So there you have it. The final games of the 2018 Regular Season are behind us. Only 8 teams are left.
Let’s get ready for Playoff FOOTBALL!!!
Crusaders Hit Cruise Control
Western Crusaders 27 Defeated Geelong Buccaneers 7
With a bit of an administration mistake by the Crusaders, they actually had to win this to finish first on points. They were deducted 2 points for this clerical error. Having to beat Geelong is something they did quite comfortably last time, why would this be any different?
They held the Buccaneers to just 7 points while scoring 27 of their own and going undefeated for the second season in a row. The Buccs did show some fight which they will take into the first week of the playoffs.
Falcons Fly Into Playoff Spot.
Ballarat Falcons 43 Defeated Pakenham Silverbacks 0
The first surprise was that there was actually a game on. Running very thing on numbers the Silverbacks at least put a team out on the park. Luckily for the Falcons this wasn’t ever going to be a danger game, unless something drastically went wrong. Win and they get in, lose and the Raiders get into the final 8.
This game will be known for something and that would be the Drop Kick Goal by DE Dave Parker. More than likely the first in GV history if I’m not wrong (Maybe someone can confirm it?). A fitting send off for Special teams coach who would be leaving the club.
Falcons QB James Stephens was electric with zero pressure on him all day. Putting up DeShaun Watson like numbers on the day. The Falcons Defense dominated with 3 Interceptions and the Silverbacks ended up with just 1 player left on the bench. Putting an end to their disastrous season.
Rangers Wrangle Sharks.
Croydon Rangers 74 Defeated Peninsula Sharks 0
With nothing on the line and facing the easy beats of the League, it was time for the Rangers to try things and give the backups game time. The game was put to bed in the first quarter with 32 points put up by the Rangers.
To the Sharks credit they showed up again, despite being convincingly thumped in every game this season, going through with zero Forfeits. With 2 standouts with the Sharks, their future looks bright under QB Andrew Halliwell and Rookie standout RB/LB Jay Garner, who looks like a seasoned veteran the way he runs the ball with conviction and power.
By the end of it 74 points were scored and even backup QB Richard Garraway managed to throw a TD to veteran S Mark Doyle for his first ever receiving TD.
Bendigo Dragons 50 Defeated Monash Barbarians 0
This game didn’t mean much except a fairwell game for one of the Dragons American Imports, who is going to look at playing somewhere else in this wide world of ours.
The Dragons were never really tested taking out the easy victory in readiness for the Playoffs where they will not be an easy beat.
The Barbarians can sit back now and relax by cheering on their big brother the Warriors.
Raiders Hearts Broken.
South Eastern Predators 28 Defeated Northern Raiders 6
A great day weather wise greeted both sides, except we were in for yet another Dust Bowl due to the rough ground conditions. With the field getting re-irrigated it is more than likely that the Raiders won’t be able to play games there next season.
This was a do or die game for the Raiders with a must win to make the playoffs after the Falcons had beaten the Silverbacks to get into 8th position. They had the ideal start with a Predators 3 and out, a fumbled snap on a punt that they recovered at their own 25yd line giving them excellent field position. It was short lived with a fumble by QB Michael Nebauer that the Predators recovered.
The Predators put a solid drive together with constant runs down the middle and on the left. There seemed to be a bit of a weakness on the right side as most of those runs were stopped for losses or no gain. They had to settle on a 27yd Field Goal by K Maddy McLeod who made it look easy.
The Raiders had found a player in RB/LB Josh Rice who managed a 40yd run up the middle of the field to the Predators 20yd line, before being brought down. A 15yd face mask penalty was also called putting the Raiders at the 9yd line. Josh Rice ran up the middle for the TD but the 2pt conversion was dropped, much like his guts after suffering Gastro the past 48hrs, by WR Nicholas Faure. It was his 3rd dropped pass on the day (5 in total). Quarter time came with the Raiders in a good position in front 6-3.
Early in the 2nd, Raiders QB Michael Nebauer hit FS turned WR Mark Padula on a 30yd bomb down the sideline to the 15yd line. Padula caught another one at the 5yd line for a 1st down. The good work was undone when Nebauer was intercepted in the End Zone by FS Bobby Vahos and returned just outside the goal line to the 5yd line.
The Predators managed another solid drive with good runs by RB Kyle Martin and WR Bobby Vahos with the addition of a face mask penalty, however they were eventually halted at the Raiders 40yd line and punted into the End Zone for a Touch Back.
The Predators held the Raiders to a 3 and out with the snap on the punt sailing over the head of Davies and into the End Zone for a Safety to the Preds. We now had a baseball like score on our hands with the Raiders in front 6-5 with under 3 minutes remaining. Rice managed to boot the ball well into the Preds territory with his Free Kick that went out at the 12yd line.
The Preds came out passing with QB Jesse Sporton launching a pass to the 50yd line that was intercepted by the Raiders Padula. The Raiders good work was undone again with a fumbled snap that was recovered by the Preds.
The Preds looked to be going to go 3 and out until a late flag was thrown for Pass Interference on the Raiders Defense, taking the ball to the Raiders 27yd line with 33 seconds left in the half. Vahos caught a Sporton pass at the 7yd line and then RB Ben Clark finished it off with a run into the End Zone. After a couple of penalties, McLeod kicked a 30yd XP which sailed right, much to the dismay of the ball girl who swore it went through. It was half time with the Predators leading again 11-6.
After the half time break it was pretty much all Predators, with the Raider Offense struggling and the Defense being out on the field so long that they showed signs of getting tired. Vahos was the next to score on a pass from Sporton for the only score of the quarter.
McLeod added another FG for the Predators from 30yds out and WR/CB #29 Bob Provan got in on the act with a key catch (Not to mention an easy dropped INT earlier). McLeod added to the scores again with a short TD reception and the XP that ended up in the neighbours backyard. Once again the ball girl expressed her feelings on having to get that ball back.
With the Raiders hopes squashed the Predators knelt the game out for a 28-6 victory.
Week 1 Playoffs.
|November 3, 2018||Monash Warriors v Bendigo Dragons||10:30 am||Ranger Field|
Monash probably can’t even remember the last time they missed the playoffs. It sure has been a while so this situation is something they’d be used to. After having 2 weeks off from football, they might find that as a hindrance more than a help. They should be fresh and hopefully fully fit.
The Dragons look like they are playoff ready. After a slow build up to the season they have hit their straps at the right time. They are capable of the upset here, especially after the last battle between these 2 teams.
I’m sticking my neck out and saying the Dragons beat the Warriors. If I had any credibility, I may lose it if they don’t.
Game Highlight – Dragons Kicker Thomas Prince kicks the game winning Field Goal.
Prediction – Warriors 24 V Dragons 25
|November 3, 2018||Croydon Rangers v Geelong Buccaneers||2:00 pm||Ranger Field|
The Rangers handled the Buccs fairly easily last time around. With QB Brady Kelliher getting more comfortable he is definitely the key to their chances. The Defense is capable of controlling the game.
The Buccaneers missed the Playoffs for the first time in a while last year. The new League format sees them make a return. Don’t see it going much further than this game.
Game Highlight – Rangers force 5 Buccaneer turnovers.
Prediction – Rangers 42 V Buccaneers 14
|November 4, 2018||Melbourne University v SE Predators||10:30 am||Henry Turner Reserve|
The Royals will look to get on top early. QB Franklin could be missing due to injury so QB Noah Sims will most likely get the start.
Under 30 active players on the roster. A very run heavy Offense that only really has 1 WR. Most of the stars will be playing both ways. Kicker Maddy McLeod could be the difference maker due to his strong leg.
Game Highlight – Royals RB Demontrez Simmington scores 3 Rushing TD’s.
Prediction – Royals 34 V Predators 6
|November 4, 2018||Western Crusaders v Ballarat Falcons||2:00 pm||Henry Turner Reserve|
Is QB Andrew Healy completely out of the picture? Could he make a return if they make the Vic Bowl? Either way QB Brad Fergusson is very capable of taking them all the way. The Defense is the key however.
One more win than the Raiders gets them into 8th spot, despite having 1.5 forfeits. QB James Stephens is the key to them having a shot at winning. This will mean an error free game and hitting WR Eddie Carey with every scoring pass. Will be all too much for them.
Game Highlight – Falcons WR/FS Eddie Carey scores on a 60yd Pick 6.
Prediction – Crusaders 48 V Falcons 6
NOTE – I will not have a review and preview next week as I will be in Bali relaxing.