May 15, 2021, 2:00 pm
St Mary’s Salesian
|52 - 62|
|29 - 64|
|9 - 11|
|7 - 12|
Ouch! That hurt.
After the heartbreak of the one-point loss to Therry a fortnight ago, it looked like Brunswick had done enough to hold on at Gillon Oval on Saturday before lightning did strike twice in the form of a goal to St Mary’s with 30 seconds left on the clock to deny us of our first win for the season. Talk about character building – this was cruel.
What was a torrid encounter played by two desperate sides in wet conditions was always going to come down to particular moments, and for much of the day it appeared as though Brunswick had the better of them, leading at every change and by a goal at the 12- minute mark of the final quarter.
Then came an extraordinary last 20 minutes played entirely in St Mary’s forward line, when the game looked more like rugby than footy and it became a battle of tactics. Brunswick mounted a full rear-guard action as St Mary’s continually bombarded the Sydney Road end. The umpires put the whistle away and a series of rolling mauls ensued, with heavy legs all round. It was enthralling to watch as St Mary’s sprayed their kicks and we forced stoppage after stoppage. But something had to give eventually and, a couple of times, it looked like that might be in the form of a Brunswick matchwinner on the counter-attack, but our legs were too tired to move the ball past halfway and the ball was rebounded by the wall set up by St Mary’s.
Then came THE moment. With 50 seconds left we had possession and kicked it down the grandstand wing. Surely, we were safe now we thought. But the kick hit the St Mary’s wall and this time they took the ball back through the corridor to the hot spot, where a rare sliver of space had opened up to enable one of their crumbers to snap what would prove to be the winner.
In the first term, when the teams were fresh and the ball wasn’t too wet, kicking goals hadn’t been that difficult. While we kicked four of them with the wind, we had not played terribly well, spending too much time stuck in the dead croquet club pocket. But we did have some good fortune, with a rare double goal, when Nick Burgin was paid a free kick following a Ben Wilson goal, and then a 50-metre penalty taking Choco Royle to the goal line. Unfortunately, we did not fully capitalise on our luck as we allowed St Mary’s to slot two majors late in the quarter to narrow the margin.
Our good fortune continued in the second quarter as St Mary’s missed a number of gettable shots, while James Schmidt received a dubious holding the ball free kick which he duly converted. Then David Marchione kicked a goal after the halftime siren, his second for the day, to give us the lead.
The third quarter was expected to be the one when we set up victory with the wind, but it was a curious, scrappy affair. The umpiring had changed from the first half and the game ground to a halt. Early on, an excellent pass from Aidan Pollock set up Wilson for his second major, but that was all we could manage as we inched our lead out to seven points at the final change. Six minutes into the final term that lead was gone as St Mary’s levelled the scores, which was followed by Marchione’s third of the game at the 12-minute mark to restore our slight advantage. Then came the endgame, so to speak.
Brunswick had many players who made valuable contributions over the course of the game, led by James Moverley who was a four-quarter warrior in the ruck. In the first half, it was midfielders like Burgin, Max Naughton, Matthew Palmer and Reubin Fulton-Grigg who were to the fore. As the game turned into a real slog, defenders Daniel Spiers, Liam Whelan and Chris Gavaghan were prominent, while Marchione was again our best forward on the day.
Pearson St, north of Victoria St, Brunswick VIC