OLD BRIGHTON: 9.14.68
ST. BEDES: 8.12.60
TONNERS STORM HOME IN SHOCK VICTORY
After being outclassed in the first half at Mentone, Old Brighton Grammarians produced a withering final quarter burst, more than doubling our own score, booting 6.8 to 0.1 and snatching a shock victory over the stunned Tigers. The home side had played more impressive footy for most of the day but they made two fatal errors. They failed to put the Tonners away on the scoreboard when they held sway with the wind in the third quarter. Even more importantly, they underestimated Old Brighton’s tough and determined spirit and belief in their ability to still win the game. Tonner supporters again watched proudly as the boys attacked every contest and refused to concede. Not one man backed away from the tough physical encounter.
The late withdrawals of Matt Hooy and Andy Dewar threw an unexpected challenge to a side already adjusting to four alterations made to last week’s team. Jordy Matera made an impressive debut and he goaled impressively into the wind in the first term. Melbourne’s dramatic weather change had stripped spectators of their shorts and t-shirts and thrown us into the full winter kit, as players confronted smashing winds and drenching showers throughout an afternoon that even teased with occasional bursts of sunshine. The Tonners defended adequately in the first term, holding SBMT to a 15 point lead at the break, with Tom King winning convincingly in the ruck, Ben Jakobi and Tom Fisher working well in close and Dylan Verney, Max Hayes and Tom Larkworthy winning plenty of the ball in defence.
The Tonners played poorly in the second term. The Tigers ran hard into the wind, linking up with accurate foot passing and winning in the air. Our blokes fell into the trap of bombing the ball long to crowded targets who were easily spoiled or outmarked by taller opponents. The Tigers swept forward and goaled three times while we failed to penetrate the erections despite the advantage of the blustery cross wind that was nevertheless favouring the southern end. Things looked grim as we went to the sheds five goals down.
St.Bedes opened the scoring in the third term, almost shutting us out, but they sprayed a few opportunities as the Tonners fought hard to drive the ball forward. After holding fast and keeping solid possession for several minutes, the Tonners kept our hopes alive when Harry pounced on a ball the Tigers had defended, broke into space and drove it superbly across the breeze for our second goal. Later in the term, Marty Ho marked strongly and made no mistake to keep us breathing. We had more than matched the Tigers for effort in this term and they had only increased their lead by five points. It had been a sound effort to force them wide, pressure their forwards and contest every ball vigorously. Tom King had left the field for treatment and Jandre Olivier was called upon to ruck through a term that saw the Tonners staring down a 35 point deficit at the final break. In a low-scoring game, only the optimistic Tonner supporters kept the faith.
On resumption, the boys hurled everything into the opening minutes and a burst of narrow misses looked both promising and costly. When Ari Sakeson found space in the congestion to snap an excellent goal, the Tonners were clearly energised. We were now on top at the stoppages as players contested the ball fiercely, and the Tigers no longer seemed able to move forward on the break. But behinds piled up before Olivier did very well to snap accurately across his body and the Tonners trailed by exactly three goals half-way through the term. Old Brighton hearts missed a beat as the Tigers broke through the centre and threatened to score but Harry chased down their man magnificently, turned it back our way, and Matt Hayes goaled to really have the locals’ fur flying. The Tonners believed, and when The Pocket Rocket scooted around the far boundary and goaled from an angle, signalling with the traditional pumping fist, the visitors’ victory odds had shortened.
Both sides hurled themselves into the fray, moving from stoppage to stoppage, the Tonners just needing a break, the Tigers desperate to win possession and hold on. The value of a champion so often decides such battles. With four minutes to play, Harry marked strongly in a good position forty out, and lined up to give us the lead for the first time all day. Earlier he had snapped a terrific goal, only to have it overturned by the field umpire, who judged it touched off the boot. This time, he drove it straight and true and Tiger hearts sank. Still they came, and might have scored in the dying minutes but for solid work from Tonner defenders who forced the ball back down the outer side. With seconds to go, Anthony Zimmerman won a free for his tireless and continuous attack on the footy, a frustrated Mentone conceded further penalty, and with eleven seconds to go, Zimmer punted it through to make the winning margin eight points. It could not have been a braver victory!
Goal Kickers: Hill 2, Matera, Ho, Sakeson, Olivier, Hayes, Karayannis, Zimmerman
Best Players: Fisher, Jakobi, Hill, Hayes, King, Verney, Matera