Match Reports: Qualifying/Elimination Finals
After regaining a spot in the five in the last home and away match for the season, it was finals time for the Jets. The Seniors were determined to make amends for going out in straight sets last year, and try and halt Scoresby’s winning run. On a bitterly cold day - at least the hail had stopped before the main match began - both teams took the field on the big Central Reserve oval. It was pressure footy from the first bounce from both sides, with hard tackles, congested footy, neither team getting clear, and points, not goals, on the scoreboard. There may have been a few nerves from both sides as our backline stood strong with Captain Dylan Sverns repelling everything that came his way, along with Jake Sherriff and Al Pettigrew. Scoresby did finally manage to score the first goal of the day and the only goal of the quarter – it was a nine point lead to them at the first break.
The second was another ugly quarter of football, with neither side able to get clear of the packs or kick freely to their forward line, and when it did reach there again it was points not goals. Finally at around the 20 minute mark Jack Cornwall received a free kick and kicked truly to register our first goal of the day. It was only a four point ball game at the main break in a very very low scoring affair.
Not sure what was said in the rooms at half time, but it appeared to be a different team running out for the third quarter. The boys seemed to be able to break free from the opposition, and their running was now opening up the game, their tackling seemed to intensify and when Jack kicked another through the pack to give us the lead for the first time, there was a sniff of things to come! Ryan Young scored another goal quickly to increase that lead. Scoresby did manage to kick one in reply but it was their turn to be inaccurate in front of goal. Cornwall seemed on fire! Highlight of the quarter was his shot for goal which saw it bouncing, bouncing and through! And then Kev got into the action with a customary snap for goal to make it four goals for a very long 30 minute quarter! Unfortunately a mark by Kev on the siren only saw a point added but it was a 15 point lead to the Jets and the biggest lead for the match. And they did this against the wind!
The Jets seemed to have match winners everywhere, Jarrod Spurrell again marking everything that came his way, as did Aaron Walton. Jon Wynne and Chris Nayna were tireless in the ruck, Dave Sindrey was cutting up the wing and Brent English was also pulling his weight. Jon Knudsen was dangerous in front of goal and Chris Colombo was using his pace to great effect. Ryan Young and Tom Rourke were in everything too, and Ali Knudsen was fearless in his efforts to retrieve the ball.
So there was anticipation in the last, and memories of our last encounter may have crept into the supporters watching from behind the fence. Scoresby were trying to make an impression on the scoreboard, but they couldn’t get past the strong backline who, more than once, became the first line of attack. English kicked our first goal of the quarter at the ten minute mark to stretch the lead [possibly] out of the reach of the opposition. The tackling was ferocious and there appeared to be two Jets at every ball to one of the opposition. Time was ticking away and our inaccuracy crept in too. A long kick from Dylan, who was well up the ground, saw it going goal ward only to be marked on the line by Kev waiting at the back of the pack and he kicked truly – perhaps we can give it to Dylan with a ‘goal assist by Kev’. The anticipation of a win was definitely building in the outer and when goal sneak of the day, Jack Cornwall, accepted a mark from Ali Knudsen and kicked truly the game had been won! The Seniors first finals win in Division 3!
Congrats to all involved and now the attention turns to Templestowe next Sunday!
Goal Kickers: J. Cornwall 4, K. Clark 2, R. Young, B. English Best Players: J. Cornwall, R. Young, D. Sverns, J. Spurrell, B. English , A. Pettigrew
Ahhh finals …. after a solid pre-season, two practice matches, and 18 home and away matches, the games that really count have arrived!
Back in Round 7 it was a congested, low scoring affair against Boronia, and we expected nothing different for the Qualifying Final. The first term started with rebounding, end-to-end transitions from each team, but both sides struggled to break the opposition’s defence. We welcomed Fin Brown back from the Seniors, and he opened our account with a set shot free kick from a solid tackle. Billy Norris was in and under most contests and Cam Osborne provided a strong overhead marking target for the Jets across half forward. Our backs spoiled well and we were a little fortunate that the opposition were inaccurate as they doubled our scoring shots six to three, but only led us by eight points at the first change.
We needed to improve in the second quarter, and when Lachie Phelan’s pass found Lucas Grierson on the arc at half forward, Captain Cookie responded by slotting a nice goal through the middle. Josh Kral was dangerous as usual, and when he received a sharp handball he wheeled out of a pack, banged the ball onto his trusty left and the goal umpire excitedly waved both flags. The third for the quarter allowed the Jets to hit the front after Connor Van Der Wal and Trey Braione combined for a nice “one-two” act to set Trey up for a major. For parts of the term we were under the pump on the last line of defence, and at times we uncharacteristically fumbled right across the ground. However we reversed the margin from the first change, to take a lead of eight points into the long break.
The third term was a real arm wrestle. Much of the quarter was played on the far wing, with repeated ball ups, throw ins, and congestion. Reuben Brown marked strongly across half back, Cam Evans worked hard in the ruck, and Wade Van Leeuwen was hot in the contests and provided drive out of the packs. Connor Van Der Wal’s crucial smother to save a certain goal was reminiscent of Heath Shaw on Nick Reiwoldt in the 2010 Grand final replay. It took 21 minutes for either team to kick a goal, and it was the opposition who did so to level the scores. Just minutes later, Connor Weightman calmly slotted one for the Jets on the siren to hand us a six point advantage at the last change in a low scoring game to date.
The Jets saved their best for the last quarter, and Billy Norris was on fire after having his head over the ball led to a free kick which he converted. Ill-discipline from Boronia resulted in Cam Osborne’s free, 25 metre penalty, goal, and celebration that had him bouncing like the Energizer bunny. The contested game style continued right through the four quarters, and the Boronia backs didn’t give our forwards an inch of space. Wade’s centimetre-perfect pass off the side of his boot hit Billy Norris who then kicked truly, and Cam Osborne’s mongrel floater zigged and zagged through the air … right over the goal umpire’s hat! The icing on the cake was Lachie Phelan’s long-range goal from outside 50 to seal the 39 point win for the Jets. It is encouraging to know that we are never out of the game, and that our second halves are often better than the first. With Park Orchards ahead of us in a second Semi Final next Saturday at East Burwood at 10am, we all say “Bring it on!”
This week the U19’s would like to give a big round of applause to the very generous sponsors of this wonderful club, and also of our team. The team’s awards each week have been generously donated by The Manhattan Hotel, Niko’s Restaurant, Karting Madness, McDonalds, and the big one that everyone wants to win each week … the $20 award from Cam Osborne’s champion Grandfather, Grant! In addition we have had weekly awards kindly donated by The Foss, Justin O’Dwyer, and other anonymous parents. Many thanks to all these very generous individuals and companies – please support them so that they will continue to support us in the future. Go Jets!
Goal Kickers: C. Osborne 2, B. Norris 2, L. Grierson, C. Weightman, L. Phelan, T. Braione, J. Kral, F. Brown Best Players: C. Evans, T. Braione, J. Scotti, C. Osborne, W. Van Leeuwen, L. Phelan