Around the Grounds: August 17

A dozen Werribee-listed players featured in what was for most the penultimate round of the home and away season at local level on the weekend – here’s how they fared.

Geelong FL

Versatile defender Ben McNamara (pictured) continued his stellar form for St Joseph’s in a top-of-the-table clash with Colac. McNamara was named his side’s best player in its thrilling two-point loss. The reigning premiers can claim top spot if they defeat Geelong West Giants this weekend and Colac lose to Grovedale.

Dangerous small Max Augerinos showed good signs in his third game back from a shoulder injury, named as one of St Mary’s better players in their 89-point thumping of Grovedale. The Saints are in a race with Bell Park for the last finals spot. A win against the fourth-placed Leopold this coming Saturday should seal their fate.

The smooth-moving Keegan Gray got through a second consecutive game unscathed after carrying a few niggles previously. He used the ball well off half-back and snuck forward to kick a goal for Bell Park in its seven-goal loss to Newtown & Chilwell at Elderslie Reserve. The Dragons need to defeat the winless North Shore and rely on St Mary’s to lose to Leopold in order to snatch a finals spot.

Big man Jack Berry returned from a minor injury in Leopold’s 101-point thrashing of Lara and got through with no issues. He impressed with his ruck craft and leading patterns when he spent time forward. The Lions are locked in and will play finals.

Western Region FL

Skillful left-footer Baxter Norton was prolific in Spotswood’s 119-point rout of Point Cook at Saltwater Reserve, racking up 21 disposals, nine score involvements and three goal assists. Teammate and 2008 Brownlow Medalist Adam Cooney continued his goalkicking form with a bag of five. The Woodsmen will play finals but depending on results in the last round can finish as high as second or as low as fifth.

Developing key forward Oscar Junker proved a handful in Werribee Districts’ triple-figure victory over Caroline Springs at Town Centre Oval. The 21-year-old booted three goals (season tally: 23 goals, 14 games) and was named among his side’s best. The Tigers face the same finals equation as Spotswood heading into the last round.

Goulburn Valley FL

Shepparton Bears duo Tom Boyd & Matthew Brett helped their side to a strong ten-goal victory over Benalla at Deakin Reserve. Boyd took his 2019 goalkicking tally to 21 from 13 games, with a particularly dominant second half, while Brett impressed again at centre half back, intercepting and rebounding strongly. The Bears cannot be dislodged from third and will enter the finals race chasing back-to-back flags.

Essendon District FL

Jack Watkins has continued to regain form for Avondale Heights after missing three months with a stress fracture in his foot. In Watkins’ fourth game back, his drive and rebound off half-back was important before he was thrown into the guts to good effect in his side’s five-point loss to Pascoe Vale at Canning Reserve.

Impressive 18-year-old defender Hamish Murphy has starred for Avondale Heights’ premier division under 19s side in recent weeks, and again helped them to victory with a best on ground showing against Pascoe Vale. Murphy was the architect from defence and floated forward to hit the scoreboard. Neither Avondale teams can make the finals.

Ballarat FL

Prolific midfielder Nick Stuhldreier continued his stellar season for Bacchus Marsh in the Cobras' 118-point drubbing of Melton South at Maddingly Park. Stuhldreier impressed with his disposal efficiency and work at the coalface.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels product Scott Carlin was dominant off half-back in Lake Wendouree’s narrow win over Redan with his run and carry features of his game. Neither Bacchus Marsh or Lake Wendouree will feature in the Ballarat Football League finals.

Photo: Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens

AARON FETTER

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