July 30, 2022, 2:00 pm
It wasn’t pretty, in fact it was downright ugly, but in difficult conditions at Gillon Oval on Saturday Brunswick eventually got the job done after receiving a fright from the eighth-placed Yarra Old Grammarians to take a further step on the road to the finals.
With a strong north-westerly breeze blowing all day, this game was always going to be won by the team who made the most of kicking to the Sydney Road end, which in turn meant playing down the Hope Street side of the ground whenever possible. For much of afternoon, however, it seemed that neither team got the memo, with inordinate periods of the match spent in the dead Croquet Club pocket.
In the opening term, that suited the NOBs as the Bushrangers had the wind, and goals to Evan McIntyre and Aidan Pollock on the counter-attack meant we were on top, but they were cancelled out by two undisciplined acts resulting in majors to the Bushrangers close to quarter-time.
Nevertheless, the expectation at the ground was the home side would take full toll of the five-goal breeze in the second. What was served up, however, was some deplorable football as the NOBs were drawn to the defensive side of the ground as if it was a giant magnet. Once there the ball lived on or over the boundary line, driving supporters to distraction. To make matters worse, a couple of horrible defensive errors handed goals to the visitors. Thankfully, Kane Daly and Tom Wilson were able to snag majors to ensure things were tied-up at the main break, although a miss from 20 metres out directly in front on the siren summed up the footy we were playing.
The third quarter was a turgid affair, with a scoreline of 0.5 to 1.0, but Brunswick had defended well, meaning we would only have to play a half-decent final term to the Sydney Road end to win the game. Amongst the five behinds were some very gettable shots, which was disappointing as good work from up-the-ground went unrewarded.
Two majors to Tom Wilson early in the last quarter were welcome and, from that point, the game was played on Brunswick’s terms, with late goals to big Adam Bevanda and Angus Ross icing the victory, as the wind continued to wreak havoc on the game as a spectacle. To be fair, even some of our best ball-users struggled with their ball drop, as kick-after-kick went askew. At the final siren, it was a case of four points banked and move on.
Pollock stood out as the player with the cleanest skills on the ground over four quarters and he created many scoring opportunities. Tahj Haddock was superb in defence, as he has been throughout the second-half of the season. Liam Whelan just never gets beaten one-on-one and his fellow backman Jackson Browne was great support. Tom Wilson was very important with his three goals in tough conditions for marking forwards, while Matt Palmer was as solid as ever through the midfield.
This week in our last home game for the season we play a mini-final against Melbourne High School. Win and we are guaranteed a top four finish. It promises to be a big one, so see you there!
Pearson St, north of Victoria St, Brunswick VIC