I think the gap between the former Div 2 clubs and the Div 1 big 4 might be a bit of a concern but we saw plenty of scoring in week 1.
Warriors Wound Wolves.
Monash Warriors 38 Defeated Melton Wolves 0.
The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze and not a cloud in the sky. That’s enough about the drive to Ballarat. As you entered Ballarat it was overcast, cold and the field was extremely wet and soft for the first of 3 games.
Monash have been a powerhouse for years and the most successful club in GV history and they showed why, scoring 4 TD’s in the first half. QB #15 Dom Dearman, replaced in 2nd half by QB #12 James Avia, proved that age is no barrier and arguably the best RB in the country, #26 Luke Jackson had no issues running the ball for over 150yd’s and scoring 4 of the teams 5 TD’s for the game.
The Wolves wearing their new purple uniforms started slowly. They looked like a team overawed by the opportunity to play against one of the best in div 1. The Offense couldn’t get the ball moving but the Offensive line only allowed 1 Sack of the QB, while the Defense were giving up big chunks of yards. Wolves QB #7 (#6 on the day) Matthew Krul could not connect with his receivers and got the majority of the offensive yards through his running ability, which included a fake Punt run for a 1st Down.
After half time we saw a different Wolves Defense. Knocking down passes, making tackles stick and keeping the Warriors to just 6 points. LB #2 Luke Sackl (7 combined tackles) and SS #25 Graham Measday (6 combined tackles) were the standouts.
Crusaders Crush Barbarians.
Western Crusaders 64 Defeated Monash Barbarians 0.
This was never going to be pretty on the scoreboard for the Barbs. Fielding 75% of rookies and after Crusaders QB #8 Andrew Healey helped put 44 points on the board in the first quarter, 100 points looked quite a possibility. Healey was placed in cotton wool at qtr time for backup QB #19 Brad Ferguson. By this time the sun was out and the field was drying up as did the scoring. A Safety by the Crusaders after Barbs QB #12 Roach recovered an errant snap in the end zone was the only score. This was Roach’s’ first game back since getting injured during warm-ups in week 1 last year.
The 2nd half saw the mercy rule kick in and the Crusaders Defense stamp their authority with a couple of INT’s, including a pick 6 from #35 Christian Cinel (45yd’s) and by #10 Harrison De Lai (12yd’s) following on from the first half pick 6 by rookie #85 Jerome (The Transformer) Mendozatron (38yd’s). RB #27 Richard Fatefehi had a day out with 3 TD’s on the ground while WR #2 Prince Coleman had 1.
The Barbs were no match for last years Vic Bowl Champs going down by 64 points. The Cru were able to get some valuable game time into their bench which included 7 rookies.
Dragons Strike Gold.
Bendigo Dragons 42 Defeated Ballarat Falcons 14.
With the sun starting to set, the lights switched on and the ground in a much dryer state than it was for game 1, the battle for the Gold Fields Bowl was on. The Dragons were looking to regain the trophy. A pretty uneventful first half with penalties killing the Dragons on Offense. They also lost starting RB Nicholas Kastellorizis for the season early in the 1st qtr. The only score was from a busted play that was fumbled by the Dragons and then recovered by the Dragons #44 Beau Kielty running it in for the score. The 2 point conversion was good and a score of 8-0 with the Dragons leading took us to half time.
Bendigo scored again before a huge Kick return by the talented WR/FS #4 Eddie Carey put the first points on the board for the Falcons. From then on it was the Dragons experience that saw them get to 42-8 with RB Raymond Henderson rushing for over 100yd’s while WR’s Michael Brandon, Ben Hughes and Jarrod Prentice all contributed.
The hard work of the Falcons Offensive line finally paid off with a late TD to WR #18 Duncan McIntosh and the game ended 42-14. The Gold Fields Bowl will be hosted by Bendigo next year.
Silverbacks Batter Sharks.
Pakenham Silverbacks 42 Defeated Peninsula Sharks 6.
A fantastic day for football in Parkville saw the rebuilding Silverbacks up against the newest addition to the GV family, the Peninsula Sharks. The Sharks showed glimpses of what they are building on holding the Silverbacks to just 8 points at the half. The Sharks made history in the 3rd quarter, down 14-0 they had a pass from QB #16 Travis Jones to WR #17 Andrew Halliwell for the first ever TD in the clubs history. That’s as close as they got as experience and injuries became a factor which included a dislocated finger to QB Jones.
Silverbacks starting QB #11 Deckster Harawa performed well after a limited pre season in the position with 9 of 12 for 75yd’s and 63yd’s on the ground. RB #36 Michael McKay had 91yd’s rushing and a score. With the Defense dominating the 2nd half the standouts were #10 Mitch Farrant with 6 total tackles and a 40yd pick 6 and playing both sides of the ball, #9 Chris Atwater had 49yd’s receiving from 6 catches, a Sack and a tackle for a loss.
Of the 42 points the Silverbacks scored 22 of them came in the last quarter, this game was much closer than the score indicated.
Royals Sparkle Like Markle.
Melbourne University Royals 20 Defeated Croydon Rangers 15.
This was my prediction for Game Of The Week and it lived up to it. A hard hitting affair played in ideal conditions. The Rangers no longer have veteran QB (now WR) #19 Jamie Stafford (1 TD) leading them instead having import QB #9 Brady Keliher (2 TD’s) leading the way. It was also a special day with Veteran linebacker #4 Mark Doyle playing his 200th game and he was once again one of the best on the field for the Rangers.
The Rangers struck first on a short pass from QB Keliher to WR Stafford in the end zone with the Royals answering in the 2nd qtr, tying the game 6-6 at the half. The lead changed a few times in the 2nd half with the Rangers scoring first on a long passing play to WR #85 James Fountain in the 3rd for a 12-6 lead. The Royals answered again in the 4th with a passing TD by QB #7 Alex Franklin to WR #11 Jacob Kerrin and the 2 point conversion. Scores were now 14-12 in favour of the Royals when the Rangers tried to take the lead with a rare Field Goal attempt with only 1:30 left in the game. The kick from WR/K #82 Sean Embery was good and the Rangers led 15-14.
The ensuing kick return by the Royals was returned all the way to the Rangers 34yd line, giving them great field position to try and score. The Rangers had to stop the Royals here to win the game however a TD to RB #6 Demontrez Simington saw the Royals back in front with under a minute remaining. Unfortunately for the Rangers they could not get back into scoring range and were backed up deep in their own territory. A failed 4th down and long attempt saw the Royals kneel out the game with the final score 20-15.
On a sad note, the Royals lost team Captain Josh Canning for the season to a broken leg. Standout players for the Royals were CB #15 Ben Andrews with an INT returned for 35yd’s, RB #6 Demontrez Simington (1 TD), RB #26 Juville Tuilagi (1 TD), QB #7 Alex Franklin (1 TD) and WR #11 Jacob Kerrin (1 TD). The entire O line also played well with new recruits #73 Joshua Faure and #76 Brandon Godfrey fitting in nicely. On the Defense DL #53 Alec Letoga led from the front.
For the Rangers Defense the best performers were LB #42 Adam Kolinski (1 INT), DB #6 Fawlo Apai, DB #43 Liam Fordham and DB #22 Chevy Edwards.
WEEK 2 Preview.
BYE: Ballarat Falcons, Bendigo Dragons, Western Crusaders.
|August 11, 2018||Monash Barbarians v Pakenham Silverbacks||10:30 am||Hendy Street Reserve|
GAME OF THE WEEK.
After a thumping last week the rookies at the Barbarians will have the opportunity to mix it with a team more on their level.
The Silverbacks had a slow start last week but really showed what they can do on Offense. This should be a close game and what might be a high scoring affair.
Prediction – Barbarians 28 V Silverbacks 30
|August 11, 2018||Geelong Buccaneers v Melbourne University||2:00 pm||Hendy Street Reserve|
First game for Geelong in their new facility. I’m looking forward to personally checking it out on Saturday. It’s kind of unknown how the Buccaneers will go after initially requesting to drop to Div 2.
The Royals had a tough hit out in week 1 and will be looking to continue on a winning run.
Prediction – Buccaneers 14 V Royals 36
|August 11, 2018||Croydon Rangers v Northern Raiders||2:00 pm||Ranger Field|
Croydon suffered a tough loss last week after taking the lead late. No doubt they worked on what went wrong in the final quarter during practice.
After a first week bye the new look Raiders will hope to at least be competitive. It will be interesting to see what the new roster can do.
Prediction – Rangers 44 V Raiders 0
|August 12, 2018||South Eastern Predators v Monash Warriors||10:30 am||MacPherson Park|
After also requesting to come down to Div 2, I don’t hold much hope of getting a win this week. Again it will be about being competitive.
Warriors will do what Warriors will always do and that’s Win. RB Luke Jackson should have another field day.
Prediction – Predators 8 V Warriors 40
|August 12, 2018||Melton Wolves v Peninsula Sharks||2:00 pm||MacPherson Park|
The Wolves did not start the season off how they would have liked, since most of the team started Pre Season in February they will be looking to make a noise at home against the new club. A situation they know very well.
Well they scored in their first ever hit out. That’s definitely something they can work on. The backup QB will have a chance to show what he can do. The Defense will have their work cut out for them.
Prediction – Wolves 35 V Sharks 6