Week 4 headlines – Barbarians last second Intercept downs Raiders.
Dragons slay ‘The U’.
Crusaders II new Championship favourites?
Week 5 shapes up to be another cracking weekend of Football with the addition (Finally) of Division 1 games, but it’s all about Division 2 which is proving to be the most even competition ever (As I predicted in my season preview).
Saturday 15th July – Tom Brown Reserve, Sebastopol – 10:30am
Melton Wolves (2-1) v Northern Raiders (3-1)
Last time they met: Wolves 6 Raiders 24
The boys in Magenta and Chrome had the week off last week. They will be looking to continue the form they showed in the 2nd half against the Barbarians the week before.
Silver and Black quickly turned into Black and Blue in the loss against the Barbarians last week at home. They went down 14-6 in a physical and emotional battle. They saw their 3rd String QB take the field against Monash in #5 Jack Pattison, who finished the day with 92yds rushing and 170yds passing with a TD to WR #80 Nicholas Faure. The Raiders found themselves behind 14-0 at the half, needing a huge effort to get back into the game. Despite 2 key defenders being ejected from the contest, second gamer DB #13 Will McGann was again all over the place with 2 INT’s and numerous knock downs while LB #40 Nathan Nicolau recorded a whopping 13 tackles. Unfortunately for the Raiders Nicolau is heading overseas for work, this will leave a huge hole in their Defense for the rest of the year. Lineman #56 Kane Taylor helped plug holes stopping runs that came up the middle, he also played at RG helping protect Pattison. The Raiders had the chance to tie the game in the last seconds with a late drive but a pass from #5 Pattison was intercepted at the goal line.
Game of the week. The two best defenses square off in what will be a very physical affair. Can the Raiders control the Wolves running game or will they pound them into submission? Will the Wolves shut down the Raiders offensive weapons as well as limiting the defenses influence? The game is in Ballarat, let’s pray that it’s over 10 degrees and the fog/frost has lifted by game time.
Prediction – Wolves 13 Raiders 14
Saturday 15th July – Tom Brown Reserve, Sebastopol – 2:00pm
Ballarat Falcons (2-2) v CCU (0-3)
Last time they met: Falcons 6 CCU 58
The falcons have now lost 2 in a row falling to the new boys (Crusaders) 15-12 in Bendigo. The fog finally lifted and the battle for points began. A tight tussle ensued with WR/FS #81 Eddie Carey having 2 INT’s in the first 13 minutes of the game, giving the Falcons good field position leading to a TD run by #55 Alex Spittle giving the falcons a 6-0 lead after a failed PAT. The score remained 6-0 at half time. Back to back TD’s by the Crusaders but failed PAT’s put the pressure back on the “Teal Tide” in the 3rd. A Field Goal scored by the Crusaders with over 3 minutes left made it 15-6. Ballarat had one more TD in them with under 50 seconds left in the game, a TD pass to HB #89 Jono Lindsay but blocked PAT made it closer but not close enough.
A rough day in Bendigo for the boys in bright Green and Black. They faced a 26-0 deficit in the first half, redeeming themselves a little by only allowing a TD and 2 point conversion with a TD of their own in the second half, finally going down 34-6 to the Dragons.
The Falcons look to get their season back on track with win number 3 while CCU look to build from their second half last week. Don’t be surprised if CCU steal a win here.
Prediction – Falcons 24 CCU 12
Sunday 16th July – Brens Oval Royal Park, Parkville – 10:30am
Western Crusaders II (3-0) v Monash Barbarians (1-2)
Last time they met: DNP
The Crusaders, who I predicted to finish 2nd, have started off like seasoned veterans after a 15-12 win over Ballarat. It was another come from behind victory for them even with a 3rd QB under centre for this one. A strong defensive showing and more elusive running by WR/RB #85 Flint Tuitavuki and 43yo RB#36 Nol Arabit. During the 4th Quarter Tuitavuki was unlucky after an impressive 50yd run to the house was taken back due to a penalty, in the words of Vice President Matthew Ireland, “But that’s ok” because the Cru managed to score soon after anyway virtually putting the game out of reach of the Falcons. A Field Goal put them further ahead.
I like to think after my criticism of the Barbarians not utilising their tall receivers that they took note in their 14-6 win over the Raiders. The first points were scored by WR #4 Anton Maksoutov in the 2nd quarter from a QB #29 Richie Truong pass in the corner of the end zone. The PAT was no good and the score at the half was 6-0. In the 3rd Quarter the Barbs scored again in the air with TD number 2 to Maksoutov and then the 2 point conversion run in by RB #22 Johnny Chen. The score was now 14-0 and a shock loss for the Raiders was on the cards. The Barbs allowed a Raiders score making the game 14-6 but it was a huge goal line stand with 11 seconds left that was the highlight of the day. After stopping a run at the 1 yard line the Raiders hurried to the line for one final play. The pass was Intercepted by CB #34 Nick Paunga who started to run the ball back downfield before realising he had to go down to end it safely. A fantastic win for them and signs of improvement from the first two outings.
No stopping the Crusaders as they look to go 4-0 and take 1st position in the Division 2 standings. The Barbarians, with numbers and a solid first victory will be looking to go 2-2 and putting themselves in contention for a top 4 spot. This game could have taken the “Game of the week” honours but will have to settle for 2nd best game of the week.
Prediction – Crusaders II 18 Barbarians 16
BYE – Dragons.