Division 3 Preview - Semi Finals

By: Doug Long

ST MARY'S surprised with an upset win over Watsonia, while Thomastown and Reservoir recorded easy wins in the final home and away round of the 2014 Division 3 season.

St Mary’s followed up its 27-point win over the Saints in Round 15 with a 36-point victory, after leading by a mere three points at the last change.

The Saints new forward combination of Jeremy Bennett and Andrew Kidd failed to fire due to low quality supply from the midfield. Small forward Jack Larkin was their best forward option with three goals.

“Today was a wake up call in terms of backing up one week to another,” Watsonia coach Damian Zanic said, after the Saints pushed Reservoir all the way a week prior. “We need to be ready to play consistent footy if we want to do well in the finals.”

Burra forward Liam O'Donnell booted seven to make it 16 goals in his past three games. Meanwhile, Shane Derham returned from injury to be the best on ground for the Burra.

“I was very happy with our physicality at the ball and the ball carrier,” Burra coach Con Borg said. “We ran hard two ways today.”

Borg noted his disappointment at not playing finals footy, but said he was rapt with the development of about 15-20 under-19 players throughout the year. He also confirmed that Heidelberg team of the century player Shane Delanty is joining St Mary’s as an assistant coach for the 2015 season.

Reservoir trounced South Morang at Crispe Park in a surprisingly lopsided encounter. The Mustangs led by 38 points at the first break and finished off strongly, with an eight-goal to two last term to record a whopping 83-point win.

Kent Beaumont, with four majors, laid claims to a regular senior spot following two matches in the reserves.

Thomastown got off to a flier against Heidelberg West at Heidelberg Park with an 8.2 to 0.4 opening term – with the Hawks missing several sitters. But the home team fought back strongly in the middle stages of the match, before the Bears steadied in the final stanza to pull away again.

“We were blown away in the first quarter,” Hawk coach Derek Shaw said. “But it was pleasing to win the second and third quarters and to be competitive in last. We had the same amount of scoring shots at three quarter time, but Thomastown knows how to win.”

Summing up the year, Shaw said he was happy with the progression of his club’s youngsters.

“We had very few new senior players, like Mitchell Reeve and Tom Waters. But the kids have developed and those who have played in the range of 10-25 games stood up and had a go.”

Kyl Ewart held Jacob Osei-Duro goalless early in the game before being moved forward and slotting three goals. Osei-Duro finished the game well and, along with Michael Khoury, kicked six goals for Thomastown. Down back, the reliable Andrew Lozanovski was named best on the day.

The first week of finals now begins with Thomastown clashing with Reservoir at Shelley Street Reserve on Saturday in the second semi-final, where the winner will claim the first place in this year’s Grand Final.

The Bears have recorded two big wins against Reservoir during the season, split by a Mustang victory in Round 10 at Main Street Reserve.

Both teams will have tough decisions to make at the selection table. Joel Buckley will return from suspension for Reservoir. Others who weren’t playing against South Morang, including Adam Meroli, Toby O’Meara and Danny O’Sullivan, look chances to return while Ryan Keyes and Cameron Rooney are finding touch in the reserves.

Jason Abela and Steven Cadby look like possible inclusions for the Bears, while Robert Nedelkovski kicked 10 in the reserves to go to 85 goals for the year. Benjamin Fitzgerald is also in good touch in the reserves.

South Morang takes on Watsonia at the same venue the following day. Both teams were surprisingly poor in their final hit-outs before the finals. The Lions have Mitchell Hicks and Lachlan Buckley as possible inclusions, while Corey Bennett would be a handy inclusion for the Saints.

The Lions lead the head to head clashes two to one this year, with the latest result being a 37-point victory in which Ashley Hobbs kicked five goals.



Q&A with...Ross Terranova

WITH Division 3 finals kicking off this weekend, Reservoir will be looking to make amends against Thomastown after being eliminated by the Bears in 2013.

The Mustangs and the Bears will be competing for the first place in this year's Division 3 Grand Final when they meet at Shelley Reserve this Saturday.

NFL reporter Alex Karavas spoke to Reservoir coach Ross Terranova ahead of this weekend’s game.

Alex Karavas: What’s the mood like in the camp heading into second semi final against Thomastown this week?
Ross Terranova:
It’s pretty positive. It’s been a tough six weeks and both the seniors and reserves boys are really looking forward to it.

AK: You have suffered two heavy defeats (and a win) against the Bears this year. What have you learned from those matches?
RT:
That you can never be too complacent against the best side in the competition and I think they’re a quality side. You take nothing for granted, and that’s one thing we certainly learnt from and we’ve just got to come with the right attitude and right mindset on Saturday.

AK: It’s been an otherwise very impressive home and away season. What did you make of your teams performance in the regular season?
RT:
We set ourselves some goals at the start of the season to finish in the top two and we achieved that. That was the first part, and look I’ve been pretty happy with the way we finished but, like all sides, you tend to have good and bad days. But from a whole year perspective I think we’ve been pretty consistent. We’ve had plenty of players that have stepped up to the mark when we’ve needed them to.

AK: You’ve been able to blood a lot of young talent this year, along with many new players to the club? Who are the ones to keep an eye out for in the finals?
RT:
We’ve brought in a couple of kids like Kelsey Clayton, Kael Beaumont. We’ve got a good mix of senior players as well as players who have probably played the 50-game mark and then some new faces, so it’s been real positive and a really good blend. I suppose the challenge is when you have a lot of new blokes at the club, you need them to gel and bond and they’ve done that really well.

AK: You had a brilliant win over South Morang last week with several key players missing. What did you make of the match?
RT:
We wanted to test our depth and we did that just to see if the other blokes can step up to the plate and South Morang are a very good side. They tested us twice this year, they come back at us in the first game and also when we played them at South Morang a few weeks ago. We wanted to make sure we played consistent footy against good opposition leading into the finals.

AK: Speaking of which, how important was it to give a rest to players like Danny O’Sullivan, Toby O’Meara and co heading into the finals?
RT:
A couple of boys late in the year got a couple of niggles and stuff like that. We wanted to iron them out going into the second semi. Not all players will come in. A couple of blokes might be a little unlucky, that’s just the way it is. When you have guys that step up to the mark, and you win by 14 goals, it’s very hard to make all six changes.

AK: You were knocked out of the finals by Thomastown last year. Does that get used as additional motivation this week?
RT:
We just treat it like another finals game. In the end the only thing we can look upon is that they’re the top side and the side to beat and that’s the challenge in front of us, and we’ll take that as it comes.



Mustangs big winners over Lions

By: Doug Long

The round 19 match of the day between Reservoir and South Morang at Crispe Park was a one-sided affair with the Mustangs running out convincing 83-point winners.

The home side took a strangle-hold on the contest with a six goal to nil first term and will bring good form into the much anticipated second semi-final against Thomastown.

Reservoir injected some smalls into their team among several changes.  Out of the team went Joel Buckley, Ben Mowlam, Toby O’Meara, Danny O’Sullivan, Leigh Sullivan and Adam Meroli.

They were replaced by Joel Goodyear, Adam McLaughlin, Kelsey Clayton, Bradley Whelan, Kent Beaumont and Dylan Cornford.

Mitch Hicks and Lachlan Buckley were the omissions for South Morang, replaced by talls Duane Russell and Harry Whybrow.

While each of the Reservoir inclusions acquitted themselves well, Kent Beaumont was the stand-out. He booted four goals and missed another gettable shot.  He also took multiple contested marks and hit David McGregor with the best pass of the day.

McGregor was the other live-wire up forward for the Mustangs.  He booted six majors, including a snap from the boundary – a regular feature of his game.  He also took a big pack mark in an entertaining display.

The Mustangs’ ruck combination of Wayne Pretty and Jason Dal Santo dominated and gave their small midfielders first use of the ball.

Daniel Couwenberg excelled in the midfield with precision disposal.  His high number of quality possession was one reason that the game was played predominantly in the Mustangs’ forward half.

Justin Kuchel is running into form for Reservoir and has now played the last seven games in a row after missing much of the early season action.

“We wanted to see how good our depth was,” Reservoir assistant coach Leon Edwards said. “And we’re in a pretty powerful position when it comes to team selection.”

The Lions’ last game before the finals was arguably their worst performance for the season.  Apart from Brent Howlett being outstanding in defence, it was hard to find a South Morang winner.

Their field kicking was very poor and they were also unable to pick up the Reservoir loose men once they lost possession. The Mustangs made them pay the ultimate price on numerous occasions.

The Lions were competitive immediately after the interval and had the ball in their forward half for the early part of the term.

But their forays forward resulted in three behinds.  From then on, the Mustangs finished the quarter with two goals – while South Morang ended with a goalless term.

Two incidents exemplified the Lions’ day.  Harry Whybrow marked about 15 metres out on a slight angle in the third quarter.  He kicked into the man on the mark.

Late in the game – when Reservoir was once again dominating – Lion Daniel Heatley pushed opponent Kent Beaumont to the ground during a stoppage of play.

The resultant free kick led to the easiest of goals for Beaumont.  Heatley’s action spoilt what was otherwise a solid performance down back.

“We have to put that performance out of our minds and focus on next week,” a disappointed Lion coach Craig Lambert said.

South Morang has played below its best since its round 17 bye, but has the opportunity to atone in next week’s first semi final against Watsonia, where the loser will be eliminated.

Reservoir’s Marc Defelice was red carded in the third term for tripping and currently faces a suspension.

Final score: Reservoir 17.9 (111) def South Morang 3.11 (29)



Mustangs lock away double chance

By: Doug Long

RESERVOIR withstood a determined challenge from South Morang to record a strong win in very heavy conditions at Mill Park Lakes Reserve in Round 15 of Division 3.

After trailing by 16 points at half time, the Mustangs constantly had the ball in the second half. It took until early in the final term before they finally hit the lead, before winning 10.14 (74) to 7.9 (51).

But the game was won in the third term. Reservoir was out-pressured early in the match, but reversed this trend immediately after the main break.

Once it drew within a goal just before the last change, it always looked likely to overrun the Lion. In the end, the Mustangs won like a top two team in an entertaining contest.

“It was a really hard fought win,” Reservoir coach Ross Terranova said.

“We showed character after trailing for most of the day. We were never out of the contest, just behind on the scoreboard. Our leaders stepped up and took the game on.”

Nick Johnston had booted two goals in the first half for South Morang, as well as being instrumental in other forward forays. His influence was quelled in the second half when Terranova moved Adam Meroli onto him.

While the Lions’ Jake Potter – in his team’s best for five weeks running – kept Ashley Flavel goalless, Toby O’Meara came to the fore with four goals for Reservoir.  His second term was outstanding, with two goals, creative handballs and a great smother.

Down back, Ben Mowlam did well to quell the dangerous Harry Whybrow, who had scored four goals for South Morang in each of the past two matches.

Mustang Daniel Couwenberg had an interesting duel with Matthew Campbell on the wing.  Both had given their team plenty of drive, but Couwenberg got right on top in the third term.

South Morang coach Craig Lambert moved Luke Hough onto Couwenberg late in the game, but Couwenberg continued to dominate.

“It was a great start,” said Lambert. “But we just weren’t good enough for long enough.”

He was pleased with the work of Mitchell Buckley and noted that Nathan Moro – who returned to his early season form – often gave them first use of the ball.

The Lions had chances to be further in front early in a game which gave them a chance to beat one of the top two teams for the first time this year. Their tackling and harassing early was exceptional.

Their best passage of play saw them move the ball smoothly from half back. Luke Hough was running towards goal 40 metres out and appeared likely to have a ping, but instead gave a long handball to John Klaromenos for the easiest of goals.

But the young Lions ran out of puff, kicking 1.2 to Reservoir’s 6.11 after half time and failing to score in the final term.

The bigger bodies of Reservoir – such as Michael Mannix – took over and the Lions became less able to find players in space late in the game, unlike the first half.

While Reservoir was clearly the better team on the day, South Morang demonstrated that it is a worthy finalist.

Other results mean that the Lions now have third spot on the ladder virtually locked away, despite the loss. They will be able to rest their sore bodies and then prepare to host fifth-placed Heidelberg West next week.

The Mustangs look forward to a trip to Main Street Reserve to take on ladder-leader Thomastown in a much anticipated match-up.  Many pundits will see this contest as a grand final preview.

Final score: South Morang 7.9 (51) def by Reservoir 10.14 (74)



Bears' streak ended

By: Jarrad Conron
Sunday, June 15, 2014

RESERVOIR handed Thomastown its first loss for the 2014 season, defeating the Bears by 10 points in Round 10 of Division 3 action.

The Mustangs held off a fast finishing Thomastown side to claim the 14.17 (101) to 13.13 (91) away win at Main Street Reserve.

Ashley Flavel starred up forward for the Mustangs, kicking five goals to take his total to 27 for the season. David McGregor and Kael Beaumont were the only other multiple goal scorers for the victors, slotting four and two majors respectively.

For the Bears, Jacob Osei-Duro was again the main target up forward, kicking five goals to take his total to 48 for the season, 19 ahead of South Morang’s Ashley Hobbs.

Both teams came out of the blocks hard, with attack on the ball at a high level in the first part of the match.

Neither team was able to break away in a tight first term, with the margin just two points in favour of Reservoir at the first change after each team booted two goals.

Both sides again struggled to find a way to goals in the first part of the second term, but after goals to McGregor and Beaumont, the floodgates opened for the Mustangs. They kicked five unanswered goals to take a decisive 30-point lead into the main break.

The Bears rued endless missed shots at goals, as they kicked a wasteful 1.9 in the second term.

Thomastown looked to cut the deficit early in the second half and, after a quick goal to Matthew Cupo, it looked as if it was going to make a comeback.

However, consecutive goals to McGregor at the other end steadied the flow as the Mustangs opened up a 36 point lead.

Two late goals to Osei-Duro brought the margin back 30 points at the final change.

The game seemed all but over at the last change. Having only having kicked six majors for the entire match, the Bears needed to at least double that to be any sort of chance of claiming ninth successive victory in 2014.

Both teams traded goals for the first part of the final quarter and after Flavel’s fifth, the Mustangs looked home.

However, the Bears made one last push for an unlikely victory.

They slotted the last four majors of the game, including three straight to Folino, but it wasn’t enough and, as the siren sounded, the Mustangs collectively breathed a sigh of relief.

Jason Dal Santo and Ben Mowlam were both outstanding in victory and will look to feature in the votes, along with Flavel with his five majors.

Joe Fiore was in the best for Thomastown, along with Dylan Fuller and Osei-Duro.

In Round 11, Reservoir will take on St. Mary’s at Crispe Park as it looks to stay within four points of Thomastown at the top of the ladder.

The Bears will travel to A.K. Lines Reserve to take on fourth placed Watsonia who they defeated by 14 points back in Round 2.

Final score: Thomastown 13.13 (91) def Reservoir 14.17 (101)



Mustangs cement second spot

By: Ben Pascuzzi
Monday, June 09, 2014

RESERVOIR cemented second spot on the Division 3 ladder with a big win over last year’s runner-up Watsonia at Crispe Park in Round 9.

The Mustangs never looked in doubt in the 50-point win, pulling well clear of the Saints during the second term in none too pleasant conditions to record the 12.13(85) to 4.11(35) win.

In what was expected to be a close contest, it was the Saints who got off to the better start. Mark Roumanos kicked a great running goal to get them off to a great start.

The goal stung the home side into action, as Danny O’Sullivan and David McGregor both kicked goals in quick succession for Reservoir to reward it for its relentless pressure.

A couple of goal exchanges saw out the quarter with the Mustangs holding on to a four-point lead heading into the second term.

As the heavens opened up above, contested possession became the key factor in the game. This was certainly the case in the second term, with all of the play being played in Reservoir’s forward half.

The Mustangs could only muster 2.4 for the term, with Toby O’Meara and Ashley Flavel kicking the only goals, but were able to keep the Saints scoreless as they took a 20-point lead into the third term.

The rain played a major part in that second term, with the lights needing to be switched on such was the significance of the horrible weather.

But the Mustangs pressure around the contested ball saw them keep the ball locked in their forward half for most of the term, which was an astounding effort against good opposition.

After 10 minutes of end-to-end footy following the half time break, O’Meara was finally able to get the breakthrough goal as the Mustangs took a 27-point lead.

David McGregor and Kent Beaumont kicked late goals for Reservoir as it only allowed Watsonia to score three behinds for the quarter to take a 40-point lead into the final quarter.

The Mustangs’ dominated the term again, with their hard nuts around the ball winning the contested footy which was the defining factor of the match.

O’Meara kicked his third of the day at the start of the final term before Roumanos was able to kick Watsonia’s first goal since the first term, slotting the major to briefly halt the Reservoir surge.

Goals to Beaumont and O’Meara saw out the game as the Mustangs won in a very dominant display by a convincing margin of 50 points.

Joel Buckley, Liam Ryan and O’Meara were the best for the Mustangs on a true winter’s day, whilst Matthew Crawford, Hayden Mitchell and Nick Hearn were Watsonia’s best in a very disappointing day.

The win sees the Mustangs move eight points clear of the third-placed Saints. They remain within touching distance of undefeated Thomastown ahead of this week’s mouth-watering clash between Division 3’s top two sides.

Watsonia remains in third spot, percentage ahead of South Morang, despite the loss and has the bye in Round 10.

Final score: Reservoir 12.13(85) def Watsonia 4.11(35)



Mustangs clip Hawks' wings

By: Doug Long
Sunday, May 18, 2014

RESERVOIR celebrated Ashley Flavel’s 300th game with a runaway 61-point victory over Heidelberg West at Crispe Park in Round 6 action of Division 3.

The Mustangs took control of the match with eight unanswered goals stretching from late in the first quarter until just after half time. They always appeared to have the game in their keeping after establishing a sizeable break in the second term and went on to win 17.5 (107) to 7.4 (46).

Although the Hawks clawed their way back early in the final quarter to get within 20 points, Reservoir reasserted its dominance by slamming on the final seven goals.

Mustang Kent Beaumont was a late inclusion after Toby O’Meara was left out due to a minor injury. The Hawks lost Kevin Caldera, Ryan Gall and John Shanahan – replaced by Tom Griffin, Jordan McColl and Ben Marris.

Despite losing the inside 50 count clearly, Heidelberg West did have enough forward entries to build a competitive total. But the injured Kyl Ewart was sorely missed.

Their high flier Aaron Nelson was comprehensively beaten by Ben Mowlam. In fact, the entire back six for the Mustangs worked together wonderfully well all day.

Heidelberg West appeared determined not to be blown away in the first quarter – as had occurred the previous week against Thomastown.

Despite Reservoir dominating possession in a scrappy first term, the scores were tied at the first change at 1.1 (7) apiece. So the Hawks did manage to be competitive early, but they had failed to capitalise on the scoring end – which yielded 19 of the 24 goals on the afternoon.

Hawk James McLean-Brunton was able to mop up regularly in defence in the first term.  But when he filled the hole in defence in the second stanza, the ball often sailed over his head as the Mustangs scored from around the 50 metre arc with the wind at their backs.

Overall, the Heidelberg West defence stood up well. Michael Shanahan proved to be a reliable, one grab mark. When the ball hit the deck in defence, Bradley Moore and Jordan McColl were on the scene to clear the ball out of danger.

Reservoir’s Daniel Couwenberg had the better of the duel with Aidan Young in the first half.  Hawk coach Derek Shaw moved Young into the centre in the third term. The move proved briefly successful, with the Hawks kicking three in a row during that term – one from Young himself.

Reservoir had winners all over the park – and their teamwork was a shade better than their opponents.  Danny O’Sullivan was rewarded for his tireless work late in the game when Kent Beaumont was awarded a free on the boundary.  He passed to O’Sullivan in a more central position for a relatively easy goal.

The contest featured some long goals. Nubbi Bux’s goal from about 50 into the wind at the beginning of the last quarter gave his team a faint hope.

Reservoir’s Brendon Meroli nailed a long bomb goal from outside 50 after using his pace to get into the clear.  And Ryan Docherty, in his best game for the Mustangs for some time, slotted another from about 55 metres out.

Mustangs assistant coach Leon Edwards was very pleased with the defence. He noted that his team had a big win, but there was still room for improvement – due to the high number of new faces in the senior team.

Flavel provided plenty of entertainment for the crowd.  In between running through a banner at the start of the game and being carried off at the completion, he managed four goals plus he had a stint on the sidelines courtesy of a yellow card.

The club looks to have good depth – with the reserves recording a 140 point victory earlier in the day. And off the field Reservoir’s ‘White Ribbon Day’ function saw a packed house of ladies enjoying the festivities.

The Hawks face their third consecutive road trip next week when they encounter Watsonia at A.K. Lines Reserve, while Reservoir hosts South Morang in another enthralling top-three battle at Crispe Park.

Final score: Reservoir 17.5 (107) def Heidelberg West 7.4 (46)



300 up for Flavel

RESERVOIR star forward Ashley Flavel this week reaches another big milestone in his illustrious career when he plays his 300th open-age game.

Prior to joining the Mustangs in 2012, Flavel played 270 games with EDFL clubs East Keilor, West Coburg and Pascoe Vale, amassing 580 goals and two premierships.

For the past three seasons he has continued his career with Reservoir, playing 30 games and kicking a further 105 goals, bringing his career tally to 685.

A sneaky forward with a fantastic set shot for goal and a knack of knowing where the big sticks are, Flavel is known to many in metropolitan football and has been a club leading goal kicker on nine occasions throughout his senior career.

That includes 96 goals in West Coburg’s premiership year of 2006 and a career-high 128 goals with Pascoe Vale in 2009, when the Panthers unfortunately lost in the Grand Final.

Flavel reaches the 300-game milestone when Reservoir hosts third-placed Heidelberg West at Crispe Park on Saturday.

He enters the game in rich form, having booted 10 goals over the past two weeks in wins at Watsonia and Parkside.



WATCH: NFL Suburban Spotlight - Edition 1

NFL TV headed to Reservoir ahead of the club's R U OK? Day clash with Thomastown on April 26.

The R U OK? Foundation hopes to help create a world where all people are connected and are protected from suicide.

To help raise awareness in the local community, Reservoir will a gala day during its Round 3 match against Thomastown in support of the foundation.

The club will wear a special edition R U OK? jumper, and has organised several keynote speakers, as well as half-time and post-match entertainment.

A match broadcast of the game between Reservoir and Thomastown will be aired on 88.6 Plenty Valley FM.

Reservoir FC welfare manager Michael Popovski - who lost his brother Nathan to suicide in 2013 - spoke to NFL reporter Brad Emmett about the upcoming day and the importance of asking R U OK?

To watch the video, please Opens external link in new windowCLICK HERE.




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Senior Ladder

2014 Division 3 Seniors
POS TEAM PTS
1 Thomastown 60
2 Reservoir 56
3 South Morang 40
4 Watsonia 24
5 St Mary's 20
6 Heidelberg West 20
7 Parkside 4

Reserves Ladder

2014 Division 3 Reserves
POS TEAM PTS
1 Reservoir 56
2 Thomastown 48
3 South Morang 44
4 Watsonia 36
5 St Mary's 24
6 Heidelberg West 16
7 Parkside 0