It may have been a glorious spring day at Bill Lawry Oval – the best time and place to be playing our great game – but Brunswick were cursing the footy gods on Saturday as a recent spate of injuries meant they ran out without at least six of their usual starting 18 to face Parkside in the second semi-final and, while the NOBs battled hard on the day, they were never really in the contest. But, thank god, there is the double-chance!
Brunswick started well and had the better of the first ten minutes or so, including kicking the first goal to an impressive Alex Avraam in the second minute, but that was all they could muster before sheer weight of inside-50 entries at the other end told on them and Parkside slammed on five goals in the second half of the quarter, to establish a match-defining 30-point lead at the first break.
In the second term, the NOBs again kicked the opening major in the second minute, this time to Gus Coverdale, who was also very good on the day, but the margin would never get closer than four goals, and the quarter was relatively uneventful until Tom Hedley kicked a nice goal after the halftime siren.
The Devils put their foot down in the third quarter and extended their lead to eight goals early on, with the NOBs’ highlights being a second to Avraam and then a bouncing effort from 60 metres to defender Lewis McKenzie.
In the final term, it was three goals apiece, including the opening one to Coverdale inside two minutes (again), as Brunswick played the game out to the siren. On debut, Sam Kiebert got reward for effort with a well-taken set shot, and Avraam finished off his polished performance with a third.
Avraam, who had been threatening a breakout game for a few weeks, was a deserved BOG, while Coverdale continued his great form this season. Tom Hedley displayed his class and willingness to work hard, with Angus Ross again good in midfield. Kiebert showed he was up to this level on debut, while Harris Mittar battled hard all day.
The well-earned double-chance means we will face Old Yarra Cobras in the preliminary this weekend. With some key players returning it will be a fresh start to the finals, with all to play for. Exciting! See you there!
Bill Lawry Oval
92 Westgarth St, Northcote VIC