|45 - 86|
Melbourne High School
|40 - 115|
Old Yarra Cobras
|6 - 42|
Old Yarra Cobras
|6 - 34|
It may have only been a round one game in Division Two, but the Brunswick NOBs recorded one their greatest wins against arch-rivals Old Paradians at Garvey Oval on Saturday.
Parade had ended Brunswick’s 2022 season in the first semi-final, but of the 22 who took the field on the weekend only seven had played that day at Williamstown. That statistic had most pundits predicting another loss, which seemed to be on the cards midway through the third quarter when the NOBs trailed by 29 points.
What transpired thereafter was quite remarkable – a 55-point turnaround, with Brunswick kicking 10 of the last 12 goals of the game. The genesis of the comeback lay in another statistic: 12 of the 22 had come through the club’s junior and under 19s pathway. It was the joy of youth playing with freedom, undeterred by the scoreboard. There was plenty of individual talent on display, to be sure, but there was also a connection that comes from years of coming through the ranks together. We may have seen an exciting glimpse into the future of the club.
The first quarter had been an arm-wrestle. The NOBs were kicking into a strong northerly and did well to restrict Parade to only the two goals. We didn’t manage to snag one, but did create some chances, particularly through Alex Avraam, who took some strong marks.
In the second term we were well on top for most it and, but for some set-shot misses, could have built a decent lead. Goals to Gus Coverdale, Avraam and big Jasper Paevere (at the third time of asking) had given us the lead, however, some defensive lapses in the last few minutes of the quarter proved costly as Parade unexpectedly kicked three goals into the wind and took an 11-point lead into the main break.
The third quarter was an epic. Two early goals to Parade gave them a four-goal lead, then followed something of a stalemate as we won plenty of ball but struggled to move it into the breeze, before Parade extended the margin to a game-high 29 points. Then, out of the blue, the wind died down and we found our mojo, dominating the clearances and hitting targets in attack. A second Coverdale goal was the spark for the comeback, followed by a brace to last year’s leading goalkicker Tom Wilson. New recruit Matt Horan snagged a late one and we ended the term only nine points down and with all the momentum.
That momentum rolled into the start of the last quarter, as Horan kicked another and the exciting Johnny Haddad put us in front with a 50-metre bomb. The ball was then trapped in our forward-line for some time, before the Parade defence cracked – conceding a holding-the-ball free at the top of the goal square, followed by a deliberate out-of-bounds and a 50m penalty for dissent. All-of-a-sudden we led by 18 points and the game was in our keeping. Late goals to debutant Gabe Banova, who was our best four-quarter player, and another impressive recruit in Tom Hedley put the icing on the cake of a famous victory.
In what was a real team effort, Banova was a deserved BOG. Always a promising junior, injuries had cruelly restricted Gabe to one game since 2019, but he showed what he has to offer. Another recruit in Jake Ralston was excellent as a key defender all day, alongside Lewis McKenzie, who was just as impressive, while Tahj Haddock shut down Parade’s best player. In the midfield, Angus Ross and Coverdale were fantastic, while Haddad reminded of what we missed when he was injured last year. On the wings, Hedley and Will McKenzie gave us run all day.
We return to Gillon Oval this Saturday against the newly merged Old Yarra Cobras, preceded by our Under 19s. It promises to be an exciting day – see you there!
Plenty Road and Ambrose Treacy Drive, Bundoora VIC