AJAX snapped a three-game losing streak, beating rivals Old Haileybury by 31 points on Saturday at Gary Smorgon Oval.
The win puts the Jackas right back in the finals mix, moving them into 5th spot, equal on points with 4th and only 1.45% behind.
The reigning Michael Ritterman Best and Fairest winner Adam Caplan led the team out in his 100thgame.
The Jackas responded to a challenging week on the track with a much improved start.
Small forward Asher Burstin kicked the opening two goals of the game before the visitors closed the gap to two points at quarter time.
Youngsters Josh Baron and Daniel Goodman combined to start the second term, with the latter, a lumbering ruckman, taking a mark inside fifty.
In just his second senior game he graciously slotted his first goal to the rowdy reception of his teammates and supporters.
David Fayman continued the Jackas’ momentum, converting a set shot from deep in the pocket. Not to be outdone, fellow experienced big-man Geoff Measey marked his return with a long range goal, extending the margin to four goals.
The Jackas took the foot off momentarily, allowing Old Haileybury back into the contest. The visitors narrowed the margin to a goal nearing half-time.
An inspired move from Coach Marty Pask saw key defender AJ Thurin float forward late in the quarter and kick two vital goals, ensuring the Jackas won the quarter seven goals to three and led by 23 points at the main break.
The Jackas extended the margin out to six goals early in the third, with Thurin and Burstin kicking their third goals, while Brad Caplan’s ferocious tackling was rewarded in-front of goal.
Old Haileybury refused to lie down kicking the last two goals of the quarter, but trailed by 25 points heading into the final term.
The Jackas steely defence kept the visitors goalless in the last quarter.
David Fayman put in his entry for the goal of the year, brushing off two opponents and freakishly putting it through with a left foot checkside from deep in the pocket, in front of the adoring home crowd.
AJAX banked the four points, winning 12.14 (86) – Old Haileybury 8.7 (55).
Adam Caplan being chaired off in his 100th game.
Daniel Goodman’s season continued its meteoric rise named the Beyond Coconut Water Player of the Day.
Burstin and Thurin combined for six goals while David Fayman was the other multiple goal-kicker with two.
Earlier, the reserves bucked their recent trend of close finishes, announcing themselves to the competition with a crushing 17.18 (120) victory over Old Haileybury 7.5 (47).
The Jackas led comfortably at every break and were rewarded for their first complete performance of the season.
Brandon Joel returned from injury and kicked four. Jeremy Forbes and Jesse Velleman kicked three apiece while hard-men Olly Hoffman and Roi Abraham also chipped with four between them.
The reserves are 5th on the ladder, half a game outside the top four but with a much superior percentage than fourth.
Dov Paltiel continued his outstanding form while Justin Berkowitz and Noah Rischin were both prominent through the middle.
Over the road on Lindsay Hassett Oval, the undefeated under 19s faced their sternest test yet, trailing at every break against Monash Blues.
Ash Shenker’s men displayed resilience and determination well beyond their years to record a stunning 16-point comeback win.
The unders kept the visitors goalless in the final term and went onto erase the eight-point three quarter time deficit, recording their eighth consecutive win and opening up a two-game gap at the top of the Section Four Ladder.
Ben Schwartz moved into third on the competition’s goal-kicking table with a six-goal haul, while midfielder Charlie Hamilton was best on ground.
Ben Schwartz slotting one of his six goals. Photo: Hersh Burston
On Sunday, the Thirds fell away in a disappointing last quarter, losing by 38 points to fellow top-two team De La Salle.
The margin was only seven points at the final break, but the Jackas ran out of legs, with both their losses this season coming against the top team.
Jeremy Herz worked tirelessly in the midfield, while Shimon New bravely led an under-manned backline.
Meanwhile, the Jackettes overpowered Melbourne Uni at Princes Park (Carlton), by 52 points, their second win in a row.
Rebecca Bennett continued her outstanding goal-kicking form with another bag of three, while Maddy Smart and Ally Bild were their team’s best.
The Jacketes head into the bye round a game clear of third and a game behind first.
Next round the seniors face their toughest assignment of the season when they tackle the ladder-leaders Beaumaris at Banksia Reserve at 2pm on Saturday.
The Sharks boast a forward fifty headlined by former St Kilda champion Stephen Milne who is the leading goal-kicker in Premier B with 28 goals from seven matches.
The under 19s play fellow top four team Preston Bullants away at W.R Ruthven Reserve on Saturday at 9.20am. On Sunday the Thirds face Monash Blues.
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager