And we had thought it was windy last week – Saturday’s conditions were definitely going to play a part in all the games played. The Seniors had made five changes to the side, with Sinders and English out due to injury, Kev unavailable and Walton, Sherriff and Hendricks back from injury, and Fin Brown and debutant Josh Kral from the Under 19’s. The team came out firing in the first quarter playing with the wind. The run, the carry, the marks in the tricky conditions were all signs that the early season form of the boys was coming back. Our first goal scorer of the day was a defender! Al Pettigrew with his typical run out of defence made a long kick count – might be his first goal of the season. The ball was finding its way to our forward line and some strong marks were taken by Ben Abbruzzese which resulted in two goals, Regan Davis and Fin Brown also made it count on the scoreboard. The points tally was also mounting and it was a 5.5 quarter while keeping East Burwood scoreless. A snap by Rob Savory in the opening 30 seconds of the second quarter extended the lead and the supporters thought – ‘how far can we go?’ but to the opposition’s credit they stemmed the tide and used the wind to kick the next three goals. The wind was blunting a few of our forward attacks, with Jake Sherriff finally finding the middle and then another strong mark to Abbruzzese resulted in his third goal for the day. A series of handpasses from the centre eventually ended up in Jack Cornwall’s hands as he slotted through our ninth goal for the day. The Jets took in a 51 point lead at the main break.
It was a scrappy third quarter with goals hard to come by, even with the wind. A good mark to Savory saw him kick his second for the day. The ball was rebounding from one forward line to another without any scoring. East Burwood seemed to have most of the play that quarter with Jon Knudsen kicking truly just before the siren, in what proved to be a very low scoring quarter, but still a 49 point lead to the Jets at the last break. The wind appeared to have died down in the last and neither side could make an impression on the scoreboard. It wasn’t until the 18 minute mark - just in front of the Heathmont pocket – when Jack Hendricks finally kicked the first goal of the quarter, by either side, the ‘celebrations’ with the pocket were definitely out of the norm! And a final goal to Abbruzzese cemented our second win in a row by 53 points and three wins for the club for the day! After the match the Coach thought the intent of boys fantastic, it was an arm wrestle all day. He felt we needed to make the most of our inside 50’s and made mention of how well the young players in the team performed, and the form of Jarrod Spurrell who was in everything. Also of Ben Abruzzese with his goals in very tough conditions. What was pleasing was winning both quarters against the wind. The focus now turns to a must win match against Scoresby next week where a win would progress up the ladder in their bid to play finals.
East Burwood 5.5-35
Goal Kickers: B. Abbruzzese 4, R. Savory 2, F. Brown, A. Pettigrew, J. Hendriks, J. Cornwall, R. Davis, J. Knudsen, J. Sherriff
Best Players: A. Pettigrew, J. Sherriff, B. Abbruzzese, J. Spurrell, L. Grierson, D. Sverns
The Squad numbers were looking up again this week, and also on the track, which was starting to show through on game day. We welcomed back Jessie Francis from injury, Jack Leithhead and Liam Douglas from the Seniors, and Todd Lucas for his first game in a few years. The windy conditions would again play a factor in how the match would play out for the second week in a row. We were kicking with the wind in the first and had most of the ball – Todd was making an impression with his first kick putting us on the scoreboard. Jessie Francis and Lachie Sverns also kicked truly, but the wind was playing havoc with the scoring. At the end of the first term we had kicked 3.7 with East Burwood yet to register a score. The boys continued where they left off in the second quarter with Todd’s second kick another goal! Again the squad had most of the play and were peppering the goals with another to Trent Mathews and then to Dylan Robson-Long, to round off the score at the main break to 6.10 to the oppositions 1 goal.
The Jets were on a mission to make it two wins in a row and with great use of the ball Nathan Parker kicked truly in the opening minutes to extend the lead. Again it was points not goals appearing on the scoreboard, with the ball spending most of the quarter down our scoring end, as were the players as there didn’t appear to be anyone past the centre! Eventually Jack Meyer managed to slot a goal through and it was 55 point lead at the last break. Playing against the wind in the last Todd kicked truly for another two goals to take his tally to four in a nice little cameo return. The goals seemed to flow in the last with Taylor Van Der Wal, Pat Warman, Jack Leithead all registering majors. It was a 5.5 quarter to ensure the win was beyond doubt and it was two wins in a row with an 84 point win. The Coach was rapt in the result and it was hard to pick out players from such a great overall team effort. He made special mention to Jordan Gasparini, Todd and his cameo, Lachie Sverns, Liam Douglas and Blake Van Leeuwen and his work in the ruck. Now for three in a row against Scoresby.
East Burwood 2.1-13
Goal Kickers: T. Lucas 4, J. Francis, P. Warman, J. Leithhead, T. Matthews, N. Parker, L. Sverns, J. Meyer, T. Van Der Wal, D. Robson-Long
Best Players: D. Robson-Long, T. Van Der Wal, N. Parker, J. Gasparini, D. Short, L. Douglas
Jane Bunn nailed the weather prediction with a strong wind blowing to the right of screen for our clash with East Burwood at the Hanger. In a first for the season, the U19’s had 5 players on Senior duties including debutant Josh Kral, who’s selection was well deserved. We kicked with the breeze and dominated inside 50’s for the best part of the first term. Ben Irvine started strong in a day where he suffered an acute bout of leather poisoning. Connor Van Der Wal took ruck duties, freeing up Cam Evans to start up forward, where he and Josh Robertson took clean overhead marks. We were inaccurate early, and took a 19 point margin into the first break, with special comments from coach Gary Burleigh-Cometti during the quarter: “share, share, share, mark, goal”!
Billy Norris was welcomed back to the side again this week, and hit the scoreboard with a crumbing goal early in the second term. The Jets worked hard into the wind with clean passing and 30 handball receives. Unfortunately Connor took a heavy, high hit that finished his game, just before we hit half time with a 40 point lead.
Gaz gave a poetic half time address, then swung some changes with James Bruce into the ruck and Lachie Phelan Groovy into the forward line, where he promised to kick three goals in the second half. The first nine minutes of the third term became an arm wrestle, with neither side scoring in that period. Cam Osborne gave lots of run and carry, Ben Savage was physical at the contest and Josh Robertson kicked his third goal for the game. Groovy ignited with monster tackles then delivered the first of his promised three majors, and Nathan Amos put his name in the Goalkickers list for the first time in Season 2017 with a bomb from outside the arc. Sadly Henry Ballard, who had been on fire in defence, fell awkwardly in a spoiling contest and twisted his ankle, spelling the end of his day as the Jets took a 70 point differential into the last break.
When the coach swapped the backs with the forwards for the last quarter the other coaches were heard to reflect back on Auskick days. In fact the defenders were like kids in a lolly shop, as Kyle Delaney wound the clock back to last year when he was a permanent forward, Danny Palmer celebrated a rare major in style, Groovy banged home goals number two and three as promised, and Daniel George opened his account with his first goal for the year. Joel Gosbell drew comparisons with the silky skills of Shaun Burgoyne, and Ryan Burleigh kept his work-rate up till the dying minutes of the game. Josh Pelosi won a one-on-one contest then started a chain of possessions that resulted in a major, and the Jets ran out 115 point victors.
This week we would like to recognise the efforts of our Goal Umpire Stewart “Sticks” Brown, and our Boundary Umpire JJ Dove. Stew spends months over summer practicing the goal umpiring art secretly down at the Hangar when the cricketers aren’t watching, and this professionalism pays dividends week after week through the winter. JJ Dove is the quiet achiever running the boundary, and his efforts are greatly appreciated as he saves all of us old codgers from having to stick the shorts on and run up and down the ground on the chilly mornings! Thanks to both of you champions!
East Burwood 0.5-5
Goal Kickers: L. Phelan 3, J. Robertson 3, K. Delaney, J. Pelosi, C. Evans, T. Braione, D. Palmer, J. Gosbell, B. Norris, D. George, R. Burleigh, N. Amos, J. Herring
Best Players: B. Irvine, R. Burleigh, J. Gosbell, H. Ballard, C. Osborne, L. Phelan