With parking at a premium at Albert Park, taxis were in demand as the throng ventured to Gary Smorgan oval, where the Bloods were taking on AJAX. Both teams were 2 and 1 after three rounds so while not an “8 pointer” a win would certainly secure a solid start to the year. Noah Gown made his debut for the club and soon made his presence felt kicking the first goal. Billy McKay on loan from Frankston replaced Jack McHale who was required at Sandy. It was certainly our tallest team for many years – Bell, Treverton, Gown, D Seccull, Riley Thompson all talented talls. And while it was a windy day, catching wasn’t going to be difficult.
The brains trust declared it a 3-4 goal advantage kicking towards the Malvern East end and we had first use. It was a good battle around the ground but our height advantage up forward was apparent. After Noah’s opening goal with his first kick for the club (the 112th player to have achieved this), Durras bagged another and it had been a good start. Ajax slowed things down and were able to neutralise things for the remainder of the quarter. But they hadn’t kicked a major while we had managed 3 goals and 3 behinds.
The second stanza was going to be important but our back six stood up really well, as they have done all year led by Emilio Bitters who has been in great form. No one gets an easy kick against Ollie Sharp, while Jack Munro and Steeley provide plenty of run and drive. The hosts only managed one with the wind, while we managed 2 ourselves to hold a handy 26 point advantage at the long break.
Wardy appealed for the lads to not give the hosts a sniff as he said they would be have a real crack for the first 10 minutes. That is where our leaders stepped up, with Jimmy Paul and Brede Seccull ensuring we got the first use around the packs. Wingmen Nick Gooda and Dino Karamoshos also provided plenty of drive as we gradually got on top. We were beginning to exert our authority on the game and except for some wayward kicking, the margin at the last change could have easily been more than the 49 points, scorer J Bonwick was declaring.
We again dominated the last quarter, kicking 5 goals to make it an emphatic victory of 78 points. Gowny finished with 6 goals while Brede Seccull was declared our best. So it was another good win and certainly provided a healthy boost to the percentage. 35 scoring shots to 12 emphasises our dominance. We were clearly the better team but our ability to thwart the Ajax running game was extremely pleasing.
Women's Match Report
Round 4 saw the Hearts coming up against their long-term equals and where it all started. The Hearts were coming off two wins and were excited to face the strong and hard running Old Brighton girls. They had a solid team heading into the match, with Chelsea Frawley and Mim Waterman back in the side. This was certain to bring some power and speed back into the midfield.
The Hearts started the game kicking against the wind and it quickly came evident how important running and carrying the ball was going to be. With Old Brighton running in large numbers behind the ball, our defence were under siege facing repeat inside 50 entries. As always, our backs held strong, led by Loz Oliver, Bridget Gaffeo and Sarah Allingham. They soon realised long kicks out of defence were not going to work. Old Brighton had a wall set up making it hard to kick long balls out cleanly. With Sarah Allingham’s precise kicking, she was able to hit up Carly Dillon with the short ball, who was then able to get it out to the hard running midfielders.
In the first 3 rounds the Hearts have struggled to provide their forwards with clean entries. This was a key focus coming into Round 4. Their first goal came from a clean kick in from Bree Phillips to the leading full forward of Jordan Shanks. Jordan went back to kick the goal to get the Hearts on the board. Throughout the game the forwards were finally receiving the entries they deserve. With Anna Stewart providing a great leading target off half forward, leaving the forward 50 open for Jordan & Pulli to get to work.
The Hearts did not give up all day and worked tirelessly to match Old Brighton’s run and effort. This was led by Co-Captain Chelsea Frawley who dominated the ruck, by positioning her body to provide the perfect hit outs to the inside midfielders & wingers advantage.
The scoreboard did not reflect the girl’s hard work. The girls were unable to come away with the win, however, it was a good hard contest to help prepare for Round 5 against Old Scotch.
At the end of the game both teams gathered arm in arm and were addressed by Old Brighton’s coach Peter Grant. Peter and his team created the “The Danny Frawley Medal” which is going to be awarded to the girl who plays most “like Spud” each time we play. What an amazing gesture by Old Brighton. Carly Dillon was honoured to receive this special award and credit to her as her constant hard work did not go unnoticed.
Men's Reserves Match Report
This week against Ajax was a much better result from a developmental perspective for the reserves boys, we again had chances in the second and third quarters to put the game away but just did not have the ability to finish the opposition off when the opportunity presented itself.
The game started with Ajax kicking the first goal from a couple of mistakes but the boys fought back and kicked the next two goals to go into the break trailing by 20 points both but with a definite foothold in the game, Aaron Toy and Bainy were terrific and HK, Jordy Hurley drove us forward in the second and Ben Hood was getting the ball to Sam Algeri and Matt Charlesworth really regularly. Unlike last week the boys were really switched on for the second quarter and competed hard to lead at half time by a goal but it should have been probably 3 or 4 goals. The boys as a collective really dug in and chose to compete rather than switch off and have a mental break like the previous week and you could see belief growing. Jordy Johnson and Gora started to come into the game and Jordy Hurley was working back behind the footy to help the defence.
The third quarter was full of opportunity in that we needed to defend early against Ajax but failed to do so, on the back of a couple of wasted opportunities and errors where we did not quite recognise the moment as we should of and we seemed to have a lull in intensity.
The final quarter started with us trailing by 15 points and they kicked the first goal very quickly but we never gave up and hung in there with them in what was a scrap, we competed and went head to head but only managed one goal at what had been the scoring end. Again the level of performance between round three to round four was night and day, I am hoping the boys have discovered they actually are capable of not only competing but being able to have an opportunity to beat good sides and that they can bounce back. The only disappointing part was our inability to implement the game plan in the last quarter, I think the issue there is fitness and awareness and the first thing that drops away when you are tired is your concentration, then communication and then intensity at the contest. We just could not get back at them in the end.
For this week against Fitzroy we will again look to improve, work on our areas for development and make sure we play for 100 minutes of our style of footy. I am anticipating that the boys now understand how much effort it takes, particularly in a very young team, to win games. I understand everyone wants to win but we need to keep working on the right things and the wins will come. The development of the players abilities is the most important part, Hamish is improving every week and Lorenzo continues to develop in the right way, Jack Grenda goes from strength to strength as does Hoody. I think it was the best we have seen from both “Coopers” (Nolan and Wenk) so that is positive and Fraser has been a great find for our club too. If we build on last week and don’t drop away who knows what can happen.
Under 19s Match Report
Round 4 coming in after 2 big losses, the under 19s boys were eager redeem themselves as they lined up against a middle of the road McKinnon side. Searching for their first home win, the boys came out with a solid first quarter performance with Jesse Laity and William Barrie at the helm. Some missed opportunities which became a reoccurring thing throughout the game highlighted the need for an improvement in goal kicking and conversion, though this was one of our few faults in this game. Second quarter was an exciting and dominant quarter as the boys piled on another 23 points and held old McKinnon to only one major. Highlight of the quarter was Jackson “takeover” Mcgeary putting on a 5-minute clinic unlike anything we’ve seen since 2008 grand final Stuart Dew, with some impressive body work and shrugging off opponents like flies. A positive first half from the lads, but we needed to ensure that we didn’t take our foot off the pedal.
Coming into the premiership quarter, the boys proved why this 3rd quarter seems to be our favourite, holding the opposition scoreless as we kicked 2 more. Harry Paynter took an excellent grab to put him in a great position to score his first goal on debut, yet the boundary seemed a more tempting option for him unfortunately. The final quarter was somewhat even on the scoreboard though this was mainly due to our missed opportunities as it seemed to still be quite a dominant quarter with Fynn Williams adding to his tally and Mitch Domann dangerous on the wing.
Ultimately, this was a great game for the under 19s as we had improved upon much in which we had struggled with in the earlier games in terms of our ball movement and run and carry and it was a very strong team effort. Jack Hardeman was solid again in the backline as well as William Barrie pushing off the flank and repelling everything that came at them. Bull 1 and bull 2 being Jesse Laity and Keaton Law were again reliably strong through the midfield all day as well as Angus Bonwick who had a run on the wing. Was also great to have large Fynn Williams back in the forward line who made his presence known kicking a bag of 5, as well as another sought after big in Will Gown who gave us 3 strong quarters before an abrupt exit at 3 quarter time. In all, it was an exceedingly strong game that showed some great signs for the year to come and hopefully the boys can build on this win as we take on a bottom of the ladder Scotch side next week.