Jackas avoid relegation with remarkable win
AJAX ensured their stay in B-Grade will enter a sixth straight season next year after a thrilling five-point win over rivals and fellow 2016 battlers Old Haileybury at Princes Park, Caulfield, on Saturday.
The Jackas avoided relegation in front of hundreds of supporters who turned up and packed their ‘home away from home’.
In characteristic fashion, Skipper Nick Marks stood tall in his 100th game, proving the difference in a frantic final quarter.
The Jackas had a sense for the occasion kicking the opening two goals courtesy of rising youngster Jordan Cohen and Stuart Fayman. Josh Kalmus was also in the thick of it early in game 100.
Old Haileybury responded with two of their own to take the lead approaching quarter time.
Cohen’s second and Brad Caplan’s first saw the Jackas head into the first change with a seven-point buffer.
Richie Simon kicked to David Fayman’s advantage, and the ‘Mailman’ easily brushed off his direct opponent to waltz into an open goal.
Some brilliant skills in tight by Stuart Fayman and Dean Rotenberg fed Brad Caplan his second, extending the margin out to 19 points.
A costly turnover deep inside AJAX’s defensive fifty, gifted the Bloods a goal approaching half-time.
18-year old Kane Nissenbaum looked right at home in his second senior outing, delivering beautifully to a leading Richie Simon.
‘Chopper’ as he is affectionately known lived up to his nickname, starting the ball at the behind post and in a helicopter motion worked it back for an important major.
Brad Caplan continued to run riot, accepting a perfect pass deep in the pocket from Brandon Joel, and slotted his third goal on the half-time siren.
The Jackas entered the second half with a 20-point lead, however the Bloods came out hard, kicking three of the opening four goals to bring the margin back within ten points.
Nick Marks setup a strong-marking Dave Fayman in the pocket, and once again he delivered.
Adam Caplan roosted the ball all of fifty meters to the advantage of his brother Brad, who showed a strong set of hands in front of goal.
The Best & Fairest favourite’s fourth goal was quickly followed up by Dave Fayman’s third, before Old Haileybury mounted yet another comeback, kicking four in a row.
Approaching three quarter time the Jackas found themselves behind by four points.
Dean Rotenberg got on the end of some great team play from Brad Caplan and Alex Wollan, before Dave Fayman continued his rich-vein of form in front of the big sticks, slotting his fourth, ensuring the Jackas went into the final break in front.
Supporters from both sides flocked to their respective huddles, as both coaches attempted to will their side over the line.
The intensity out on the ground was palpable. Leading by seven points, the Jackas got off to the best possible start scoring from the first centre bounce.
Adam Caplan barged his way through a crowded pack and steadied before finding Richie Simon, who calmly went back and slotted his second.
Dave Fayman produced another brilliant goal, accepting a long pass from Nick Lewis before hooking it around the corner on his left boot.
The Jackas’ lead was 19 but the Bloods weren’t done with yet. They kicked the next two, making for a grandstand finish.
Rotenberg and Nissenbaum collaborated on the forward flank with the latter finishing off the pair’s efforts with class.
As the game lifted another notch so too did Nick Marks. The AJAX Skipper threw himself at every contest, bringing down courageous marks and controlling the tempo in the back half.
Nick Marks re-lives the Jackas' crucial win in his milestone game on J-Air Radio's 'On the Ball'. Listen here!
The Jackas were holding firm in the dying minutes before the Bloods threatened to storm home, kicking a late one to bring the margin back within a goal.
Marks along with his battered teammates held on for a memorable 16.7 (103) – 15.8 (98) victory, one that secures their spot in B-Grade for another season, and relegates Old Haileybury back to C-Grade.
Re-live all the best bits from Saturday's win with all the Match Highlights. Watch here!
Marks was named best on ground in his milestone game, while Brad Caplan’s four-goal effort from the midfield was clinical.
Zach Braun was enormous in the ruck while Richie Simon played his best game of the season, in a starring role around the ground.
Dave Fayman’s five-goal haul takes his season tally to 41. He now leads the B-Grade goal-kicking with one round to play.
Former St Kilda champion Stephen Milne is sitting on 39 goals for Beaumaris, which sets up a tantalising shoot-out next week. If Fayman holds on he will lay claim to six of the last seven goal-kicking awards for the Jackas’ division.
Heading into the final round, the Jackas are 7th with seven wins and ten losses.
Earlier, the reserves made light work of Old Haileybury, setting up an 84-point thrashing with a ten-goal to one first half.
Nadav Harel re-claimed the ‘clearance king’ tag playing a blinder in the middle, while Dov Paltiel firmed as a genuine contender for the reserves’ Best & Fairest, gathering 28 disposals, six tackles and three goals in a blistering display.
Olly Hoffman and Jeremy Forbes kicked three apiece, while Josh Baron was the only other multiple goal-kicker with two.
Defender Dylan Rothschild continued his strong finish to the season. He reaped the ultimate reward from giving back to the Jewish football community the morning after when he coached the U13s to a Premiership. He spoke with J-Air's 'On the Ball' on Monday night. Listen here!
Finals are no longer a possibility for Rob Paterson’s men, his side sits 6th with an 8-1-8 record.
All the highlights from the reserves' big win. Click here!
At 9.20, the under 19s kicked off the triple-header against Old Haileybury, however they were outclassed by their top two rivals, losing by 93 points on the eve of the finals series.
On Sunday the thirds were bundled out of a Preliminary Final for the second consecutive year, losing to Old Trinity by ten points at Gary Smorgon Oval.
The Jackas trailed at every break and were undermanned when their skipper Zev Aron was weakened by a shoulder injury before half-time.
Despite keeping Old Trinity goalless in the final term, the Jackas couldn’t hit the scoreboard hard enough to record a comeback win.
Jeremey Herz and Jeremy Morley both kicked two, while Daniel Smorgon, Jonny Kaplan and Yossi Jedwab were strong in defence.
This weekend the Club hosts Beaumaris in the final game of the season. The reserves kick-off at 11.40am followed by the seniors at 2pm.
The under 19s will do it all again against Old Haileybury at Princes Park, Caulfield in their Semi-Final clash that also starts at 2pm.
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager