MC Labour Division 2 Preview – Round 16

Published on Thursday, July 29, 2021

Author : Sean Mortell

Make or break clashes headline an exciting return to MC Labour Division 2 action after another COVID-19 lockdown.

With only three rounds left before finals get underway, the squeeze is well and truly on to secure a top-five finish – with just one win and percentage separating third-placed Eltham and sixth-placed St Mary’s.

That follows the cancellation of all Round 14 and Round 15 matches, which in-turn led to the results of the two Good Friday matches played back in April being voided.

The headline encounter in this week’s return to football takes place at Beverley Rd Oval, where Banyule hosts Eltham in a first versus third match-up

Last time they met Banyule put on a defensive masterclass to hold out the fast-finishing Panthers, but now the Bears must rebound off their first loss for the season.

Banyule will relish returning to their home deck to re-start their campaign, having entered the lockdown with a sour taste in their mouths when they failed late against Lower Plenty.

The Bears never could gain control of their top-of-the-table clash with Lower Plenty last week, slipping five goals behind during the second term of their contest at Montmorency Park South Oval.

They nearly made up the differential halfway through the final term, closing within five points mainly through a virtuoso performance by Jack Langford (6 goals and 8 Coaches’ MVP Award votes), but a late fadeout saw them lose by 41 points.

On a tough day, Reuben Blackmore-Moore did his chances of figuring highly in the league MVP award no harm with a solid display in the midfield, while former Essendon player Ricky Dyson gave his all in defence.

Eltham struggled the last time they faced Banyule, held goalless until late in the third quarter, but will be backing themselves in to re-stake their flag chances in a blockbuster contest.

The last game the Panthers played was a tight slog against Watsonia, where they emerged in dour contest as four-point winners.

Jackson Weatherald was once again scintillating for Eltham, while Michael Still’s three goals and forward presence proved crucial in a close finish.

Daniel McLinden and Ben Montanaro were also pivotal to the Panthers’ triumph and will need to be strong again this week if their side is to upset the Bears.

Re-emerging from the break in fourth spot, Diamond Creek will move closer to locking in a September spot if it can find a way to end Lower Plenty’s winning streak at Coventry Oval.

The Creekers headed into the break looking incredibly solid and seemed to have found a consistent groove in their 19.14 (128) to 6.3 (39) win over Epping.

Ryan Pingree led the way up forward with a bag of five majors, while the lethal combo of Ty Franks (9 Coaches’ MVP Award votes) and Jaspa Watson (8 votes) wreaked havoc.

Nine different goal kickers highlighted the Creekers’ scoring depth, as an 11-goal second half signalled their ability to finish the season strongly and secure a finals berth.

But they’ll have to be at their best to match Lower Plenty, who are eyeing off first spot on the back of nine-consecutive victories.

The Bears shook up the competition in their last game, drawing level on points with Banyule on top of the ladder after a runaway 41-point win.

Ben Paterson played a complete game to take home the full 10 Coaches’ MVP Award votes, while Thomas Blake and Tom Keys were also instrumental through the middle.

Bags of five goals from Paterson and Billy Barden headlined the high-scoring feast in front of goal, while a hat-trick of majors to Keys also kept the scoreboard ticking over regularly.

Prior to the break, Watsonia was beginning to make a habit of challenging the competition’s best sides and the Saints get another opportunity this weekend when they host Thomastown at A.K. Lines Reserve.

Watsonia may face an upward battle against a Bears outfit which will be desperate to first of all secure its top-five place, but also stay in the hunt for a double-chance in the finals.

However, the Saints proved in their four-point defeat to Eltham that they can stay in contests with the top of the table sides. It was a slog for the Saints all day, leading by three points at the final break before conceding the only goal of the last quarter in time-on.

Will Scriven, Benjamin McKenzie and Adrian Saccuzzo were all strong performers in the low-scoring match and will need to dig deep once again if they are to go one better against Thomastown this week.

Watsonia will need to defend well, after Thomastown got back to their attacking best in their Round 13 match victory over the Fitzroy Stars, which saw the Bears retain the NAIDOC Cup.

The 16.22 (118) to 6.13 (49) win was highlighted by aggressive ball movement, allowing Salvatore Mamone to snag a career-best bag of six majors.

Joel Carter (10 Coaches’ MVP Award votes) was dominant all day, while Daniel Caruso and James Rizzolio were also at their dynamic best in the large win.

Having upset St Mary’s in their last game before the break, Panton Hill will be hunting back-to-back victories when it hosts Epping at Cracknell Reserve.

The Redbacks last-up performances was full of impressive skills and consistently quick ball movement, helping them secure one of the upsets of the season after losing their previous encounter to the Burra by more than 100 points.

The midfield combo of Samuel Parks (9 Coaches’ MVP Award votes and 3 goals) and Isaac Silic (9 votes and 3 goals) lit up Whatmough Park and helped the Redbacks seize control of the game.

Nick Parks and Riley Cousins were also huge in the upset victory and their side will look towards their clash with Epping as a chance to continue their momentum.

Epping will be hoping they can rectify a late season form slump coming out of lockdown, having succumbed to Diamond Creek by 89 points in their last match.

Sage Dicello’s three goals stopped the Blues from falling to a triple-figure loss, with the impressive forward booting half of his team’s goals and collecting four Coaches’ MVP Award votes in a lone hand of defiance.

Jordan Wilkins also provided some help up forward, while Luke Nicol was one of his side’s best on a tough day.

While relegation is no longer on the table, the Blues will be looking to finish off the season on a positive note and would earmark this encounter as an opportunity to add to their sole victory of the campaign.

In the final game of the round, the Fitzroy Stars host St Mary’s at Sir Douglas Nicholls Oval.

Inaccuracy cost the Stars dearly against Thomastown in their last game, as they were left to rue constant misses early before falling away to a 69-point loss.

James Dau (two goals) was the only multiple goal-kicker for the Stars on a tough day, while the consistency of Aaron Lynn was a highlight.

Despite the threat of relegation no longer looming over the Stars, they will be playing for plenty of pride in the last three rounds as they aim to avoid a bottom-place finish. They currently sit behind Epping by 5.33 percent.

The Burra will have spent lockdown ruing a missed chance in Round 13, where they fell to an upset loss on their home soil to Panton Hill.

Given the way the ladder now looks, a win would have had them equal on points with the three sides which stand directly above them on the ladder.

Having said that, if the Burra are good enough over the next three rounds, they can still secure their very first Division 2 finals berth, and they will be determined to not take the Stars lightly this week.

St Mary’s struggled to gain any ascendancy throughout the entire 14-point loss to the Redbacks, despite four goals from Nicholas Dean.


Ladder position: 1st
Win-loss record: 10 wins, 1 loss
Percentage: 202.79%
Most times in best: Tim Martin (7), Reuben Blackmore-Moore (6), Jack Langford, Michael Edwards (5)
Leading goal kickers: Jack Langford (27), Michael Italia (25), Luke Joyce (22)
Players used: 36
Played every game: (5) Jack Langford, Lincoln Sieben, Luke Joyce, Michael Italia, Reuben Blackmore-Moore
Remaining Fixture: Eltham (H), Thomastown (H), Epping (A)


Ladder position: 2nd
Win-loss record: 10 wins, 1 loss
Percentage: 155.93%
Most times in best: Tom Keys (9), Thomas Blake (8), Joshua Turner (6)
Leading goal kickers: Tom Keys (25), William Barden (21), Ben Paterson (18)
Players used: 36
Played every game: (3) Brixton Timewell, Jordan Sacco, Tom Keys
Remaining fixture: Diamond Creek (A), St Mary’s (A), Panton Hill (H)


Ladder position: 3rd
Win-loss record: 7 wins, 4 losses
Percentage: 179.45%
Most times in best: Brent Macaffer (9), Anton Woods (7), Jackson Weatherald (6)
Leading goal kickers: Daniel Jarvis (22), Michael Still (18), Matthew Williamson (16)
Players used: 42
Played every game: (5) Anton Woods, Ben Montanaro, Bronson Glasgow, Daniel Jarvis, Lane Sinclair
Remaining fixture: Banyule (A), Epping (H), Fiztroy Stars (H)


Ladder position: 4th
Win-loss record: 7 wins, 4 losses
Percentage: 144.56%
Most times in best: Joshua Marchbank (7), Joe Randall, Matthew Lewis (6)
Leading goal kickers: Ryan Pingree (24), Nicholas Barro (14), Tyler Barnes, Jai Norman, Ewan Macpherson, Lochlan Brannelly (7)
Players used: 35
Played every game: (9) Chris Moloney, Jai Norman, James Marchbank, Joel Randall, Joshua Marchbank, Lochlan Brannelly, Oliver Parks, Ryan Pingree, Trent Forbes
Remaining fixture: Lower Plenty (H), Fitzroy Stars (A), Watsonia (A)


Ladder position: 5th
Win-loss record: 7 wins, 4 losses
Percentage: 123.92%
Most times in best: Adrian Natoli (7), Aaron D’Angelo, Joel Carter (6)
Leading goal kickers: Michael Tang (20), Benjamin Nesci (17), Salvatore Mamone (15)
Players used: 36
Played every game: (10) Aaron D’Angelo, Adrian Natoli, Benjamin Nesci, Daniel Bramich, Daniel Caruso, Joel Carter, Michael Tabacco, Salvatore Mamone, Shannon Ball, Tyla Barrow
Remaining fixture: Watsonia (A), Banyule (A), St Mary’s (H)


Ladder position: 6th
Win-loss record: 6 wins, 5 losses
Percentage: 111.14%
Most times in best: Joseph Maggio, Nicholas Dean, Rory Hanlon (5)
Leading goal kickers: Tane Cotter (23), Nicholas Dean, Zane Costello (15)
Players used: 37
Played every game: (6) Adam Lucci, Huon Macgibbon, Nathan Jasper, Nicholas Daisley, Rory Hanlon, Zane Costello
Remaining fixture: Fitzroy Stars (A), Lower Plenty (H), Thomastown (A)


Ladder position: 7th
Win-loss record: 3 wins, 8 losses
Percentage: 82.49%
Most times in best: Adrian Saccuzzo (7), Lachlan Potter (6), Riley Taylor, Will Scriven (5)
Leading goal kickers: Jesse Presser, Kyle Wheatley (16), Jacob Pickett (9)
Players used: 39
Played every game: (4) Adrian Saccuzzo, Daniel Watson, Jordan Kubeil, Riley Taylor
Remaining fixture: Thomastown (H), Panton Hill (A), Diamond Creek (H)


Ladder position: 8th
Win-loss record: 3 wins, 8 losses
Percentage: 61.49%
Most times in best: Samuel Parks (9), Scott Conte, Timothy Duckworth (6)
Leading goal kickers: Jake Maher (15), Mitchell Merkel (13), Jack Ryan (8)
Players used: 44
Played every game: (4) Mitchell Anderson, Samuel Parks, Timothy Duckworth, Todd Johnston
Remaining fixture: Epping (H), Watsonia (H), Lower Plenty (A)


Ladder position: 9th
Win-loss record: 1 win, 10 losses
Percentage: 47.42%
Most times in best: Jhye Baddeley-Kelly (8), Leigh Judd, Sage Dicello (7)
Leading goal kickers: Sage Dicello (22), Stefan Balassopoulos (12), Alec Buchan, Michael Jacobson (8)
Players used: 37
Played every game: (4) Adam Rose, Jackson Freebairn, Jordan Wilkins, Sage Dicello
Remaining fixture: Panton Hill (A), Eltham (A), Banyule (H)


Ladder position: 10th
Win-loss record: 1 win, 10 losses
Percentage: 42.19%
Most times in best: Rivva Karpany (7), Aaron Lynn, David Boxer, Taj Proctor (6)
Leading goal kickers: Riley Livingstone (16), John Hayes (11), Rivva Karpany, Ashley Hood (9)
Players used: 41
Played every game: (10) Aaron Lynn, Ashley Hood, Brandon Rich, Hotak Akram, James Dau, Kyle Thomas, Riley Livingstone, Riley Mcrae, Taj Proctor, Yemurraki Egan
Remaining fixture: St Mary’s (H), Diamond Creek (H), Eltham (A)

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