1st XVIII D1 AFL Round One Write Up

First XVIII Division One, Round One, May 4, 2024 Written by Gorgon Armstrong

Sacred Heart (2) 11.13 (79) d Scotch College 8.8 (56)

The opening of the season saw teams enjoy warm conditions as the new-look competition kicked off. Sacred Heart (2) and Scotch College were locked in a keen contest at SHC’s main oval, looking for that key break.

It was Hearts which made the most of its chances to finish victors by 23 points after holding an edge for most of the game.

Hearts led at each change, by 13 points at the first break, 22 at the main break and 20 at three-quarter time. The last quarter was relatively even as SHC, which debuted 16 players to the number two team, held sway.

SHC (2) coach Anton Vassallo said it was a solid start to the season for his team.

“The aim of the day was to apply pressure and play a fast brand of footy across four consistent quarters,’’ Vassallo said.

“The group managed to do exactly that as they navigated their way through a tough contested game of football against a solid opposition.

“At times we struggled to get reward for our efforts in front of goals but still managed to put a good score on the board.’’

Hearts (2) best were Joseph Raphael (two goals), Henry Martinella, Brodie Bretones, Jett Reid, Henry McKinnon (two goals), Tom Amber, Elijah Luke and Damien Dunn. Scotch saw solid games from Rueben Hill, Fergus Kempe, Jack Nelson, Henry Barrington-Case and Archie Ryan.


Prince Alfred College 13.14 (92) d Westminster School 8.6 (54)

Little separated the teams for the first three quarters as Prince Alfred College and Westminster looked to kick-start for their seasons on a high note.

PAC, which debuted 13 players to the First XV111 team, had most of the early play to lead 2.5 to 1.2 at quarter time and edged clear in the second with a 6.7 to 3.6 buffer at the long break.

Westminster enjoyed its most productive quarter of the game in the third to kick 4.0 to 2.3 to trail at the last change 8.10 to 7.6.

But Princes lit a switch in the final quarter to chalk up nine scoring shots to one to cruise in by 38 points.

PAC coach David Oatey said the side stuck to its task after a tight three quarters.

“Westminster played a very combative style of football and they took away our time and space and made it hard for us to move the ball easily,’’ Oatey said.

“This is exactly what football is all about and to be challenged so well in the first game means we can take away many learnings from this game.

“We battled hard during the first three quarters and led by 10 points at three quarter time. In the last quarter we were able to find a little more space and use the ball more accurately by hand which meant we were able to get the ball in faster and deeper to the forwards.’’

PAC enjoyed strong games from Sam Cumming, Matt LeRay, Naite Slade, Gillon Wakelin (three goals) and Jay Polkinghorne (four goals).

Best for Westminster included Cam Qualman, Clay Shadforth (two goals), Tim Alver and Will Young. Patrick Hutchins kicked two goals.


Sacred Heart 17.21 (123) d. Pembroke School 6.6 (42)

Reigning champ Sacred Heart again showed its depth and class when it proved far too strong for Pembroke School.

Dominating the game with weight of numbers SHOC chalked up 38 scoring shots to 12 to win by 81 points after leading by 12 points at half-time.

Hearts coach Jon Symonds said his side responded after being tested in the first half.

“With some renewed vigour to run and compete harder in both aerial and ground ball contests we were able to generate 21 scoring shots to three and put a gap on the scoreboard against a valiant opposition that competed hard until the final siren,’’ Symonds said.

“The willingness of our players to run hard and link up with effective possession produced a strong victory.

“A further pleasing aspect of this game was the debut of 15 players pulling on the Sacred Heart First XVIII guernsey for the first time.’’

Best for Hearts included Ben Dittmar (four goals), Kieren Scannell, Eddie Pedler (four goals), Luke Candy and Ned Atkinson (four goals).

Pembroke coach Jackson Webb said his team’s pressure was strong, especially the first three quarters.

“It was a highly contested game for three quarters,’’ Webb said.

“We successfully slowed down the damaging attack of Sacred Heart in the first three quarters by creating a strong contest and repeat stoppage game. We were able to keep the margin to a manageable 30 points at three quarter time.

“The fourth quarter didn’t go our way with Hearts showing their class and stamina to add another 50 points to the margin.

“Our players left the game knowing they had competed with spirit for three quarters and will look to bring a four-quarter effort into their next game against St Peter’s College.

Pembroke’s best players were Charlie Lewis, Oliver Ormsby, Noah Roberts-Thomson, Hugh Payze and Lucas Saunders.

Rostrevor College 19.16 (130) d. Trinity College 8.11 (59)

Rostrevor College made an early statement to the competition with a convincing win against Trinity College. Bombarding the goal to chalk up 36 scoring shots to 19, Rostrevor had all the answers to win by 71 points.

Rostrevor coach Scott Uppington said his side impressed in the season opener.

“All in all it was a pleasing first up performance against Trinity who made us earn it all day,’’ Uppington said.

“Some of our ball movement from half back was quite good which gave our forwards some nice looks. We debuted 14 players which is great for our program and it will take some time to get some continuity. Plenty of improvement to come.’’

Rossies’ key players were Ned McCarthy (four goals), Jacob Newton (three goals), Fergus Myall, Jonty Thompson (four goals) and Mitch Stevenson (four goals).

Trinity coach Justin Platten said his side gave its all.

“I thought we were very good in patches and our attack on the footy was excellent,’’ Platten said.

“We are a very young group and understand we have to be at our best for all four quarters if we want to match it with other schools. Rostrevor really hurt us with their ability to spread hard from stoppage and transition forward quickly. Overall some really good signs.’’

Trinity’s best players were Mason Dohnt, Aidan Schubert (two goals), Ryan Vandermyle, Enrique OLearyChen, Jesse Paul and Noah Breavington (four goals).

St Michael’s 16.9 (105) d. Prince Alfred College (2) 7.10 (52)

St Michael’s dominated play after quarter time to prove too strong for Prince Alfred College (2) in a solid opener to the competition.

Leading an open first quarter 4.2 to 3.0, St Micks tightened their defence to go in at half time up 8.5 to 3.3. More of the same was produced in the third quarter as St Micks led 13.7 to 5.6 before holding sway in the final term to win by 53 points.

St Micks had plenty of top performers, led by Ethan Ashley, Lachlan Slattery, Zane Peucker (four goals), Boston Hodges and Noah AhChee (four goals). James Chalubek and Mitchell McDonald kicked two goals each. St Michael’s coach Brett Ebert praised his team’s spirit. “Having eight debutants was an exciting prospect for the college,’’ Ebert said.

“The team started well, showing the effort we had asked from them pre-game and set the game up on our terms in the first quarter.

“To their credit PAC came back strongly in the second quarter and took the momentum away from us. I was pleased the way the boys regained the momentum toward the end of the second quarter and we went into half time with a solid lead.

“The boys continued to use the ball well in the second half by hand and foot, leading to some great movements of play and allowed the forwards to have time and space to work into.’’

Princes coach Mitch Simpson said his battled well but needed to work on its defensive transition.

“We started well, matching St Michael’s at stoppage but it was off turnover that we struggled to maintain the speed and precision of ball movement that the opposition presented,’’ Simpson said.

“They cut through us regularly and our lack of accountability on defensive transition put our back six under regular pressure.

“After half time we started to slow the opposition down better, however some ill-discipline cost us two goals in a crucial period of the game when it looked like the ledger may turn.

“Defensive transition will be an area of focus for the boys this week as we prepare for what may be our biggest challenge of the year.’’

Best for Princes were Jackson Crosby, Hamish Illman, George Malone, Antonio Mondello and Eddie Sorensen.


St Peter’s College 15.19 (109) d. Immanuel College 7.4 (46)

A powerful second half proved the key to St Peter’s College convincing win against Immanuel College away.

Immanuel wasn’t too far off the mark in the opening quarter but Saints would have rued missed chances to lead 2.8 to 1.10. The second quarter was relatively even with Saints still holding sway for a 22-point buffer.

But the Saints took charge to bombard the goal with 4.6 to 2.0 to lead 10.16 to 6.0 at the last change before adding 5.3 to 1.4 in the run home.

Saints coach Brendan Hardman said both sides contributed to a good contest.

“It was a fantastic way to start the season in what turned out to be a perfect day,’’ Hardman said.

“Every time we play Immanuel it is always a physical and tight contest. The game started with a relatively even contest, but we were able to break the game open in the second half. Well done to both schools on a hard-fought game.’’

Best for the Saints were Jett Hasting, Oliver Francou, Ned Bowman, Ben Francou, Jonte Reimann and Fergus Lamp-Brooks.

Immanuel was best served by full back Ezra Foster and Jonty Klemm.