OLD BRIGHTON: 12.11.83
OLD MELBOURIANS: 6.8.44
TONNERS BOUNCE BACK
Old Brighton Grammarians recovered quickly from our beating at The King last week, comfortably accounting for the visiting Old Melburnians by 39 points at South Road. The Tonners were without eight of the players who have been at the centre of our success this year, and a sixth win would depend heavily on the contributions that could be made by the five players promoted from the Reserves. They rose to the challenge and blended seamlessly into the senior side. J’Andre Olivier rucked tirelessly, Levi Otto kicked two superb goals to celebrate his return in his 100th game, Jack Cowling linked up well, while Marty Ho and Max Lohan worked hard in close to maintain tackling pressure on the Blues, who never really challenged all day.
In a closely contested first quarter, players struggled to generate any open passages of footy. The Tonners’ back six soon established a superiority over their opponents. Tom Garner and Dylan Verney again were composed and reliable, and the Hooy brothers ran the footy out cleanly, linking up through the middle as the Tonners took the lead with goals from Tom Fisher and Olivier, who was leaping over his opponent to give his smaller team-mates plenty of chances to win possession.
The Tonners continued to look the better side in the second term and ground away from the visitors. Brilliant work by Tom Larkworthy and Michael Karayannis landed the ball with Harry Hill, who marked splendidly and kicked our third. Jack Cowling’s quick hands gave the bullocking Fisher the chance to add his second with a superb snap, and when Matt Hooy’s helicopter spun straight, we held a 22 point lead at the break, which seemed fair reward in a keen tussle. The sight of Olivier leaping up to get first hand on the footy at stoppages, encouraged supporters who had been a little pessimistic on Thursday night. Andrew McBain also stuck hard to his job of restricting Tom Paule’s influence.
The Tonners’ defence, impressive in the first half, stood up well when the visitors tried desperately to revive their chances in the third term. Quintin Montinaro, returning after VAFA duties last week, worked with Larkworthy and Verney to limit the Blues and youngsters Fraser Gregson and Tom Yorgey entered the action. The Tonners’ smaller forwards imposed themselves, Anthony Zimmerman always pouncing on anything loose. He combined with Will Lewis to allow Yorgey to snap a lovely goal from a tight angle. Jack Cowling looped the ball to Harry, whose long shot added another, then Levi Otto goaled magnificently from in front of the players’ race. At the other end, a threatening OM’s move was halted by a brilliant, diving Dylan Verney, despite the skipper being outnumbered and in an awkward position. A rare defensive error conceded a goal just before the siren, but the visitors still faced a 28 point deficit at the final change.
If Eddie Tait’s lovely snap early in the final term didn’t snuff out OM’s hopes, Levi Otto certainly did when his fast turn of speed gave him room to snap in front of a surging pack and send the Tonners well ahead. The visitors replied, but Harry, moving down into the action, marked and drove the ball beyond the opponents’ expectations, and The Rocket dashed into the open space to soccer it through. The Tonners had worked hard, their trademark effort brought to a contest in which Old Melburnians simply didn’t measure up on the day. They weren’t too happy when Zimma’s long shot sailed through on the sound waves of a siren that signalled a brave Old Brighton victory that maintained our spot in the four.
Goals: Fisher 2, Otto 2, Hill 2, M. Hooy, Karayannis, Olivier, Yorgey, Tait, Zimmerman
Best: Olivier (The Gril’d Award), Fisher, Verney, Larkworthy, Montanaro, Zimmerman, Hill, McBain