Round 11 – Seniors
Aquinas 16.29 – 125 def. St. Francis Xavier 3.5 – 23
- L. Whelan 5, P. Mahon 3, P. Jurkovsky 2, J. Reid 2, J. Butcher 2, J. Wright, A. Guthrie
- P. Jurkovsky, J. Butcher, M. Jess, J. Morrison-Story, J. Wright, L. Toomey
Aquinas came into this game after what will be their second bye in three weeks, however were still forced to make 9 changes at the selection table.
The fresh influx of new players who were rewarded by their performances in the Reserves was welcomed as an exciting and renewed feeling in the rooms before the game. A strong build-up during the week gave the Bloods great confidence in recording their 6th straight victory.
However, St. Francis Xavier had other plans on their mind as a more fierce and competitive outfit arrived at Blood stadium, on the back of a 180-point drubbing last time these teams met.
A tough and tight affair caused a scrappy opening term which saw both teams goalless for majority of the quarter. The Bloods finally managed to break the stranglehold and hit the scoreboard first on the back of a goal kicked by an underdone Liam Whelan. Liam battled illness throughout the weekend (some say from leather poisoning) yet managed to get up for Saturday’s game, still managing to boot 5 goals and further his lead on top of the goal kicking tally.
Will Morrison in his second Senior game for the year was enormous in the first term, as he took contested mark after contested mark and steadied the Aquinas backline.
The Bloods took a 9-point lead into the first break after a solid showing from the much improved X-men outfit.
The second quarter saw a more spirited and free-flowing Aquinas style of play, as Jesse Butcher continued his terrific form and helped set-up two early goals. Joe Morrison-Story returned to his 2015 form which saw him finish third in the best and fairest count, controlling the clearances right across the ground.
Ash Naulty put together a hypnotising performance in the ruck and provided a strong marking target, continuously taking pack-marks which stopped multiple St. Francis forward attacks and helped set up a 39-point margin at half time.
Winner of the prestigious 125 year VAFA anniversary medal Alex Guthrie and Sam Porter (in his first senior game for 2017) were left a huge task in defence with the late withdrawals of Scott McPherson and Daniel Zuccon. However, the duo were solid in their efforts which helped keep the X-men to just the singular goal in the second half.
Crafty goal sneak James Reid in his debut senior game was lively in the forward line and managed to end the day with two majors. Another tall-timber battling illness during the week in Patrick Mahon finished with three goals and gave away just as many.
Young gun James Wright was influential all day through the midfield and along with seasoned veteran Leigh Toomey helped the Bloods to a six goal final quarter.
For the second game in a row, inaccurate kicking cost the Bloods a greater margin as they kicked 17 behinds in the second half. However, Aquinas still managed to finish the game 102-point victors adding another triple win to the Bloods 2017 resume.
Aquinas have another bye next weekend and will take on Parkside at home in round 13.
By Phil Jurkovsky