|27 - 53
St Kevins OB
|91 - 42
|28 - 0
|25 - 7
The top-of-the-table clash at Whitefriars College didn’t disappoint as a spectacle but after conceding the first five goals of the game in the opening 12 minutes Brunswick NOBs were always playing catch-up and, try as they might, couldn’t bridge that gap, eventually going down by a similar margin to the round 1 clash between the sides.
Those opening 12 minutes said a lot about the two sides. It was tight, contested footy, filled with stoppages, but the unbeaten Friars – admittedly with the aid of a strong breeze – outsmarted us by winning the critical clearances in the middle of the ground and in their forward line. For those crucial moments we were caught out, either without our best midfielders in at the centre bounces or not protecting the dangerous zones goal-side in defence. The big positives are that we fought back once we were down on Saturday and can take steps to remedy things if we meet the Friars again in the finals.
It will come as no surprise that the major contributor to the spectacle was one Dom Sullivan. It was he who kicked our two goals in the first quarter to stop the run of the home side, the second a clever snap from the boundary. But they were just the warm-up acts. When we got the chance to kick with the wind, and unfortunately after conceding the first two goals of the term, Dom showed how it should be done by calmly slotting a set shot from 60 metres out. Then came the most outrageous goal you will ever see: a mid-air bicycle kick over his head from a spoil in the goal square. It was the sort of goal that soccer people go crazy about: simply amazing. At half-time, Dom had kicked 4.3 out of the team’s 4.5. Enough said.
Perhaps inspired by Dom’s one-man show, after the main break we came out a different team. With Nick Burgin and Geremie Ganino finally getting a chance to assert their influence in the middle of the ground, we closed the gap to 18 points at the 20-minute mark, which is as close as any team has been to the Friars in the second half a game since we played them in round 1. With the momentum in our favour after a controversial free kick gifted Chris Ford a second goal for the quarter, the question was being firmly asked of the home side. But – unfortunately for us – answer it they did, and convincingly. At the final change the margin was back to 40 points.
By the final term both sides had probably traded their best shots. We lost our compass, continually playing to the defensive side when attack was needed kicking with the wind. Our effort remained strong but the home side’s physicality took its toll on our bodies and minds. Once again, we had pushed the top team but faltered when the heat was applied. The good news is we know we can match them, but need to sustain it for longer.
Dom ended up with 5.5, missing some shots he would normally eat for breakfast, but he was easily our best player. Jed Cary continued his recent run with another excellent game while Burgin roared back to form in the second half. Ganino was great, but spent a lot of the game like a horse boxed in on the rails looking for a run. We need to make more use of him. Luka Vlassopoulos started in defence and moved into the midfield, showing maturity beyond his years in both roles. Others who battled hard included James Octigan, Sean Gales, Darcey Heenan, Tom Wilson and Mick O’Donoghue.
As a club we can be proud of the effort shown on Saturday, but now we need to double-down and finish off our remaining four games with wins before a bye in round 18 and then the finals. See you back at Gillon this Saturday when we face Bulleen-Templestowe in another big game!
Whitefriars College Oval
156 Park Rd, Donvale VIC