Pattern emerges as AJAX suffer another second-half fadeout
A Round One demolition of Old Haileybury at a sunny Princes Park is fast becoming a fading memory as the Jackas extend their winless run to six games following a 50-point defeat to the Parkdale Vultures on the weekend.
The loss leaves Mark Williams’ men perilously close to the two relegation spots at the bottom of the VAFA B ladder.
Speaking to AJAX Media after the match, Williams attributed the now common second-half fadeout to the inexperience of his side.
“Young players who are inexperienced can only concentrate for so long,” Williams said.
“That concentration level is something that needs building up, just like weights and strength, you have to practice it.”
Choco also acknowledged the impact injuries to key personnel has had on results this season.
“Each week we’ve had someone injured and not being able to play in the second half…from the corresponding game last year we had seven different players, a third of the side, and most of those are in the backline,” he said.
In what is becoming a familiar story, AJAX began the game in style, playing some of the best footy they’ve played all season, highlighted by Jake Lew who kicked three in the opening quarter. Yet poor mistakes allowed Parkdale to stay right on the tail of the Jackas, nailing an after the siren set-shot to take the Vultures into the first break with a one-point lead despite the AJAX dominance.
A knee injury to Charles Hamilton meant his role would be limited, leaving the AJAX bench down a rotation for much of the match. Fatigue became evident as the Vultures proved too strong, kicking 13 goals to AJAX’s five over the next three quarters of footy, opening up a four-point gap over the Jackas on the ladder.
Justin Berkowitz had his breakout game for the season, finishing with 27 touches and six marks. Captain Nick Lewis showed his aggression with a game-high 16 tackles as well as 27 disposals while Jake Lew kicked a bag of four goals for the second time this season.
In other results, the Jackettes were leapfrogged by Old Mentonians who claimed a comfortable 22-point win at Albert Park on Saturday. The girls’ goal-kicking struggles continued, managing just a single goal again this week, this time off the boot of Mikaela Grek after she pulled the ball out of the ruck contest and spectacularly snapped back over her head.
With just one player on the bench, it was always going to be an uphill battle for the girls. However there was positive news in captain Chelsea Fisher, who turned in her best performance of the season, going in hard at every contest and dominating the clearances.
The Reserves tasted defeat once again, falling to the Vultures 4.8 (32) to 7.14 (56) at Albert Park. AJAX had their chance to pull away from the Vultures in a low-scoring affair, however Olly Hoffman put a guilt-edged chance slamming into the goalpost from 15 meters out under pressure from multiple Parkdale defenders.
The Reserves managed just four goals in the entire match, however strong defensive efforts kept the Jackas in it until the final quarter despite the lack of scoring. Daniel Goodman put his name forward for promotion to the Firsts, bagging all four goals. The loss leaves AJAX sitting just four points ahead of next week’s opponents, the Monash Blues.
Ian Jones’ Thirds had the week to rest and recalibrate after their game was postponed to a later date.
Round Eight will see the Jackas travel to the Monash Blues in a crucial game in the battle to stay clear of the relegation spots, AJAX’s first away game in three weeks. The Jackettes are scheduled to take on third-placed Beaumaris Sharks at Banksia Reserve at 4.45pm this Saturday afternoon.
Keep up-to-date with everything AJAX related at ajaxfc.com.au
Ash Obel- Media and Communications Manager