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Up against a team in Whitefriars who are likely to be the testing material in Division 2 in 2019, Brunswick NOBs were in the game for three quarters but then over-powered in the end on a hot day on a firm surface at Gillon Oval on Saturday.
The Friars jumped the home side early with the first three goals of the game, before we started to work our way into the contest, kicking five of the next six goals to half-time, when things were all tied up at 34-apiece.
The impetus and inspiration for this turnaround were gun teenagers Francis Evans, who simply oozed class in the midfield and near the goals, and Luka Vlassopoulos, who provided loads of run from the back pocket. One of our EDFL recruits, Snowy Adkins, was also lively, while Jed Carey and Dom Sullivan also offered some dash.
The Friars again came out firing at the start of the third quarter with the opening four goals, before consecutive goals to Sullivan got us back in it.
A three-goal margin at the final change then became two within 95 seconds as the exciting Evans slotted his fourth for the day. Any thoughts of a win to open to season were fleeting, though, as Whitefriars slammed on six goals in eight minutes to bury us, which was a great shame given the way we had worked hard to give ourselves a chance and a final 49-point margin was probably not an accurate reflection of the difference between the sides.
There is no doubt the early loss of key midfielder Geremie Ganino to a hamstring and then an ankle injury to promising recruit Evan McIntyre tested our depth, especially through the middle of the ground, where the Friars dominated.
The defence battled hard, especially Vlassopoulos, while Darcy Heenan and Danny King made good contributions having been given tough assignments. Nick Burgin kept trying but lacked support in the midfield.
The players coming from the EDFL will be better for the experience of playing with us for the first time and there remains plenty to look forward to this season, starting this week against Melbourne High.
Finally, a big thanks to all the past players who turned up on Saturday. We hope to see you all back at the footy again this year!
Pearson St, north of Victoria St, Brunswick VIC