FLICKER THEN FIZZLE!
By Andrew ‘The Benchwarmer’ Mullett
OLD BRIGHTON: 0.1 4.5 5.9 5.9. 39
COLLEGIANS: 1.3 3.5 5.6 8.8. 56
Goals: Zimmerman 2, Bolger, Lewis, Davis.
Best: Verney, Le Grice, Yorgey, Filipovic, Hill, Slater.
The Tonners copped the full wrath of their shattered coach after they failed to match Collegians’ intensity in the final quarter of Saturday’s clash at Harry Trott. The game was a low-scoring battle for three quarters in which we led at the main break by Anthony Zimmerman’s goal on the siren. After Zimmer dashed in to kick another to win back the lead well into the third term, our blokes found little from that point. The backline played under continuous pressure from that moment. We couldn’t win the ball from the centre and indeed only entered the forward fifty, three times in a final term that lacked imagination and daring.
The first term saw the ball continually rebound from both defences. Collegians scored the only goal. For all Lachie Filipovic’s dominance in the ruck contests, we didn’t capitalise to any extent. We fell down at half-forward, and our mid-fielders felt the pressure of heavy taggers. They held their own and the contest was hot, but we needed our scoring forwards to find opportunities that didn’t eventuate.
Our second term was, initially, far better. Rory Bolger fought to find room to snap accurately and get us moving, but Will Lewis sprayed his first opportunity across the face. Shortly after, he prepared a difficult shot far more assiduously and was rewarded. He drove it straight from well out on the boundary to ignite a burst of Tonner energy capped off by Jimmy Davis. He was on the end of creative work from Tom Fisher and Andy Dewar, and nailed our third in a row to sit the Lions back on their heels.
This was the point at which we could have taken a permanent grip on the game. It was infuriating to then witness the lack of discipline and plain idiocy that besets a couple of serial offenders. Two soft free kicks given away, including a morale – shattering penalty into the square, two gift goals surrendered, and all the hard work for the quarter wasted away! The coach wasn’t the only aggravated spectator. Freed on the siren, Zimmer goaled splendidly, to pull back a little compensation, but to be three goals up at the break, would have been handy in a tight contest.
The third term was a dog-fight, neither side able to crack the other, but we certainly had chances to hit the score-board. Our entries lacked imagination and too many chances were turned over. We couldn’t get the ball into either Harry or Hamish, and without Kara, our footy lacked inspiration. Not that we weren’t persisting. Collegians’ ball use was cleaner, and they pulled ahead before Anthony Zimmerman pounced on a fallen ball and dashed in to restore a three-point lead.
By any measure, our final term was disappointing. We didn’t maintain concentration and so possessions were not linked in any way that threatened Collegians. They goaled twice early on, and it was a sign of trouble that it felt enough, even though there was ample time to respond. We defended but didn’t create and couldn’t win the ball often enough. Collegians ground inevitably to the line without racing away. It looked a game we might have won, especially knowing the short -term rewards, but it was a fizzer.