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Weekend Wrap: Round Thirteen

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A depleted AJAX side’s struggles have continued into round 13 with a demoralizing 82 point loss at the hands of the Beaumaris Sharks on Saturday. 

 

Already facing heavy casualties, AJAX were forced to make nine changes to the side that fell agonizingly short against Old Haileybury a fortnight ago, with Mark Choco Williams opting to hand Olly Hoffman, Reece Israel and Joel Burston their senior debuts. 

 

Having not initially been named in the squad to take on the Sharks, Burston was the beneficiary of a late call-up handed to star midfielder Ash Krakeur by VFL side Port Melbourne. 

 

After an inspirational pregame tribute from club legends both past and present ahead of Josh Ludski’s milestone 150th game, the Jackas began the encounter with typically high-intensity, a benchmark set by Cam Nankin’s crunching tackle just seconds into the match. 

 

In the opening quarter and indeed throughout the game, AJAX displayed resolute defensive solidity, however it was an inability to create going forward that left the Jackas with little hope of getting a result against the fourth placed side in the division. 

 

At halftime the AJAX backline, marshaled as always by Richie Simon and Zac Braun, held a normally high-scoring Beaumaris side to just 5.7 (37), but the Jackas forwards could only accumulate 0.4 (4), leaving an uphill battle in a second-half only compounded in difficulty by the losses of WA import Zak Fleisher who dislocated his shoulder as well as a hamstring injury to Jayden Yarrow. 

 

While effort levels never waivered, the lack of rotations took its predicatble toll as a relaxed Beaumaris side ran out to a 14.22 (106) to 3.6 (24) victory over a makeshift AJAX outfit who could not be accused of shying away from the battle.

 

While the scoreboard made for tough reading, there were individual performances that provided a positive glimpse into the future of the AJAX footy club. 

 

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Kane Nissenbaum once again stood out with 32 disposals as well as a goal on a day where points were seemingly impossible to come by. Defender Richie Simon was clinical with each of his 20 disposals, as was Charles Hamilton who showed his composure on numerous occasions to relieve the pressure on the AJAX backline. Debutant Joel Burston showed no nerves, accumulating 14 disposals and a respectable 58 fantasy points. 

 

Things weren’t much better over in Keysborough where the Jackettes suffered a 48-point loss to the Old Mentonians; Maddy Smart was the only goalscorer with a goal in the final quarter. 

 

The loss leaves the girls in sixth position on the ladder, equal on points with Old Carey and a full 12-points behind Old Haileybury in fifth position. 

 

Earlier in the day the Reserves were outgunned by a Beaumaris Reserve side that boasted the likes of former St Kilda legend Stephen Milne. 

 

AJAX defender (and lifelong St Kilda fan) Sam Kalmus restricted Milne to just two goals for the day, using his youthful speed and agility against the 275 gamer, and earning himself a spot in the bests.

 

While the 38 year-old Milne was kept quiet, the rest of the Beaumaris forwards ran riot, slamming 19 goals and 18 behinds (132 points) past the Jackas defense, leaving the Ressies stranded 12 points behind fourth spot and a finals berth. 

 

Round 14 provides AJAX with a huge opportunity to take a big leap towards safety when they take on the Caulfield Grammarians at Gary Smorgon Oval, while the Jackettes will look to improve in their matchup with the second placed Beaumaris Sharks.

 

Scores

Seniors AJAX 3.6 (24) def by Beaumaris 14.22 (106) 

Goals: J. Lew, W. Williams, K. Nissenbaum. Best: Z. Braun, R. Simon, N. Lewis, K. Nissenbaum, C. Hamilton, C. Nankin.

Reserves AJAX 2.3 (15) def by Beaumaris 19.18 (132) 

Goals: N. Cohen, J. Goldberg. Best: N. Cohen, S. Fayman, S. Kalmus, T. Rogers, D. Rothschild, M. Feiler.

JackettesAJAX 1.4 (10) def by Old Mentonians 9.4 (58) 

Goals: M. Smart. Best: J. Marget, M. Smart, D. Robinson, L. Nankin, D. Abraham, J. Israel.

 

Ash Obel- Media and Communications Manager

 

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Weekend Wrap: Round Twelve

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AJAX’S turbulent season took a turn for the worse after Mark “Choco” Williams’ men blew a 40-point lead against rivals and fellow relegation battlers Old Haileybury at the Jackas’ spiritual home of Princes Park, Caulfield on Saturday.

Goalkicking stalwart Jake Lew pulled on the Jackas jumper for the 150th time, but the mile-stone match was marred by a wave of injuries in the first half, followed by a disastrous second half fadeout, which has again left the club teetering on the edge of the drop zone.

The boisterous AJAX crowd that flocked to Princes Park rode the three-hour emotional rollercoaster, only to be bitterly disappointed by the end, which saw Old Haileybury win 10.17-77 to 11.6-72.

 

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The youthful Jackas were injected with even more inexperience, with impressive under 17 duo Corey Zielinski and Ryley Michaelson earning their senior debuts.

The first quarter went according to a familiar script – AJAX blew Old Haileybury out of the water, piling on six goals, while keeping their shellshocked opponents goalless.

Zielinski became an instant crowd favourite, joining the exclusive first kick-first goal club with a magical solo effort.

Old Haileybury counterpunched in the second term with nine scoring shots to four, but inaccuracy saw the margin only cut by 11 points by the main break.

A brutal half on the injury front left the Jackas with just two fit players on the bench after midfielder Asher Burstin suffered a sickening dislocated elbow and important defender

Daniel Janover-Rocha succumbed to an ankle injury. Bravely, two others played on after dislocating fingers.

Old Haileybury chipped away at the deficit in the third term and looked headed for the final turn with the momentum before milestone man Lew stepped up and kicked his third goal to bring his team and the crowd to life.

With AJAX’s young side rapidly running out of legs, the hosts threw everything at them early in the final term and stormed to within three points.

Fittingly, Lew stood tall once again, halting Haileybury’s momentum with his fourth major. With scores even in the dying stages, the game cried out for a hero, and one emerged, but he wasn’t wearing red, white and black.

Old Haileybury completed a stunning 45-point turnaround with five goals to one in a thrilling final term, leaving Williams speechless in an eerily silent changeroom post-game.

Upon reflection Lew told The AJN: “The weekend was bittersweet. The support was amazing and I loved seeing some of the young guys make their debuts. However, lots of injuries and the loss really puts us in jeopardy of staying in B grade and we’re up against it now. I hope we can dig deep and find a way to win a few more games to stay up for another year.”

With six rounds remaining after this week’s bye, AJAX sit 7th on the VAFA Premier B table, with marginal percentage separating them from the relegation zone.

Earlier, the reserves kept their slim finals hopes alive with a dominant ten-goal win. The Jackas were slow out of the blocks but found form after quarter time piling on 11 goals to two.

Olly Hoffman booted three goals, while under 17 debutants Matthew Lincoln, Lior Smart and Aaron Bryer all impressed.

Meanwhile, the Jackettes were outclassed by Old Scotch and kept goalless for the first time this season. Isi Burstin, Daniella Abraham, and Amy Sekler battled hard.

With a competition-wide bye this weekend, AJAX’s next match will be against Beaumaris at Banksia Reserve on Saturday July 14.

AARON FETTER - The AJN

SCORES

Seniors – Old Haileybury 10.17 (77) def AJAX 11.6 (72) Goals: J.Lew 4, C.Zielinski 2, D.Rotenberg 2, B.Joel, W.Williams, T.Lipton. Best: J.Berkowitz, R.Simon, J.Ludski, C.Nankin, N.Lewis, C.Zielinski

Reserves – AJAX 12.19 (91) def Old Haileybury 4.7 (31) Goals: O.Hoffman 3, D.Goodman 2, R.Israel 2, J.Forbes 2, M.Feiler, J.Broons, J.Liberman. Best: M.Lincoln, L.Smart, D.Rothschild, A.Bryer, R.Israel, J.Goldberg

Jackettes – Old Scotch 5.11 (41) def AJAX 0.1 (1) Best: I.Burstin, D.Abraham, A.Sekler, J.Gabriel, L.Nankin, H.Mel

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Fisher’s Ferocious Fight to Fifty

WOMEN’s Jewish footy pioneer Chelsea Fisher brought up an emotional milestone last Sunday, becoming AJAX’s first female player to reach 50 games.

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It was a bittersweet occasion for the Jackettes’ captain who has made the tough call to end her season early, after bravely playing through osteitis pubis for the past 18 months.

"Stopping playing for the season was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make, and it came with a lot of tears and pain ... I'll miss running out with the girls but I'm looking forward to being back and better in 2019," Fisher told The AJN.

The wear and tear of footy eventually caught up with the 23-year-old, whose ferocious style earned her the nickname “bulldog".

In 2014, Fisher approached AJAX with the idea of creaNng the club’s first ever women’s team, and courtesy of her vision and commitment to empowering young Jewish women through sport, the Jackettes have kicked countless goals on and off the field.

Fisher has this year taken the coaching reigns of the AJAX Junior Football Club's U14 girls team and she believes that "the future is bright for Jewish women and girls in footy”.

Fisher’s feats

• Played 50 of a possible 51 games, 28 games in the best, eight goals.

• Led the team to a grand final, a minor premiership and six finals.

• 2017 Women’s Development Division 3 Best and Fairest.

AARON FETTER - The AJN

 

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Jackas jump out of dreaded drop zone

A DETERMINED AJAX side dusted itself off after last week's misfortunes to record an important 46- point win over Mazenod at Gary Smorgon Oval on Saturday.

Knowing full well the ramifications of a loss in the midst of a two-week challenge to distance themselves from the relegation zone, the Jackas appeared galvanised after an emotional and trying week.

A four-goal to two opening term from Mark Williams' men set up an early buffer, but inaccuracy plagued the Jackas in the second quarter and kept the visitors in the contest.

A minor knee injury to promising dasher Charlie Hamilton saw AJAX lose a rotation, but not the momentum as they proceeded to heap scoreboard pressure on Mazenod.

The Jackas' inexperienced yet steely defence held their opponents goalless in the final term and to just six goals for the match.

Richie Simon once again played the role as general down back and did so with poise and precision, named the Jackas' best for distributing 20 effective disposals and reining in nine marks.

Evasive small Dean Rotenberg was lively in the forward half collecting 21 disposals, but could have finished the day with a bag if he had packed his kicking boots. The same could be said for Jake Lew who uncharacteristically squandered four gettable chances, but the 149-game veteran still played his part and finished with three goals, his season average.

First-year senior ruckman Brent Shapiro gave his side the upper hand at stoppages, racking up 31 hit outs and 16 disposals – impressive numbers for the developing big man. Midfielders Josh Ludski (30 disposals) and skipper Nick Lewis (22 disposals, six marks, five tackles and a goal) were the direct beneficiaries.

The percentage-boosting win coupled with other favourable results helped the Jackas climb out of the drop zone and into seventh spot, a game and five percent clear.

RESERVES

Earlier, the reserves continued their charge towards an unlikely finals berth, with a hard-fought 21-point win, which elevates them into fifth, three games out of finals calculations.

Asaf Danby and Nicholas Cohen kicked two goals apiece in the low-scoring affair, while Dov Paltiel and Jordan Tonkin led from the front.

JACKETTES

The Jackettes’ quest for a fourth consecutive finals appearance took a significant hit on Sunday when they went down to a powerful Old Brighton side by 43 points.

Hannah Mel kicked her side’s only goal. Post-game caretaker coach Simon Jedwab heaped praise on Lindi Nankin and Maddie Smart for their gallant efforts.

THIRDS
Ian Jones’ undermanned side put in a brave effort against the finals-bound Old Trinity but fell away in the second half.

Joel Lewis kicked a goal in his return from a long layoff with a knee injury, while Adam Prince, Eliot Debinski and Eli Adelist put in positive performances. 

NEXT WEEK

AJAX returns to its spiritual home, Princes Park, Caulfield South on Saturday to face rivals Old Haileybury in another must-win clash. Seniors 2pm, reserves 11.40am.

AARON FETTER - The AJN

SCORES:
Seniors – AJAX 12.18 (90) def Mazenod 6.8 (44) Goals: J.Lew 3, A.BursNn 3, A.Caplan 2, B.Joel 2, D.Rotenberg, N.Lewis Best: B.Shapiro, N.Lewis, C.Nankin, J.Cohen, J.Ludski, R.Simon.

Reserves – AJAX 10.6 (66) def Mazenod 6.9 (45) Goals: A.Danby 2, N.Cohen 2, M.Feiler, J.Burston, J.Goldberg, J.Fisher, O.Hoffman, J.Bade-Boon. Best: D.PalNel, J.Tonkin, A.Danby, D.Rothschild, J.Bade-Boon, J.Goldberg.

Jackettes – Old Brighton 7.8 (50) def AJAX 1.1 (7) Goal: H.Mel. Best: C.Fisher, A.Sekler, M.Glikfeld, I.BursNn, L.Nankin, M.Smart.

Thirds – Old Trinity 11.16 (82) def AJAX 5.8 (38) Goals: E.Debinski, S.Kalmus, J.Lewis-Ninyo, S.Brygel, M.Lazar. Best: A.Prince, E.Debinski,

E.Adelist, Y.Jedwab, J.Blode, S.New.

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AJAX goalkicking great cruelly cut down

 

AJAX endured a weekend from hell, with the seniors’ 75-point drubbing compounded by what could be a career-ending knee injury to one of the Jackas’ all-time greats, David Fayman.

The 29-year-old was returning from an ankle injury that he sustained in round four, and lined up in the reserves for the very first time in his storied 175-game career.

The six-time VAFA leading goalkicker moved well early and hit the scoreboard, but shortly after, disaster struck in the cruellest form. “I was running full tilt, the ground was very wet, a guy bumped me and everything twisted but my foot was stuck ... I heard a massive snap in the knee,” Fayman told The AJN.

The team doctor and physios rushed to his aid. “He was in a lot of pain, the stretcher came out and a few senior guys ran onto the field and helped carry him off, which was quite an emotional scene”, AJAX captain Nick Lewis said.

After a nervous few days undergoing X-rays and MRIs, Fayman’s and the club’s worst fears were confirmed on Tuesday with the shattering news that he had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee, tearing both the lateral and medial ligaments, as well as a bone chip.

Fayman’s knee will require a full reconstruction, which typically is a 12-month rehab process. Shortly after finding out the news, a “gutted” Fayman said, “[This] could be the end, yes.”

If it proves to be, Fayman or “the Mailman” as he is affectionately known around the club and competition, will go down as one of the finest players to have ever donned the AJAX jumper. The remarkably gifted forward was always under-sized but used that to his advantage, reigning equally supreme in the air and on the ground.

With his vice-like hands he pulled down countless big marks and his wizardry around goal entertained for over a decade.

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His unrivalled footy resume is headlined by a record six Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) goalkicking medals. Only he and one other can lay claim to have won four at Premier B level.

Fayman won back-to-back goalkicking gongs in 2010 and in the club’s famous premiership year in 2011 where he booted 94 majors including five in the grand final win over Werribee. He cemented his standing as a VAFA great with three consecutive goalkicking medals from 2012 to 2014 and a fourth in 2016 in Premier B.

Five times he kicked 10 goals or more including a career-best haul of 14 in an under-19s match. In his 175-game career for the Jackas, Fayman has amassed 611 goals – an average of 3.5 a game.

Bad to worse for wounded Jackas

ADDING insult to injury for the Jackas, the club finds itself back in the dreaded relegation zone after the weekend’s heavy defeat against University Blacks.

Mark “Choco” Williams’ men slipped from 7th to 9th and lost almost five per cent in the 120-45 loss. Making matters worse, fellow relegation battlers Old Haileybury pulled off a shock victory over top-four side Caulfield Grammarians to leapfrog the Jackas.

Despite the difficulty of witnessing David Fayman’s injury, the seniors stormed out of the blocks against one of the premiership favourites, not for the first time this season, with a scintillating five-goal to one opening quarter.

But the fadeout trend continued with their 28-point lead cut to a seven-point deficit at half time before the wheels truly fell off. Uni Blacks piled on the pain with a staggering 11 goals to none after the main break.

“I think Dave’s injury did affect the senior group a little bit, but it would’ve been nice to respond and do it for him ... he’s a bloody legend of the footy club,” AJAX captain Nick Lewis said.

Post-game, Williams focused on the positives which Lewis said “were beating the top side six goals to one, which shows that we are capable of mixing it with the best teams”. The negatives were “that we just can’t go the distance for the duration ... and
perhaps mindset ... which is really frustrating”.

Looking ahead, Lewis said, “The boys have set themselves up for a two-week challenge before the bye in July.” First up they face seventh-placed Mazenod at Gary Smorgon Oval on Saturday (2pm) who they lost to in round two by 34 points. The week after they face Old Haileybury in “the battle for Princes Park” in Caulfield South, which is likely to coincide with Jake Lew’s 150th game.

AARON FETTER - The AJN

SCORES:
Seniors – University Blacks 18.12 (120) def AJAX 6.9 (45) Goals: J.Lew 2, D.Rotenberg 2, A.Krakauer, B.Joel. Best: D.Janover-Rocha, R.Simon, D.Cohen, D.Rotenberg, B.Joel, J. Ludski

Reserves – University Blacks 7.9 (51) def AJAX 3.5 (23) Goals: R.Israel, A.Danby, D.Fayman. Best: B.Michelson, J.Yarrow, D.Rothschild, M.Voinsky, T.Rogers, A.Danby

Jackettes – Old Haileybury 8.8 (56) def AJAX 4.4 (28) Goals: C.Fisher, J.Caplan, M.Smart, H.Mel. Best: I.Burstin, A.Sekler, M.Smart, J.Gabriel, C.Fisher, M.Glikfeld

Thirds – Caulfield Grammarians 7.7 (49) def AJAX 4.6 (30) Goals: S.Brygel 2, M.Feiler, S.New. Best: E.Adelist, E.Debinski, D.Ellinghaus, S.New, S.Brygel, M.Feiler

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Weekend Wrap: Round Nine

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AJAX Take it to the Big Boys, Jackettes Down the Rovers

 

AJAX’s promising form has continued on the back of last week’s drought-breaking win over Monash, taking premiership contenders Old Carey down to the wire in an enthralling match at Gary Smorgon Oval. 

 

Any fears the AJAX coaching staff had over the danger of facing former Carlton and GWS player Kristian Jaksch were allayed just five minutes into the game when the 23 year-old hobbled off with an ankle injury.

 

Instead, AJAX had an ace of their own, welcoming back crafty midfielder Ash Krakaeur, a regular for Port Melbourne in the VFL. 

 

The Jackas went toe-to-toe with a normally free-scoring Old Carey side, restricting them to just five goals at half-time. At the other end of the park Brandon Joel, Toby Lipton and Ash Krakaeur all ensured that AJAX remained within touching distance of the opponent. 

 

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As Old Carey threatened a final-quarter blowout, an AJAX side still missing a handful of regular first teamers pushed themselves to their limit, ensuring Jackas fans departed Albert Park deeply proud of their side despite the loss. 

 

Kane Nissenbaum was the best-ranked player with 28 disposals and 126 fantasy points. Star midfielder Krakaeur finished the game with two goals and 26 disposals at an 88% disposal efficiency rate. Up front, Brandon Joel continued his goalscoring form, bagging three goals to take his 2018 tally to 14 halfway through the season. 

 

Across the road, the Jackettes claimed their second win of the season in a nail-biter against the Hampton Rovers. The girls found their goal-kicking boots after weeks of low scores, kicking 5.3 (33) to win the match by a mere five points.

Named Best on Ground, Ruckman Maddy Smart allowed the Jackettes to command the clearances, while also providing a great target up forward, scoring two impressive goals. 

 

Jess Marget and Chelsea Fisher showed their usual aggression in the midfield, going in hard at every contest and making valuable contributions to the teams overall performance.

 

The win solidifies the Jackettes in sixth spot on the ladder having opened up a four-point gap on Old Carey in seventh spot. 

 

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Earlier, the AJAX Reserves claimed a huge scalp, upsetting second-placed Old Carey 8.5 (53) to 5.16 (46); the Jackas first win since Round Four.

 

The Ressies showed immense spirit in a tight and tense affair to match it with a side that had only lost twice this season, restricting Old Carey to just five goals for the entire match. The win sees the Reserves climb two spots to sixth on the ladder, in prime position to make a finals-charge at the halfway mark of the 2018 season. 

 

All sides will use the mid-season bye to rest up ahead of their Round Ten clashes on June 16th.

 

Scores

Firsts def by Old Carey 9.7 (61) to 12.13 (85)

Jackettes def Hampton Rovers 5.3 (33) to 4.4 (28)

Reserves def Old Carey 8.5 (53) to 5.16 (46)

 

Ash Obel- Media & Communications Manager

 

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Weekend Wrap: Round Eight

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After seven weeks of disappointment, AJAX have finally registered their first win since their round one victory over Old Haileybury with a comfortable nine-goal win over the struggling Monash Blues. 

 

Facing the very real threat of relegation, the Jackas knew Saturday’s fixture against the winless Monash Blues would be pivotal in its fight to stay in VAFA B for what would be an eighth consecutive season. 

 

AJAX continued its strong first quarter form, kicking eight goals to two in a season-high 50-point first quarter. Forward Adam Caplan lit up the opener with a stunning left foot banana that will likely contend for VAFA goal of the season. 

 

A highly confident Jackas side were relentless in the second quarter, putting another five goals on the board to take a 61-point lead into the main break.

 

Monash emerged for the second half with far more purpose in front of their home crowd, however some resilient defending combined with inaccurate kicking from the Monash forwards ensured that AJAX remained in control of the match from start to finish.

 

Club captain Nick Lewis spoke to AJAX Media post-match. “We didn’t shy away from the fact that today was a big game. We’ll certainly use the win as a confidence booster to springboard into the rest of the season,” he said.

 

 

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Things aren’t about to get a whole lot easier for the Jackas as they prepare to take on ladder-leading Old Carey at Albert Park on Saturday. Old Carey will be looking to rebound after suffering their first loss of the season at the hands of premiership contenders, University Blacks.

 

Looking ahead to the game, rookie ruckman Brent Shapiro said “playing a top side gives us a good opportunity to see where we really are at. We saw against Beaumaris a few weeks ago that we can challenge with the top sides, so it will be great to get back home and hopefully get a big win against Old Carey.”

 

Earlier, the Reserves loss to Monash saw them leapfrogged on the ladder, dropping one spot to 8th place after eight rounds. While AJAX never really hit top gear, they were firmly in the match going into the final quarter before Monash kicked a quick-fire three goals to put the four-points out of reach.

 

Ben Schwartz marked his return to footy with two goals, as did Nicholas Cohen, while Olly Hoffman and Jono Goldberg snagged one each.

 

Speaking to AJAX Media, Hoffman lamented the loss but highlighted the positive individual performances that kept AJAX in the game.

 

“It was very disappointing to lose a game that we really needed to win but in saying that there are a couple positive personal performances. I think Nico Cohen did really well in a tough game but it’s still disappointing to not get the win in a game that we could have and really should have won,” he said. 

 

At Banksia Reserve, the Jackettes were defeated by a superior Beaumaris side 4.5 (29) to 1.1 (7). The Jackettes goal scoring struggles have continued; this the fifth round in a row where they have only managed the single goal, this time off the boot of Julia Caplan.

 

The Thirds also faced defeat in their fixture on Monday night, going down comprehensively to second-placed Beaumaris Sharks. The full-time scores read 5.2 (32) to 16.20 (116), with Sam Brygel, Sam Kalmus, Stewart Fayman and Michael Lazar all goalscorers.  

 

Round nine sees the Jackas return to Albert Park for their clash with division leaders Old Carey, the last game before the bye round. The Jackettes will have a golden opportunity to get another win on the board when they face bottom-placed Hampton Rovers and the Thirds face another tough assignment when they come up against top spot De La Salle at Waverley Oval. 

 

Scores

Firsts 17.15 (117) def Monash 9.15 (69)

Jackettes 1.1 (7) def by Beaumaris 4.5 (29)

Reserves 6.9 (45) def by Monash 8.10 (58)

Thirds 5.2 (32) def by Beaumaris 16.20 (116)

 

 

Ash Obel- Media & Communications Manager

 

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Weekend Wrap: Round Seven

 

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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. 

 

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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 chances to pull away from the Vultures in a low-scoring affair, however the Jackas were wasteful in attack and unconvincing in defence, leaving them vulnerable to a Parkdale side far more adept at taking their chances.

 

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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 www.AJAXfc.com.au

 

Ash Obel- Media and Communications Manager

 

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Weekend Wrap: Round Six

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Spirited Jackas Fall Short

 

After four difficult weeks marked by consecutive heavy losses, AJAX have registered a hugely encouraging performance, taking their encounter with the Beaumaris Sharks down to the wire in an enthralling clash at the Gary Smorgon Oval. 

 

Playing on home turf for the first time this year, a youthful Jackas outfit blitzed the Beaumaris defence, leading by seven goals to one halfway through the second quarter. 

 

However an injury to key defender Richie Simon combined with some poor decision-making left the door ajar for the Sharks, who came out in the second half with plenty of determination.

 

AJAX were never able to recapture their momentum, as former Gold Coast Suns coach Guy Mckenna’s side patiently chipped away at the margin. 

 

With the wind working against them, the Jackas managed just one final-quarter goal as the Sharks used the weather advantage to its fullest, bagging five goals and just one behind; the scoreboard reading 8.7 (55) to 10.12 (72) at the final siren, condemning AJAX to eighth spot on the ladder. 

 

Kane Nissenbaum was again a stand-out performer, finishing with 30 disposals and 19 kicks. Nicholas Cohen impressed on debut, slotting a set-shot from 30 meters out on the boundary-line, while ruckman Brent Shapiro solidified his place in the squad with another impressive performance.

 

Speaking to AJAX Media after the game, Cohen said “the game speed was a lot faster and there’s a lot more pressure when you’re out there in front of a bigger crowd on a bigger stage.

 

“I was pretty nervous when I was lining up for goal, it was my first kick of the day and it was a pretty tough angle but Nick Lewis gave me good advice. He told me to take three deep breaths and just go through the paces and kick through the ball. That’s what I did and it went through…it was great.” 

 

Despite a fifth-consecutive loss, coach Mark ‘Choco’ Williams remained noticeably optimistic, praising his players for their week-to-week improvements and urging them to continue to believe they were good enough to match it with the best in the division.

 

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Earlier in the day, the AJAX Reserves were defeated by league-leaders Beaumaris Reserves in difficult weather conditions, going down by 45 points. The Ressies were unable to account for Beaumaris’ tall forwards despite rallying hard in the third quarter before the Sharks ran away with the game in the final stanza. 

 

Olly Hoffman impressed with three goals while Daniel Cohen marked his return to footy with a typically influential performance. Dean Rotenberg, Adam Caplan and David Glass all finished with one goal each as the Reserves held onto sixth place on the B Reserve ladder.  

 

On Sunday morning, the Jackettes were swept aside by premiership favourites Old Scotch. AJAX came out firing, with a Maddy Smart opening goal ensuring that the girls were right in it at the quarter-time break. However Old Scotch lived up to their credentials, keeping the Jackettes scoreless and piling on another 7 goals to cruise to victory.

 

Jackettes coach Daniel Slonim was positive despite the result, acknowledging the strength of Sunday’s opposition. 

 

“Despite a disappointing result, we never dropped our heads against the competition’s benchmark. Our usual suspects Justine Gabriel, Isi Burstin and Pessia Fetter fought hard and gave us drive all day,” Slonim said.

 

Playing in the unusual timeslot of Saturday night, the AJAX Thirds faced Fitzroy for the second time this season, having already defeated their opponents by 27 points in round two- the Thirds solitary win for the season thus far. 

 

After an even first term, the AJAX Thirds seized control of the match through strong tackling and effective disposals, taking a 13-point lead into the final break. However fatigue crippled the side when it mattered most, with Fitzroy overturning the deficit to steal the win in the final quarter. The Thirds will hope to perform with similar intensity in their matchup this weekend with Williamstown.

 

The coming weekend will also see AJAX face the Parkdale Vultures in a must-win clash at Gary Smorgon Oval for both the Seniors and Reserves. The Vultures sit four points ahead of the Firsts, however both sides share an equal percentage, handing AJAX the opportunity to leapfrog their round seven opponents with a win at Albert Park on Saturday. Similarly, the Reserves sit just four points ahead of the Parkdale Reserves, meaning a win is crucial if they are to avoid dropping out of the top six. The Jackettes take on Old Mentonians in another critical match, with the Old Mentonians sitting just two points behind the Jackettes after five rounds.

 

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Scores

Firsts 8.7 (55) def by Beaumaris 10.12 (72)

Jackettes 1.0 (6) def by Old Scotch 8.13 (61)

Reserves 6.4 (40) def by Beaumaris 12.13 (85)

Thirds 5.7 (37) def by Fitzroy 6.9 (45)

 

Keep up-to-date with all things AJAX at our new-look website www.ajaxfc.com.au!

 

Ash Obel- Media and Communications Manager

 

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Weekend Wrap: Round Five

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AJAX’s form slump has continued, going down to the Caulfield Grammarians by 70 points on the weekend, as all four AJAX sides lost.

 

Coach Mark Williams rang the changes in response to a four-game losing streak, welcoming back key forward Jake Lew after his recovery from injury, as well as defender Richie Simon returning from overseas. Dylan Rothschild was handed his Seniors debut after consistently strong performances in the AJAX Reserves. 

 

AJAX began the encounter on the front-foot, pressing the ball into their forward line for the opening phases of the contest, yet only emerged with two behinds to show for their efforts. 

 

At the other end of the ground Caulfield proved clinical, slotting five goals in the opening quarter, leaving the Jackas trailing by 20 points at quarter time. 

 

AJAX responded to their dismal first-quarter defensive effort, tightening up at the back and restricting the Grammarians to just the two second-quarter goals. However the Jackas were unable to capitalize on their defensive solidity, going goalless for the quarter.

 

In driving rain, the second-half saw good effort and intensity from AJAX, but Caulfield continued to creep away, with the result of the game never in much doubt. 

 

The final quarter was lit up by a Brandan Joel special, after he collected a touched footy and managed to swing it on to his boot despite being wrapped up by a Caulfield defender. 

 

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The match ended 17.17 (119) to 8.11 (59) with Charlie Hamilton racking up his best numbers for the season, gaining 24 disposals including 14 kicks. Kane Nissenbaum achieved a team-high 27 touches, while Jake Lew marked his return to senior footy with an impressive three goals in a tough afternoon for the forward line. Brent Shapiro was named in the bests for his impressive 41 hit-out contribution. 

 

Over at Brighton Beach Oval, the Jackettes were quickly brought back to reality following their bye-round last week, with Old Brighton handing the girls a 41-point defeat, leaving them firmly in fourth place on the ladder. 

 

After a lacklustre first half, the girls managed to hold possession in their forward fifty for a large majority of the game, however the forwards failed to translate on-ball pressure into scoreboard pressure. 

 

Midfielder, Isi Burstin, again showed great composure in and around the contest while providing a great run off the halfback line. Reliable backmen, Mikaela Grek and Daniella Abraham had their best games to date, winning important one on one contests and stopping an onslaught of goals by Old Brighton. 

 

The girl’s solitary goal was scored by tall-forward Lindi Nankin after an impressive soccer-dribble over the line in the final term. After the demoralizing loss, the girls look to bounce back against premiership favourites Old Scotch next Sunday at Gary Smorgon Oval.

 

On Saturday morning the AJAX Thirds showed great fight against Caulfield Grammarians Thirds, going down 11.10 (76) to 15.7 (97). Once again missing several key players, Ian Jones’ men took it to the hosts, leading at every break before running out of steam in the final quarter.

 

Michael Rechtman added five goals to his season-tally, while Benjamin Michowski, Ryan Klooger, Sam Kalmus and David Glass added their names to the goalscorer sheet. 

 

Playing after the Thirds, the Reserves failed to display the same effort and intensity, copping a disheartening 80-point loss. The Reserves trailed by just two goals at the main break, but were only able to achieve two behinds in the entire second half against a sharp-shooting Caulfield Grammarians Reserve outfit. Daniel Goodman bagged three goals, with Adam Caplan and Nico Cohen kicking the other two majors. 

 

Round Six will see the club return to the Gary Smorgon Oval for the first-time this season, as the Seniors (2pm) and Reserves (11.40am) go up against Beaumaris on Saturday, while the Jackettes do battle with Old Scotch on Sunday morning at 9.40am.

 

Keep up-to-date with all things AJAX at our new-look website www.ajaxfc.com.au!

 

Scores

Firsts 8.11 (59) def by Caulfield Grammarians 17.17 (119)

Jackettes 1.1 (7) def by Old Brighton 6.12 (48)

Reserves 5.4 (34) def by Caulfield Grammarians 18.6 (114)

Thirds 11.10 (76) def by Caulfield Grammarians 15.7 (97)

 

Ash Obel- Media & Communications Manager

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Weekend Wrap: Round Four

 

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Undermanned AJAX's Struggles Continue After Third-Straight Loss

 

Mark Williams’ side came out with determination following last week’s 95-point drubbing, however St Bernards flexed their muscles to hand AJAX a second consecutive 15-goal defeat and a third consecutive loss.

 

With some key-position players missing, Saturday was always going to be an uphill battle for the Jackas. Defender Richie Simon was overseas following a strong performance in round three, Daniel Cohen remained sidelined with a hamstring injury as did forward stalwart Jake Lew.

 

As they have in every round this season, AJAX put in a strong performance in the first quarter, trailing by just two points at the first break to a skilled St Bernards side that finished a very respectable third in the 2017 VAFA B grade.

 

While both sides continued to scrap for the ball at ground-level, St Bernards displayed cooler heads, hitting their forward targets and drifting out to a 27-point half-time lead, despite having only three clearances in the second-quarter.

 

The second-half told a familiar tale to last week, with the home side steamrolling an inexperienced and depleted AJAX side, piling on 14 goals to none, with the encounter finishing 7.10 (52) to 23.12 (150) in a forgettable afternoon in Essendon West.

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Not for the first time this season, inaccurate kicking hurt AJAX, who scored more behinds than goals for the third week running. Captain Nick Lewis (12 tackles 24 disposals) addressed the issue in his post-game interview with AJAX Media.

 

“Obviously its a hot-topic in the AFL. We actually kicked 20 goals against Old Haileybury (Round One) and that’s our only win for the year so I definitely think accuracy in front of goals plays a pretty big part. If we managed to kick six goals one behind instead of one goal and six behinds on Saturday, our tails would be up and we’d have a lot more energy and mojo in our gameplay,” he said.

 

The defeat leaves AJAX in sixth position on the ladder, one spot behind local rivals and round five opponents the Caulfield Grammarians who sit eight points above the Jackas.

 

This week is definitely an eight-point game, we won’t shy away from that. We want to be a finals team and to do that you need to firstly win and secondly beat the teams above you. We’re playing against a young Caulfield Grammarians team at Glen Huntly Oval in Caulfield so we’ll obviously get a good following from our supporters. We’ve got a couple of their ex-collegians playing for us so that always makes for quite a heated rivalry,” Lewis said.

 

After another tough week for the Seniors side, the Reserves provided the shining light on the weekend, defeating St Bernards Reserves by less than a goal in a nail-biting contest in West Essendon.

 

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Brad Carp, Ward Williams and Daniel Goodman each bagged two goals, as the reserves punished an inaccurate St Bernards side, with the final score reading 9.10 (64) to 7.17 (59).

 

The win leaves AJAX Reserves in fifth place, just one game off the top of the table, but only one win ahead of next week’s opponents the Caulfield Grammarians, making next Saturday’s Reserves and Firsts double-header a must-watch event.

 

On Sunday, the Thirds received a brutal defeat against De La Salle, losing by 130 points and only managing two goals for the match thanks to Sam Brygel and Michael Lazar. The Thirds sit second last on the ladder and will hope to turn around their poor form with a victory against the winless Caulfield Grammarians this weekend.

 

The Jackettes enjoyed their week off, and will now begin final preparations for their big clash against Old Brighton late on Saturday afternoon at Brighton Beach Oval, while both the Reserves (11.40am) and the Seniors (2pm) will play back-to-back games against Caulfield Grammarians at the Glen Huntly Oval in Caulfield.

 

AJAX Media will now be publishing on our new-look website www.ajaxfc.com.au - Stay up to date with our weekly news, special announcements, fixtures, results, teamsheets, club history and much more!

 

Ash Obel- AJAX FC Media & Communications

 

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Weekend Wrap: Round 1

Youngsters Lead AJAX to Opening Round Victory

If Saturday is anything to go by, the future of the AJAX Football Club is in strong hands, with the clubs youngest players guiding the Jackas to a 59 point roundone win over local rivals Old Haileybury.

20 year-old Jordan Cohen racked up 36 disposals and two goals, while Kane Nissenbaum managed 24 touches as well as two goals, highlighted by a beautiful running goal on his weaker left foot from a tight angle. Debutant Cameron Nankin also kicked his first goal for the club, slotting a set-shot late in the second quarter.

Speaking to AJAX Media, Nankin said “I was pretty nervous, first goal is always big but I managed to put it through, and everyone got around me which is good to see.” He added “I think I went alright, I eased into it in the second half and did a few things that I was happy with, hopefully I’m able to keep my spot and improve further.”

Coach Mark Choco Williams agreed, “I was delighted by what he did, he showed a lot of zip and took the game on and he took mark of the day for sure. His sister Lindy also played her first game and kicked two goals, so she’s got one up on him,” referencing Nankin’s older sister who claimed two goals in the Jackettes 26 point victory over Old Carey.

Earlier in the day, the new-look AJAX Reserves thumped Old Haileybury Reserves, kicking 16 goals and 21 behinds to cruise to a 78 point win. 17 year old Riley Michelson proved his young-gun credentials, bagging four goals and ranking amongst the best on ground.

Asked what would need to improve before Round Two, Choco said “I would think our general ball movement, and to be a bit cleaner. We turned the ball over too many times. I thought the coaches did a wonderful job, we had a few new coaches on board so it was great to see all three teams won.”

Round two will see AJAX take on Mazenod next Saturday at Central Reserve in Glen Waverley, beginning with the Reserves at 11.40am followed by the Firsts at 2pm, while the Jackettes take on the Hampton Rovers at Boss James Reserve, Hampton. 

Ash Obel Media & Communications Manager

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2017 Year Book

The 2017 Year Book is now available online.

Click here to download your copy.

 

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Brad caps off brilliant year with Best & Fairest

AJAX utility Brad Caplan was recognised for his stellar 2016 season at the Club’s night of nights, crowned the Michael Ritterman Seniors Best and Fairest at The Bentleigh Club on Thursday.

“It was a fantastic night. It was definitely a very humbling experience being on stage and knowing the likes of Ritterman, Lewski and Steinberg have been up here and won it numerous times,” winner Brad Caplan told AJAX Media.

“It was really quite surreal. I’m not going to lie I was a bit nervous being up there. I’m just very happy to have won the award.”

Caplan took out his first senior Best and Fairest ahead of Skipper Nick Marks and the joint section leading-goal-kicker David Fayman.

The Caplan family have made the night their own over the last two seasons with younger brother Adam taking out the award in 2015.

Caplan was ultra-consistent in 2016 playing 17 games, kicking 16 goals and featuring in the best players on 14 occasions.

He excelled as a link-up player on the wing and often pushed forward, making him a dynamic player, one that opposition teams struggled to contain.  

Brad spoke with J-Air's 'On the Ball' about his B&F win on Monday night. Listen here.

The skilful and fleet-footed number seven enjoyed an injury-free season which was one of a few factors that contributed to his strong output.

“The main thing is confidence, confidence in my ability. I enjoyed a continuous pre-season, not just running but in the gym trying to get a bit bigger so I could compete with some of the bigger bodies in the midfield and when I rested up forward,” Caplan said.

His achievements on the field were also recognised by the VAFA, named on the wing in the Premier B Team of the Year.

“I definitely thrived under Marty (Pask). Our game style really suited the way I played,” Caplan said.

He also claimed the Lionel Rosenberg Senior Coach’s Award.

“I’m not quite sure how it (match votes) works. I believe the supporters vote on the best that goes into the paper and onto the VAFA website. I know my grandfather and a few of his mates voted on a couple of occasions so I can probably thank them for getting that many bests,” Caplan said.

The night wasn’t just a celebration of the individual feats achieved in season 2016. President Ronnie Lewis unveiled the club’s new head coach Mark ‘Choco’ Williams to a room full of stunned players and supporters.  

Listen to 'Choco' speaking exclusively with J-Air Radio's 'On the Ball' in his first radio interview since accepting the head-coach position.


Photos courtesy: AJN/Peter Haskin.

“It was unbelievable. I think everyone was in shock on Thursday night. There was definitely a good vibe. It’s a fantastic coup for the club, it’ll bring a lot of interest to the club next year,” Caplan said.

Major Club Announcement

Club Captain Nick Marks was awarded the Richard Pratt & AJN Trophy for Supporters Best.

David Fayman claimed his 7th John Brustman Golden Boot Award with 46 goals.

Brother Stuart Fayman was adjudged the David Merkel Seniors Most Determined Player.

18-year old Jordan Cohen capped off a brilliant debut season, named the Seniors Best First Year Player.

Ruckman Zac Braun took out the Seniors Most Improved Award, while veteran Geoff Measey was the Daryl Cohen Seniors Most Courageous Player.

In lower grade awards, Dov Paltiel took out the Barry Linde Reserves Best and Fairest from Nadav Harel and Jake Kalmus after a standout season under Coach Rob Paterson.

Full-back Ari Wytwornik claimed the Reserves Coach’s Award.

Other Best and Fairest winners were Joel Burston (Under 19s), Zev Aron (Thirds) and Ally Bild (Jackettes).

The club wishes the whole AJAX community a Shana Tova and well over the fast.


 

Full List of 2016 Ajax Best & Fairest Award Winners

 

Jeffrey Jankie President’s Trophy - Mark Mitchell


Photos courtesy: AJN/Peter Haskin.

Mark Feldy Best Club Person Award - John Rockman

Thirds Coach’s Award - Yehuda Gottlieb

Thirds 3rd Best & Fairest - Benji Jones

Thirds 2nd Best & Fairest - Eli Adelist / Jeremy Herz                

Thirds Best & Fairest - Zev Aron                                             

Women’s Most Courageous & Determined - Chelsea Fisher / Women’s Coach’s Award - Rebecca Bennett

      
Photos courtesy: AJN/Peter Haskin. 

Women’s 3rd Best & Fairest - Tamara Epshtein

Women’s 2nd Best & Fairest - Maya Glikfeld

Women’s Best & Fairest - Ally Bild


Photos courtesy: AJN/Peter Haskin.

Under 19’s Coach’s Award - Guy Vadas

Under 19’s Ben Bloom Most Courageous Award - Elliott Blau

Under 19’s 3rd Best & Fairest - Charlie Hamilton

Under 19’s 2nd Best & Fairest - Jesse Velleman

Under 19’s Best & Fairest - Joel Burston

Reserves Coach's Award - Ari Wytwornik                   

Reserves 3rd Best & Fairest - Jake Kalmus

Reserves 2nd Best & Fairest - Nadav Harel                       

Barry Linde Reserves Best & Fairest - Dov Paltiel

John Brustman Golden Boot Award - David Fayman                   

Richard Pratt & AJN Trophy for Supporters Best - Nick Marks

Seniors Best First Year Player - Jordan Cohen  

Lionel Rosenberg Senior Coach's Award - Brad Caplan

Daryl Cohen Seniors Most Courageous Player - Geoff Measey    

Seniors Most Improved Player - Zac Braun

David Merkel Seniors Most Determined Player - Stuart Fayman                                  

Seniors 3rd Best & Fairest - David Fayman                                   

Seniors 2nd Best & Fairest - Nick Marks

Michael Ritterman Seniors Best & Fairest - Brad Caplan

#AlwaysAjax

Aaron Fetter
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager
www.ajaxfootballclub.com.au

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Major Club Announcement

 

Major Club Announcement 

 

AJAX Football Club President Ronnie Lewis unveiled to all in attendance on Thursday at the Best and Fairest evening, the landmark signing of AFL Premiership Coach Mark ‘Choco’ Williams as the club’s head coach for at least the next two seasons.

“It’s probably one of the biggest things that has happened in the world of AJAX footy but potentially even Maccabi, just to have a guy of his profile,” Lewis told AJAX Media.

The 58-year old will also fill a new role as Maccabi Victoria’s Director of Coaching and Development. Further to his commitment as AJAX’s Senior head coach, Williams will play a significant role in the development of AJAX junior teams and coaches.

“I’m really enthusiastic about getting back into coaching and being involved in the community as well with Maccabi,” Williams told AJAX Media.

“I’m here to learn. My son played against AJAX juniors a few years ago and I was so impressed that the community wanted to be involved in an Australian tradition and I thought what a great thing to join in that way,” Williams said.

Whether in a playing or coaching capacity, Williams has contributed greatly to Australian Rules Football for 40 years.

He coached Port Adelaide Power in the AFL between 1999 and 2010, finishing his senior coaching career at AFL level on 274 games (25th of all time) at a 55% winning rate.

He took the Power to 17 finals (eight of them wins) two grand finals and the club’s inaugural Premiership against the Brisbane Lions in 2004.  


Photo: Andrew Brownbill

In the same year he was named the coach of the All-Australian team.

He played 201 games and kicked 236 goals for Collingwood and the Brisbane Bears between 1981 and 1990.

The son of South Australian Football icon Fos Williams, Mark began his career in the SANFL, playing 179 games, kicking 141 goals and winning four Premierships across the 70s, 80s and 90s.

“After 30 plus years in AFL footy he’s very keen to explore opportunities in sport outside of AFL and I guess that’s one of the things that attracted ‘Choco’ to the role, is his ability to influence and develop coaches across the sporting community,” Lewis said.

After resigning from his senior position at Port Adelaide midway through 2010, Williams signed on with competition new-comers Greater Western Sydney for three years as an assistant coach to Kevin Sheedy.

In search of a new challenge, Williams left his post at the Giants to take on the role as Richmond’s Development Coach under Damien Hardwick.


Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media

After four seasons at Tigerland, Williams was let go.

“We got a heads up that once he departed Richmond that he may be open to opportunities outside the AFL, so through Andrew Shenker we made a direct approach to him and he was actually very interested in chatting to us.

“It was a Monday night two and a half weeks ago he came to our rooms and was incredibly impressed with our facilities. I think he was expecting a tin shed in the middle of a paddock.

“We’ve got ice baths, a coach’s room, a fully laid out gym, social rooms that have recently been renovated, all which blew him away.

“The photos on the wall gave him a sense of community and inclusion of the Jackettes and he left the club actually quite surprised and taken aback that it was as impressive as it was,” Lewis said.

Although he has been immersed in elite level football for so long, there is belief that he has the diversity of character and the required skills to adapt to being the coach of an amateur club in Premier B of the VAFA.

“Being a teacher he can see that he can develop these young men,” Lewis said.

“His appointment means we improve the professionalism of the club. We want to be an A-Grade club, whether that means we play in A-Grade or become an A-Grade club playing in B-Grade. Time will tell but we are very confident he’ll bring out the best of all our players.”

With pre-season fast approaching, Williams will have a short amount of time to acclimatise before the real work begins.

“I’ll sniff out the environment first and see what’s required but I want the players to enjoy it. Anyone out there that thinks they might be able to play then certainly get down to training, especially if you’re over 6ft4 that’d be fantastic,” Williams said.

“I would like to think that each of the players this time next year are feeling like they’ve had a great year of improvement and how far that takes us we’ll wait and see.”

Williams’ football journey is made more unique by the religious affiliation that AJAX stands so passionately for.

“He mentioned in his speech (at the Best & Fairest) that he spent many drives on the way to Punt Road on Hotham street and saw a number of the Jewish men with their black hats and payot and for him it’s fascination, it’s a real genuine interest, so I think that’s what has made the move to a Jewish community club not too difficult for him,” Lewis said.

Williams’ signing sent social media into a frenzy with a combined 123 retweets and likes on Twitter, over 500 likes and 60 comments on Facebook while shortly after the news was broken, @ajaxfooty was trending on Twitter.

There is genuine belief that Williams’ involvement with the Jackas will attract quality Jewish players from other clubs along with the inevitable spike in community interest and support.

“We’ve identified three or four high quality players in Melbourne and one in Perth already, and it is our absolute intentions to send ‘Choco’ in a car or on a plane to meet these people, whether they come to AJAX or are interested, I can tell you now having him there will certainly change their view of our club,” Lewis said.

“Some very basic elements both in terms of training and on game-day will make him probably unmatched in the VAFA. He’s an incredible coach and a very good person at the same time.”

“I’m thrilled to think that people are interested in what I’m doing and certainly if that gives greater attention to AJAX and their sponsors then that’s a great role it plays and a good bonus as well,” Williams said.

The recruitment sub-committee contained prominent AJAX people, Andrew Shenker, Rick Marks, Robbie Kaye and Craig Joel.

Others involved in the process were the Maccabi Victoria Board, in particular Ash Krongold, a Director of the Maccabi Victoria Foundation.

This sporting coup was made possible by the Henry Jolson Pathways Program. It is the first major initiative since the program’s inception in 2015. 

#AlwaysAjax

Aaron Fetter
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager
www.ajaxfootballclub.com.au

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AJAX duo feature in Dragons' TAC Cup Grand Final feat

AJAX duo feature in Dragons’ TAC Cup Grand Final feat

Two rising stars of Jewish sport in Melbourne, Kane Nissenbaum and Ashley Krakauer have tasted the ultimate success on the big stage, winning the 2016 TAC Cup Premiership with the Sandringham Dragons on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

The Dragons led at every change in a tight contest against Murray Bushrangers and went onto win 12.13 (85) – 9.14 (68).

“The overriding emotion when the siren went was just happiness. It still hasn’t sunk in that we won,” Krakauer told the AJN.

Nissenbaum who is a year 12 student at Leibler Yavneh College faced a nervous wait during the week before being told he would play in the Grand Final.

The 18-year old played in the Elimination Final three weeks ago but didn’t feature in the next two finals. An injury to star player Will Setterfield opened the door for his timely return.

“I was a bit nervous early in the week, but obviously when I heard that I was going to play I was pretty excited,” Nissenbaum told the AJN.

“It is such a long year and we all work so hard, so obviously getting the nod to play was pretty special,” he said.

Krakauer, a small forward, was his team’s equal leading goalkicker with two. He was lively all game and both goals he kicked were at critical stages.


Photo: Adam Trafford/AFL Media

“I was pleased with my game, but every player has some team-first objectives to tick off and I thought I did that,” he said.

The Caulfield Grammarian gathered 12 disposals, six handball receives and laid two tackles to go along with his two classy majors.

He played 14 games this season with the Dragons, was named in the best on six occasions and kicked eight goals.

“I’ve loved every minute. The Sandringham Dragons’ program has been a really important part of my life since I started as an under 13 player back in 2011.”

“There’s a strong focus on developing the person not just the player. I’ve been able to deal with and overcome certain life challenges because of the development and education that the program has given me,” he said.

Krakauer is one of the most talented players to come out of the AJAX Football Club, with a list of junior accolades, rivalled by very few.

He was the junior Club Champion in 2010 and the Pratt Foundation Outstanding Achiever in 2011.

Nissenbaum who played off a wing made the most of his limited game-time on Sunday, hitting the target with six of his seven possessions as well as working hard to take four marks.


Photo: Adam Trafford/AFL Media

He played 14 games, was named in the best twice and kicked four goals. He also played on four occasions with AJAX and debuted in the seniors earlier in the year.

His impressive junior career at AJAX was rewarded last season when he was named the Outstanding Achiever.

With the NAB AFL Draft taking place in late November, both boys remained realistic about their chances but have other plans in mind if their AFL dream is not fulfilled this year.

“I feel like I’ve had a consistent season, but it has been tough at times when I’ve been out of the team. You get the feel early on in the season if you might be on the draft radar,” Nissenbaum said.

“The next step for me and my footy will probably be to try and play with a VFL team. I have a few people helping me with the decisions I have in front of me,” he said.

Standing at 172cm, Krakauer takes a lot of motivation and confidence from the small stars of the AFL such as Western Bulldogs’ Caleb Daniel and will nominate for November’s AFL Draft.

“Seeing similar type players running around in the AFL and doing well has been a driving force for me to give it a crack, but if doesn’t work out I’ll probably look at the VFL as my next move,” Krakauer said.

#AlwaysAjax

Aaron Fetter
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager
www.ajaxfootballclub.com.au

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Jackas' Grand Final grief

Photo: Peter Haskin/AJN

Jackas’ Grand Final grief

The best team all year prevailed in the Under-19s Section 4 Grand Final, with Old Haileybury storming home to beat a gallant AJAX side 7.12 (54) – 5.5 (35) at Trevor Barker Oval on Sunday.

Hundreds of supporters from both sides witnessed a low-scoring yet fascinating contest that was still anyone’s to win early in the final quarter.

AJAX entered the clash as severe underdogs having lost the previous two fixtures against Old Haileybury by 93 points.

“There was a great vibe around the group in the lead up to Sunday. We all understood our roles. We were hoping for a four-quarter effort and we knew that if we gave that we would’ve been a chance,” defender Joel Burston told the AJN.

Burston spoke with J-Air's 'On the Ball' on Monday night after the Grand Final loss. Listen here.

It was a hotly-contested opening term with the Jackas’ structures holding up well, trailing by just two points at quarter time.

They came out in the second with a new-found vigour, kicking two goals courtesy of Toby Fisher and Dakota Lipton, while limiting the Bloods to just one point.

 
Photo: Peter Haskin/AJN

The Jackas headed into the half-time break with the momentum and an 11-point lead.

Their opponents benefited from the break and wrestled the game back onto their terms. Ten scoring shots to AJAX’s two could have almost put the game beyond doubt, however Old Haileybury’s inaccuracy saw them lead by just 12 points heading into the deciding stanza.

“At three quarter time we looked up and there were hundreds of people on our side, trying to get us going,” Burston said.

Coach Ashley Shenker delivered an emotional address to his chargers, pleading for one last effort.

Photo: Peter Haskin/AJN

They heeded the call early, kicking the opening goal of the quarter, narrowing the margin back to six points.

The Bloods responded immediately, extending their lead back out past two goals and eventually edged further clear to lead by 19 points when the final siren sounded.

Cameron Nankin was the Jackas’ only multiple goalkicker while ruckman Dakota Lipton, midfielders Charlie Hamilton, Ben De Winter and Jesse Velleman all battled hard.


Photo: Peter Haskin/AJN

Ash Shenker, in his first season as Coach got the most out of a group that missed out on the contributions from a number of quality players who spent their season at a higher level, while injuries to key personnel also tested the spirit and depth of the side.

All AJAX teams will now enjoy a well-deserved break before pre-season kicks off in a couple months’ time.

#AlwaysAjax

Aaron Fetter
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager
www.ajaxfootballclub.com.au

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Under 19s secure Grand Final spot

Under 19s secure Grand Final spot

A heart-stopping finish to a cracking contest saw AJAX's Under-19s hold off Preston Bullants to win the Section 4 Preliminary Final by eight points on Saturday at Garvey Oval.

AJAX led all day as they battled a tough opposition who had trumped them twice already this year.

Photo: Hersh Burston

The Jackas started strongly but an inaccurate 2.6 to 0.2 kept the Bullants in the game at quarter time.

In a physical and low-scoring second term, the Jackas were challenged and went onto lead 26-22 at the main break

A typically measured and vocal address from Coach Ash Shenker proved the catalyst for a consistent effort in the third term as the Jackas kept Preston goalless and extended the margin at three-quarter time to 16 points.

Despite conceding two goals to one in a tense final term, the 19s were able to keep their opposition at bay to record a memorable victory.

Midfielders Charlie Hamilton, Ben De Winter and Mikey Alter put in fantastic performances, whilst ruckman Adam Rushford toiled hard all day.


Photo: Hersh Burston

"It was a brave performance from the boys, who I'm sure were having flashbacks of Preston beating us twice this year," Coach Ash Shenker told the AJN.

The Jackas now face the almighty task of toppling their nemesis Old Haileybury in the big dance on Sunday. The Bloods were the top-team this year and won three out of the four encounters against the 19s this season.

Captain Adam Sekler previewed Sunday's Grand Final with J-Air Radio's 'On the Ball'. Listen here.

"We really back ourselves in against Haileybury this week. It's grand final day, absolutely anything can happen and we take confidence out of the fact that we got them in round 1 and pushed them to 3/4 time in the Semi-Final,” Shenker said.

Reece Israel (24 goals) and Ryan Kagan (15) will be key to the Jackas’ chances on Sunday with dangerous forwards Brent Shapiro and Ben Schwartz out injured.


Photo: Hersh Burston

After failing to field a team last year, the 2016 side is the first since 2013 to make the Grand Final. The match will commence at 9.15am this Sunday at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham.

"We'd love to see a huge crowd come and support us. This is a big moment in the club's history and we're the only AJAX side this year to have made the grand final, so we're just looking forward to doing everyone proud.”

#AlwaysAjax

Aaron Fetter
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager
www.ajaxfootballclub.com.au

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AJAX Football Club - 2016 Season Review

AJAX Football Club 2016 Season Review

The Jackas ended another season without a finals berth in B-Grade, losing to top-side Beaumaris by 36 points at Gary Smorgon Oval on Saturday.

During the week leading up to the final game of the season, Club President Ronnie Lewis announced to supporters that they will be searching for a new Senior Coach in 2017.

“After one season as Director of Coaching at our Junior Club and two seasons as our Senior Coach, Marty Pask has decided to move on”, Lewis said in a Club email.

He thanked Pask for his contribution and wished him well for the future.

“Marty has made a great contribution to both our Junior and Senior Clubs and his time with the Club will be well remembered and regarded, in particular this season where he assisted the Club in maintaining our position in B-Grade, our fifth straight in that division.”

“We wish Marty every success in his future endeavours and he will be a welcomed friend at our Club in the future”, Lewis said.

In Pask’s two seasons in charge of the senior team he coached 17 wins in 36 matches.

In 2015 the Jackas finished 5th, equal on points with 4th, with 22% separating them and a finals spot.

This season the seniors were caught up in a short-lived relegation fight, but eventually avoided it to finish 7th, three games off the bottom two, and four games behind 4th.

“I have enjoyed my time with the AJAX Football Club and have built many great relationships, many that will continue,” Pask told the Club.

“To all the parents, players and supporters I have had the pleasure of knowing, thank you for all your support. My family and I have had a fantastic time being involved with the AJAX Football Community.”

The Jackas are now in the market for their third Senior Coach in five years, with the process already underway.

“We’ve got quite a young list, so we’re looking for an educator, someone who understands amateur footy particularly the VAFA”, Lewis told the AJN.

“It’s tough because you have got to balance the will to win and getting a coach that is really determined to do that and also balancing the requirements of a unique community club.”

Club President Ronnie Lewis reviewed the season last night on J-Air's 'On the Ball'. Listen here.

On the field, the Jackas unearthed a host of future prospects, handing senior debuts to five youngsters.

“I believe the players we blooded this year are 150 to 200-game players, and potential leaders of our Club. They’re all classy and have shown that they can really mix it with the best”, Lewis said.

Of those to debut, 18-year old Jordan Cohen and 19-year old Josh Baron both played ten games, combined for 11 goals and were mentioned seven times in the best, collectively.

Further afield it wasn’t any regular season for star-forward David Fayman, although he did storm home to become the joint-winner of the Premier B goal-kicking award, etching his name into VAFA history with his 6th ‘Coleman’ Medal.

Fayman was trialled in few different roles, but still managed to produce a highlight-packed season that delivered 46 goals.

“I spent a lot of time in the midfield which made it harder but I guess I got a little lucky winning it on 46 goals. It’s certainly not the best of the six”, Fayman told the AJN.

After 12 rounds he had kicked 22 goals, but a permanent move back to the forward line saw him kick 24 goals in the remaining six matches.

His best game of the season came in his 150th against Hampton in round 13. He had five goals to quarter time and ended up with nine for the match.

“After the game someone told me I was only seven goals back with five games left so I thought I was a huge chance to win it”, Fayman said.

His best season came in the Jackas’ Premiership year of 2011, where he kicked 94 goals.

“I think I can get to the century mark if I played a whole season at full forward. Physically I’m as strong and fit as I’ve ever been”.


Photo: VAFA Media

The 27-year old enters next season on 155 games and an astonishing 575 goals.  

Fayman is one of three favourites to feature heavily on the Club’s Best & Fairest night on October 6th.

The front-runner is utility Brad Caplan who kicked 16 goals in 17 games and was named in the best on 14 occasions.

Skipper Nick Marks also enjoyed an injury-free season to lead from the front in the back-half. His second half of the season was exceptional featuring in the best players in each of the final eight games.

 

The reserves’ season under Rob Paterson was a tale of missed opportunities with a number of close results taking its toll in the first half of the season.

Plenty of positives emerged, though, including defender-turned-forward Jeremy Forbes kicking 25 goals from 16 games, while the Best & Fairest race is bound to be a close one with Dov Paltiel, Roi Abraham, Nathan Zielinski and the retiring Nadav Harel all having strong years.

The reserves finished the season in 6th, with eight wins, one draw and nine losses, just two games outside the finals.

The thirds and Jackettes both enjoyed successful seasons finishing in the top two, but fell short at the pointy end losing in their respective Preliminary Finals.

Thirds’ Skipper Zev Aron finished the regular season with the most goals in his team’s division (38). For the girls, Rebecca Bennett combined with Toni Hamilton for 23 goals, while Danielle Robinson, Tamara Epshtein and Maya Glikfeld were a few of the best performers all year.

The under 19s coached by Ash Shenker are the only AJAX team still kicking. They finished 2nd and will play for a spot in the Grand Final this Sunday against Preston Bullants at Garvey Oval, Bundoora at 9.30am.

#AlwaysAjax

Aaron Fetter
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager
www.ajaxfootballclub.com.au

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Jackas avoid relegation with remarkable win

Jackas avoid relegation with remarkable win

AJAX ensured their stay in B-Grade will enter a sixth straight season next year after a thrilling five-point win over rivals and fellow 2016 battlers Old Haileybury at Princes Park, Caulfield, on Saturday.

The Jackas avoided relegation in front of hundreds of supporters who turned up and packed their ‘home away from home’.

In characteristic fashion, Skipper Nick Marks stood tall in his 100th game, proving the difference in a frantic final quarter.

The Jackas had a sense for the occasion kicking the opening two goals courtesy of rising youngster Jordan Cohen and Stuart Fayman. Josh Kalmus was also in the thick of it early in game 100.

Old Haileybury responded with two of their own to take the lead approaching quarter time.

Cohen’s second and Brad Caplan’s first saw the Jackas head into the first change with a seven-point buffer.

Richie Simon kicked to David Fayman’s advantage, and the ‘Mailman’ easily brushed off his direct opponent to waltz into an open goal.

Some brilliant skills in tight by Stuart Fayman and Dean Rotenberg fed Brad Caplan his second, extending the margin out to 19 points.

A costly turnover deep inside AJAX’s defensive fifty, gifted the Bloods a goal approaching half-time.

18-year old Kane Nissenbaum looked right at home in his second senior outing, delivering beautifully to a leading Richie Simon.

‘Chopper’ as he is affectionately known lived up to his nickname, starting the ball at the behind post and in a helicopter motion worked it back for an important major.

Brad Caplan continued to run riot, accepting a perfect pass deep in the pocket from Brandon Joel, and slotted his third goal on the half-time siren.

The Jackas entered the second half with a 20-point lead, however the Bloods came out hard, kicking three of the opening four goals to bring the margin back within ten points.

Nick Marks setup a strong-marking Dave Fayman in the pocket, and once again he delivered.

Adam Caplan roosted the ball all of fifty meters to the advantage of his brother Brad, who showed a strong set of hands in front of goal.

The Best & Fairest favourite’s fourth goal was quickly followed up by Dave Fayman’s third, before Old Haileybury mounted yet another comeback, kicking four in a row.

Approaching three quarter time the Jackas found themselves behind by four points.

Dean Rotenberg got on the end of some great team play from Brad Caplan and Alex Wollan, before Dave Fayman continued his rich-vein of form in front of the big sticks, slotting his fourth, ensuring the Jackas went into the final break in front.

Supporters from both sides flocked to their respective huddles, as both coaches attempted to will their side over the line.

The intensity out on the ground was palpable. Leading by seven points, the Jackas got off to the best possible start scoring from the first centre bounce.

Adam Caplan barged his way through a crowded pack and steadied before finding Richie Simon, who calmly went back and slotted his second.

Dave Fayman produced another brilliant goal, accepting a long pass from Nick Lewis before hooking it around the corner on his left boot.

The Jackas’ lead was 19 but the Bloods weren’t done with yet. They kicked the next two, making for a grandstand finish.

Rotenberg and Nissenbaum collaborated on the forward flank with the latter finishing off the pair’s efforts with class.

As the game lifted another notch so too did Nick Marks. The AJAX Skipper threw himself at every contest, bringing down courageous marks and controlling the tempo in the back half.  

Nick Marks re-lives the Jackas' crucial win in his milestone game on J-Air Radio's 'On the Ball'. Listen here!

The Jackas were holding firm in the dying minutes before the Bloods threatened to storm home, kicking a late one to bring the margin back within a goal.

Marks along with his battered teammates held on for a memorable 16.7 (103) – 15.8 (98) victory, one that secures their spot in B-Grade for another season, and relegates Old Haileybury back to C-Grade.

Re-live all the best bits from Saturday's win with all the Match Highlights. Watch here!

Marks was named best on ground in his milestone game, while Brad Caplan’s four-goal effort from the midfield was clinical.

Zach Braun was enormous in the ruck while Richie Simon played his best game of the season, in a starring role around the ground. 

Dave Fayman’s five-goal haul takes his season tally to 41. He now leads the B-Grade goal-kicking with one round to play.

Former St Kilda champion Stephen Milne is sitting on 39 goals for Beaumaris, which sets up a tantalising shoot-out next week. If Fayman holds on he will lay claim to six of the last seven goal-kicking awards for the Jackas’ division.

Heading into the final round, the Jackas are 7th with seven wins and ten losses.

Earlier, the reserves made light work of Old Haileybury, setting up an 84-point thrashing with a ten-goal to one first half.

Nadav Harel re-claimed the ‘clearance king’ tag playing a blinder in the middle, while Dov Paltiel firmed as a genuine contender for the reserves’ Best & Fairest, gathering 28 disposals, six tackles and three goals in a blistering display.

Olly Hoffman and Jeremy Forbes kicked three apiece, while Josh Baron was the only other multiple goal-kicker with two.

Defender Dylan Rothschild continued his strong finish to the season. He reaped the ultimate reward from giving back to the Jewish football community the morning after when he coached the U13s to a Premiership. He spoke with J-Air's 'On the Ball' on Monday night. Listen here!

Finals are no longer a possibility for Rob Paterson’s men, his side sits 6th with an 8-1-8 record.

All the highlights from the reserves' big win. Click here!

At 9.20, the under 19s kicked off the triple-header against Old Haileybury, however they were outclassed by their top two rivals, losing by 93 points on the eve of the finals series.

On Sunday the thirds were bundled out of a Preliminary Final for the second consecutive year, losing to Old Trinity by ten points at Gary Smorgon Oval.  

The Jackas trailed at every break and were undermanned when their skipper Zev Aron was weakened by a shoulder injury before half-time.

Despite keeping Old Trinity goalless in the final term, the Jackas couldn’t hit the scoreboard hard enough to record a comeback win.

Jeremey Herz and Jeremy Morley both kicked two, while Daniel Smorgon, Jonny Kaplan and Yossi Jedwab were strong in defence.

This weekend the Club hosts Beaumaris in the final game of the season. The reserves kick-off at 11.40am followed by the seniors at 2pm.

The under 19s will do it all again against Old Haileybury at Princes Park, Caulfield in their Semi-Final clash that also starts at 2pm. 

#AlwaysAjax

Aaron Fetter
AJAX Amateur Football Club
Media & Communications Manager
www.ajaxfootballclub.com.au

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