With just 2 weeks remaining, some teams still find themselves with a shot at making the playoffs. This week see’s the top 2 sides face off in what will be an epic battle.
Rangers Don’t Give A Bucc.
Croydon Rangers 39 Defeated Geelong Buccaneers 0
In what I thought was “Game Of The Week” ended up being a complete shut out and true sign of how hard this new league format has been for the middle to lower clubs.
Both clubs were playing for the Jon Johnston Memorial Trophy which was currently held by the Rangers after last years win. It was also WR Jamie Staffords 200th game in GV having played with the now defunct Miners and currently the Rangers. From the beginning the Rangers dominated on both sides of the ball, scoring twice in the first quarter and then 2 more times in the second Quarter with a score of 27-0 at the half (1 Missed XP).
The second half saw the scoring slow down a bit as the Rangers were able to give some of the backups a run. For the Buccs nothing changed and they were continually forced to punt the ball away. Stafford managed a TD in his 200th and the Rangers move onto next week….with a bye.
Crusaders Cruise Past Raiders.
Western Crusaders 50 Defeated Northern Raiders 0
The Crusaders were always going to be to well drilled and experienced for the Raiders, who people forget are full of rookies and Colts players. Already undermanned the Raiders also lost RB Jesse Spiropoulos to a season ending knee injury in this game. On the bright side was the emergence of #2 Joshua Rice who played DB,LB and RB.
The Crusaders just fine tuned themselves for week 12 by getting through it unscathed and full of confidence. Getting to the playoffs with a healthy and full list to choose from would have been their main goal.
Dragons Give Warriors A Burn
Monash Warriors 42 Defeated Bendigo Dragons 31
A game at home under lights and a good hometown crowd meant the Dragons needed to show them something and boy did they ever. Initially it was looking like the Warriors were going to come away with an easy victory after leading 28-9 at the half but the Dragons were never giving up the fight.
A high scoring affair ensued with the Dragons piling on 22 points to the Warriors 14. The Warriors experience is probably what got them the win but they’ll be asking themselves why they almost let this one slip.
The Dragons have been slowly building over the last few weeks and will be ruing the loss, that could have easily been a shock victory but a victory all the same.
Royals Trap Wolves
Melbourne University Royals 46 Defeated Melton Wolves 7
The way the game started and continued in the first quarter, we were looking at a game that was threatening 60 points or more from the Royals. The Wolves had 6 total fumbles in the first period mainly from the snap and the QB and RB exchanged. They managed to recover a few but lost a few in the process.
The play of the day came very early in the game when Royals QB Alex Franklin dropped back to pass, had 2 Wolves in his face and all over his shoulders, he escaped, ran around, escaped again and again while still running in circles before running to the goal line and reaching the ball past the pylon for the score. A 5yd run actually went about 30 to 40 yd’s in total and wiped 30 seconds off the clock. Well it felt like a long time.
28 points were on the board and by the half there was 40 to 0. The Mercy rule kicked in at half time and this seemed to spark the Wolves into gear. To little too late however. The Wolves started doing what most teams had struggled to do and that’s run up the gut of the Royals. Some hard bulldozing work led by RB Jai Mann and accompanied by RB Matt Krul saw the Wolves gain some yards and 1st downs before finally getting one in from 10 yd’s out, also thanks to some excellent work by the Offensive line. Even though QB David Parkinson wasn’t able to connect with his receivers he was given plenty of time to offload a long bomb.
The very next play after the kickoff Royals QB Franklin hit a long 55yd bomb for the score and the extra point was blocked, making it the 4th blocked XP attempt by the Wolves. The Wolves made a big play on Defense late when CB John Galvez made a hit on the WR after the catch, forcing a fumble and recovery by FS Luke Lucktaylor.
Pakenham On Borrowed Time.
South Eastern Predators 46 Defeated Pakenham Silverbacks 6
Yet another week of borrowed players so a game could actually go ahead. To everyone’s surprise this wasn’t as easy as first thought. With a couple of the Melton Wolves starting Offense helping out, the half time score resembled a match up between two teams of equal skill level and the Silverbacks had scored a TD.
After half time it was a completely different story. Let’s not forget the first half ejection of a player from each team. The Predators managed to pile on the points after the half time break with 3 TD’s to RB Ben Clark and import WR/FS Bobby Vahos for the game. This game also saw the first ever TD for veteran #30 Andrew James on a reception.
BYE – Barbarians, Rangers, Dragons.
|October 20, 2018||South Eastern Predators v Peninsula Sharks||10:30 am||MacPherson Park|
The Predators haven’t had a great year even though they have had some huge wins. Unfortunately, they have the most flags and ejections of any team. Not something to be overly proud of. Should win very easily but should be respectful of who they are playing, especially because they are brand new and we want to see players return for next season and seasons beyond.
Sorry baby Sharks. Do Do DO your best and build for next year. Short term pain for long term gain.
Prediction – Predators 56 V Sharks 0
|October 20, 2018||Ballarat Gridiron v Monash Warriors||10:30 am||DR Atkinson Reserve|
Hopefully the Falcons will be bolstered with players back from injury after the week off. Unfortunately they come up against the former league powerhouse that can score on the ground or through the air.
The Warriors will be fine tuning themselves for another championship tilt. Should have this done by half time but that’s what everyone thought last week.
Prediction – Falcons 6 V Warriors 46
|October 20, 2018||Pakenham Silverbacks v Melton Wolves||2:00 pm||MacPherson Park|
The Silverbacks have had to borrow players from the Wolves the last two times but obviously can’t do it this week. With a chance of victory and a team more at their skill level, they might be able to field a full side.
The Wolves will want to finish the season on a high with a victory at home. Despite last weeks result they showed signs of things finally coming together on both sides of the ball. Get a victory here, recruit well again and maintain the majority of the playing group for a better 2019.
Prediction – Silverbacks 14 Wolves 17
|October 20, 2018||Northern Raiders v Geelong Buccaneers||2:00 pm||DR Atkinson Reserve|
The Raiders have had a few injuries of late and will hope they don’t lose anyone else, considering they still have a shot to make the Playoffs.
The Buccaneers have had a season of very mixed results. They have already beaten every former DIV 2 side with ease so this shouldn’t be any different.
Prediction – Raiders 0 V Buccaneers 38
|October 21, 2018||Western Crusaders v Melbourne University||2:00 pm||Henry Turner Reserve|
GAME OF THE WEEK/YEAR.
Massive massive game this one. The winner will become the firm favourites to win it all come November.
The Crusaders are the all round team with stars everywhere. They are talented at every position with no real weakness and have been bolstered on Defense over the past few weeks with the return of DE’s Jnala Saluni and Eli Curry II. It will be interesting to see whether they are able to run up the middle against the Royals strong front 7.
The Royals will be much better for this outing after facing the Crusaders in last years championship game. They are a much improved team since then with some additions. Keep an eye on how the usually strong Offensive line holds up against the fierce Crusader Defensive line, a battle in itself. The DB’s will need to be at their best with the Crusaders speed at WR. QB Alex Franklin can scramble so it might come down to whether he can still make plays against the best opposition he will face all year.
Prediction – Crusaders 20 V Royals 17