I found myself sitting at home on Saturday. So instead of doing things around the house, I did what any other red blooded football fan would do. I watched the livestreams of all 3 games out at Endeavour Hills. So, this week you get an extra 3 games in more detail……You’re Welcome!!!

The first game up was the under 16’s where the Predators were taking on the first up winners in the Crusaders. Now initially I saw the players from the Crusaders and said out loud “THEY’RE UNDER 16????” some of these kids would scare some DIV 1 teams. Now size isn’t everything, but the Cru had everything in number #17 who scored pretty much immediately.

Turnovers did not help the young Predators cause and before you even knew it, the Crusaders were up by 20 until the Predators finally hit the scoreboard and a successful 2-point conversion.

That’s as close as it got, with the bigger and more athletic young Crusaders piled on a further 30 points, which included a Hail Mary to #17, who fittingly, scored the TD from 15yds out.

The Crusaders head out to Geelong to take on the Buccaneers, while the Predators open up the new pavilion at Ranger Field Croydon, taking on the Rangers.

Final score – South Eastern Predators 8 Defeated by Western Crusaders 50

Next game up was the under 19’s Predators against the undermanned Royals. This was a big defensive battle for the majority of the game. The Royals weren’t allowed any big plays and neither were the Predators. The Royals were first to score but mistakes were hampering both teams by this stage.

It wasn’t until 4 minutes before half time that the Predators were on the board, after a big 45yd INT by #29. With 7 minutes to play in the 3rd, the Predators extended their lead to 14-6 after a solid short run by #85. There was no more scoring and the Predators redeemed themselves from last week with the victory.

The Predators head out to Ranger Field while the Royals will travel to Geelong to take on the undefeated Buccaneers.

Final Score – South Eastern Predators 14 Defeat Melbourne University Royals 6

It was time for the eagerly awaited Predators V Crusaders Division 1 men’s game. Would it live up to the hype? Early on you would not have thought so. Both teams turning over the ball after a fumble on their first possession which saw a TD pass by QB #17 Matthew Krul to WR #8 Rusty Todd on his own in the end zone, which was set up by RB #36 Tyson Garnham’s previous big gain.

The Predators were struggling to keep a hold of the football, nearly turning it over a few times. In the 2nd quarter there was a roughing the passer penalty against the Crusaders, putting the Preds in scoring position from inside the 10, but the staunch D held them out. The Cru took over but fumbled themselves at their own 20yd line, giving the ball back. Preds QB #17 Brad Ferguson seemed to be rushing his passes under the pressure of the Crusader Defensive rush. He managed to run for a tough first down before eventually throwing to WR #80 Jesse Sporton at the 1. RB #15 punched it in for the score but the 2 points were no good. The Crusaders were up 8-6.

The ensuing Kick-off saw an 80yd return by #6 Rohail Akhtar negated by a holding penalty. It was taken back to the 25. Things started getting a bit Argy Bargy which eventually saw a Crusader O Lineman ejected from the game, for ripping off a player’s helmet.

A failed drive by the Preds with under 2 mins remaining, from their own 20, saw the punt blocked and then kicked out of bounds at about the 29 of the Predators. Before the half, Krul hits Todd again for the 24yd score and the 2-point conversion, giving them a 14-6 lead at the break. It just felt like we waiting to see the Crusaders open the flood gates in the 2nd half. The game just had that feeling about it.

Yet another fumble by the Predators to start the 3rd quarter gave the ball to the Cru at about the 40 of the Preds. The referees had to stop the game briefly to chat to Krul and Predators captain Ben Clark about the after-whistle shenanigans going on and the number of unsportsmanlike penalties so far.

A 4th and 14 for the Cru within scoring range, saw the Preds jump offsides. The pass was incomplete but it didn’t matter. So, on 4th and 9 Krul finds Garnham for the score from the 10. The 2-point conversion to Dennis Battistella Jr was incomplete.

The Predators next possession saw them start to move the ball with quick passing and solid runs from Ferguson and his RB’s. Ferguson had a nice 25yd gain on the ground before finishing the drive with a TD pass to #96. There was a fumble on the conversion and it was no good. The Predators were only trailing by a score and conversion.

On the kick off, Akhtar ran it back again but pulled up with a hamstring injury and hobbled out at the Predators 40. He was going all the way before the injury hit. A throw by Krul to Todd saw it juggled then intercepted by the Preds at the 10. That brought the 3rd quarter to a close and the Predators needing a score on this next drive. The drive started well with a first down. It didn’t last long, when a pass was intercepted by LB #43 Simeon Tuilagi and returned for a 28yd score.

First play after the Kick return was another INT by Ferguson returned to the 12yd line. The Cru couldn’t capitalise on the turnover and gave it back to the Predators deep in their own territory. The Preds started to get a groove on and another roughing the passer call on the Crusaders, after a 15yd completion over the middle to #5, moved them to the 35. With about 2:30 left in the game, the Crusaders Defense hold them out on 4th down. Another big run by RB #2 Tyrell Sharp of the Crusaders pretty much ended the game.

The Predators are up against the Rangers in what should be an interesting matchup, while the Crusaders travel to Hendy St Corio in what will be the most intriguing and viewed game so far this year. I believe it will be Livestreamed.

Final Score – South Eastern Predators 12 Defeated by Western Crusaders 26

Screenshot from GVisionNebauer and Mitchell celebrate a TD

A predicted overcast day with Thunderstorms at around 2pm was on the cards. OH NO IT WASN’T!!! It was hot, steamy and the sun was shining for about 90% of the day. The field was a lush soft green that only measured 80yds???? Ummm why is the question to that one?

First game up was the Northern Raiders coming of a round 1 victory over the Wolves in the heat, up against the Western Crusaders 2nd side. Div 1 Head Coach Craig Wilson was looking as fit as ever suiting up on the sidelines when I arrived, while Div 2 assistant and under 16’s Head coach Will Pipe was taking in the sights of the red and white crusaders.

The Raiders had a few more players this week so Head Coach Matthew Jenkins could remain in the comfort of his shorts and polo shirt on the sidelines. Kickoff was here and the game was on. The Crusaders were fast out of the blocks with a TD on their first possession and the 2-point conversion was good. The Raiders were quick to reply, drawing even at 8 points apiece.

The Crusaders stepped it up a notch with 2 TD reception to WR #18 and one to WR #82 Massimo Albanese, stretching the lead out to 28-8, before the Raiders eventually hit back with a nice reception by WR #27 Jarrod Mitchell from QB #7 Michael Nebauer, for his second score on the day. Before the end of the half, the Cru scored twice more from passes by QB #9 to Albanese and #18 (3rd)

Early in the 3rd quarter, a fumble by Nebauer was returned 35yds for another TD and the mercy rule kicked in. With the score now 56-14, the Raiders made it into the endzone from a 50yd catch and run by WR #8 Lochie Perillo. WR #18 for the Crusaders finished with his 4th TD reception of the day, ending the scoring.

The Raiders get a break and a chance to recover from the heat, while the Crusaders will clash with the Melton Wolves on Sunday for their first home game at Henry Turner Reserve.

Final Score – Northern Raiders 22 Defeated by Western Crusaders 64

Screenshot from GVisionJack Pattinson with his first of 3 INT’s.

Next up was the Royals official first full game for the season against the Croydon Rangers. Things started poorly for the Rangers with star recruit Jared Stegman OUT with Covid. I guess it’s going to happen when you’re exploring the sites of a different city. Next man up was WR #85 James Fountain with under 19’s QB David Nilsson as his backup.

As the Rangers were driving, they hit a speed hump when Fountain was intercepted by CB #20 Jack Pattinson, this was one of 3 for the day for Pattinson. The Royals drive down field ended in a 15yd pass to WR #11 Jacob Kerin in the back corner of the endzone.

The Royal’s Defense was relentless with multiple stops in the backfield on the Running backs of the Rangers. It was the Royals QB #96 who did most of the movement of the ball through short runs mainly. He eventually topped of a drive with a 3yd TD run of his own. The extra point snap was a mess and the kicker #95 Tom Lewin was unable to get it through the uprights for his second miss of the day.

Despite the short notice and probably never taken a snap at QB in a competitive game (I’m sure someone will correct me if I am wrong) Fountain did quite well. Moving the ball through the air and on the ground, managing to score on a run of his own, including the 2-point conversion. The Rangers now trailed 18-8 and hoping to shorten the gap on their next opportunity. Unfortunately, Fountain threw another Interception to Pattinson, who had a healthy return. Things started to get a bit spiteful after the return with flags being thrown and after the whistle activities.

Screenshot from GVisionFountain scoring his TD

Eventually calmer heads prevailed and the Royals ran out the clock to secure their first win of the season. A win they definitely needed after 2 forfeits have set them back a bit. We’ll see if they can catch up.

The Royals face the Warriors in Footscray on Sunday. The Rangers host their first game to celebrate their new pavilion and facilities at Ranger Field, against the Predators.

Other Results

Under 16’s – Buccaneers Defeated by Rangers

The Rangers get on the winners list with a victory. The Bucs drop their first game.

Under 19’s – Buccaneers 14 Defeated Rangers 0

A shutout by the Buccaneers. Rangers fail to score and make my prediction look not so bad after all. Can they get a W next week?

Division 1 – Buccaneers 28 Drew Warriors 28

Safe to say this shocked everyone around the league. If you saw both these teams’ week 1, you would have given the points to the Buccaneers with ease. Not so fast Bucs……

GVision highlights will come from Ranger field on Saturday https://www.facebook.com/OKPSports

Gridiron Victoria Round 3 Review (2021 Season)

Scott Ditcham

Football lover since 1990. Massive Denver Broncos fan and father of 1 future football player. Retired GREAT of the Melton Wolves. Writer for Gridiron Downunder Gridiron Victoria. Onside Kick Productions founder. 2016 season stats - 1 INT, 15 missed tackles, 3 tackles and 1 Minor Concussion.

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