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 Six
Spirited Jackas Fall Short
After four difficult weeks marked by consecutive heavy losses, AJAX have registered a hugely encouraging performance, taking their encounter with the Beaumaris Sharks down to the wire in an enthralling clash at the Gary Smorgon Oval.
Playing on home turf for the first time this year, a youthful Jackas outfit blitzed the Beaumaris defence, leading by seven goals to one halfway through the second quarter.
However an injury to key defender Richie Simon combined with some poor decision-making left the door ajar for the Sharks, who came out in the second half with plenty of determination.
AJAX were never able to recapture their momentum, as former Gold Coast Suns coach Guy Mckenna’s side patiently chipped away at the margin.
With the wind working against them, the Jackas managed just one final-quarter goal as the Sharks used the weather advantage to its fullest, bagging five goals and just one behind; the scoreboard reading 8.7 (55) to 10.12 (72) at the final siren, condemning AJAX to eighth spot on the ladder.
Kane Nissenbaum was again a stand-out performer, finishing with 30 disposals and 19 kicks. Nicholas Cohen impressed on debut, slotting a set-shot from 30 meters out on the boundary-line, while ruckman Brent Shapiro solidified his place in the squad with another impressive performance.
Speaking to AJAX Media after the game, Cohen said “the game speed was a lot faster and there’s a lot more pressure when you’re out there in front of a bigger crowd on a bigger stage.
“I was pretty nervous when I was lining up for goal, it was my first kick of the day and it was a pretty tough angle but Nick Lewis gave me good advice. He told me to take three deep breaths and just go through the paces and kick through the ball. That’s what I did and it went through…it was great.”
Despite a fifth-consecutive loss, coach Mark ‘Choco’ Williams remained noticeably optimistic, praising his players for their week-to-week improvements and urging them to continue to believe they were good enough to match it with the best in the division.
Earlier in the day, the AJAX Reserves were defeated by league-leaders Beaumaris Reserves in difficult weather conditions, going down by 45 points. The Ressies were unable to account for Beaumaris’ tall forwards despite rallying hard in the third quarter before the Sharks ran away with the game in the final stanza.
Olly Hoffman impressed with three goals while Daniel Cohen marked his return to footy with a typically influential performance. Dean Rotenberg, Adam Caplan and David Glass all finished with one goal each as the Reserves held onto sixth place on the B Reserve ladder.
On Sunday morning, the Jackettes were swept aside by premiership favourites Old Scotch. AJAX came out firing, with a Maddy Smart opening goal ensuring that the girls were right in it at the quarter-time break. However Old Scotch lived up to their credentials, keeping the Jackettes scoreless and piling on another 7 goals to cruise to victory.
Jackettes coach Daniel Slonim was positive despite the result, acknowledging the strength of Sunday’s opposition.
“Despite a disappointing result, we never dropped our heads against the competition’s benchmark. Our usual suspects Justine Gabriel, Isi Burstin and Pessia Fetter fought hard and gave us drive all day,” Slonim said.
Playing in the unusual timeslot of Saturday night, the AJAX Thirds faced Fitzroy for the second time this season, having already defeated their opponents by 27 points in round two- the Thirds solitary win for the season thus far.
After an even first term, the AJAX Thirds seized control of the match through strong tackling and effective disposals, taking a 13-point lead into the final break. However fatigue crippled the side when it mattered most, with Fitzroy overturning the deficit to steal the win in the final quarter. The Thirds will hope to perform with similar intensity in their matchup this weekend with Williamstown.
The coming weekend will also see AJAX face the Parkdale Vultures in a must-win clash at Gary Smorgon Oval for both the Seniors and Reserves. The Vultures sit four points ahead of the Firsts, however both sides share an equal percentage, handing AJAX the opportunity to leapfrog their round seven opponents with a win at Albert Park on Saturday. Similarly, the Reserves sit just four points ahead of the Parkdale Reserves, meaning a win is crucial if they are to avoid dropping out of the top six. The Jackettes take on Old Mentonians in another critical match, with the Old Mentonians sitting just two points behind the Jackettes after five rounds.
Firsts 8.7 (55) def by Beaumaris 10.12 (72)
Jackettes 1.0 (6) def by Old Scotch 8.13 (61)
Reserves 6.4 (40) def by Beaumaris 12.13 (85)
Thirds 5.7 (37) def by Fitzroy 6.9 (45)
Keep up-to-date with all things AJAX at our new-look website www.ajaxfc.com.au!
Ash Obel- Media and Communications Manager