Vultures swoop on sliding Jackas
AJAX will spend the bye week searching for answers after they dropped to 8th on the Premier B Ladder, on the back of a disappointing display against rivals Parkdale at Gerry Green Reserve on Saturday.
The 34-point loss intensifies the Jackas’ quest to stay alive in Premier B, with two games separating them and the relegation zone.
With three matches remaining, the Jackas’ fate hinges on the results of fixtures against the top two sides and fellow battlers Old Haileybury.
A win on Saturday was crucial to AJAX’s dwindling finals hopes.
They kicked with a strong wind in the opening quarter but failed to get out to a substantial advantage at the first break, with inaccuracy and lax defence late in the term costing them dearly.
The Jackas started brightly kicking the opening two goals courtesy of Stuart Fayman and Dean Rotenberg, however the home-side answered with three of their own.
Rotenberg was busy early and helped set up David Fayman, before promising youngster Dov Paltiel burst out of a crowded pack and slotted a goal from forty.
A late lapse in concentration saw the Vultures trim the margin to three points at quarter time.
A dismal goalless quarter against the wind handed the home side a 25-point buffer at the main break.
With their season well and truly on the line the Jackas responded with four goals with the wind, but defensively allowed the Vultures to score on three occasions.
Jake Lew kicked truly early in the third, before Jordan Cohen capped off a brilliant mark with a calm finish.
Rotenberg proved a force inside fifty, snapping his second. Parkdale pegged one back, but Brandon Joel answered in superb fashion shortly after.
Once again the Jackas’ poor concentration was exposed late in a quarter, conceding a goal seconds before the siren, handing the home-side the momentum going into the deciding term.
A 20-point deficit against the wind loomed as an almighty task for Marty Pask’s men, and ultimately one that was beyond them.
The Vultures once again kept the Jackas goalless against the wind to eventually prevail 13.15 (93) – 8.11 (59).
Dean Rotenberg was best on while young trio Dov Paltiel, Brandon Joel and Jordan Cohen also impressed in the loss.
Earlier, the reserves’ finals chances took a decisive hit after they surrendered a half-time lead to eventually lose 6.8 (44) – Parkdale 10.9 (69).
A goalless third term by the Jackas against the wind turned the game’s momentum, and despite a fighting final quarter the margin was too great to chase down.
Jesse Velleman and Nathan Zielinski kicked two each, while defenders Dylan Rothschild and Joel Burston won their respective matchups in defence.
The reserves fall to 7th, two games outside the top four.
The under 19s top two hopes are in jeopardy after a 16-point loss to top four rivals Preston Bullants at W.R. Ruthven Reserve on Saturday morning.
A four-goal to zip second term cost the Jackas dearly.
Guy Vadas was his team’s only multiple goal-kicker with two, while Cameron Nankin stood tall in defence.
With three games remaining, the 19s are two games off top spot, and one game clear inside the top four, with a season-defining clash against 5th on the weekend.
On Sunday the Thirds easily accounted for Parkdale on their home turf, leading at every change to record a 39-point win.
Evasive small forward Sam Brygel kicked five goals, bringing his season tally to 25.
With one regular season game to be played before the thirds’ second consecutive finals series, they sit in outright second place and are guaranteed a double chance.
This coming weekend the seniors & reserves have a bye while the under 19s play host to PEGS FC at Gary Smorgon Oval at 1pm.
The Jackettes will enter their Semi-Final against last year’s Premiers Gippsland as severe underdogs but with every belief they can cause an upset and book a spot in their second Grand Final in as many years.
If they lose, a double chance awaits them. The match commences at 3pm on Sunday at Frankston Oval.
The thirds play Old Trinity at Bulleen Park at 2pm on Sunday August 7
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager