TENACIOUS TONNERS TAME LIONS
By Andrew ‘The Benchwarmer’ Mullett
OLD BRIGHTON: 5.3 7.4 11.5 11.5. 71
COLLEGIANS: 0.1 2.3 2.10 4.16. 40
Goals: Hill 3, Williams 2, King 2, Karayannis, Jakobi, Lewis, Pavlou.
Best: Fisher, Hill, Zimmerman, Bolger, Filipovic, Montanaro, King, Pavlou.
Old Brighton Grammarians completed the rout of last year’s Grand Finalists when the boys convincingly defeated Collegians at a windswept Beach Oval in their fourth-round clash at the weekend. Far more accomplished in the conditions, the Tonners tore into the first quarter and slammed on five goals to seize the initiative. With Tom King and Lachie Filipovic contesting strongly at the stoppages, we were able to win enough of the ball to provide the forwards with chances to score, a difficult task even with the swirling wind favouring the pavilion end. Tom Fisher played strongly all day and had willing support from Raury Bolger and Jimmy Davis, both of whom played disciplined and planned roles in restricting the Lions in close.
Harry Hill was again in the thick of the action and his ability to stamp his influence on the game at crucial moments, saw him kick critical goals in the first term, and be at the centre of the third term action when we were under heavy pressure from a desperate Collegians trying to force their way back into contention. Harry’s team-mates provided the collective effort required to keep Collegians at bay in conditions that profited those who could master the fickle gusts. Collegians dominated play for periods during the third term, but couldn’t find the erections, and when Nick Pavlou, Tom King and Hill all goaled after Collegians had squandered their chances, the Tonners eight goal lead at the final change virtually assured the boys of victory. Nonetheless, despite not scoring in the final term, the Tonners maintained their intensity and contained any hint of a Lion resurgence, winning by a comfortable 31 points.
The Tonner’s defence has had to face further challenges this season, with Tom Garner and Max Hayes missing. Add the retirements of Ben Austen, Luke Healy and Stuart Hooy, and Greg Hutchinson has had to rebuild his defensive platform that helped secure the flag two seasons ago. Elliot Le Grice and Quintin Montanaro have become vital pillars, and young Ned Murray continues to improve with every opportunity. Dylan Verney was again in fine form yesterday, and together they kept the visitors to a mere four goals, albeit with the assistance of others falling back to assist, and a tricky wind to complicate the forwards’ day. Whilst some spectators were grumbling that it was a scrappy game to watch, the purists among us were gripped by the tension of the contest and the unflagging determination of our players to build and protect their lead.
The Premier section is tough territory this season with little between most clubs. The Tonners slipped at De La Salle after a close opener against the Blues, who are flying. Bouncing back in recent weeks has reinforced the players’ trust in each other, but every week will place heavy demands on their ability to stay focused and involved, never more so than next week when we face Old Xaverians, who are dominating their opponents. The Tonners compete hard and have plenty of skill to complement the effort demanded by their coach. Their next test will be fascinating and a challenge our blokes will gladly tackle. Make sure you are at Toorak Park to support their challenge.