Last month, the Senior Boys football team played against our old rival, Melbourne High (formerly the Ludowyke Cup). Due to many late "unavailabilities", it was only a squad of 16 players that ventured across town on a cold, grey Melbourne afternoon.
Inspirational skipper Luca Prenesti lost the toss, which many pundits had tipped as our best chance for success on the day. Those same scribes were eating their words five minutes later when Clarrie Kilkenny-Jones unnecessarily booted the opening goal of the quarter (from an open goal) over the fence, running down the clock in clever tactic against the breeze. Unfortunately, this was soon followed by 3 consecutive goals to the home side, as their pace and willingness to share the ball sliced through the Prinny Hill defence. Theo Streader steadied the ship with a nice snap from 30m, before a late goal from Melbourne High pushed the margin back out to 14 points.
The second quarter was a far more defensive battle, with repeat stoppages and strong tackling from both sides in the wet, muddy conditions. Nat and Dom had tightened up on the small MHS forwards, Kaspar was working hard in the ruck and Oscar was running hard on his wing. Finn L, who has been providing a strong forward target all game, was rewarded with a nice goal midway through the term, but again MHS answered with one of their own. The main break had MHS 5-2-32 still leading PHSC 3-0-18 by 14 points.
They say that the Carlton boys have always considered the 3rd quarter to be the premiership quarter. As a Blues man, it felt like throw-back Thursday as we piled on the first 3 goals, hit the front and controlled the flow of play. Finn B and Darcy controlled the air in the back half, allowing Clem and Alex G to repel everything out of defence. Oscar and Clarrie's work-rate through the midfield was phenomenal, as was the tackle pressure of Dom, Nat and Luca P. Finn B-Z was working hard to hold the ball in across the half-forward line, creating multiple scoring chances. When Theo, who had been holding his wing perfectly on the small ground, kicked his second running goal in 2 minutes, we had edged within a point of an MHS team who appeared out on their feet. After a rushed point to MHS, we transitioned the ball perfectly down the far wing. With a loose ball at half-forward, Dion and MHS defector Cohen linked to get the ball out to George with 3 minutes left, and his long bomb saw us take the lead by 4 points. To their credit, MHS rallied and, for the 3rd consecutive quarter, kicked late goals. This time it was 2, but we'd won the quarter and only trailed by 8 points at the final change.
Our boys, with no interchange, were exhausted but could smell victory. We continually surged forward against a desperate opposition who defended with grit. After being directed to persevere, run and look to find loose players, our boys ignored me and kept kicking long to George. After the third time we'd sent the ball to him, outnumbered 5-1, I gave up. I still don't know if that's because I thought they wouldn't listen or I'd realised I was wrong - he kept marking the damn thing! Finn L's quick snap midway through the term reduced the margin to 5 points. A couple more consecutive surges by MHS could have easily ended the game, but our dour defence and pressure allowed them only minor scores. With 45 seconds on the clock and 4 points down, we had one final roll of the dice. A long kick-in to Kaspar, a knock-on from Alex, well roved by Clarrie and we had it past the wing. Finn L gave a strong contest, Dion laid a tackle and George pounced on the loose ball. He fended off 3, piggy-backed one and possibly had another around his waist. The long kick across his body faded like a candle in the wind... as did school footy for all of the Year 12 boys involved.
I would like to thank this year level for their commitment to the PHSC Sport program and specifically the football days over the past 6 years. They have been outstanding representatives of the school, our values and our ethos around sport - try hard, respect everyone and have fun.
I wish you all the best with your future pursuits, enjoy the misfits pic.