The Senior Bloods had four players donning the Magenta and Black for the first time on Saturday when they took on De La Salle at Waverley Oval - Rohan Heasley, Castan Racunica, William Gown and Harry Whitty.
The wind was favoring the Eastern end of the ground, and the home side kicked in that direction in the first stanza. But the first goal of the game went to Durras Seccull who marked strongly in the pack and the goal umpire did not have to move – except to get two flags. A good start by the boys. De La responded but a snap from Sammy Loewe had us back in front again. It was a keen battle, and the home side were under no illusions that their thirst taste of B Grade in a few years was going to be an easy task. Every loose ball was evenly and physically contested, and it was a good game to watch.
The Home side started the second quarter with a narrow 2-point lead, but the Bloods had an excellent stanza. Belly was getting on top in the ruck, while the backline led by Ollie Sharp and Riley Thompson were holding up well. There was good drive from the likes of Brodie Steele and Nick Gooda while Jack Munro appeared to be everywhere. Trevo kicked truly from a distance, while Durras recorded a couple more to give us a handy 15-point break. The consensus was that we had been the better side and scored three goals to their one, but it could have been a couple more. Jimmy Paul and Brede Seccull were leading from the front, while the new boys were all performing well.
Not surprisingly De La came out strong in the third quarter and began to get those important clearances around the packs. This put our defense under a lot of pressure. To the lads’ credit, they were able to withstand this for a while, but a couple of “cheapies” proved costly. Corey Connelly got an important one back and it became an arm wrestle as neither side was able to gain a real ascendency. The game was largely played on the station side so as well as being wide, there is also an uphill element to it as well. The home side managed to score another major late and we went into the last quarter facing a 10-point deficit
The last quarter began no differently as both sides continued to be hard at the ball. Bitters got a few important possessions and Gledders and Whitts began to have an influence. Gledders had been strong all day and was starting to be rewarded. The opening goal of the quarter was going to be important and it was unfortunately scored by the home team to extend their lead. But Corey Connelly replied soon after and when Durras scored from a tight angle it was really game on! Both were pressure goals scored when it mattered. We were down to a 3-point ball game with plenty of time on the clock. The game continued to be played on the station side which suited De La. Trevo was everywhere and we certainly had plenty of possessions. But finding the way to scoring that decisive goal was proving difficult and ultimately we fell just short.
In trying, tough conditions the game was a great reminder of why we love our footy. While didn’t get the win we craved, there was enough on display to be confident of the year ahead.
Senior Women's Match Report
An early start couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm by not only the playing group and the support staff, but also the large group from the Haileybury family that turned up to see the team compete for the first time since 2019.
There was genuine excitement as the Hearts prepared in the main changerooms to take on Williamstown. Part of the overwhelming excitement was the fact that the Hearts were playing on the number one oval for the first time.
Not surprisingly the well-oiled machine that is the Hearts left nothing to chance and by the time the siren sounded to commence the game it was evident that the team had come to play.
It was obvious in the opening half that the opposition had settled into match day mode slightly ahead of the Hearts. Half-time proved to be a good opportunity to review a couple of areas requiring attention. The second half was an arm wrestle won by the Hearts. Unfortunately, the gap in the game proved too much at the final siren.
The Hearts walked away believing in each other and a strong commitment to focus on the learnings offered from the round one encounter.
The Hearts never give up attitude and unconditional care for each other was the first statement in their legacy to Spud. They did him proud.
Men's Reserves Match Report
We came up against a very experienced and accomplished side in DLS who in their last season (2019) won 10 games in Premier A reserves grade so it was a tough first up assignment which gave out boys a set of experiences we can take forward and reflect on to improve ourselves.
The reserves got off to and energetic start and tackled and pressured their way to the first goal from Ben Shauder with the midfield led by Ben Hood in the ruck matching a bigger and stronger opposition, Bainy and Liam were strong across half back and that helped us to hang in there with them at the first break.
The second quarter saw us with the wind but the physicality of DLS took over, often exiting the front of the contest and pushing the ball forward and our boys looked a bit shocked and struggled to get a foothold in the quarter, we looked second to move a reactive which was a departure from the fitrst quarter when our energy was up. Jack Grenda worked hard with Fraser in the backline and the physical pressure started to show with injuries to Gorra and Bainy and a game ending one for Ben Shauder. We went into half time 40 pts down.
After some adjustments and some reminders to each other the boys came out and matched DLS in every department and without three costly turnovers we would have had a great quarter but they made us pay for any mistakes we made, the boys endeavour could not be questioned and we were well led by Scotty Ellis and Jordy Hurley across half back and Sam Algeri in the middle of the ground, well supported by Jordy Johnson, Sam HK, Liam and Bainy.
The 4th quarter started badly with DLS kicking 5 quick goals, the boys however to their credit from the halfway mark of the quarter dug in and did not allow DLS to run over them holding them to one extra goal after that and also having some quality shots themselves and were unlucky not to kick 2-3 goals themselves.
In the end it was a good learning experience for the boys, many of whom were playing their first games for the club or their first games in open age footy. They all walked away with the understanding that we can’t switch off for periods of a game against good opposition and when we are switched on we will be very competitive. They key will be getting to training and working hard on our identified areas for development together and continuing to grow into a consistently competitive side that is hard to play against.
Under 19s Match Report
A very enthusiastic Under 19s side arrived at Parkdale on Saturday ready to make up for the last 18 months of missed footy.Under the leadership of first time coach Harry Traum, the enthusiasm continued on from the warmup as we kicked a goal in the first 30 seconds with a great clearance from our ruckman Fynn Williams handballing to our captain Max Sievers who slotted the goal on the run from 40 metres out.
Another quick goal to our laconic full forward Dom Taverniti and we looked set for a big day. Parkdale did a fine job in slowing the game down and we went in at quarter time with a 23 point lead. Coach Traum encouraged the boys to continue to tackle hard and use the grandstand side of the ground due to the blustery conditions.
Parkdale came back hard in the second quarter but the Bloods defence led but Will Barrie, Gus Bonwick and Jack Hardeman stood strong. A comfortable 22 point lead at half time gave the boys a feeling that a strong third quarter with the aid of a breeze would hopefully put the game beyond doubt.
Some inspiring words from Traumy leading into the start of the third term had and the boys run out and promptly kick 3 goals in the first 4 minutes to ice the game. Keaton Law and Jessie Laity were punishing them around the stoppages and on the scoreboard whilst Jet Facey and Tahli Reed racked up possessions at will.
At three quarter time the boys were confident we had snuffed out any chance that Parkdale had by holding a 56 point lead. The coach threw the side around and the McPhee twins ran amuck with Tyrone Foster and Cooper Becker-Valles dominating.
The boys went on to win by 81 points in a super start to the season.
Congratulations to Harry in his first game as coach. He has done a great job in preparing the boys for the year and is growing as a leader at every training session and game.
Special mention to Stu Connelly who manned the full back position and pinch hit in the ruck and Will Pascua who did a job on a clever Parkdale forward.
Goal of the day went to Benny Martin who was emulated the great Peter Daicos with a kick off the ground on the boundary to score a goal of the year contender.