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, kicking off with Division Two. Check out each clubs highlight, lowlight, overall grade and more below.
Yarra Junction (1st) P 9 W 8 L 1 B 1 36 points
Point Scored – 1136 (Ranked 1st)
Points Conceded – 550 (1st)
Leading Goal Kicker – Sam Morton (35 Goals)
Highlight – Round Five win over Seville. Coming into the game with a 2-1 record against a side itching to get one back after last seasons Grand Final, the Eagles 88 point annihilation of Seville was massive. Despite Nathan O’Keefe kicking six, Yarra Junction whacked on 21 goals to nine after quarter time and they haven’t looked back since.
Lowlight – Round One v Powelltown. Recruit David Johnson said the Eagles approached that clash with a little too much confidence and Powelltown took their chance, winning by four goals.
Overall – The Eagles are quite clearly the best team in the competition once again, with their only loss now a mere speck in the rear vision mirror. It’s their’s to lose.
Grade – A+
Seville (2nd) P 9 W 7 L 2 B 1 32 points
Points Scored – 1083 (2nd)
Points Conceded – 570 (2nd)
Leading Goal Kicker – Nathan O’Keefe (35)
Highlight – Round Nine v Kinglake. The Blues had failed their previous two tests against likely finalists with an 11 point loss to Yarra Glen and the aforementioned loss to Yarra Junction, meaning a loss to Kinglake would leave them winless against possible finals opponents at the halfway point.
They passed this test with flying colours, keeping Kinglake scoreless at quarter time before running out 76 point victors.
Lowlight – Round Five against Yarra Junction. Scoreline says enough as the Eagles opened up some old wounds.
Overall – The Blues look to have too much firepower for anyone else outside of the Eagles, despite the loss to Yarra Glen. They’ll already be planning for their home clash with the Eagles.
Grade – A
Kinglake (3rd) P 9 W 7 L 2 B 1 32 points
Points Scored – 943 (3rd)
Points Conceded – 654 (4th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Andrew Fairchild (39)
Highlight – Round Four v Yarra Glen. It was the new look Lakers first big test and remains the only top four side that they’ve defeated. They shut the RiverPigs out of the game early and then executed their slower style to make sure Yarra Glen couldn’t make any big moves to get across the line.
Lowlight – That horror fortnight. The margin and inability to stem the flow against the Eagles would’ve been frustrating, but the first quarter against Seville the next weekend would’ve hurt much more.
Overall – The Lakers were expected to improve in 2019 but not this much. Got back on track with their win against Gembrook-Cockatoo at the weekend. It’ll be the margins and competitiveness that they’ll focus on against the top two when they meet again.
Grade – A
Yarra Glen (4th) P 9 W 6 L 3 B 1 28 points
Points Scored – 908 (4th)
Points Conceded – 592 (3rd)
Leading Goal Kicker – Jiemba Smith (27)
Highlight – See above. Smith has provided the RiverPigs a consistent goal kicker and focal point, which is something they’ve been looking for in recent seasons. Whilst his efforts may be overshadowed by a couple of others in the division, 27 goals is a decent return for this stage.
Lowlight – Round Eight loss to Alexandra. Gave up a three quarter time lead with some inaccurate goal kicking (1.6 in the last), which in turn meant they remain a game off the double chance places – frustrating.
Overall – Their best is clearly good enough. They’re the only side to get near Yarra Junction since Round One and defeated Seville to win another Pride Cup. They can’t afford another slip up like the loss to Alexandra or else they’ll be locked in for an elimination final.
Grade – B+
Gembrook-Cockatoo (5th) P 9 W 4 L 5 B 1 20 points
Points Scored – 814 (5th)
Points Conceded – 703 (5th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Myles Wareham (16)
Highlight – The young guns. Coming off the under 18 premiership last season the Brookers have continued their youth policy. Names like Frankie Trott, Myles Wareham, Dante South and so on should be very exciting for Brookers fans. (Keep an eye on Joshua Tilly as well who has performed well for the Eastern Ranges.)
Lowlight – Yet to play four quarters. The Brookers have been able to match it with sides above them but can’t get across the line because of their tendency to have a down patch.
Overall – The Brookers should make finals, but the above inability to put together a complete performance and pinch one against the top four has heaped plenty of pressure on their games against Powelltown and Alexandra.
Grade – B –
Powelltown (6th) P 9 W 4 L 5 B 1 20 points
Points Scored – 786 (6th)
Points Conceded – 736 (7th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Dean Roy (21)
Highlight – Round One v Yarra Junction. To win against your local rivals and reigning premier to kick off your 100th year celebrations is almost the perfect start to the season.
Lowlight – It’s hard to find one as the Towners haven’t really had a day where they’ve been well off the boil. Their major disappointment would be the loss to Gembrook-Cockatoo at home considering its importance this season.
Overall – Like Gembrook-Cockatoo and Alexandra it more or less all comes down to their own mini league, with the winner of that trio making the finals, barring any slip ups to the bottom two. Will be interesting to see which end of the ground they place Jack Garthwaite.
Grade – B
Alexandra (7th) P 8 W 3 L 5 B 2 – 20 points
Points Scored – 616 (7th)
Points Against – 725 (6th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Brayden Norris (23)
Highlight – Has to be their win over Yarra Glen as it put the Rebels right back in the mix for another finals series after they lost both clashes with Gembrook-Cockatoo and Powelltown, even better it was a come from behind win as well.
Lowlight – The loss to the Brookers in Round Three. Not just losing to a side that they are in direct competition with for that fifth spot with, but the manner in which occurred will be one that disappoints the Rebels faithful.
Overall – Obviously they have bigger things on their mind as a community, but in a football sense they’ve shown us glimpses of why they’re constantly around the mark. The Rebels are clearly a much better side at home and luckily for them that’s where they face Gembrook-Cockatoo and Powelltown.
Grade – B+
Thornton Eildon (8th) P 9 W 1 L 8 B 1 8 points
Points Scored – 409 (8th)
Points Conceded – 1191 (8th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Aaron Stevens (7)
Highlight – This is an easy one. Not only was it their first win in almost two years, they won it with a kick after the siren. Scenes.
Lowlight – It’s pretty tough to single one out due to their circumstances, with most results seeing them a fair way off the mark. They’ll be wanting to ensure this column is empty at the end of the season.
Overall – Things are looking up for the Shinboners. The win not only gives them the crucial four points, but it gives their playing list a shot in the arm they might’ve needed to finish off the season with their heads held high.
Grade – C+
Yea (9th) P 9 W 0 L 9 B 1 4 points
Points Scored – 344 (9th)
Points Conceded – 1318 (9th)
Leading Goal Kicker – Joshua Carroll (13)
Highlight – Their second half performance against finals hopeful Alexandra. They won that period of football 8.3(51) to 6.8(44) and highlight the pride, fight and spirit amongst this Tigers group.
Lowlight – The last minute against Thornton Eildon. So many vital 50/50 moments that they couldn’t win, which ultimately led to Shane Barrand’s match winner. Win just one of them and they may have walked away the victors.
Overall – It’s hard to be critical of Yea considering their predicament. Their ability to keep fighting on is something to be admired.
Grade – C
1. Yarra Junction
3. Yarra Glen
Premier – Yarra Junction