On song Blues beat flat Jackas
AJAX’s season is at the crossroads after dropping a must-win game against top four rivals Monash Blues at Gary Smorgon Oval on Saturday.
The Jackas fielded their most inexperienced team of the year and although a trio of youngsters impressed, a scoreless opening term and goalless third quarter resulted in a 24-point home-loss.
With four games remaining, Marty Pask’s men sit precariously in 7th place on the VAFA Premier B Ladder, two games and 10% off fourth spot, while two games separate them and the drop zone.
A typical winter’s day hit Melbourne on Saturday, making for difficult playing conditions at Albert Park.
The visitors kicked with the wind in the opening quarter and took full advantage, peppering the goal-face nine times to lead by 29 points at the first break.
The Jackas struggled to maintain possession inside their scoring half, while costly turnovers marred their second scoreless quarter of the season.
Photo: Les Argen
Richie Simon finally kick-started the Jackas with a superb solo effort, before Monash’s inaccuracy kept AJAX in the contest.
The visitors converted two late chances to extend their lead to six goals on the stroke of half-time, however a mark and long goal on the siren to Jake Lew ensured the Jackas entered the main break with some momentum.
Against the wind and with a five-goal deficit in the third, the challenge was in front of the Jackas, but disappointingly they went goalless and trailed by a game-high 44 points.
Ben Kalmus and Daniel Cohen were desperately missed down back, however debutant Adam Klein shone in their absences in the second half.
Fellow under 19 graduates Josh Baron and Jordan Cohen also put it in mature performances.
The Jackas threw caution to the wind in the final term and made a late charge piling on four consecutive goals to reduce the margin to within 20 points.
Photo: Les Argen
A tired Monash outfit finally put the Jackas away with the final two scores of the game, handing the home side a 9.16 (70) – 6.10 (46) defeat.
Richie Simon was the Jackas’ only multiple goal-kicker with three, while Skipper Nick Marks and Josh Ludski led from the front.
Earlier, the reserves missed a great opportunity to solidify their top four spot, falling 17 points short of fellow finals hopefuls Monash.
The Jackas started well kicking two goals to one against the wind. However with it, they failed to capitalise on their fast start, leading by one point at half-time.
The visitors came out breathing fire in the third, taking full advantage of the conditions, kicking four goals to no score setting up a 27-point buffer at the final change.
With their season on the line, Coach Rob Paterson challenged his side to respond. They managed to win the term 2.4 to 1.0, but it wasn’t enough, losing 5.9 (39) – 8.8 (56).
Co-captain Roi Abraham relished the contested conditions, playing with passion and ferocity, while fellow leadership group members Ari Wytwornik and Joel Gocs stood tall in defence.
The loss sees the reserves drop out of the four and into 7th. Another season-defining clash awaits this weekend when they tackle 4th-placed Parkdale, who are a game clear of the Jackas.
Over the road on Lindsay Hassett Oval, the under 19s notched their second win on the trot, narrowly defeating Monash 7.14 (56) – 6.8 (44).
The unders recovered from a slow start to lead at every break after quarter time.
Photo: Hersh Burston
With a host of their best players required at higher levels, Brent Shapiro led from the front as well as Jacob Silver and Ben De Winter.
The win closes the gap on 1st to one game, while it pushes the Jackas a game clear of three teams all fighting for the final two spots in the four.
The Thirds played under lights at Sportscover Arena on Thursday night and came from 20 points down early in the final term to beat Beaumaris by 12 points and lock in a top-two spot.
Photo: Hersh Burston
Skipper Zev Aron kicked three goals and extended his lead to five goals at the top of the Premier B Thirds Goal-kicking table.
On Sunday, the Jackettes led narrowly at every change to hold on for a thrilling six-point victory against Melbourne Uni at Brens Oval.
Toni Hamilton kicked two of her side’s four goals, while Vanessa Mrocki and Ally Bild were strong contributors all day.
The girls sit in outright second position on the VWFL Division 3 Ladder. They have a week off before their second consecutive finals campaign kicks off.
This weekend the seniors (2pm) and reserves (11.40am) play away to Parkdale Vultures at Gerry Green Reserve in matches pivotal to keeping their seasons alive. The under 19s face Preston Bullants at W.R. Ruthven Reserve at 9.20am.
On Sunday the Thirds also travel to play Parkdale at Gerry Green Reserve for a 12pm start.
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager