June 30, 2018, 2:00 pm
|Oakleigh||51 - 119|
|PEGS||34 - 97|
|St Mary’s Salesian||74 - 40|
|St Mary’s Salesian||43 - 20|
Brunswick may not have got the win against Oakleigh in a tight, exciting contest at Gillon Oval on Saturday but the feeling within the club was a 100% improvement on the abject disappointment of the week before, which was just as well on Ball Night!
For starters, this time we kicked the first goal of the game within the first few minutes of the opening quarter, as opposed to the ignominy of doing so in the third. We then challenged a team pushing for a spot in the final four all the way to the final siren, falling only three points short.
Most importantly, we debuted two more players from the junior club, in Will McKenzie and Francis Evans, who are aged just 17 and 16 respectively. Both were members of the very first Brunswick Juniors team from 2010, making it three players from that group to play senior footy for the club, alongside last season’s Best First Year Player in Daniel Mott. Both contributed, with Evans particularly impressive with his poise and skill.
In another inspired selection move, Luka Vlassopoulos was recalled from the Under 19s and again showed he is an exciting prospect, with two last quarter goals almost getting us across the line.
It was a close game all day. Our first term was very good as we held Oakleigh, who had the advantage of a five-goal wind, to a 12-point lead. We then dominated play when our turn came to kick with the breeze, but a poor return of 1.7 for the quarter would prove to be extremely costly.
With the wind dropping in strength, it was three goals apiece in the third term. Facing a 15-point deficit at the final break, the game was there to be won.
An early goal to Evans closed the gap, but Oakleigh managed the next two to keep us at arm’s length. Our hard work was rewarded with the next three goals, being Vlassopoulos’ brace and a 50-metre ripper to big James Moverley, to make it a five-point game at the 20-minute mark. In a tense struggle, Oakleigh kept us at bay and kicked what looked to be a late sealer, but there was a final twist as James Schmidt bobbed up with a major with 90 seconds left on the clock. Alas, Oakleigh won the crucial centre clearance and then held on.
Nick Burgin played an absolute blinder through the middle and pushing forward, while Darcy Heenan again relished his role as the loose man in defence. After Oakleigh’s gun forward Aaron Cloke got off to an ominous start to the game, Zach Bye performed a very good shut-down job on him. Dom Sullivan was a livewire, especially when given space through the centre of the ground.
All-in-all it was a very encouraging performance from the youngest team we have put on the park for many, many years. After a break this week we can look forward to playing Ivanhoe and hopefully beating them again.
Pearson St, north of Victoria St, Brunswick VIC