Round 9 – Once in a Blue Moon Round
Round 9 of ORFFA action has come and gone, with a number of players (and teams) taking the round’s theme to heart.
And while one undefeated team continues to roll along atop the ladder, the race for positions in the lower part of the top eight heats up. And at the tail-end of the ladder, the game is most certainly afoot (to paraphrase a certain deerstalker clad detective).
Gundgai 1241 d Cradle Mountain 1183
Clearly not satisfied with an ascent into mediocrity, Gundagai has pulled out all stops to aim 1.35 steps higher, winning its second in a row 1241-1183 over the Devils.
Lead by the little big man Lachie Neale (148), as well as the match’s “Blue Moon score winner” Heath Grundy (118) and Charlie Cameron (114), the Hoppers have reached the dizzying heights of 10th on the ladder and sit half a game outside the top eight.
For the Devils, Pendles’ 140 led the way, with the magical Zorko (120) and hardworking Grigg (116) doing their best. But despite good late scoring from Hopper, Zaha and Johnson, the Hoppers’ lead proved too big to bridge.
Birdsville 1192 d Iron Knob 1091
In a true eight-point game, Birdsville scored an important win over fellow finals’ aspirants Iron Knob 1192-1091.
The low-scoring saw perhaps the ultimate Blue Moon performance from the Battlers’ basketballer-turned-Tiger-turned-Bomber Matty Dea, who somehow managed to score 126 and gain five votes in the Les W.
Treloar’s 115 was next best, with Birdsville enjoying consistent efforts from defenders Enright, McDonalds x 2 and midfielders Hunter, Murphy and Ebert.
For the Codpieces, the long-hoped for appearance of a genuine ruckman turned back into an apparition, with Will Minson again sitting out. He was last seen swearing under his breath in German and plotting an inadvertent injury to Tom Campbell. In his absence, Jack Darling’s OOP 22 was not enough.
Robbie Gray’s return (120) was welcome, and a consistent forwardline effort was pleasing. But no scores above 65 in an injury-hit defence was the difference for Iron Knob, who now sit in seventh.
Larrikin Lagoon 1329 d Charlie’s Opening 1061
The Todd Goldstein led Lagoon delivered a bit of a curb-stomping to the Spelunkers and now sit outright second of the ORFFA ladder.
Mr Goldstein (173) roamed around doing as he pleased, and would’ve earned this match’s Blue Moon scoring performance but for the fact that he scores like this alarmingly frequently.
Tom Lynch and Matt Priddis also played well, while Brendon Goddard alternated between filmmaking and scoring to notch 101.
In what has become a bit of a theme across the league, the Spelunkers’ injury-hit backline was another that was unable to find a reliable scorer.
While Gunston, Zerrett, The Bont and The Blitz all scored tons, their teammates fell away a little too easily. Charlie’s Opening now sit eighth on the ladder and will hope for better luck next week in what shapes as a vital game against Cradle Mountain.
Venus Bay 1285 d Wineglass Bay 1216
The Vultures are breathing a bit easier after squeaking home over the Packers in what turned out to be one of the matches of the round.
The Battle of the Bays went right down to the wire, with the Vultures establishing enough of a lead in the early going to survive a late scoring flurry from Wineglass Bay.
Six players scored in triple figures for Venus Bay, led by Docherty (135), Hogan (121) and Parker (120). Jeremy Howe’s 104 sees him named Blue Moon scoring performer of the match. However Andrew Gaff (43) will be in real doubt for the coming week after having his head used as target practice (more on that one later in the review).
As for Wineglass Bay, the slow start to the season is a distant memory for coach Tracey. A consistent effort across the field saw only Kerridge and Miles score 100+, but 10 other players score 70 or more.
Remarkably, at 3-6, the Packers are only a game and a half out of the eight, and will cause plenty of headaches in the second half of the season.
Darraweit 1186 d Marble Bar 1053
In the battle of the walking wounded, the Dirigibles notched up their third win for the season over the undermanned Misfits.
Down a forward and without a full time ruckman, the Misfits battled hard – the ever present Ward (124) leading from the front. Zac Williams, Josh the Bruce and Dan Rich also in good touch.
No sign of the oft-mentioned Daylight on the team sheet, however coach Len has definitely found one in Connor Blakely, whose OOP 61 in the ruck earned him Blue Moon scoring performer of the match kudos.
For the Blimps, Stephen Coniglio (135) continues to carry his teammates, coach and various support staff. This week he found support from Old Man Harvey (103), talisman Lyons (96) and Alex Rance (95).
However celebrations at Guim HQ were soured after the report of defender Tom Jonas for his near decapitation of an opponent. It is understood Steven May’s coaching accreditation has been revoked following his mentoring of both Jonas and Rance in recent times. May himself is likely to return to the field next week, probably to hit someone.
Lovely Banks 1126 d Whitsundays 999
The Lilacs step lightly from the bottom of the ladder, notching win number two for the season over an injury-riddled Warriors’ side.
And while Mitch Duncan (116) continued his fine form for the Lilacs, it was Lovely Banks’ defence that led the way, despite the absences of first choice backmen Langdon and Rosa. Dane Rampe’s moustache scored 125, while the Trampolinist (87) and young Alex Pearce (85) offered great support.
Pearce’s 85 earns him Blue Moon scoring performer for this match, the blue sash which comes with the award will be used to hold his broken tibia together over the coming 10 or so weeks.
For the Warriors, Josh Kennedy of the Eagle variety gained five Les W votes with a stellar 137. Robbie Tarrant’s 95 saw him almost snatch the Blue Moon award from Mr Pearce, while Dan Currie (97) continues to be a sneaky good draft pick-up.
However with a lack of defenders (again, a league wide problem) it was always going to be tough for the Warriors to take the win.
Gariwerd 1291 d Waikikamoocow 1029
A dominant midfield and forwardline performance saw Ant’s Cockatoos take flight for a massive win over the Waikiks.
Gariwerd had winners all over the park – Steven (148), Walker (119), Wingard (107), Cameron (102) and Jones (109) – and put the game out of reach with some consistent scoring despite a slightly down day in defence.
For the Incorrigibles, only Dan Hannebery topped triple figures (110), with a sputtering forwardline unable to put the points on the board and the reliable Harry Taylor (37) having an off day.
However some encouragement for coach Graeme with Alex Neal-Bullen taking out the Blue Moon award for the game – mainly because he was FINALLY named in the Melbourne side. His 74 bodes well for the future.
Wagga Wagga 1251 d Nunawading 1210
The high-flying Wombats (that’d be an interesting sight) survived a giant scare from the improving Nuffers, winning a close game by 41 points.
The game’s highlight was the midfield battle, with six of the eight midfielders named tonning up. All four Wombats scored 100+ – Picken, Gibbs, Shiel and Prestia (in a welcome return to form) – while the Nuffers had NDS and Josh P Kennedy lead the way with centuries, with able support from a rejuvenated Dale Thomas.
However it was the scoring from the Wombat’s three big men – Tippett (141) in the ruck, and Franklin (102) and Lycett (113, and a Blue Moon award) up forward – that proved the difference.
The Nuffers’ Nic Nat (106) and Simpson (103) battled hard, but were not quite able to bridge the gap and help notch a win for coach Andy.
Foul Bay 1434 d Mt Beauty 1303
A classic sliding doors moment has played a key role in Foul Bay taking out the match of the round, winning by 130 points over a game Uglies side.
The game remained up for grabs until late in the contest, when injury forced the Uglies’ Matt Buntine from the field with only seven points to his name. To rub salt into the wound, Buntine’s GWS teammate Heath Shaw picked up the slack for Foul Bay, piling on a lazy 203 points in a matchwinning display.
Besides Shaw, Foul Bay only had two other centurions – Ziebell (141) and Kelly (113). However no chickens’ player scored below 70 in a consistent display. (And if Chief Russell isn’t going to give Seb Ross a game, he can feel free to trade him back to Darraweit!)
For Mt Beauty, Cotchin’s Helmet (151), Martin’s tatts (133) Steele’s Sidebottom (128) and Roo Senior (117) were superb. Young mids Viney and Petracca both tonned up from the bench as well.
The absence of Boyd through suspension hurt coach Bama’s defence however. His return will be welcomed with open arms in the coming week.
Round 10 – we’re going Geektastic for Geek Pride Round. Some great matches on offer, with perhaps Foul Bay v Wagga Wagga the highlight.
Birdsville Battlers v Gundagai Grasshoppers
Charlies Opening Spelunkers v Cradle Mountain Devils
Wineglass Bay Packers v Iron Knob Codpieces
Darraweit Guim Dirigibles v Larrikin Lagoon Lefties
Whitsunday Warriors v Venus Bay Vultures
Waikikamoocow Incorrigibles v Marble Bar Misfits
Nunawading Nuffas v Lovely Banks Lilacs
Mt Beauty Uglies v Gariwerd Cockatoos
Foul Bay Chickens v Wagga Wagga Wombats