TONNERS SWEEP MELBURNIANS ASIDE
By Andrew ‘The Benchwarmer’ Mullett
OLD BRIGHTON: 3.6 5.8 12.11 13.12.90
OLD MELBURNIANS: 1.2 8.4 8.6 9.11.65
Goals: Lewis 3, Pavlou 2, King 2, Zimmerman 2, Yorgey 2, Fisher, Davis.
Best: Hill, Fisher, Yorgey, Le Grice, Pavlou, King.
Old Brighton Grammarians proved too tough and determined for Old Melburnians, sweeping the home side away in the second half of their clash at Headquarters on the weekend. Our blokes booted 8.4 to 1.5 after trailing by 14 points at the main interval. Fired by superb work from Harry Hill who set up three quick goals early in the third term, the Tonners bolted away on the breeze, slamming on seven goals and holding the Blues to two points for the quarter. Tom Fisher and Tom Yorgey both set the template for rabid attacks on the ball, while Nick Pavlou, Elliot Le Grice and Tom King all played brilliantly to provide fluent links across the lines.
The first half became increasingly testy as players sought to establish an advantage and plenty of scuffles indicated the level of competitive angst that made the contest enthralling for spectators. OMs had the better of the hotly contested first half, simply because they made better use of their opportunities. Both clubs have almost identical records this season, and there was very little between them in the first half, though the home side’s late goal just before half -time had Tonner supporters wondering whether we could bridge the gap and establish sufficient protection against Old Melburnians’ last charge with the wind. We had stayed in the contest with two quick goals into the breeze, just when Old Melburnians had moved to a 20 – point lead late in the quarter. Tom Yorgey took an Olivier handpass and goaled brilliantly from a difficult angle, then little Bobby dashed in to complete great work from several team-mates.
To our delight, the boys took over as soon as play resumed. Harry quickly booted long to Will Lewis, who turned his man deftly and hooked the opener after thirty seconds. When Harry repeated the dose and Will capitalised soon after, we had all but bridged the gap. The Tonners then turned up the heat and the Blues couldn’t withstand our blokes’ speed and creative movement. Harry whipped a hand pass to Tom Yorgey who had come down with his opponent, and a splendid goal was accompanied by the trademark snarl and rebuke. Nick Pavlou has been rightly rewarded with State selection and regular praise in the Amateur Footballer, and his left foot drive from the boundary was pure class and gave the Tonners a handy lead. It wasn’t yet sufficient. OMs were turned back by the impassable Elliot LeGrice, and with Eddie Tait, Ben Jakobi and Jimmy Davis working hard across the middle, the Tonners continued to pump the ball forward.
Jimmy Davis left briefly with his head badly gashed, but returned and nailed a beauty, and then, to put the seal on an outstanding quarter, Zimmer dobbed a huge goal from a set shot way out on the boundary. The Tonners had maximised their chances and set the home side a decent challenge to work back. From the opening moments of the final term, it was clear that our blokes believed they had their opponents beaten. In the face of the wind, Harry found Le Grice, moving quickly down the side as if by prior arrangement, and his pass to Tom King was swallowed gleefully. King is often underrated in my view. He is our best ruckman and a reliable tall forward. And he is an excellent erectionist, a skill that no doubt pleases his father. He effectively kicked the sealer, even at this early stage, as the home side disintegrated in the face of our blokes’ ruthless determination to win every contest. It was a famous victory, perhaps given what was at stake, the best for the season.