Week 2 gave a real mixed bag of results. Again plenty of Offense and a game that struggled to live up to the hype (the hype I tried to stir).
Barbarians Outlast Silverbacks.
Monash Barbarians 6 Defeated Pakenham Silverbacks 0
In what I thought was going to be a high scoring affair we saw the complete opposite. The Silverbacks probably could have taken the win here if it wasn’t for mistakes in the Red Zone and the relentless Defense of the Barbs holding them out.
The Barbarians were slaughtered last week and could now focus on playing and beating a team they are more familiar with. The Silverbacks made light work after halftime of the Sharks last week and looked to continue on their scoring ways….that didn’t happen this week.
After a scoreless 1st qtr the Barbarians were the first to find the end zone with a pass from QB #12 Sean Roche to WR #17 Gilles Schoumaund. The rest of the game was a defensive struggle. The Silverbacks were able to move the ball on the ground through RB #36 Michael McKay who had 11 carries for 89yd’s, RB #47 Daniel Baleitavuki (39yd’s, 6 Att) and #52 Simo Afamasaga (29yd’s, 4 ATT) but failed to compliment their contributions with a score. On the Defense LB #10 Mitch Farrant was causing havoc with 6 tackles and a forced fumble while #52 Afamasaga added 5 tackles.
The Barbarians were back to their stingy ways not allowing much through the air and causing fumbles and an Interception of the Silverbacks. DE #91 Declan McKenzie and Rookie DE #45 Pete Miller were outstanding closing down run plays to the outside. After a fumble recovery at the 1yd line the Barbs looked to score for a 2nd time but due to a fumble by QB Roche, a Touch Back was forced by the Silverbacks. With the Silverbacks RB’s gaining valuable yards DE Miller was moved back to MLB to help stem the flow and new comer DE #21 Koby Sikorsk made some big stops.
Royals Flush Out Buccaneers.
Melbourne University Royals 26 Defeated Geelong Buccaneers 0
A new home ground and a new Uniform for the Buccaneers who were taking on the Royals in Geelong. Right as kickoff arrived a heavy sun shower swept across the field. The Royals had first possession with RB #6 Demontrez Simington asserting his early dominance with two big 1st Down runs on the first two plays of the game, however Geelong were able to hold them out after a failed 4th Down attempt by the Royals.
The wind was sweeping across the open field making passing difficult for both sides. The Buccaneers were held to a 4 and out from mid field and the ensuing Punt sailed over the Punters head, bouncing all the way down to the Bucs own 3yd line. RB Simington ran it in from the 3 for the score and the XP was good making it 7-0 to the Royals halfway through the 1st qtr. Geelong’s ground game was struggling against the Royals strong Defense but they were able to connect on 2 big pass plays, despite the pressure QB #7 Pierce Rickard was under. It was evident early that the Buccaneers were not going to be able to get to Royals QB #7 Alex Franklin who was getting about 10 seconds to try and find a receiver thanks to the O Line. On a positive, the Bucs DB’s were outstanding not allowing Franklin to connect deep, forcing him to scramble most of the time.
The dark grey clouds in the distance were threatening to unleash on Hendy Street in the 2nd qtr. The Royals continued the ground game with a 70yd drive that ended with a 30yd run by RB Simington. The XP was good again making it 14-0 Royals. Another broken Punt by the Bucs was recovered by the Royals at the 37yd line but they dodged a bullet, held them to a 4th and 10 through excellent pass coverage. The Royals coach was not happy with the efforts of his receivers and he let them know on the sideline.
Geelong continued making key catches for 1st Down and faced a 3rd and 10 from the 27 with half time approaching. A 12yd pass to WR #1 Tyler Powell from QB Rickard looked incomplete but the Royals claimed a fumble, however the referees called it complete and down by contact. With Geelong threatening to score the heavens opened sending spectators running to their cars for cover. Unfortunately for the Bucs they just couldn’t put it into the end zone, leaving the score 14-0.
The Bucs got an early break in the 3rd with a fumble recovery at the Royals 17yd line. Again they couldn’t score with the Royals Defense dominating them at the line. A 45yd scramble by QB Franklin saw him into the end zone but there was a flag on the Offense for unsportsmanlike negating the score. RB Simington kept getting good yards up the middle with help from RB/LB #12 Tokoa Tangatakino who was looking like Todd Gurley out there. Franklin was redeemed with a 10yd bootleg for the TD making it 20-0 with the XP attempt blocked.
Geelong’s next drive stalled with an interception of a QB Rickard pass by the Royals #33 Divine schwenke who made a great read and catch. We saw veteran #4 Chris Benyon put into the backfield to help the Bucs but despite a few good runs, even he couldn’t help them score. With Royals RB Tangatakino keeping the ball moving the Royals got to the 6 before RB Simington made his first error and fumbled, which was recovered by the Bucs. The Bucs again couldn’t get it out of danger and were forced to punt, it was blocked but the Defense was called for Offsides and the ball re-kicked past mid field.
A few plays saw the Royals flagged for something during the play but Geelong’s Offensive Coach, Daniel Noonan, saw something he did not like, letting the referees know about it. Unfortunately for him he was flagged twice and ejected. The penalties on Noonan took the ball to their 19yd, giving the Royals a chance to add another score, which they did after 12yd run by RB Tangatakino. #3 Christian Suan literally jumped over the D and O Lines to block the XP but was a little too eager and flagged for offsides. The next try was fumbled by the Royals and recovered by the Bucs.
The trend continued with another muffed Bucs Punt that put the Royals back into scoring range. The Defense held on and recovered the fumbled snap. The Royals Defense continued what they had done all day and stopped the Bucs in their tracks ending the game in a shut out 26-0.
Rangers Cause Storm.
Croydon Rangers 31 Defeated Northern Raiders 0
This was a game that had to be cut short due to lightning. Not something that happens too much in our winter but it did on this day. It may have also been a blessing in disguise for the new look Raiders who failed to put any points on the board.
Despite the offense failing to score or do much with the ball, the Defense was able to force a total of 5 turnovers with veteran LB #52 Sala Taula (2 FF, 2 FR) the general for the Raiders along with FS #31 Mark Padula who had an interception.
The Rangers did what they needed to do without setting the world on fire. No doubt they would have liked to put more points on the board before the weather took effect.
Predators No Easy Kill.
Monash Warriors 18 Defeated South Eastern Predators 6
“If it bleeds, we can kill it” this was the case for the Predators but they didn’t die easily when they took on the Monash Warriors, with veteran QB #15 Dom Dearman playing a backup role this week. Instead QB #12 James Avia took the reins but an early fumble by RB #26 Luke Jackson turned the ball over to the Preds. He redeemed himself after the Warriors forced a 3 and out with a 20yd TD run for the opening score. The Defense which saw the return of DE #33 Israel Wong-See forced a turnover which saw a QB Avia 65yd bomb to WR #14 Denzel Legrand who was left wide open due to blown coverage by the Predators Secondary. The Warriors lost LB #44 Nathan Conquo to a knee injury in the 2nd qtr.
Down 12-0 at half time the Predators needed to find some momentum which they did in their run heavy offense. In an opening drive by the Preds they scored on a 7yd run by Import RB/LB #38 Mike Collins after a nice catch by another Import, WR/FS #20 Bobby Vahos from QB #19 Jesse Sporton. With the score at 12-6 they could smell an upset.
Going into the last both defenses dominated play. For the Preds who forced 3 Fumbles, it was #38 Collins (1 Sack, 1 FF) who was playing both sides of the ball and DE #90 Lachlan Haynes (2 Sacks). Warriors with the ball saw RB #31 Denzell Harmit string a few good runs together, including a 25yd scamper and a 13yd TD run sealing the win for the Warriors 18-6.
Wolves Feast On Sharks.
Melton Wolves 66 Defeated Peninsula Sharks 0
This game looked like it was going to get ugly very early after the first Kick Return by the Wolves. A 35yd return followed by a 27yd Run on the first play by RB #17 Thomas Shutt (8 Att 80yd’s 3 TD’s) for the score. At the half the Wolves were looking like Division 1 veterans with the score sitting at 58-0. The ground game was virtually unstoppable with QB #6 Matthew Krul (2 TD’s), rookies RB #35 August Maae and RB #27 Samuel Schwalger running in scores and over 250yd’s.
The 2nd half only saw 1 TD for the Wolves after the mercy rule was introduced and some good signs for the Sharks, especially with Rookie DL/RB #99 Jay Garner running the ball. He was breaking tackles and gaining valuable yards although his Punting efforts weren’t great in the windy conditions. Another positive sign was of Rookie 3rd String QB #17 Andrew Halliwell who would probably start on most former Div 2 teams. Despite running for his life from the Wolves Defense most of the day. Other honourable mentions were DE/LB/SS #8 Nathan Lower who made some solid tackles and WR #7 Matthew Dutchman who had catches for 1st Downs.
With the clock running the final score was a 16yd run by RB/OL #61 Jai Mann with a crazy 2 point conversion pass play by TE/QB #82 David Parkinson ending in the hands of TE #33 Lucas Bennett-Hullin. Defensively for the Wolves, Rookie LB #43 Tristan Thomas (5 tackles, 1 Sack) was impressive again as was LB #2 Luke Sackl (2 Sacks, Safety, 4 Tackles) and LB #15 Kaua Fungavaka (2 Sacks). The secondary of both sides didn’t give up much through the air with only 80yd’s total (Wolves 38yd’s, Sharks 42yd’s) and just 1 Interception.
BYE – Melton Wolves, Pakenham Silverbacks, Geelong Buccaneers (2nd)
|August 18, 2018||Monash Barbarians v South Eastern Predators||10:30 am||DR Atkinson Reserve|
The Barbarians run defense will be severely tested this week. The DB’s will need to be on their toes and ready to help against the run.
The Predators looked good against the Warriors and will look to improve on that. With most players playing on both sides of the ball, I hope they’re fit.
Prediction – Barbarians 0 V Predators 32
|August 18, 2018||Northern Raiders v Monash Warriors||2:00 pm||DR Atkinson Reserve|
The Raiders have the hardest start to the season of all the clubs. They now come up against another Div 1 powerhouse. We know they have a good Defense, it’s the Offense that needs to improve.
Maybe the Warriors took last week a little too easy and were found a little bit wanting. They should get back on track this week.
Prediction – Raiders 0 V Warriors 40
|August 18, 2018||Croydon Rangers v Bendigo Dragons||2:00 pm||Ranger Field|
GAME OF THE WEEK.
This games stands out as the best viewing for week 3.
The Dragons have had success in the past over the Rangers and with a solid performance in the 2nd half of week 1’s game, the trip back to Bendigo might be a pleasant one.
The Rangers will look to build on their week 2 victory and keep themselves in the mix for the top of the table.
Prediction – Rangers 21 V Dragons 16
|August 19, 2018||Ballarat Gridiron v Western Crusaders||10:30 am||Brens Oval|
It’s not that the Falcons are a bad team because they are not. There is plenty of talent at QB, WR and on Defense. It’s just that they face the Champions this week.
The Crusaders juggernaut will continue to roll on in this one. Back up QB #19 Brad Ferguson should see plenty of action here.
Prediction – Falcons 0 V Crusaders 52
|August 19, 2018||Melbourne University v Peninsula Sharks||2:00 pm||Brens Oval|
All the Sharks can do is learn from these defeats. It was never going to be easy coming into the 1 Division format.
The Royals should record a comfortable victory. No doubt their bench will get plenty of game time in this one.
Prediction – Royals 60 V Sharks 0