Victorian year 12s who will now be “individually assessed” for their VCE scores and ATAR rankings say the new changes are a “huge win” for the class of 2020.
Eltham High School student Tom McGinty said the compassionate approach gave him confidence he could secure a spot at university next year.
“I’m really stoked on the changes that have been implemented, As someone who has struggled with online learning this change brings me hope that I can actually obtain my desired ATAR score and get into my preferred course for next year,” he said.
Year 12 student Nathan Gunn petitioned to cancel VCE exams, saying he and his classmates had been burdened with the effects of COVID-19 and remote learning.
He launched the petition – which generated more than 4300 signatures – just days before Deputy Premier James Merlino announced every single VCE student would be individually assessed, with adverse impacts from COVID-19 reflected in their ATAR ranking.
“It’s a relief to know the Government has devised a new system of special consideration with the mental health of young people as a top priority,” the 18-year-old said.
“This new system is the first of its kind, which was crucial for all Victorian year 12s who are living and studying during a pandemic like none of us have ever seen.”
Nathan said remote learning had thrown the whole year into disarray.
“We need physical interaction, we need to be there in the classroom asking questions,” he said.
Under the “extraordinary changes”, the Government will consider school closures and long absences as contributing factors to VCE students’ difficult year.
“We’ll look at things, for example, such as significant increase in family responsibilities as a result of COVID-19, and we’ll of course consider the mental health and wellbeing of students during this period,” Mr Merlino said.
“This year is like no other, it is an unprecedented year, and we need to support our students in an unprecedented way.”
Mr Merlino said the changes would help students go into their VCE exams, which start in early November, with confidence “knowing they will not be disadvantaged as a result of COVID-19”.
“This is a way that we can give every student and every parent of a VCE student the comfort and the confidence that their student will receive their final scores that take into account their individual circumstances. It puts them on a level playing field with every student across the state,” he said.
The Adelaide Oval clash was a genuine heavyweight bout between two sides destined to play a major role in the finals. Rather than words of motivation, an enswell would have been more appropriate, as the coaches readied their sides for each round of what was an epic battle.
The Power twice skipped out to significant leads and twice the tenacious Tigers reeled them in. The ground was only at 20 per cent capacity, but Adelaide Oval heaved with every significant moment, contentious call, gut-busting run or goal being greeted with vocal and impassioned responses.
That Richmond led by a point at three-quarter time was a true credit to a side grappling with an off-field controversy and missing premiership stars Dion Prestia, Bachar Houli, David Astbury and Shane Edwards, as well as captain Trent Cotchin.
Ultimately, Port Adelaide found another level in the final term with the hard-nosed Ollie Wines — who was outstanding all match — dragging his team to a statement-making victory.
Wines was inspirational in the final term, winning eight contested possessions and driving the ball forward as the Power amassed 19 inside 50s to two.
He finished with 28 disposals, 11 tackles and 10 clearances, while former captain Travis Boak was equally influential with 31 possessions and small forward Robbie Gray shone with his trademark creativity and clinical finishing.
The Power’s more experienced campaigners were superbly complemented by the side’s emerging youth.
Zak Butters buzzed about ferociously and frequently broke through congestion with confidence belying a second-year player, second-gamer Boyd Woodcock caught the eye and mobile ruckman Peter Ladhams — in just his 10th AFL match — again demonstrated his immense potential.
Port Adelaide, who sit atop of the AFL ladder, possesses a precious commodity with a genuine power forward in Charlie Dixon and a highly dependable but unheralded backline led by captain Tom Jonas. It is hard to find a chink in the Power line-up.
Earlier this year, Port Adelaide chairman David Koch confirmed it was a case of making the finals in 2020 or farewelling coach Ken Hinkley. A year that started with a lack of job security may just end with Hinkley raising the premiership cup and feeling secure.
Giants have their concerns
Greater Western Sydney is doing just enough to maintain a top-eight position but the Giants continue to play beneath themselves.
For a side laden with talented and highly-skilled players, GWS’s lack of decisive ball movement has been an ongoing source of mystery.
Coniglio has endured a difficult first year as skipper with his own performance plummeting. His half-time address was his finest moment as captain and a clear sign that he is growing into the role.
Still troubling is the Giants forward line, which on paper looks imposing but on grass has too often proven impotent in season 2020.
Jeremy Finlayson, Harry Himmelberg and reigning Coleman medallist Jeremy Cameron are all well short of their best and clearly do not benefit from their teammates’ reluctance to move the ball quickly inside 50.
Things were so desperate against Essendon that star defender Phil Davis even floated forward but unfortunately he sustained a knee injury not long after.
Davis completed the match, displaying the bravery Coniglio had demanded during his rev-up. The Giants also showed more courage by playing with significantly more dare in the second half and they were rewarded as the Bombers squandered a 29-point lead.
Essendon fans were understandably aggrieved by a questionable free kick given to Callan Ward and a resultant goal that was decisive in a controversial finish.
To my eye, the collision between Ward and Shaun McKernan was a classic example of two players competing fairly for the ball and should have resulted in a call of play on. Whether there was head-high contact is debatable and Ward was certainly guilty of accentuating what contact there was.
In reality, the closest umpire did call play on but was overruled by one of his colleagues in a flawed process that places no importance on the account of a key eyewitness.
Under AFL rules, an umpire can overrule if they are convinced a free kick was missed. But what if the umpire who made the initial decision is equally convinced there was no infringement?
How can the interpretation of the original umpire — the one closest to the incident — be completely dismissed, especially given the gravity of the decision?
Saints on the rise, Cats need to be wary
Speaking of outcomes, I’m fascinated to see who prevails in tonight’s mouth-watering clash between St Kilda and Geelong at the Gabba.
About a decade ago the Saints and Cats boasted two of the AFL’s most powerful line-ups and treated fans to some classic encounters, such as the 2009 grand final.
But while Geelong has maintained a competitive edge and remained a consistent finalist, the Saints have enjoyed a less successful recent history.
In 2020, St Kilda has surged back to relevance and joined the Cats among the AFL’s top sides.
With the scalps of Port Adelaide and Richmond among their seven wins this season, the Saints have shown they are a side to be taken seriously, and long-suffering fans are even daring to believe a prized second premiership is possible.
If St Kilda wins tonight, those fans will not be on their own.
Melbourne is now just two points shy of the eighth-placed Collingwood — and with a match in hand on most other clubs — while the Kangaroos remain in the mire in 16th position.
The Demons’ victory was full of midfield substance with Petracca (29 disposals, one goal), Clayton Oliver (31 disposals, one goal) and Brayshaw — whose 29 touches included a goal and eight inside 50s — all instrumental.
Emerging key forward Sam Weideman kicked two goals and missed three other gilt-edged chances, Bailey Fritsch also slotted two majors, while Kysaiah Pickett (one goal) was eye-catching in patches.
The Kangaroos relied almost solely on Nick Larkey, who booted four of his side’s five goals with the other coming from Majak Daw in the second minute of the match.
North Melbourne led by 10 points at quarter-time but managed just two more goals in the match as the tide turned the Demons’ way.
The Demons booted three goals to one in both the second and third terms to create a 16-point buffer at three-quarter time.
And just as they did against Adelaide when they scored seven last-term goals, the Demons again went on a scoring spree in the final quarter.
This time, they kicked six consecutive goals while restricting the flagging Kangaroos to a solitary point.
Eagles maintain winning form
Alarm bells were ringing for the Eagles when Zac Fisher’s fourth goal gave Carlton a 19-point lead in the opening minute of the third quarter.
Josh Kennedy, however, settled West Coast’s nerves a few minutes later with his first goal of the match.
But the real damage was done in the dying minutes of the third term when West Coast slammed home four goals in the space of three minutes to go into three-quarter time with an 11-point lead.
Dom Sheed then booted two goals in the final quarter to help lift West Coast to the 11.6 (72) to 7.8 (50) win in front of 19,092 spectators.
Sheed was best afield with 26 disposals, nine clearances and two goals, while teammate Nic Naitanui (41 hit-outs, seven clearances) was a dominant force in the ruck.
The Blues lost Jack Martin to a calf injury in the second quarter and ruckman Marc Pittonet spent about 30 minutes off the field with what appeared to be a finger injury.
Carlton’s star midfielder Patrick Cripps tallied 19 disposals and eight clearances despite spending long stints up forward.
West Coast’s win improved its standing to a 7-3 win-loss record. Carlton (4-6) now faces an uphill battle to make the top eight.
Both teams booted two goals apiece in the opening term, with the most notable moment coming when the Blues were on the wrong end of a controversial holding-the-ball free kick late in the quarter.
Sam Petrevski-Seton was powerless to get a disposal away after having his arms pinned in a bear-hug tackle from Jack Darling as soon as he got the ball.
The Carlton defender expressed his disbelief when the free kick was paid, with the subsequent 50-metre penalty gifting the Eagles a lucky goal.
Fisher booted his second and third goals in the second quarter to help give Carlton a surprise 13-point lead at half-time.
The sun peeked out from behind the clouds in the third quarter in what was a complete contrast to the pre-match downpour.
The conditions clearly favoured West Coast, who had Naitanui dominating in the ruck and the team’s midfielders feasting at ground level.
But the Swifts were again pushed all the way to the death, with Jhaniele Fowler sinking three super shots in the final Power Five period as the Fever closed an eight-goal gap in the final minutes.
After Alice Teague-Neeld levelled the scores in the final minute, the Fever forced two misses from the Swifts attackers in a tense finish until Housby calmly sealed the result with the final shot of the game.
With prolific goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler (53/58) in fine form, the Fever led by as many as 12 goals in the second quarter and appeared on track to open the season with back-to-back wins.
But Swifts coach Briony Akle’s decision to start Garbin in the second half proved a masterstroke. The 23-year-old made 21 of 23 shots as the defending champions swung the contest in their favour.
Housby also played a key role in her side’s comeback, with the Swifts taking better care of the ball after half-time while also forcing six Fever turnovers in the decisive third term.
Lightning defeat Magpies
Star attacker Steph Wood battled through injury to help inspire the Lightning to their four-goal victory over the Magpies.
After sitting out the majority of the first half with a knee problem, Wood’s introduction triggered a third-quarter surge as the home side recorded their second win of the season.
But with Wood entering the game late the first half, the Lightning outscored Collingwood 16-9 in the third quarter to break open a tight defensive contest.
Langman was the driving force for the Lightning. The 34-year-old New Zealand international starred in midcourt with 30 feeds, 15 assists and two intercepts.
With goal shooter Shimona Nelson (32/37) playing her first game of the season, Collingwood capitalised on the Lightning’s late line-up change to grab an early 6-1 advantage.
As Jamaican defender Jodi-Ann Ward impressed alongside veteran defender Geva Mentor, the Magpies took a five-goal lead closing in on half-time with goal attack Gabi Sinclair nailing the only successful super shot of the half.
But Wood’s introduction paid immediate dividends as she played her part in the final two goals to cut Collingwood’s half-time lead to three.
The Lightning made their move in the third quarter, Koenen nailing 14 of 15 shots to build a 37-33 lead before a 6-2 start to the fourth quarter put the game beyond Collingwood’s reach.
Sunshine Coast’s win sets up an intriguing round-three encounter with the Melbourne Vixens on Wednesday.
The Magpies face the Queensland Firebirds on Tuesday with both teams desperate to record their first win of the season.
NRL premiership contender Parramatta has scrapped home to beat Cronulla 14-12 in an absorbing encounter played in atrocious conditions at a waterlogged Kogarah Oval.
The Titans move up to 13th place on the ladder, one position ahead of the Cowboys
The home side scored six tries to two in their comprehensive victory in Robina
The Cowboys have now lost six matches in a row
In Sunday’s earlier match, the Gold Coast Titans became Queensland’s top-ranked team after a 30-10 win over the Cowboys in Robina.
At Kogarah Oval, players were sliding everywhere and the ball often stopped dead in on-field water puddles, with the Sharks going down to the Eels despite scoring three tries to two.
Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown and Sharks counterpart Shaun Johnson both put on wet-weather masterclasses, while Mitchell Moses was also influential for the victors.
After the Eels led 12-4 early in the second half courtesy of a Brown try and try assist, Johnson almost gave the Sharks the win in a chaotic four minutes.
Having kicked for Jesse Ramien for the Sharks’ first try, he put a juggling Ronaldo Mulitalo over for their next with a cut-out ball to make it 12-8.
From the next set he kicked a 40-20 as Eels captain Clint Gutherson let the ball go out.
It put Cronulla on the attack and allowed Johnson and Will Kennedy to find Mulitalo to go back against the grain and beat three defenders to score.
But Johnson’s errant goalkicking from the sideline was to prove costly.
With scores locked at 12-all and 11 minutes to play, Braden Hamlin-Uele was penalised for hitting Reagan Campbell-Gillard off the ball and the Eels kicked clear.
Johnson then coughed up the last chance to claim the match, fumbling his own short grubber in the last minute.
Earlier, Brown had shown experience well beyond his 20 years of age.
He got the first try of the match when he fooled the Sharks’ goal-line defence, faking left before darting over from dummy half in the 19th minute.
Brown’s superb day continued after half-time when he dummied his way to the line and offloaded for Kane Evans to score.
The win keeps Parramatta third on the ladder, while Cronulla is still eighth but two points clear of ninth.
Titans outclass struggling Cowboys
The Titans snapped a 10-match losing streak against the Cowboys in style, racing to a six-tries-to-two win in arguably their best display under coach Justin Holbrook in his first season at the club.
The win lifts the Titans above the Cowboys, into 13th place on the ladder.
With the Brisbane Broncos languishing below both clubs in 15th position after their run of 10 defeats from their past 11 matches, the Titans are now the highest placed of the Queensland teams in the competition.
It is also the first time in 10 years the Cowboys have lost six matches in a row.
The Titans were sensational in the opening 40 minutes, charging to 20-0 lead as the Cowboys imploded.
Full-back AJ Brimson, playing in his second match back from injury, scored a double as the Titans dominated possession and territory.
The Cowboys were as bad as the Titans were good in the opening period, with captain Michael Morgan having a day to forget on his return from a shoulder injury that had kept him sidelined since March.
Morgan had five missed tackles in the first half, two of which led directly to Titans tries.
He was also pinged for an escort penalty late in the half, with the Titans going on to score through Brimson from the resulting set.
In total the Cowboys had a paltry 59 per cent completion rate for the half, missing 23 tackles and making seven errors.
The rout continued in the second half with Kevin Proctor producing a special play to bat back a kick that had gone over the dead-ball line for Brian Kelly to score.
After that play the Cowboys finally responded.
Kyle Feldt pounced after a horror bounce took a Morgan grubber away from Titans’ winger Phillip Sami before Justin O’Neill made it back-to-back tries for the visitors minutes later.
A threatened comeback did not materialise, as the Titans regained the upper hand with Sami wrapping up the scoring in the 69th minute.
The Cowboys only slightly improved their completion rate to 63 per cent and made a total of 14 errors.
The Penrith Panthers have beaten the Canberra Raiders 28-12 to match the club’s record of eight straight wins, again proving they are the genuine NRL premiership threat in 2020.
The Panthers equalled the club’s best winning streak, set in 2003
Kalyn Ponga starred for the Knights in their 44-4 thrashing of the Wests Tigers
Cameron Munster injured his knee in the Storm’s 41-10 win over the Bulldogs
In what shaped as another acid test of their premiership credentials, the Panthers flexed their muscles in a powerful first half to play last year’s beaten grand finalists out of the match.
The win drew the Panthers level with the club’s best winning streak, set in 2003, while they also finish a fourth straight round in top spot on the ladder.
In Saturday’s earlier matches, Newcastle’s finals hopes were given a massive boost with the heavy 44-4 defeat of the Wests Tigers, while Cameron Munster sustained a knee injury in the Melbourne Storm’s 41-10 victory over Canterbury.
Against the Raiders, halfback Nathan Cleary was again brilliant for the Panthers.
He became the youngest player to pass 700 first-grade points since Graham Eadie way back in 1976 with his first goal, while his combination with Viliame Kikau proved lethal when he isolated his teammate one-on-one.
He was also superb in defence, once helping hold up Josh Papalii alongside Apisai Koroisau and another time putting Jordan Rapana into touch.
It was Cleary and Kikau who got Penrith on the board when the hulking second rower was unleashed from close range in the 10th minute.
Koroisau had a hand in Penrith’s next try, darting out of dummy half and putting Liam Martin through a big hole.
And while the Panthers’ size and smarts are beating teams down in the middle, their speed and athleticism is doing the job out wide.
Stephen Crichton has 10 tries in his past eight matches and is now the NRL’s leading try scorer with 12, despite only getting his starting spot in round three.
The Panthers have now scored 10 tries on the right wing from the past five weeks, this time coming from Brent Naden with a classic on the sideline from a Tyrone May cut-out ball.
The Raiders, meanwhile, were not as bad as the scoreline suggested.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad had a nervous start at the back on return from a gruesome finger injury, but scored both of the team’s second-half tries.
The loss leaves the Raiders in fifth place on the ladder, two points behind the Roosters in the race for the top four and with a far inferior for-and-against.
Knights humiliate Wests Tigers
The Knights’ comprehensive win at home simultaneously threw the Tigers into a tailspin to save their own season as the dismal display produced their third consecutive loss.
For Green, it was the second win in as many weeks over the Tigers after arriving at the Knights from the Warriors at the start of the week.
An old hand at fitting in quickly, Green slipped easily into attacking structures and set up the first try of the night and put up the kick for the second within the first 14 minutes.
His experience allowed the new-look spine to click as the Knights advanced to a 24-4 half-time lead before completing a 40-point rout.
Star full-back Kalyn Ponga was as dangerous as he has been all season, scoring two tries as well as setting up another two.
His 194 run metres and three line breaks ripped through poor Tigers defence that did not do milestone man Chris Lawrence justice in his 250th NRL match.
In all, the Knights scored eight tries with Hymel Hunt, Starford To’a, Jacob Saifiti, Herman Ese’ese, Gehamat Shibasaki and Phonix Crossland also crossing over.
Half-back Benji Marshall, in his 250th appearance for the Tigers, had a particularly difficult night as his forward pack was thoroughly outmuscled.
Marshall and recalled halves partner Luke Brooks were targeted in defence, but had limited ball in attacking space to get points on the board.
The Tigers’ lone try was not a moment of brilliance and came just before half-time when Luciano Leilua kicked through a ball that ricocheted from Marshall’s boot to score.
Munster injury sours Storm win
Munster, a Queensland State of Origin representative, fell awkwardly in a tackle and is set to miss two matches.
Munster has already missed time with a knee injury this season and will now join Smith on the sidelines for next Thursday’s clash with the Sydney Roosters and possibly the following round against Parramatta.
The Munster injury did not fluster the Storm on Saturday, however, as replacement hooker Brandon Smith, back rower Kenny Bromwich (two tries) and new full-back Nicho Hines ran riot.
The Bulldogs did not help themselves. Lachlan Lewis and Josh Jackson both threw loose passes that were scooped up by wingers Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu respectively for long-range tries.
The first was one of three in five minutes to break the match open, while Vunivalu made up for some lazy play to close the first half just as the Bulldogs threatened a boilover trailing 23-10.
Addo-Carr then added salt to the Bulldogs’ wounds, winning the race to a long kick down-field to grab a brace.
Hines was as far back as fourth in the pecking order last season but was all class in the number one jersey with strong carries, assured kicking, safe hands and an early try.
Lewis’s forgettable match included being sin-binned and placed on report for a high shot on Munster.
The Bulldogs (2-11) remain rooted to the bottom of the ladder, while the win was the Storm’s (11-2) seventh straight.
The Melbourne Vixens have shone a light on the class gap in Super Netball with a 78-50 demolition of the Queensland Firebirds in Brisbane.
The Vixens dominated the Firebirds after the quarter-time break
Tegan Philip and Mwai Kumwenda landed 23 goals each for the Vixens
The Adelaide Thunderbirds scored a 59-51 win over the Giants in Saturday’s other Super Netball match
So one way was the traffic after quarter-time, Vixens co-captains Kate Moloney and Liz Watson were rested for lengthy portions of the second half to refresh them for Wednesday night’s clash with the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
In Saturday’s other Super Netball encounter in Brisbane, the Adelaide Thunderbirds triumphed 59-51 over the Giants.
Against the Vixens, Romelda Aiken shot 35 goals for the Firebirds but there was little else to soothe the sting of defeat.
The injection of Tegan Philip for the Vixens in the second quarter signalled the turning point in the match, with the star goal attack finishing with 23 goals at 85 per cent accuracy.
Mwai Kumwenda also shot 23 goals for the Melburnians.
Kate Eddy, Jo Weston and Emily Mannix were the hardened gatekeepers, turning back every incursion launched by the Firebirds as the Vixens took control of the encounter in the second quarter.
Any prospect of the home team claiming their first win for the season was dashed after the Vixens ran riot in a 22-8 second term.
The first-half dominance of Moloney and Watson created an opportunity for Tayla Honey to sample some court time in the second half.
In just her second Super Netball appearance, Honey moved sharply in the attacking third in a sign she has overcome the Achilles tendon injury that ruined her 2019 season.
Thunderbirds trump Giants
The Thunderbirds’ new and old guard finally clicked to restore hope to the proud club in a morale-boosting win against the Giants.
Goal attack Jo Harten was exceptional for the Giants with 20 goals but could not do enough to disrupt the strong connections built by the Thunderbirds.
Circle partners Lenize Potgieter (43/45) and Georgie Horjus (12/16) were the perfect targets for an Adelaide side still searching for its first finals appearance since the national league was re-engineered in 2017.
The Thunderbirds led by six goals at three-quarter time and needed to hold their nerve to keep the talented and skilful Giants at bay.
They had already been steered into a strong position by youngsters Horjus and Maisie Nankivell and by the dynamism of defensive stalwart Kate Shimmin, whose afternoon included a pair of flying intercepts and a blocked shot.
Greater Western Sydney has fought back from a 29-point deficit to beat Essendon by less than a goal in their round-10 AFL match in wet conditions in Carrara.
The Giants started slowly, kicking just two goals in the opening two terms
The win has the Giants placed seventh on the AFL ladder
Jeremy Cameron and Heath Shaw both kicked two goals against the Bombers
The Giants and Bombers managed just four points between them in the first quarter on the Gold Coast in the lowest-scoring opening term since 1965.
But the Bombers broke the contest open with five straight second-quarter goals, stretching that lead again early in the third term before their attack slowly disappeared in an 8.11 (59) to 8.7 (55) loss to the Giants.
The Giants kicked just two first-half goals but Essendon managed just 16 points in the second half.
Leon Cameron’s troops overcame a 16-point margin against the Bombers in the final quarter thanks to two Jeremy Cameron majors and Heath Shaw’s first two-goal bag in eight years.
Callan Ward then goaled from a penalty, the insurance they needed when Adam Saad launched a long-range goal with just seconds remaining.
The Giants stay in seventh place on the AFL ladder with the win, while the Bombers missed a chance to leapfrog them into the same position.
Giants veteran Shaw provided the talking point of a dour first quarter when his bump on Jacob Townsend ended the Bomber’s evening in sickening fashion.
The pair clashed in the goal square, Townsend then thudding to the ground to end his night inside the first few minutes of the contest.
A pumped Sam Draper kicked his first AFL goal for the Bombers, before Giants defender Phil Davis was thrown forward and helped set up a Jeremy Finlayson goal.
Davis was soon hopping off with a knee injury, but was able to return as they went about their recovery.
Cameron lobbed up with two crucial goals, his second set up brilliantly by Harry Himmelberg’s dash down the right wing.
Kyle Langford was the only multiple goal kicker for the Bombers with two for the match.
The Bombers next play on Wednesday against Gold Coast in Carrara, while the Giants have a bye.