Week 6 must have been “Precision Playing Surface Week” as all games were played on fantastic fields.
Dragons Lock Themselves In Lair.
Western Crusaders 50 Defeated Bendigo Dragons 9
I arrived a little late for this one, trying to work my way around to the front entrance of Alfredton Oval, thanks to the sometimes unreliable GPS Maps woman. My first glance of the scoreboard and I had to ask the Falcons scoreboard operator if it was still the 1st Qtr after seeing the score as 26-0, she confirmed it was.
So what happened to the team that were able to run the ball and stop the Wolves in their tracks the week before? Were they still stuck in Bendigo? Isn’t Ballarat closer to travel to than Reservoir? All jokes aside I couldn’t believe this was happening. Trailing 34-0 at the end of the first qtr the Dragons had a lot to work on.
The 2nd qtr saw the Dragons finally make some progress after a bit of a Defensive struggle for most of it. QB Ian Juede was able to get some runs going and connecting with WR Michael Dell and a key 1st Down catch to WR #14 Jarrod Prentice. Unable to get into the end zone they had to settle for a 22yd FG by #33 Thomas Prince to put their first points on the board. Unfortunately for the Dragons the Kickoff was returned for 40yds which set up an eventual 25yd Pass from Crusaders QB Andrew Healey. On a positive the Dragons halted a late qtr drive by the Crusaders with an INT by #20 Dale Shanahan inside the 10yd line. Half time saw the score 42-3.
Now, one would think of a lead of 39 points at the half that the Mercy rule would be kicking in. Something tells me that this was completely forgotten as the clocked seemed to stop a lot in the last half. Luckily the Dragons had found form and were able to match it with the Crusaders who had brought out their backups, who would probably be starters on a lot of teams. With the Dragons moving the ball via the legs of the QB and the hands of WR Prentice, they eventually ran a TD in from the 2 yd line but missed the 2pt conversion.
In a final drive in the last qtr the Crusaders, now led by QB Brad Furguson, managed to add another long TD through the air and 2pt conversion to run out victors.
Silverbacks Cut By Half.
Melbourne University Royals 36 Defeated Pakenham Silverbacks 0
The game was pretty much a Forfeit under League rules after the Silverbacks had to loan 6 players from the Crusaders. In what ended up being a bit of a spiteful clash between the undermanned Silverbacks and Royals, the game was eventually called off at the half for the risk of injury to the Silverback players.
Falcons Swoop on Wolves Mistakes.
Ballarat Falcons 24 Defeated Melton Wolves 14
The sun began to set and the cold air swept across the field as the lights were warming up over Alfredton oval……number 2. In what I labelled as “Game Of The Week”, people didn’t leave disappointed in the ferocity and entertainment value of the match.
The Wolves were missing key pieces of the Defense and Matthew Krul had relinquished the Quarterback duties to QB #82 David Parkinson. The Wolves received the ball first but started a little rusty, having to punt the ball into the End Zone for a Touch Back after a 3 and out and the first QB Sack of the game. The Falcons took over with talented QB James Stephens and former WR Duncan McIntosh lining up at tailback. The Falcons started with their own 3 and out, punting it back to the Wolves.
The next drive from the Wolves started with a 10yd Holding Penalty and then a 15 yard run by RB/WR Sharleam Baker who had the ball knocked from his hand as he was about to hit the open field. The Falcons recovered and struck straight away with a 34yd pass from QB Stephens to WR Eddie Carey and the 2pt conversion was good. It was evident early that the Wolves would have to try and match it with the Falcons through the air, something they haven’t been able to do at all this season.
The next drive by the Wolves started around midfield after a handy 20yd Kick Return after a short kickoff. A precise 24yd pass and catch by WR #30 Declan Krizmanic and 2 runs by RB Thomas Shutt got the Wolves into a scoring position but like last week they couldn’t convert, failing on 4th and 12, giving the ball back to Stephens and the Falcons Offense. The Wolves Pass rush was too much for the Falcons O line to handle early on with consecutive QB Sacks. The ensuing Punt by the Falcons resulted in a penalty against them placing the Wolves at the 18yd line. A huge hit by the Falcons Defense forced a fumble they recovered at the 3yd line after a short reception.
The 2nd qtr began with the Wolves main Offensive weapon WR/RB Matt Krul getting the bulk of the carries as they marched down field. The drive ended with a 1yd QB sneak by Parkinson and the XP was good. We had a game on our hands.
A short kick return and then an interception by LB #36 Joshua Cutler gave the ball back to the Wolves, once again they failed to convert in perfect field position and turned it over on 4th Down. Another quick 3 and out by Ballarat gave the ball back to the Wolves in a scoring position. The Wolves attempted a 31yd Field Goal after another stalled drive which was no good. The Melton Defense was well on top by this stage but the Offense was not helping them out by missing opportunities to score. This happened again after a 4th down attempt as time expired with the score 8-7 in favour of the Falcons.
The 3rd term seemed to start like the first after a 7yd loss followed by a 67yd TD pass to Rookie WR #12 Billy Pedretti after the Wolves CB lost contact with him down the sideline. The 2pt conversion was good once again making it 16-7.
Again Matt Krul threatened to take control of the game with solid runs but as they had been all game they failed to score once again. LB #21 Peter McKay was having a huge day stalling the Wolves Offense when it mattered the most, sometimes getting his head pushed back into his shoulders from a Krul stiff arm.
The Falcons went 3 and out again and after a booming 58yard punt, which was controversially ruled touched by the Wolves was recovered by the Falcons at the 21yd line. An Interception by the Wolves at the 3yd line was overturned after a roughing the passer call. The Falcons scored on a 10yd pass to WR Andrew Pickersgill in the end zone, breaking the spirit of the Wolves Defense who had worked so hard. Down with the score 24 -7 they faced an up hill battle to get back into it.
The Kick Off by the Falcons was returned 56yds by Rookie WR Zach Patrick and the Wolves had some hope of scoring quickly as the 3rd qtr was nearing an end. After a 9yd Krul run to the 1yd line, Parkinson snuck it in for his 2nd TD of the day. The XP was good and the scores were now 24-14 with 1 qtr to play.
The Falcons pass rush started to get pressure on the QB as both teams couldn’t get much going until Parkinson hit Krul down the middle for a 41yd reception. RB Thomas Shutt had left the game earlier with a broken arm so the rushing duties were left to Baker, Krul and even Parkinson. You guessed it, they failed to score with yet another failed 4th down attempt.
With the Falcons taking over, the speed of RB McIntosh helped run the clock down which included a 23 yd run on the outside. With less than 2 minutes remaining the Wolves needed a miracle and under the dim lights that wasn’t going to happen. Despite 2 more catches for 47yds by Krul, they couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. The Wolves had doubled the total yards of the Falcons, had their best passing game yet but found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
The Wolves season is now at the cross roads going into a bye week. The Falcons now find themselves in 7th position and a chance for another win against the struggling Barbarians.
Warriors Dominance Over Buccs Continues.
Monash Warriors 26 Defeated Geelong Buccaneers 0
Old rivals, memorable Vic Bowls, what these 2 clubs have done for the competition is something to be commended however they find themselves in completely different situations.
On the bright green grass of Monash University the Buccs were looking to continue on a winning streak. It was never going to be easy against a Warriors side looking to redeem themselves after a tough loss to the Crusaders a week ago.
Former Barbarian and talented Colt RB #21 Montell Wickremesinghe was in devastating form with 3 Rushing TD’s. The Warriors now find themselves with 3 dangerous runners which will pro long the career of QB Dom Dearman (Who I played against in 1994/95).
The Buccs were again shut out by a former Div 1 rival this season but did intercept Dearman a couple of times, also turning it over themselves.
Barbarians Rolled By Raiders.
Northern Raiders 18 Defeated Monash Barbarians 6
The Raiders Defense dominated early holding the Barbarians scoreless until the final qtr. WR #80 Nicholas Faure looks to be the main target for the Raiders QB and the Defense continues to cause turnovers.
Barbarians QB Roche seems to be having issues keeping the offense on the field, while RB #22 Johnny Chen can’t find much room to run the ball. The Defense continues to bleed points.
BYE – Wolves (2nd), Crusaders (3rd), Dragons (2nd).
|September 15, 2018||Croydon Rangers v Monash Warriors||10:30 am||Alfredton|
Yes, I know I’ve predicted the scores in this one closer than my “Game Of The Week”. No I haven’t lost my mind. This will be a good game to watch with plenty of passing to keep the fans of the QB happy but I don’t think it will be as physical.
Prediction – Rangers 14 V Warriors 16
|September 15, 2018||Peninsula Sharks v Northern Raiders||2:00 pm||Alfredton|
At least the Sharks are coming out and giving it a crack. Just hope they don’t disappoint me and forfeit.
After the hardest start to the season of any club, they should be able to open the playbook a bit more here.
Prediction – Sharks 0 V Raiders 40
|September 15, 2018||Ballarat Gridiron v Monash Barbarians||5:30 pm||Alfredton|
Last season you would have put the Barbarians down as favourites. This year is a completely different story. The Barbs will need their DB’s alert in this one as the Falcons like to launch it deep on occassions.
The Falcons should be able to string 3 wins together here. At home they will have more players available and seeing them first hand last week, they should score over 30 points if they can get the run game going.
Prediction – Falcons 32 V Barbarians 6
|September 16, 2018||Pakenham Silverbacks v Geelong Buccaneers||10:30 am||Namatjira Reserve|
Not much to say about this one. Just hope that the Silverbacks have enough players.
Sorry Jayden Wennholz.
Prediction – Silverbacks 0 V Buccaneers 42
|September 16, 2018||South Eastern Predators v Melbourne University||2:00 pm||Namatjira Reserve|
GAME OF THE WEEK.
This is a big test for both clubs. It will be a very physical battle between these two, I have no doubts about it.
Predators have an opportunity, after having 2 byes in a row, to test their power and skill against the Royals. Their imports will play a huge part.
The Royals will welcome this game after a few less than impressive performances. This could define their season.
Prediction – Predators 14 V Royals 21