It was a thinner throng who travelled to Uni as many decided to watch the live stream of this B Grade Blockbuster – First vs Second. The streaming is an exciting initiative so hopefully we get more of these games.
It was a Heavy 8 at Uni and it was apparent that it was going to be a bit of a slog. The side is constantly changing with Jackson Ross getting a late Sandringham call up which gave Liam Delahunty another opportunity. Corey Connelly returned for his first game since Round 2 and Jack Bell as back in the team after being “managed” and sent to the Gold Coast.
The first quarter was tight and the hosts onballers appeared to be on top early but were unable to convert due to the extreme pressure from our backline – Bitters, Steele, Sharpe, Seccull and the run of Skipper Paul and Jack Munro is a great formula. They are playing well, having grown together over the last few years. Riley Thompson scored an important goal as we were kicking into the wind towards the Western end. Unfortunately we lost Will Paul, injured after a heavy collision so down to 21 men after 15 minutes.
So, we had the use of the wind in the second and we took advantage. Corey Connelly scored a couple as his return was proving fruitful. He was strong overhead and, on the ground, as only Corey can be. With Loewey out through injury, Corey stepped up as that lively forward. We bagged four for the quarter and while athletic highlights were few, the intensity of the game and intent from both sides was apparent. Players from both teams were going in hard and we were led well by Josh Gasparini, Rohan Heasley and Brede Seccull.
The third stanza is always important and this game was no different. Our 24 point lead at half time had been reduced to 17 and while we seemed in control, Blacks had come hard. Corey scored again during the quarter while the ruck duels with Trevo and Belly up against a strong Blacks combination was a match highlight.
We led by The hosts got the first major in the last quarter after we unfortunately gave away an important 50 metre penalty but Jack Munro replied with an important clutch goal. Most of the play was on the City side and Blacks scored again bringing our lead back to 12 points. The intensity of the game was still there and while the players were tiring, the crown were on the edge of their seats. A couple of important intercepts from Rayner Seecull and Aaron Toy proved decisive. A couple of points from Blacks had the margin back to 10 points. But then the ball ended up in the Bloods’ open forward line and Riley Thompson cleared the congestion, settled and scored an important goal from 45 out on the run. Blacks answered again and the lead was still only 9 points. Gooda hit the post and the ball was in our forward line which was important. But after an even 5 minute passage the margin was cut back to 3 points after a successful Blacks snap. A great intercept from Belly and pass to Harry Whitty who converted under the most intense pressure from 35 metres out. Fortunately, the ball spent long periods in our forward line and while the hosts kicked one late, we appeared to be in control.
The bell went and the song was sung with gusto after our first win at Uni since 1991. We are now on top of the ladder and playing very good footy. It was a great even team effort, and with more players looking to return over the coming weeks, positions are going to be hotly contested.
Next week we host Williamstown.
Senior Women's Match Report
Round 6 was one of “those” games.
At three quarter time, the Hearts were leading the match by only two points, and their opponents had a 35km wind advantage in the last quarter. Only a single point had been scored against the wind all day, so despite always knowing that the fourth quarter would be about defence, the Hearts were hoping that they’d have a stronger lead to defend…
The week on the training track had been strong: leaders lead, the girls trained with energy and focus, and the post-match niggles were rehabbed meticulously. The Hearts began arriving at the ground at 7.15am for a 9.20 game and the preparation was second to none. It was a week worth of effort that counted every bit as much as the effort on the ground during quarters 1, 2 and 3.
The character of our Hearts shone through in the fourth. As the pressure and the wind worked against them, our girls matched the Whitefriars score for the quarter, retaining the two point lead. With 90 seconds left – the ball found its way into the Whitefriars forward 50 but the Hearts worked tirelessly and forced three consecutive stoppages to hold the game as the final siren blew only 15m from the opposition goal.
In her 50th game for the club, Pulli Gardiyawasam used her speed and tackle pressure to finish in the best on ground list.
After a late VAFA re-grade, the Hearts have the week off in round 7.
Men's Reserves Match Report
Always going to be a hard game for the boys playing Uni Blacks at Blacks and I felt they hung in there and at times looked as good as the Blacks in the general field of play.
The game started with Blacks kicking the first goal from a couple of mistakes but the boys fought back and kicked the next, we were competing around the clearances but it was around the ground that we were unable to win key one-on-ones over the ground. It was evident that and leaked three at the end of the quarter to go into the break trailing by 24 points. As a group we committed to be being more accountable and defending better across the ground and we did it well for 20 of 25 mins, they had a fairly strong breeze behind them up until the 20 minute mark it was one goal a piece, a couple of skills errors cost us two goals close to half time. I thought the boys as a collective really gave all they could to defend much bigger bodies which is a common theme, so for them to hand back the progress they had made was disappointing for them but it was not a lack of effort that did it.
The third quarter we begun to tire and get ground down, our intensity in the contest dropped away mid quarter and the second efforts and third efforts that were there in quarter two which kept us in it began to decline and opportunity to score did as well, Sam Algeri, kicked his third of the game and our third of the game. Budgey in his first gave us a contest forward all day but as they went further ahead their backline ran off even more and our forwards, in coming up with them to be accountable lost structure so we often kicked into a forward line with no forwards in it.
The final quarter started with us trailing by about 60 points, similar to last week against Fitzroy. We certainly did not quit but as with most very young and inexperienced sides, it’s fair to say we did get ground down over the quarter. We only started with one on the bench at the start of the game and that limited our options a bit, a huge shout out to Hamish who finished his sports coaching at Haileybury and came straight up to play the second half and help his mates. These are not excuses, but simply the facts and the fact is every club has injuries and unavailability, we have to learn to cope better.
Sam Algeri was a standout player leading in the mid and up forward, Sam HK was busy as always and Jack Grenda didn’t quit trying and neither did Lorenzo and Cooper Nolan, Bainy, Budgey competed all day and so did Jordy Hurley there were patches of positivity from all players throughout the game. It was great to have big Dan Hille for day to replace the injured Hoody. We would love to have him every week and we thank Red Hill FC for giving us a permit for him to play and particularly Brett Carson and Hyxsy for getting that done late Friday. It’s becoming a common theme but like most developing sides we compete and hang in there for chunks of games but when we drop-off the consequences are really severe for us. We really need to work out just how we can compete with what we have. We can go down the track of worrying about things we can’t control like how big and strong the opposition is or we can get on with the business of finding a way to deal with it.
This group of boys are developing and to their credit, despite any result, turn up to train and play every week and are working on it, we just need a few bigger, more experienced, bodies in the side to support them and we need to believe in our ability a little more. This week is a new week and an opportunity to turn it around and we have showed we can bounce back following heavy defeats.
Onwards and upwards this week at home when we play Williamstown CYMS. There is plenty of season left and lots of opportunity to turn this around fellas!
Under 19s Match Report
In a game talked about for weeks the Bloods took on the Hampton Rovers in a fast paced highly intense game of footy. The boys were keen to get a win over our rivals with Harry “Greg Poppovich” Traum back in coaching.
The Bloods came out firing early with two quick goals from Will Gown and two more later in the quarter to cap off the first holding Rovers scoreless with the wind playing a huge factor.
Unfortunately, the second quarter showed the true effects of the wind with Rovers holding the Bloods scoreless and piling on 6 goals of their own. Despite a tough quarter the likes of Jack Hardeman and Ben Bishop-Schoff held strong in the backline with repeat effort to hold out the Rovers pressure.
Although the wind remained a key factor in the third quarter Rovers were able to kick two into the wind, but so did the Bloods with Fynn Williams making his presence known in the forward line and Jesse Laity and Tarli Reed destroying the contests around the ground.
With a big effort required in the 4th the bloods needed to play against the wind in a thrilling final term. With strong efforts all round from the Bloods we were able to kick two goals into the wind, however Rovers capitalised on the wind ending the game 56-65 in favour of the Rovers.
The boys are keen to bounce back next week against St Bernards. Go Bloods!