Our ‘former’ coach Mark Choco Williams spoke to J-Air’s On The Ball program about his time at AJAX and his experien… https://t.co/XghJuxPy4e
Weekend Wrap: Round Four
Undermanned AJAX's Struggles Continue After Third-Straight Loss
Mark Williams’ side came out with determination following last week’s 95-point drubbing, however St Bernards flexed their muscles to hand AJAX a second consecutive 15-goal defeat and a third consecutive loss.
With some key-position players missing, Saturday was always going to be an uphill battle for the Jackas. Defender Richie Simon was overseas following a strong performance in round three, Daniel Cohen remained sidelined with a hamstring injury as did forward stalwart Jake Lew.
As they have in every round this season, AJAX put in a strong performance in the first quarter, trailing by just two points at the first break to a skilled St Bernards side that finished a very respectable third in the 2017 VAFA B grade.
While both sides continued to scrap for the ball at ground-level, St Bernards displayed cooler heads, hitting their forward targets and drifting out to a 27-point half-time lead, despite having only three clearances in the second-quarter.
The second-half told a familiar tale to last week, with the home side steamrolling an inexperienced and depleted AJAX side, piling on 14 goals to none, with the encounter finishing 7.10 (52) to 23.12 (150) in a forgettable afternoon in Essendon West.
Not for the first time this season, inaccurate kicking hurt AJAX, who scored more behinds than goals for the third week running. Captain Nick Lewis (12 tackles 24 disposals) addressed the issue in his post-game interview with AJAX Media.
“Obviously its a hot-topic in the AFL. We actually kicked 20 goals against Old Haileybury (Round One) and that’s our only win for the year so I definitely think accuracy in front of goals plays a pretty big part. If we managed to kick six goals one behind instead of one goal and six behinds on Saturday, our tails would be up and we’d have a lot more energy and mojo in our gameplay,” he said.
The defeat leaves AJAX in sixth position on the ladder, one spot behind local rivals and round five opponents the Caulfield Grammarians who sit eight points above the Jackas.
“This week is definitely an eight-point game, we won’t shy away from that. We want to be a finals team and to do that you need to firstly win and secondly beat the teams above you. We’re playing against a young Caulfield Grammarians team at Glen Huntly Oval in Caulfield so we’ll obviously get a good following from our supporters. We’ve got a couple of their ex-collegians playing for us so that always makes for quite a heated rivalry,” Lewis said.
After another tough week for the Seniors side, the Reserves provided the shining light on the weekend, defeating St Bernards Reserves by less than a goal in a nail-biting contest in West Essendon.
Brad Carp, Ward Williams and Daniel Goodman each bagged two goals, as the reserves punished an inaccurate St Bernards side, with the final score reading 9.10 (64) to 7.17 (59).
The win leaves AJAX Reserves in fifth place, just one game off the top of the table, but only one win ahead of next week’s opponents the Caulfield Grammarians, making next Saturday’s Reserves and Firsts double-header a must-watch event.
On Sunday, the Thirds received a brutal defeat against De La Salle, losing by 130 points and only managing two goals for the match thanks to Sam Brygel and Michael Lazar. The Thirds sit second last on the ladder and will hope to turn around their poor form with a victory against the winless Caulfield Grammarians this weekend.
The Jackettes enjoyed their week off, and will now begin final preparations for their big clash against Old Brighton late on Saturday afternoon at Brighton Beach Oval, while both the Reserves (11.40am) and the Seniors (2pm) will play back-to-back games against Caulfield Grammarians at the Glen Huntly Oval in Caulfield.
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Ash Obel- AJAX FC Media & Communications