TONNERS STORM OVER PIRATES
Old Brighton Grammarians began the new season in barnstorming fashion, thumping the Peninsula Pirates by 93 points at Frankston. The Pirates made their Premier B debut in hot windy conditions, booted the first goal of the match in the opening minute, then were swept aside by the hungry Tonners. We kicked 10.8 with the strong breeze in the first term, and effectively shut the Pirates out of the match. The game ended prematurely in unusual circumstances. Dark clouds gathered across the bay at half-time before the storm-front smashed in across the ground during the third term, dropping the temperature by ten degrees in an instant. With lightning ripping the heavens, the umpires decided to send players from the field. Closer to town, the Caulfield race meeting was also abandoned. Twenty minutes later, so was our football match. Presumably, the Tonners’ 93 point lead will become their winning margin, once the umpires’ recommendation is ratified by the VAFA.
The Tonners have trained hard since last November, with enthusiastic numbers keen to sustain the Club’s strong finish last season. Ben Jarick, Ollie Cavallaro, Cal Macleod and Lucas Forato returned from overseas, and plenty of youngsters have been working hard to make their mark. The Maestro replaced The Minstrel on the Erection Stage and Old Brighton supporters arrived at Frankston, intrigued to see how their young side would perform after encouraging practice match form against Old Melburnians and Beaumaris..
If the loss of several key players from last year’s side is to cause chaos, it wasn’t immediately obvious on Saturday. A raft of mid-fielders willingly filled the breach and attacked the Pirates from the first bounce. On the vast expanses of a very long Frankston oval, and with ruckman, Hayden Johnson on top at the bounce, the Tonners swarmed all over the promoted Pirates. With the wind at our backs, the Tonners created scoring chances by attacking from defence, running in numbers and working hard to provide multiple targets for each other. The Pirates had no answer to Michael Karayannis’s pace and skill. The vice-captain slammed through an early hat-trick, while The Maestro, rampant in Anthony’s abandoned 44, goaled twice, as did a resurgent Matthew Gadsden. The former champ has decided to play again and looks even fitter than when he retired a few seasons ago. With Tom Fisher, new co-captain Harry Hill, Nick Coroneos, Ben Jakobi and Pat Liston ripping around the ground, the Tonners were always able to set up a man free and bolting into attack. We missed a few, but the erections were peppered and penetrated regularly. The Pirates seemed bemused and at a loss to counter the Tonners’ aggression and clinical ball movement.
When Peninsula took their turn on the breeze, they could make no impact. The Tonners’ defence was tight and keen to move the ball forward quickly. In difficult conditions, we were sharp and efficient. There will be windy days at Brighton Beach when we will appear unable to cope with the elements. Not today. Dylan Verney showed every intention of leading from the front. The skipper found the dash that had made him the Club’s outstanding player in 2015, and it was wonderful to once again see him back his judgement and skill and generate much of the drive that set up scoring chances. Tom Larkworthy went back into the heart of the defence and distributed the ball beautifully. His ability to read the game and intercept opponents’ attacks created a measure of confidence among his team-mates. One of them made an auspicious debut. I had been waiting to watch Tom Garner play. Luring him away long enough from other sports to establish a footy career, seems a worthwhile project for a club strategist. This young man is a talent and his assured and calm decisions across half-back were a pleasure to watch. The Pirates were becalmed, even in the midst of a tempest.
The storm hit in the third quarter. We had already added another seven goals. Mastromanno was on the end of a string of handpasses that ended with him alone in the square. Matt Gadsden struck a lovely ball into space that allowed Pat Liston to mark and goal. The Great Tragedian, in his fiftieth performance, snapped a thing of beauty on his left. Andy Dewar steered home a couple. Harry dobbed a ripper and Ben Jakobi made no mistake on the run. But when the wind went round to the south, it rattled the walls and rain burst through the seams of the expansive windows through which I had watched our masterly performance. The players did well to stay on their feet. When Ollie Cavallaro launched the ball up into the cauldron, it veered abruptly left, and blew out into the streets at right angles to Cav’s intended target. I was mighty glad I wasn’t in the helicopter hurtling across the shoreline. It was no surprise that when we blew the siren for the orange- break, the umps took them off. By then, the lightning jagged above the grandstand at regular intervals.
We waited and the storm passed. Let the goal-fest resume. To my chagrin, I stared across the ground and saw players shaking hands. Never in forty years! Robbed of a quarter! Further percentage gone begging! It’s been a long summer. The anticipation of watching the Tonners on display has been high. When one sees an annihilation, the lust is not easily quelled. Nor, I hope, will be a just result.
OLD BRIGHTON GRAMMARIANS: 10.8 11.12 18.13 18.13.121
PENINSULA PIRATES: 2.1 3.4 4.4 4.4.28
Goals: Mastromanno 3, Karayannis 3, Liston 2, M. Gadsden 2, A. Dewar 2, Hill, T. King, Jakobi, Cavallaro, Coroneos, Fisher.
Best: Verney, Karayannis, Fisher, Jakobi, Larkworthy, Coroneos.
A HISTORIC WIN
In a historic event in our clubs’ 60 year history, the first OBGFC Women’s team travelled to East Malvern to face one of our traditional rivals in the men’s competition, St Kevins. St Kevins have fielded senior women’s teams in previous years and we were weary of the experience of our round one opponents.
Having elected not to patriciate in the VAFA lightening premiership, and having had only a short practice match against Old Haileybury in our preseason, we were unsure how the game was going to be played out. We did know that we had improved considerably since our first training session back in November, and that a lot of hard work had been put in by the group, so we were as prepared as we could have expected. We unfortunately lost one of our most admired players, Sophie Ambrose on the Thursday before the first game with a broken leg.
On a huge ground and with a considerable strong and hot cross wind, scoring was always going to be difficult. Having won the toss and electing to kicking to the end that the wind slightly favoured, the Tonnettes quickly exerted their dominance on the game. With a combination of good team work, fantastic pressure and tackling, and disciplined field positioning we jumped to a good lead. By half time we lead by 4 goals.
The second half saw us pile on 8 goals while we kept the SKOBS scoreless at a time when we swapped the backs and forwards to give the backs some more active game time!! A great victory in our first competitive game. It was fantastic to see at the game the huge support we received from parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, past players, and even past senior coach Greg “Max” McLaughlin. Thanks to Louise Graham for capturing the historic moments on camera and especially for videoing the team song in the rooms that personified the joy and excitement of the players, and highlighted one of the reasons why Women’s football should be supported and developed.
Our next game is a twilight game at home at 5pm on 22nd April against Swinburne Uni.
OBGFC Tonnettes 12.8 – 80
St Kevins: 0.1 – 1
Goal Kickers: Emma Lomas 2, Tash Lade 2, Katie Grant 2, Maddie Grant, Emily Grant, Freya Fajgman, Claire Cameron, Morgan McGregor, Indi Tait
Best Players: Indi Tait (Half Moon player of the round), Claire Cameron, Nadia Olivier, Iona Miller, Tash Lade, Morgan McGregor