TONNERS GRAB LATE VICTORY IN ANOTHER THRILLER
By Andrew ‘The Benchwarmer’ Mullett
OLD BRIGHTON: 2.0 6.5 7.6 11.6.72
OLD MELBURNIANS: 4.6 5.6 8.13 9.17.71
Goals: Lewis 5, Dewar 2, Hynes, Hill, Karayannis, Pavlou.
Best: Lewis, Hill, Pavlou, King, Filipovic, Lowan, Yorgey.
Old Brighton Grammarians snatched a thrilling one – point victory over an inaccurate Old Melburnians at South Road, in Round 7 of the VAFA season at the weekend. The win featured a hat-trick of superb goals in the dying minutes, after the visitors had at one stage led by 16 points during the final term. Nick Pavlou nailed a magnificent long drive from the railway boundary with six minutes to play, but the last gasp hero was our young forward, Will Lewis, who launched two huge missiles through the tall poles, the match-winner with barely two minutes to play. Lewis followed last week’s outstanding six goals, with a bag of five, to inspire his team to a crucial victory that pulls us back in touch with the leading sides.
Old Melburnians won the toss and with first use of the breeze, led by 18 points at the first break. The Tonners’ defenders had held them well until late in the quarter, Tom King beginning an excellent day on Melburnian ace, Jackson Paine. Tom Yorgey and Max Lohan were also prominent, and early goals from Harry Hynes and Harry Hill were invaluable. The Tonners hit back strongly in the second term, Will Lewis and Andy Dewar both adding two goals each as Lachie Filipovic rucked strongly, bringing midfielders Harry Hill, Nick Pavlou and Alfy Jarnestrom into the action.
Old Melburnians swarmed the goalmouth in the third term, but struggled to master the vagaries of the wind now swirling in across the bay. A string of Melburnian behinds and a third goal from Lewis, allowed the Tonners to retain a narrow lead until late in the term when the visitors twice found their target. Another hard contest had taken its toll and Tom Fisher was forced from the ground, severely compromising the Tonners who rely heavily on their star midfielder’s ability to split packs and feed the ball to the outside.
Although we expected the boys to storm home on the breeze, the visitors had other ideas and when they dominated the first ten minutes of the final term, we were fortunate that for all their work, they managed only 1.4 after a flurry of opportunities close to goals. Michael Karayannis, unsighted all day, kicked a critical goal when he pounced on a ball flicked into his path by Lewis, and this seemed to spark the Tonners who once again raced to the fall of the ball and drove it forward. With only a few minutes to go, Nick Pavlou steered a long shot through from deep on the railway flank, and soon after, found room to pass to a Lewis lead. Will set himself and speared a magnificent ball through and we had scraped to within five points. To the home crowd’s delight, the big bloke marked again, and lining up from well out, he booted his fifth to put us in front. Two desperate minutes later, the siren sounded on a thrilling Tonner victory.