Brunswick got back on the winners’ list at Ted Ajani Reserve on Saturday with a solid 49-point victory over Bulleen-Templestowe, although early in the third quarter it had threatened to be double that margin after the NOBs had slammed on 13 unanswered goals playing some quality football.
To the Bullants’ credit, they played the game out and kicked five of the last six goals, and post-match coach Hunter was not too concerned about the fade-out considering the positive signs he had seen earlier on.
The NOBs started the game kicking with a five-goal wind, but were again slow out-of-the-blocks, with the home side on top in the opening 10 minutes, including the first major. It was Kane Daly who eventually kick-started proceedings for us with a long, long bomb to the city end, before Jasper Paevere got in on the act with a quick couple of goals, roving out-the-back. Daly then repeated the dose and Paevere made it a full-house for the quarter with his own long bomb. But, considering the strength of the breeze, a 27-point margin seemed to be about par.
Kicking into the wind brought a change of tactics – with short kicks, changing the angles and plenty run-and-carry – which saw the NOBs play their best footy for many weeks. They owned the ball, simultaneously depriving the Bullants of the wind advantage and piecing together some excellent passages of play to transition from back to forward, and reaped the rewards with 4.1 to 0.7. The backline, led by Lewis White, Will McKenzie, Taj Haddock and Liam Whelan, was quite superb in cohesively turning defence into attack, as Tom Wilson (with a couple), Evan McIntyre and Nick Burgin capitalised.
The third quarter had all the hallmarks of a slaughter as Brunswick quickly had four goals on the board, including a third to Daly, two to Matt Palmer and a single to Tom O’Farrell, to make the margin 73 points. Then we hit the wall – tiring even though we still had the benefit of the wind, as the Bullants worked their way back into the contest, kicking two goals late in the term.
A fortuitous 100m penalty gifted defender Gus Buckley a rare goal in the final term, but the home side was largely in control with three majors. Nevertheless, the four-points had been secured.
Over four quarters White was our best player, strong in the air and the springboard of many counterattacks, aided by McKenzie and Haddock. As he always does, Palmer knocked up winning possessions and creating opportunities for our forwards, while Daly and Paevere were very important players for us on the day. Max Naughton and Ben Wilson were tireless as ever.
We now embark on a run of three home games, starting with Aquinas this Saturday, in which we look to nail down a finals spot. See you there!
Ted Ajani Reserve
284 Thompsons Rd, Lower Templestowe VIC