Raiders run from fast finishing Wolves.
Penalties outscore points in Falcons and CCU clash.
Barbarians defeat the undefeated again.
A nice sunny Saturday morning in Ballarat matched a good fair display of football between the Raiders and Wolves, both running games dominated. The sun disappeared to open the next game that started off promising with big hits, good runs and the odd mistake but ended up being a game that threatened to turn ugly, ‘Last Chance U’ style.
Sunday was the battle of the rookies between the Crusaders II and the Barbarians. Which team has the player depth with Div 1 kicking off?
After another weekend of football we are left with just one question. Are there any 100 yard fields in GV Div 2?
Saturday 22nd July – Tom Flood Sports Center, Bendigo – 6:30pm
Bendigo Dragons (1-3) V Ballarat Falcons (3-2)
Last time they met: Dragons ?? Falcons ?? (No score on GV website)
The Dragons had a week off to get ready for this 5th Goldfields Bowl against the Falcons. They will be looking to get another win especially against their gold mining town rivals. It’s a hometown hit out under lights.
The Falcons were looking to get back into win mode when they came up against last placed CCU. Two early drives by the Falcons came up short with missed Field Goal opportunities, it wasn’t until the 2nd quarter when they were gifted 2 points by CCU who took a knee in the End Zone for a Safety. RB #99 Alex Spittle (Number change) was proving hard for the CCU Defense to pull down gaining valuable yards straight up the middle early. QB #20 James Stephens again looked like a seasoned veteran as he scrambled and continually found HB #89 Jonothan Lindsay who had a big impact on the game on both sides of the ball, including a 60+ yard Interception return. The only TD was scored by WR #24 Liam Foster from a flare pass to finish off a 60yd drive, the XP was good. The score at the half was 9-0.
The 2nd half didn’t bring any scoring but plenty of penalties were dished out on both teams. At one stage tensions were so high it looked like it might get ugly. On a positive the Offensive Line of the Falcons gave Stephens plenty of time to try and hit targets while the Secondary covered so well that CCU struggled to find WRs open.
The Falcons will need to score more points this week if they hope to get their first ever win over the Dragons. The Defense might get them over the line.
I see the Dragons stringing 2 wins together to take this one. If you are going rug up, it’s going to be cold.
Prediction – Dragons 18 Falcons 14
Saturday 22nd July – Lakeside Recreation Reserve, Pakenham – 2:00pm
Casey Cardinia United (0-4) V Monash Barbarians (2-2)
Last time they met: CCU 63 Barbarians 0
I managed to catch CCU in action on the weekend and I saw glimpses of what they can do especially on Defense. Their Offense looked good at times with young QB #16 Reid Hiskins taking a little time to get comfortable under the Falcons early Defensive pressure. They may have been held scoreless themselves but they kept the Falcons to just 9 points, something they should be proud of and build on as the season progresses. RB #47 Jake Kiku had some solid runs and proved elusive at times, he just needed a little more help from his Offensive Line who were good at defending their QB.
After giving up a 2 point Safety in the 2nd qtr CCU only let through one TD for the rest of the game. They allowed a few big plays but ultimately shut down the Falcons, in particular the deep pass. CCU looked to get a score with an impressive drive in the 3rd qtr with WR #10 Mitch Farrant making 2 catches for 1st Downs and Hiskins scrambling for big gains. LB #22 JJ Craig caused havoc in the last half putting pressure on the Ballarat Offense, flushing out the Falcons QB. Despite all the penalties, CCU should see this as a step in the right direction to building up this club to the powerhouse it was last season.
The Barbarians opened the scoring on an early run by RB #22 Johnny Chen, making it 6-0 after the failed XP. There was no further scoring in the 1st half. The second half opened with the Barbs giving up a Safety and soon after a pick 6, suddenly they found themselves behind 8-6. The Barbarians didn’t panic and responded with a TD to RB #42 Montpellier Wickremasinghe on a pitch and another to gold boot wearing QB #29 Richie Truong on a sneak. The Defense was not scored against thanks to the returns of LB #49 Jono Keusgen, LB #6 Dmitri Maksoutov and DL #65 Jonathan Clarke. They ran out 18-8 winners and looking more like the Barbarians of 2 years ago.
CCU need to make the most of their Offensive opportunities as their Defense can’t do it all for them. Will they step and and put some points on the board? Will QB Haskins be fit to play in this one after suffering a slight concussion in the 3rd qtr last week.
Monash, who clearly have enough numbers to almost field a 3rd team, look to get a 3rd win and a higher spot in the standings. As with their Div 1 team, their Offensive line is the key.
Prediction – CCU 8 Barbarians 20
Sunday 23rd July – Henry Turner Reserve, Footscray – 10:30am
Crusaders II (3-1) V Melton Wolves (2-2)
Last time they met: DNP
With Div 1 starting and the loss of their number 1 Offensive weapon #85 Flint Tuitavuki, who has taken his talents to the USA to chase his dream of playing College Football, the question was how would they perform this week? With no score by the Offense and just a Safety and pick 6 by DB #31 Christian Cinel, it looks like they might come crashing back down to earth after the dream 3-0 start.
The Wolves fell short against the Raiders last week with a 27-21 loss. The fact they gave up 13 points in the first half of the 1st qtr put them in catch up mode. It wasn’t looking pretty when the score was 20-0, the Raiders looked to embarrass them on the scoreboard. QB #7 Matthew Krul struggled early under the Raiders pass rush, flushing him out of the pocket and controlling his scrambling abilities.
The Wolves showed promise in a last drive towards the End Zone late in the 2nd. After 4 carries for 36yds by RB #46 Sikaleti Mataafa and a 19yd run by Krul, they ran out of time and fell about 20 yds short. That last drive proved to be the stepping stone to scoring some points of their own in the 2nd half. To start the 3rd qtr, led by Mataafa, the Wolves marched 60yds down field to score from a 25yd run by Krul. They scored again on a 14yd pass to WR #84 David Parkinson who flipped so high into the end zone he can’t remember scoring it. A shame their was no photo of it. Now trailing 20-14 another Wolves score would have made it interesting but it was a run play by the Raiders that completely fooled the Wolves D making it 27-14.
QB Krul led another drive in the 4th that netted another TD, this was caught in the end zone by WR #88 Daniel Mansueto. With 2 minutes left in the game, an onside kick might have been a better option but they elected to have the Defense try and get the ball back. The Raiders managed to get a 1st down that ultimately ended the miracle comeback.
It’s going to be a year of learning and development for the boys from “Cru 2”. A win over Melton this week will be massive, they just need to get the Offense into scoring position against arguably the 2nd best Defense.
Melton will hope that they can start this game as they finished the last. They are the best performing 2nd half team in the competition, they need to be the best 1st half team as well if they want to remain in the top 4.
Prediction – Crusaders ?? Wolves ??
BYE – Raiders
The Raiders got back on the winners list after last weeks shock loss to Monash. The day started with 2 two wardrobe malfunctions. QB #5 Jack Pattison left his jersey at home so he was given #20 and the kicker was wearing what looked like a black sports bra on backwards. Unfortunately for the Wolves this had no effect on how they opened up the 1st quarter. On their opening drive which took less than 4 minutes they scored on a run play, not long after they scored on a 43yd reverse play by WR #4 Brandon Walters but the XP bounced off the upright.
Their miss direction running from the backfield clearly confused the Wolves Defense with the score already 13-0 with 5 minutes still to play in the quarter. The Defensive line can be credited for not allowing the Wolves QB to get into a rhythm. DE #77 AJ Nonoa and DE #76 Buddha Godfrey constantly got into the Melton backfield disrupting the Wolves QBs scrambling ability. The scoring was slowed in the 1st but they scored another TD from a 1yd pass play in the 2nd qtr.
The half time score was 20-0 and a rout was on the cards. The Raiders quickly found themselves just 6 points in front in the 4th qtr but a much needed TD run by RB #10 Jesse Spiropoulos pretty much sealed this hard fought victory. Spiropoulos finished the day with 137yds rushing with 2 scores and was clearly the difference. Now with the week off they can rest and get some of their key injuries healed in time for the following week. Hopefully Pattison will remember his jersey after passing for 160yds and a TD.