really well set up behind the ball with Zajac, Muirhead and Daidone all good players. Mount Evelyn cut them up that day creating 18 scoring shots in a 41 point win.
Overall – The Doves were running on emotion early in the season and have now come back to earth a tiny bit, highlighted by the much tighter margin against Officer at the weekend. Two really bad losses against Pakenham and Mount Evelyn have showed they can be a bit inconsistent, but so far so good.
Grade – B+
Mount Evelyn (4th) P 8 W 4 L 4 16 points
Points Scored – 716 (2nd)
Points Conceded – 517 (3rd)
Leading Goal Kicker – Robert Hatfield (18)
Highlight – The win over Doveton. For the Doves it was a poor defensive effort, for the Rovers it was the perfect game, creating countless scoring opportunities, harassing the Doves in the second half with nine goals to three. A big statement against a likely finalist.
Lowlight – The Warburton Wobble. With the top five settled losses like this one really hurt the Rovers chances of making the top three, as they’re giving themselves a handicap. They’d want to hope other grounds don’t get chopped up like Mac Sparke or Mark Fisher’s men might be in trouble.
Overall – They’ll make finals and that would’ve been the minimum at the start of the season. Inconsistency has been disappointing but the statistics suggest the Rovers are one of the best three teams. Get rid of the occasional implosion and they could be ready to have a good go at this elusive premiership.
Grade – B
Officer (5th) P 8 W 4 L 4 16 points
Points Scored – 647 (4th)
Points Conceded – 588 (5th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Matthew Clarke (22)
Highlight – The three C’s – Clark, Clarke and Carr. Skipper Matthew Clarke has been spectacular running through the middle along with his role down forward. Tyler Clark could be leading their best and fairest as he continues to put together an impressive season on the ball, whilst youngster Carr has been lively down forward with his leg speed.
Lowlight – Good Friday – perhaps it was the wait they had to finally pull on the boots, perhaps it was their emotional fuelled opponents. Whatever it was Officer didn’t turn up in Round One and Doug Koop wasn’t happy about it.
Overall – The Roos didn’t see themselves as premiership favourites, but they would’ve liked a better start to the season. Luckily for them, barring a minor miracle, they’re guaranteed a finals berth. Will be interesting to see how they go against the big boys now that they’re up and running.
Grade – B –
Warburton Millgrove (6th) P 8 W 2 L 6 8 points
Points Scored – 414 (8th)
Points Conceded – 829 (7th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Mitchell Leeds (11)
Highlight – Last weekend’s win came out of nowhere. Taking on a side who demolished fellow rebuilding unit in Belgrave to the tune of 112 points last time out, coming off three massive losses themselves, no one gave them a chance.
The Burras relished the heavy conditions and through some good old fashioned football (along with some inaccurate Mount Evelyn kicking) grabbed a massive win to keep spirits high.
Lowlight – Emerald were expected to beat them at home, but not by that much. They’re a young squad, so fade outs can be expected, but this would’ve hurt the ego.
Overall – Ignoring the wins and losses column the Burras seem to be likely wooden spooners, that’s about where their list is at, with Brendan Murphy keeping one eye firmly fixed on the future.
They’ve shown a tendency to go through games without a whimper, but on occasion (usually at home) the Burras can produce quality performances (Mount Evelyn, Doveton). If the slop remains at Mac Sparke, they could make their home ground a real fortress and avoid the drop.
Grade – C-
Emerald (7th) P 8 W 1 L 7 4 points
Points Scored – 506 (6th)
Points Conceded – 749 (6th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Jake Pedder (19)
Highlight – Warburton win. Whilst they were expected to win, the Bombers really showed how good their best can be, with Pedder, Donders and Goonan all dominating.
Lowlight – Losing to Belgrave at home will hurt Jamie Marshall. Not only is it a loss to one of the sides they’re much better than on paper, it was a chance, early in the season get some early points and some momentum to help make an early go of making the finals. Alas the finals ship has well and truly sailed now.
Overall – There’s plenty to like about the Bombers. They have a coach with a very impressive CV, some good young players and a strong community feel around their club. Whilst finals might have been a bit hopeful, Marshall ‘coaches to win’ and so far they haven’t been doing much of that. They won’t finish bottom, their list is way too good for that, but they’d like to be further away from it than they are now.
Belgrave (8th) P 8 W 1 L 7 4 points
Points Scored – 499 (7th)
Points Conceded – 837 (8th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Joshua Richmond (26)
Highlight – Joshua Richmond wins this one, just ahead of the Magpies admirable performances on the big surfaces out in the South East. The mid sized marking forward has been uber consistent this season, kicking goals often in spite of his teams overall performance. It’s not often the division’s leading goal kicker comes from the bottom side.
Lowlight – The last two outings have been awful. After being so consistent throughout the first few rounds, the Magpies have been on the end of consecutive beltings, allowing their opposition to break the 150 mark on both occasions.
Overall – The Magpies, besides the last couple of rounds, have been impressive. They’ve been in most games, have a good structural set up and build off of a good core of physical inside midfielders. Richmond, Stubley and Johns have been consistent performers along with Noy and Raaymakers.
However the lack of reward for effort might be the reason behind their two most recent performances and thats a dangerous sign as wins look hard to come by for the bottom three in this division.
Grade – C-
Premier – Monbulk