Injury depleted Prahran Assumption defied the doubters to post an inspirational eight goals win over ladder leader Old Mentonians in VAFA Division 1 on Saturday.
Tireless ruckman Nathan Davey, co captain Adam Sleight with seven goals and John Robbins were the stars in what was perhaps the best win under the reign of second season coach Ashley Mills.
Prahran Assumption is now third on the ladder after three rounds.
With key playmakers James Musster, Pete Cristoforo, Ed Macdonald and Ryan Pascoe missing with injury from the team which lost narrowly to Hampton Rovers the previous week, the Two Blues went into the game heavy underdogs.
On the windswept Mentone Grammar playing fields, Old Mentonians looked quicker and more skilled kicking into the breeze early in the opening quarter.
Seven frees against the Two Blues and none for were stark examples of poorly executed tackles as the speedy home team threatened to take control.
But late goals from Pat Harris, Adam Simpson and Sleight gave the Two Blues a handy 22 point quarter-time lead.
After an early second quarter goal from Harris, Old Mentonians slammed on four unanswered goals with the breeze, and to compound concerns for the Two Blues, Simpson, who had looked dangerous up forward, was sidelined for the rest of the match with a shoulder injury.
Against the trend of play the Two Blues added three late goals to lead by 20 points at the main break.
The third quarter proved frustrating for Two Blues fans as the team’s goal kicking accuracy deserted them. A half-time scoreline of 11-3 was balanced by a 4-8 third quarter with several misses from close range.
The question was had Prahran Assumption wasted its dominance and would a 19 points three- quarter time lead kicking into a stiff cross breeze be enough given its fade out the previous week v Hampton Rovers?.
The last quarter response was as emphatic as it was surprising.
The Two Blues slammed on five goals, three from Sleight, restricting Old Mentonians to just four points with the margin ballooning out to 46 points .
The younger, speedy Old Mentonians had no answer to the constant tackling pressure and clearance work of the stronger Two Blues .
While it was a grand team win, Davey’s remarkable work rate was match defining. He not only dominated hit outs but was just as effective at ground level covering an enormous amount of territory.
As Mills said post match, Davey’s work rate was outstanding and the Two Blues simply overpowered Old Mentonians with a mix of discipline and aggression.
Mills singled out Luke Giansiracusa for sacrificing his game up forward and former Assumption first gamer Tim Webb for a fine second half blanketing role on the dangerous Luke Hall.
Next week Prahran Assumption returns to Toorak Park to play Glen Eira.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 7-2 11-3 15-11 2012 (132)
OLD MENTONIANS 3-4 7-8 12-10 12-14 (86)
Goals: Sleight 7, Harris 5, Simpson, Robbins, 2, Adams, R
Costin, Donahoo, Anglin.
Best: Sleight, Davey, Donahoo, Wall, Harris, Robbins.
An undermanned Reserves team posted its first win for co coaches Neil Wallmeyer and Josh “Cookie” Ancrum.
Injuries to the senior team were always going to impact on the Reserves, but in a gutsy display the Two Blues drew away with four goals to none in the last quarter for a brave win.
Goals were always going to be hard earned in the windy conditions so the contributions from Rick Ellis (four) and Liam Shellard (three) proved crucial.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 2-1 5-4 6-6 10-5 (65)
OLD MENTONIANS 1-5 2-8 6-11 6-18 (56)
Goals: Ellis 4, Shellard 3, Field, Hall, Taylor.
Best: Ellis, Field, Ancrum, Sidebottom, Hagen, Candiloro.
Although it’s always disappointing to be beaten, there were a number of positives from this week’s loss to Old Xaverians by 39 points.
After last week’s embarrassing forfeit, there was plenty of soul searching around the Clubbies and there were plenty of blokes putting their hand up to pull the boots on and play. An almost full squad of players is always a good sign and Coach Lewis was much relieved.
Xavs were always going to be a tough opponent coming off an undefeated 2012 season and looking in ominous form early in 2013.
But the Prahran Assumption boys really took it up the “Crocs” and were ably lead by new skipper Sam Cooper who kicked 7 goals (of our 10 goals) for the afternoon. With no Storer, Berger, Koehler or Faraci,“Coops” was inspirational in a fine performance.
Although the PAFC boys were never far behind Xavs, we weren’t able to bridge the gap in the lead throughout the game as they gradually increased their lead at each change.
For PAFC, former coach Luke Farrell was a livewire up forward and around the ground. Steve Zayler continued his fine form down back. Mark Ploenges used the ball well around the ground. Geoff Scott provided a strong ruck and big man presence.
Next week we play at home at 2pm vs Fitzroy.
Old Xaverians 16.10 – 106 def Prahran Assumption 10.7 - 67
Goals: S. Cooper 7, N. Mitchell, B. Michael, M. Ploenges
Best: S. Cooper, L. Farrell, N. Mitchell, G, Scott, M. Ploenges, S. Zayler