MC Labour Division 2 Preview – Round 9

Published on Thursday, May 30, 2024

Author : Giacomo Bruno

We could see a completely different MC Labour Division 2 table by the conclusion of Round 9 as some massive ladder-shaping games are set to take place this weekend.

We could be in for a potential finals match-up when second placed Diamond Creek hosts third placed South Morang at Coventry Oval.

For only the second time since the start of 2023, the Creekers come into a home and away fixture off a defeat when their unbeaten start to the season ended at the hands of Whittlesea last week.

They were in the hunt for most of the afternoon, but Andrew Tranquilli’s men would fall short by 15 points. They have now conceded their two biggest scores of the season in the last fortnight, having come into last week’s game averaging less than 35 points against in 2024.

With no Jacob Booth, both Dale Marshall and Tarwan Rennie excelled in midfield despite the defeat, while Ryan Pingree returned to the side and didn’t miss a trick up forward, kicking three majors.

It would be crazy to dismiss Diamond Creek’s chances after one loss and they will be determined to bounce back against the best scoring side in the competition to date in South Morang.

The Lions have had struggles of their own in recent weeks and found themselves almost five goals down at the main break to winless Northcote Park last Saturday, before powering home to win by 25 points.

Having Coburg VFL listed star Joshua D’Intinosante back in the fold last week almost proved to be the difference in the victory, kicking five goals.

Despite the side’s inconsistent form of late, captain Tye Hall remains at his dominant best, earning nine Coaches MVP award votes last weekend and sitting three votes behind leader Taidgh Bland.

In their two meetings last season, the Lions were defeated by an average of 58 points, and while Diamond Creek have only lost once at Coventry Oval in their previous 13 matches there, Gary Hall’s men will look to be up for the fight this time around.

In a vital battle of the fourth and fifth sides on the ladder, both St Mary’s and Thomastown will be looking to firm their positions inside the top five when they do battle at Whatmough Park.

The Burra go into this game with three straight wins under their belt, although two of those have been by just one-point including last week’s thrilling triumph over Laurimar away from home.

The return of Northern Knights star Joshua Carelli proved crucial to the victory, as he kicked three majors to help St Mary’s get over the line.

Others such as Jack Bianchin and Rory Hanlon continue to be shining lights for Fabian Carelli’s men, the former earning five Coaches MVP award votes for his efforts last week, and the pair will be important for their side’s chances again this Saturday.

Their opponents in Thomastown also come into this clash with consecutive victories and will see this match as an opportunity to distance themselves from the chasing pack below them.

Amongst the best players in his side’s 29-point win over Panton Hill last week, Youseph Dib continues to stake his claim as one of the recruits of the season. He’s been named in his side’s best in four straight games and has earnt all 27 of his Coaches MVP award votes in those four matches alone to shoot to fourth on the leaderboard.

Up forward, teammate James Lucente continues to impress and having now kicked 13 majors in the last three weeks, he’s taken his season total to 21 goals and will be keen to add to that in an important game.

These sides have produced some entertaining fixtures over the years and each traded victories in their past two meetings.  Expect another terrific contest again this Saturday.

Part of the chasing pack, Panton Hill and Lower Plenty meet each other at A.E. Cracknell Reserve in what looks to be an important match for both side’s finals aspirations.

The Redbacks’ inconsistent season continued last week, as they registered just 5.15 in a 29-point defeat to Thomastown at Main Street Recreation Reserve.

Someone who has been consistent throughout May is Oliver Parks, who has now been named in his side’s best in three straight games and has proven to be a sparkv to his side’s ability to stay in contests.

Simon Amore will hope to see Riley Livingstone back to his goalkicking best this week after being kept goalless in Round 8 for the first time since the opening round.

The forward kicked 11 majors in his two matches against Lower Plenty last year, which included a stunning eight-goal effort in Round 13 despite his side falling short that day. A similar performance this week would give the Redbacks the best chance of turning the tables.

After starting the season brightly, the Bears have now been without a victory for three straight games, and let an opportunity slip last weekend after drawing with Watsonia.

However, the Bears still sit just two points behind fifth placed Thomastown and could return to the top five with a triumph on Saturday.

Patrick Flynn continues to dominate for the Bears and having been named in his side’s best in four of six matches and by sitting in fifth spot on the Coaches MVP award leaderboard, it’s hard to argue against Flynn being the best ruckman in the competition so far.

The catalyst to Lower Plenty’s survival last year was that Round 13 victory over Panton Hill in a famous four-point win, and they have the chance to inflict further pain on the Redbacks in the hopes of returning to the top half of the ladder.

Desperate to distance themselves from the relegation zone, Watsonia and Laurimar will be eager to notch up a second victory next to their names when they face off at Binnak Park.

The Saints rallied late to share the spoils with Lower Plenty in Round 8, coming from 10 points down in time-on to force a draw.

Though the side have struggled for form in 2024, forward Ethan Lowe still sits atop of the division goal kicking race with 29 majors across the opening eight rounds, and having recently booted four goals against the Bears, he’s coming into the clash in brilliant form.

Meanwhile, once again, the duo of Daniel Annetta and Harry Sinclair continue to impress and have helped the side remain competitive in multiple matches this season.

George Lattouf’s men will have a chance to get it all together against a Power outfit who will take confidence out of their narrow loss to a finals bound side in St Mary’s.

They led by three goals at three quarter time before running out of legs and just falling short.

The heart and soul of their forward line in Joel Lawson, has been prolific with 22 majors, and is five goals away from his 2023 total of 27. His forward craft and ability to hit the scoreboard has been a major positive for Jimmy Atkins’ men, and with Jacson Cecil also in solid goalkicking form of late, the Power are building towards increasing their total points per game.

Laurimar have now been involved in three games decided by six points or less in this campaign, boasting a 1-2 record, proving they can be up for the challenge against stronger sides.

This will be the very first meeting between the two sides in the NFNL, which makes this clash even more intriguing.

Ladder leaders Whittlesea remain the only side to have their unbeaten run intact after Round 8 and will be hopeful to maintain the rage when they host Northcote Park at the Whittlesea Showgrounds.

The Eagles produced their most impressive performance of the season to date last week, when defeating 2023 grand finalists Diamond Creek by 15 points to go one game clear on top of the ladder.

With no Xavier Dimasi and Blake Watson in midfield, while also losing Thomas Falls early, Taidgh Bland again starred in the middle, and is now the Coaches MVP award leader after eight games.

Garry Ramsay’s men remain at home this weekend. In four games at the Showgrounds in 2024, they have won by an average of over 50 points, and have posted scores of almost 98 points on average.

It might sound alarming for the winless Cougars who make the trip this weekend, but despite not registering any points after two months of football, the side has been nothing short of impressive.

They looked poised to cause a massive upset victory over South Morang at home last week, leading by as much as 26 points before being overrun in the second half.

With inaccuracy haunting many teams in the competition this season, Northcote Park have been one of the most efficient sides in front of goal, as only on one occasion in 2024 have they kicked more behinds than goals in a match. In their last fortnight alone, they’ve combined to kick 27.11.

Matthew Perry and Ricky Fandrich have been leading the Cougars charge towards a maiden win, both kicking four majors apiece last week, while Jordan Perry has been named in his side’s best in six of seven games.

While this looks like a simple victory for the Eagles on paper, recent improvements will give Northcote Park confidence they can go through with a major upset to climb off the bottom of the ladder.

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