17 fit men: Devon’s difficult day

Jack Harmes was one of five injuries on Saturday. (Stewart Chambers: 409019)

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Devon Meadows has been left to lick its wounds, unable to field a full 18 players by the final siren during a 16.16 112 to 7.9 51 loss to Somerville.

The Panthers lost four players in the first half to injury and played the closing stages of the game with just 17 men as the club’s injury crisis deepened.

Competitive tall Brady O’Toole, interceptor Jayden Sullivan, hard nut Ty Kirkwood, strongly built Jack Harmes and James King, playing his first senior game of the season, were the players lost to injury.

Positively, only one of those was serious, a hamstring tear to Sullivan.

It was a tough day from the outset for the Panthers, conceding the first three goals of the game and never looking like recovering as injuries mounted.

The limiting of rotations and poor ball use contributed to the visitors’ usually quick and daring style breaking down.

While Devon Meadows did well to keep the scoreline respectable through the middle period of the game, Somerville was always going to run over a fatiguing Panthers outfit.

While a five goal to one last quarter extended the margin to a belting, the Panthers still have a significant percentage buffer on the rest of the competition.

Joel Hillis and Brendan Hermann continued their strong form, while speedy tough winger Riley McDonald also stood up on the glum day.

The result puts Devon Meadows two games behind Edithvale-Aspendale, meaning the most likely scenario is that the Panthers will play off in the qualifying final.

While the Panthers should take care of business across the next two weeks, a tough finish to the season, which includes assignments against fourth-placed Pearcedale and top-placed Edi-Asp means the Panthers could still realistically play off in an elimination final.

MPFNL Division 2 ladder: Edi-Asp 48, Devon Meadows 40, Chelsea 40, Crib Point 40, Pearcedale 36, Somerville 28, Seaford 20, Tyabb 20, Bonbeach 16, Karingal 16, Hastings 4, Rye 4

Devon Meadows remaining fixtures: Rye (h), Seaford (a), Edi-Asp (h), Tyabb (a), Pearcedale (h)

Devon Meadows scenarios

What needs to happen for Devon Meadows to take top spot: Almost certainly, this would require the Panthers to win its five remaining fixtures. Doing so would draw Devon to within a win of Edi-Asp given the two square off, while Devon will also be reliant on Edi-Asp losing one more, most likely next weekend to Pearcedale or in round 17 against Somerville.

What needs to happen for Devon Meadows to make the qualifying finals? Making the top three is crucial as it gives Devon Meadows the double chance. Devon Meadows’ strong percentage helps its cause. Four wins would almost certainly be enough and three wins would also likely secure a top three berth given the fellow top three aspirants have lots of games against each other remaining.

Is there a chance Devon Meadows could miss finals? Not realistically. The top five qualify and Devon has a three game and percentage gap on sixth-placed Somerville. Beat Rye on Saturday and it’s locked in.

Devon Meadows injuries:

James King: Shoulder knock, assess

Jack Harmes: Soreness, available

Ty Kirkwood: Calf tightness, available

Dean Kent: Calf tightness, available

Brady O’Toole: Rolled ankle, one week

Patrick Sinnema: Shoulder dislocation, one week

Patrick Ryder: Achilles, two weeks

Jayden Sullivan: Hamstring, medium term

Dylan Gregson: Hamstring, four weeks