There are 2 certainties in life. Death and Taxes. When it comes to American Football in Victoria, there are NO certainties…..ok, there is one. No one looks like they’re going to be knocking off the Crusaders in any competition this season.

I attended 3 games on Saturday out at Croydon. Another glorious Summers day in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. A look at the new pavilion that had been built was something to behold. An impressive, modern looking building with a great view of the field from the comforts of the airconditioned main room. I spent my time during breaks in this airconditioned environment.

First up was the under 16’s. The young Rangers V the young Predators. Both teams had healthy numbers for this clash. Filming from the Predators sidelines I could already see concerns with the young Preds. They seemed to be going through the motions and didn’t appear “switched on” for a physical football game. This was evident when they quickly fell behind 16-0, looking like this was going to be an embarrassing blowout.

Photo courtesy of Latisha Cowie-Cocker

To their credit, they fought back and were suddenly trailing just 16-14 after a pick 6 by #81. The Rangers QB #8 has a very strong arm and seems to use little effort to send the ball flying to his receivers. Rangers RB’s #12 and #9 did most of the damage on the ground early with the passing game keeping an even balance. The Predators however had their QB scrambling away from the pressure of the Rangers defence.

Photo courtesy of Latisha Cowie-Cocker

Despite their efforts, the Predators were unable to stop the Rangers from scoring with the final score blowing out to 40-14. The future is definitely a bright one for the Rangers and the Predators but the Rangers looked more polished.

Final Score – Croydon Rangers 40 Defeat South Eastern Predators 14

Next on the agenda was the under 19’s. Coming off a 14-0 loss to the Bucs the week before (2 TD’s in under a minute) saw the Rangers needing a victory to stay in touch with the top spot. The Predators had a recent victory over the Royals and were hoping to take another big scalp on their journey this season.

Photo courtesy of Latish Cowie-Cocker

The Rangers started the game off with the first of MANY onside kick attempts. Although I don’t mind a cheap plug of my video production entity, I was hoping to see at least one big roost from the kicker. The Rangers sideline was deafening from the start, making it hard for the Preds QB to run the plays. While Rangers QB David Nilsson looked relaxed and in control of his offence.

The Ranger’s Defence was relentless in putting pressure on the Preds, with the running game being sent sideways not forwards. There were again many fumbles in this one that had major impact on both teams. The Preds running game looked like it could break open but only did in spurts, whereas the Rangers had a massive impact with RB #7 Frances Lian breaking a number of big runs on his way to scoring 3 TD’s (1 via a kick return).

Photo courtesy of Latisha Cowie-Cocker

RB #19 for the Predators looked like he could have broken a big run each time he touched the ball, unfortunately due to what looked to be a neck injury, saw him sidelined when he was really needed. QB #3 for the Preds really did struggle, getting sacked a number of times due to holding onto the ball for too long while throwing the odd interception.

Final Score – Croydon Rangers 40 Defeat South Eastern Predators 12

The Men’s Division 1 clash was up next. This was going to be an interesting battle with both clubs having indifferent starts to the season but the same win/loss record. The questions early on were, did the Rangers have enough healthy RB’s? Would Stegman struggle for fitness after escaping from isolation for covid the day before? and could the Predators hold onto the ball better than last week?

Photo courtesy of Latish Cowie-Cocker

The Rangers took the early advantage with a Randy Moss like catch by WR #85 James Fountain, in the front corner of the endzone, who had been relieved of his QB duties from last week. Finally the Stegman to Fountain connection (Stegtain?) came to life in this game with some outstanding catches by Fountain. Unfortunately for the Predators, things didn’t go to plan with starting QB #17 Brad Ferguson leaving the game late in the first quarter with a broken collarbone.

Photo courtesy of Latisha Cowie-Cocker

With WR #80 Jesse Sporton having to assume the QB role, it really changed the look of the Preds offence. Sporton can and will throw, but he’s not as mobile as Ferguson. Something the Preds generally use to their advantage. The Predators Defence struggled to contain Stegman and RB #30 had a day out until his unfortunate knee injury in the 3rd Quarter.

Tempers started to fray for a 2nd week in a row for the Predators and Rangers, which saw ejections of 2 Predators players for unsportsmanlike penalties. The Rangers kept their cool and ran out easy winners, with the mercy rule kicking in and a running clock.

Final Score – Croydon Rangers 38 Defeat South Eastern Predators 6

Other results

Under 16’s – Buccaneers 6 Defeated by Crusaders 16

What could possibly be the Vic Bowl preview, went the way of the Crusaders this time.

Under 19’s – Buccaneers 48 Defeat Royals 20

A very high scoring affair in Corio. With only 11 players, the Royals are always going to run out of legs against the teams with more reserves. The Buccaneers affirm their favouritism as potential Champions and remain undefeated.

Division 2 – Western Crusaders 46 Defeat Melton Wolves 13

The Crusaders Div 2 juggernaut rolls on, disposing of the Wolves at home.

Division 1 – Royals 20 Defeat Warriors 8

The Royals make it 2 gritty wins in a row. Just need to get that offense firing more frequently to warrant being a threat. A bit of a let down after a strong showing last week.

Buccaneers 0 Defeated by Crusaders 42

Well this was a massive let down. What was shaping up to be a highly anticipated matchup, ended in a complete whitewash. Coach Daniel Noonan would not have been happy with this effort. Who even comes close to beating the Crusaders this year?

GVision will come from Parkville next round

Gridiron Victoria Round 4 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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