The seniors and reserves finished off a disappointing season at Brighton with a couple of losses sending us to Premier C. However the highlight was the convincing win by the Under 19s sending them straight to the Grand Final.
Under 19s (Review of Semi-final 2)
Haileybury’s U19 side romped into the Section 4 Grand Final last Saturday following a devastating last quarter in which they booted 12 goals while restricting AJAX to a solitary point. The Young Bloods recorded a 93 point winning margin for the second successive week. The boys had to work hard for their win despite the scoreline as Mick Constable’s report shows.
The Bloods took on AJAX on Saturday at Princess Park in for the Second Semi-final which was a repeat of the round 18 clash played seven days earlier. The previous week we started extremely well and shut them out of the game but we knew it would be difficult to do that two weeks in a row. We knew they would change a few things up and probably look to increase their physicality, use some taggers and possible play an extra back at times.
Captain Jack lost the toss and we were kicking into the wind to start with. AJAX, after a week of reflecting on being humbled by 93 points the week before, were noticeably more aggressive at the ball and at the man than the week before. After a ripper game of a game in Round 18 playing through the midfield, Chuck found that he had grown one or two AJAX Siamese twins who were attached to him at all times so he found the going difficult to begin with. We were under the pump early in the quarter but had some really good run and carry with the ball to threaten the goal mouth but missed a couple of scoring opportunities and spilt a couple of grabs. AJAX then kicked 3 goals despite some desperate defending from the backline. AJAX and their crowd were nice and chirpy. The last 10 minutes of the first quarter saw a great fightback from the boys where we took the ball quickly from the back line, carried the ball up the dead side then inboard and scored some crucial goals. The last one from the skipper, seconds before the end of the quarter, levelled the score at 3.2 apiece. Josh Elston and Joel down back started very well and Donny on a half-forward flank was on fire giving us a very handy target into the wind. Brodie had some inspirational passages of play where he won crucial contests despite being outnumbered and set up our scoring opportunities.
To equalize the scores was a great effort as AJAX played as well as I think they could have but to the boys’ credit they absorbed it, moved the ball quickly and used their better pace to claw them back. The pressure from our boys was fantastic – but so too was that of AJAX.
We moved the ball to good spots on the ground in the second quarter and I thought the backs and mids ‘changed lanes’ beautifully to use the scoring side of the ground to hit up the forwards. Durras and Oakesy, supported by the small forwards, were looking very dangerous and we kicked 6.4 to 1 goal to lead by 34 points at half time.
For the first 20 minutes of the third quarter into the wind, we defended extremely well. Raynor, Joel and Declan cut off plenty of opposition forward attacks. It was noticeable that they were looking to switch and kick longer than their usual game style which stretched us down back. We used the defensive side of the ground and ran the ball well to kick a couple of really good quality goals. Torsten in the ruck gave us great drive and followed the ball up really well. We switched off a bit in the last 5 minutes and stopped running. AJAX got their short kicking and running game going which is hard to stop once it is flowing. They kicked 3 goals in the last few minutes of what turned out to be about a 33 minute quarter and finished with all the momentum. At ¾ time our lead was cut to 3 goals and there were some nerves in the crowd as to what was going to happen next.
The first goal of the last quarter was really important for both teams. Sensing that, Oli produced something magical in the first few seconds of the last quarter. After hitting the ball forward out of the ruck he ran onto the ball, gathering it at full pace, and threw it on the boot at full steam from centre half-forward. The ball sailed through the big sticks in what was one of the most inspirational goals of the season. The crowd roared and the heart was ripped out of AJAX in a few seconds. Within another few minutes, 2 more goals were scored to take the margin out to 6 goals but the procession of goals continued. Stocky kicked another ripper goal on the run and the flood gates had well and truly opened. Durras kicked about 4 for the quarter to take his tally to 9 for the day and the Bloods finished with a 12 goal to nil last quarter to run away with the game by 93 points – the same margin as the previous week.
The scoreline didn’t show how hard the boys had to work to get the win. Jack led the charge with a best on ground display and kicked 4 goals himself as well as racking up the metres gained and goal assists with some beautiful passes. Our whole backline performed really well with some terrific defence then counter-attacks launched. Brodie had a ripper in the midfield with a great display of raw competitiveness at the ball and ball carrier. Jamie and Will Paul on the wings linked and allowed great transitions of play to occur and it was really good to see Charlie worked through the heavy tagging to contribute strongly to the result. Matty Charlesworth combined silky skills with strong physical pack work and Liam laid a couple of strong tackles. Our rucks of Oli, Shea and Torsten competed well again.
I was pleased to see our discipline was pretty good, that we stuck at the game plan and persevered when it wasn’t going our which allowed us to overcome our opponents in the end by a very good team effort.
That takes us into the Grand Final on 10th September time at a time and place to be advised.
Goal Kickers: D. Seccull 9, J. Munro 4, J. Elston 2, B. Oakes 2, C. Constable 2, A. Ventouras, W. Stock, O. Sharpe, W. Paul
Best Players: J. Munro, D. Seccull, L. Montgomery, B. Steele, R. Seccull, O. Sharpe
Old Haileybury’s 2016 campaign was bookended with matches against Old Brighton. The first encounter between the two teams was on 9 April. Last Saturday it was Old Brighton’s turn to host the Bloods at the Brighton Beach Oval. The Tonners had comfortably retained a place in Premier B despite not making the finals. Old Haileybury were playing for a measure of pride and dignity.
A steady breeze blew across the ground throughout the match. There was plenty of cloud around but no rain. The sun appeared regularly. Lachie Treverton, Scott Ellis, Keelan Hartnett and Josh Alkemade came in the Bloods line-up in place of Ed Limon, Josh Elston and the Harrison brothers.
The Bloods kicked to the southern end in the first term. Brighton kicked the first goal of the match. The Bloods battled hard to work the ball into attack and lock it in the forward line. Interestingly, Hamish McLaughlan had the first two shots at goal for the Haileyburians. Peter Shakallis eventually booted the first goal for the Bloods. There were initially plenty of turnovers by the Tonners but they gradually started to win the ball consistently out of the centre. However, the Bloods gained some momentum towards the end of the quarter. Aaron Toy was more than holding his own in defence and Nathan Waite had registered two goals by the break. Haileybury were a point up after scoring 3.2.
Old Brighton kicked up a gear from the first bounce of the second quarter and blew the game open. Speedy midfielder Harry Hill was frequently sending the ball into attack and their full-forward, Daniel Anthony was unstoppable. The Tonners kicked seven goals in a row. The intensity that had been shown by the Bloods in the first quarter dropped away in the face of the onslaught and it took the side roughly 17 minutes to make a forward entry. Turnovers were costly for the Bloods who made hard work of a goal to Jarrod Plymin. By the time the siren for half time sounded the Tonners had piled on 10.4 to Haileybury’s 1.1 and effectively put the result of the game beyond doubt.
Thankfully the Bloods didn’t surrender meekly. Brighton slotted the first goal of the third term. Haileybury made regular forays into its forward line but struggled to make an impact on the scoreboard early on. Nathan Waite tried exceptionally hard up forward. Nick Gooda booted the first goal of the quarter and four more quickly followed through sheer hard work and determination. This seemed to prove conclusively that the southern end of the ground was the scoring end. The game tightened up late in the term with plenty of packs forming as Old Brighton tried to rally. Old Haileybury ended up adding 6.5 in the quarter while restricting their opponents to 2.1.
Brighton booted the first four goals of the final quarter of the season and went on to snag another three. The Bloods added four of their own with three being kicked by Waitey making a personal total of six for him in what was an excellent performance. Haileybury fought on in an attempt to stay competitive but the sting went out of the game and Old Brighton coasted to a 49 point victory.
Goal Kickers: N. Waite 6, J. Nicolopoulos 2, P. Shakallis 2, J. Toy, T. Witherow, N. Gooda, J. Plymin
Best Players: J. Arthur, N. Waite, A. Toy, M. Rafferty, J. Paul, N. Gooda
The Reserves competed well against Old Brighton in the first half but fell away in the latter stages.
Goal Kickers: A. Thomson 2, B. Prior, C. Faulkner, A. Thorley, D. Gauci, A. Godfrey, D. Newby
Best Players: D. Harrison, A. Godfrey, T. Coles, T. Tyrell, B. Prior, T. Bowman