Aquinas 18.21 129 def. Eley Park 8.7 55
L. Naulty 4, S. Ragozzini 3, A. Naulty 2, N. Morrison-Storey 2, D. Keltie 2, H. Judge 2, B. O”Loughlin 2, K. Rosewarne
J. Morrison-Story, N. Morrison-Storey, L. Naulty, D. D”Angelo, H. Judge, A. Guthrie
After 3 rare home games in succession, Aquinas travelled out to Box Hill (geographically located nowhere near an ocean) to take on the Eley Park Sharks.
Injuries forced a total shift of the Aquinas line-up however this provided opportunities for those playing consistent football in the Reserves.
The Sharks were swimming dangerously beneath the depths in 4th position and have been one of the in form teams of the last month.
This form continued on as the Sharks kicked the first two goals within 5 minutes and with a noticeable wind at their helm, took full control over the first quarter. The Bloods managed to stem the flow and hit the scoreboard through the Naulty brothers, however the Sharks added three more majors to their tally, taking a 2-goal buffer into the first break.
The Bloods came out pumped to start the 2nd term, and wasted no time in reducing the current deficit. Goals again to the Naulty’s along with two majors from Hayden Judge, who was rewarded for his relentless forward pressure, gave Aquinas their first lead for the game. And that’s the way it remained.
In their most exciting quarter of football for the year, Aquinas helped themselves to 14 scoring shots to 2. Unfortunately, inaccurate kicking once again cost the Bloods a greater margin, which perhaps was the result of a Category 4 Hurricane that decided to nestle itself directly above Whitehorse Reserve.
This didn’t stop the long-bombing Nick Morrison-Story who took aim from 60 metres out to put through Aquinas’ 5th of the term, giving them a 3-goal margin at the main break.
The third saw a tough and tight affair with Eley Park throwing everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at the away team. Aquinas however, managed to play an accountable and disciplined brand of football, with the aim of restricting the Sharks’ ability to score with a strong gust behind them.
Coach Ash Naulty stated the 3rd quarter was the “best standard of football for the year in terms of decision making and control”. Despite Aquinas only scoring 2 goals, they were able to hold the home team to just the singular major.
This was largely due to the defensive efforts of Daniel D’angelo in his best game for the year, accompanied by the tough as nails Alex Guthrie who is currently enjoying a rich vein of form.
The last quarter saw both teams without a bench, and as a result the fitness of Aquinas showed through the dark, gloomy rain clouds, setting up an exciting and free-flowing last quarter.
Sean Ragozzini in his return game for the Bloods, helped himself to 3 goals, along with Lachie Naulty in his best performance for the red, black and green which saw him finish with an impressive 4 goals.
The midfield took compete control over the last quarter, as Jesse Butcher continued his good form, convoyed by skipper James McMahon who managed multiple centre clearances to help set up a dominant 8-goal final term.
The Bloods ran away with an impressive 74-point victory after an early scare from the gallant Sharks.
Aquinas now sit pretty on top of the ladder, only by percentage however, and take on the second placed North Brunswick at home in their biggest game of the year.
By Phil Jurkovsky