July 13, 2019, 2:00 pm
|Melbourne High School||3.3-21||4.3-27||4.7-31||4.8-32|
|Melbourne High School||42 - 70|
|South Melbourne Districts||15 - 23|
|South Melbourne Districts||22 - 16|
Well now, that was one tough win. After a difficult week for the team with a change of coach, Brunswick NOBs came from behind to overcome a worthy finals contender in Melbourne High School Old Boys by nine points in a low scoring tussle in wintry conditions at Gillon Oval on Saturday.
Compared to when these teams met in Round 2, the setting could not have been more different. A small, fast ground in pleasant weather was replaced with a heavy track and a strong, bracing north-westerly wind. Brunswick were also missing some of their stars from the big win they had registered in South Yarra.
Under blue skies initially, Melbourne High took advantage of the breeze in the first term and led us a merry dance to tot up 3.3 to 0.0. Truth be told, the margin should have been greater, as we were flat and didn’t look like scoring, while the visitors out-hunted us, but were held up by some stoic defence, led by Darcy Heenan, Mick O’Donoghue and Luka Vlassopoulous.
When our turn came in the second quarter, we slowly worked our way into the contest, starting with a goal to Resh Nair. Captain Danny King and the consistent veteran Chris Ford then each got on the board and by the 22-minute mark scores were tied at 3.3 apiece. It was looking likely that we would we take a lead into the main break, but the visitors had other ideas as a clever goal from an out-on-the-full meant they retained the advantage.
The third quarter was a war of attrition. Again, we didn’t really look like scoring to the western end even though the wind had dropped before the ground was hit by heavy rain. More importantly though, Melbourne High didn’t register a goal to the scoring end. They did miss some opportunities, but we were starting to get on top in general play. Key playmaker Geremie Ganino was instrumental in the midfield, the influential Dom Sullivan had started to work his way into the action and Tom Wilson was very good playing the role of the loose man across half-back.
A special effort was going to be required in the final term and that is what we got. A great snap by Sean Gales at the six-minute mark saw us draw level at 31-all, which was followed by a 14-minute period in which each side added a behind. Then came the moment of the match. Darcy Heenan played on from full-back and lobbed a kick to the wing where the irresistible Sullivan grabbed the ball and took off before launching his own 50-metre bomb to the forward line where – of all people – Mick O’Donoghue was there with 20 metres between him and his opponent. But Mick had to pick up the bouncing ball first, which had the crowd holding its collective breath. By the time he had reached the ball, his opponent was beside him but the veteran had the composure to collect the pill and slot what would prove to be the matchwinner. For the rest of the game, we held strong and showed real mettle to take the important four points.
Jed Carey was our best player over four quarters. His skills were clean in difficult conditions and he kept on presenting at key moments. David “Choco” Royle was enormous, whether in the ruck or defence, while there were many other strong contributors to what was a real team effort. The most pleasing part of the win was the fact we got better the longer the game went on.
This Saturday is the toughest test of all – Whitefriars away. It promises to be an absolute ripper. See you at Donvale!
Pearson St, north of Victoria St, Brunswick VIC