May 1, 2021, 2:00 pm
|53 - 99|
|84 - 55|
|41 - 2|
|60 - 13|
What a day that was. Past North Old Boys players had returned to Gillon Oval in their numbers, packing out the Social Club for lunch. Outside the day was idyllic, with a strong crowd ringing the ground and creating a real community footy atmosphere. But it was the game of football between two old neighbourhood foes in Brunswick and Therry which made it truly memorable.
And while the result was a heartbreaking one-point loss for Brunswick, the feeling post-match was one of positivity in the way the NOBs had fought back from a slow start to outplay their opponents in the second half with an exciting brand of football, only to have victory snatched away from them as Therry broke a deadlocked scoreboard with a behind in the dying seconds.
Early on, the signs were not pointing to the high-scoring shootout it would become. Midway through the first quarter, with Therry kicking to the Sydney Road end with a reasonable breeze behind them, it was 0.3 to 1.6. Therry then got going with four quick goals, while Aidan Pollock slotted our first before quarter-time.
The second term brought improvement, with four goals apiece, but we still seemed to be playing catch-up footy. It was great to see club stalwart Chris Ford return to the fray, presenting as a much-needed forward target. The Davids, Marchione and Royle, were also dangerous, the latter kicking two goals for the term.
It was in the third quarter that Brunswick’s game really clicked, bringing superior pressure – headlined by 22 tackles – and a willingness to run-and-carry from half-back, starting with the likes of Chris Gavaghan, JP Perez and Will Nevill. Max Naughton and Matthew Palmer were dynamic through the midfield, while Marchione was an excitement machine, with a glorious running goal from the Social Club pocket. At the final break we had all the momentum and were closing hard. In fact, but for some late misses, we could have been in front.
We continued to ride that momentum into the early part of the last quarter and when we kicked our sixth unanswered goal we had a 14-point lead. But Therry, with a number of very experienced players, were never going to be easy to beat and they fought back to narrow the gap to eight points. Then Marchione outdid his third quarter effort with a dribble goal from an impossible angle in the Croquet Club pocket and it looked like it might be our day.
The excitement continued, though, as Therry pressed hard again, with the next two goals, before James Schmidt slotted his second for the term with a kick from the Hope Street wing that kept on running all the way to the goal-line to make the margin seven points. Surely that would be enough we all thought. But the game had become a highlights package, and there were more to come – unfortunately – for Therry. From a goal-mouth scramble, with bodies everywhere, they somehow squeezed a major, followed by a behind to tie things up. Then came the last fateful score of the game to deprive us of any premiership points, when at least two were very well deserved.
There were a number of excellent contributors to Brunswick’s effort on the day, led by Naughton and Palmer, with Marchione and Royle also huge. Reubin Fulton-Grigg continued his great form, while Gavaghan showed his class.
Pearson St, north of Victoria St, Brunswick VIC