Well was this to be our last match for this year? The outcome was out of our hands but we had to win to keep our slim chances alive. On paper it looked like a win but as we all know, strange things have happened once on the field. We had a couple out with injury but welcomed back Brent English, Jack Cornwall and David Sindrey to the side – a few ‘handy’ ins! Joel Merrett also joined the squad after some stellar weeks with the DSquad.
With a sea of Cystic Fibrosis Tshirt clad supporters watching on, Kev Clark was in the action straight away with the first goal. He then actually handed one off to Fin Brown who kick another. It was all the Jets way, and when South Belgrave did apply the pressure and force it down their forward line our backline, ably lead by Captain Dylan Sverns and Al Pettigrew, became our first line of attack. Jarrod Spurrell was marking everything that came his way and intercepting many of the opposition attacks, as was Josh Davis. The highlight of the quarter, and what must have been the goal of the day, went to Kev – kicking an Eddie Betts type goal - after eluding his opponent he kicked the ball off the ground, on the boundary near the point post, and watched it dribble through the big sticks! Jono finished off the quarter with another goal and it was an 11 point lead at quarter time.
The crowd were also listening in to the EFL game of the day, Boronia v Templestowe, the outcome of which would decide our finals future. It was a close match there at quarter time.
Our boys were on a percentage booster in the second with goals seemingly coming from everywhere. Another to Kev, then Ben Abbruzzese chimed in with a strong mark resulting in a goal, and another from a toe poke off the ground amongst a flurry of players. Fin Brown was leaping high but was receiving quite a bit of attention from his opponent who was thwarting most of his attempts so far. Another toe poke in the forward line, this time by Tom Rourke, and running goals to Jack Hendricks and Jono saw a six goal quarter and 43 point lead at the main break.
There still wasn’t much in the EFL game of the day but Boronia was just up at the main break – not the result we wanted – but there was still a half to go.
Kev was in amongst it again for the start of the third with another goal to kick off the term. And he passed another one off! This time to Ben who kicked truly, followed by another from Ruckman Jon Wynne and the Jets were flying. Kev passed off yet another to Fin Brown who added to the scoreline and it was 65 point lead at the last break.
Boronia were in front at three quarter time by 15 points but we heard Templewstowe had the wind in the last.
So could this be our last quarter for the season? The boys turned on another display in the fourth. This time Jono opening the Jets account but not before long Kev had kicked another, and competition for another goal of the day candidate must go to Jack Hendricks as he somehow managed to get foot to ball while on his back and the crowd watched as it went through!
Meanwhile Templestowe had hit the front!
Great byplay between Kev and Jono for the next goal – with Jono graciously removing himself from the marking contest to allow Kev to mark – only just – and goal with smiles all round. But Jono made up for it with the next two goals, with Joel Merrett kicking the sealer and the Jets winning comfortably by 74 points.
Meanwhile Boronia was back in front! This game was running 10 minutes behind ours, so the supporters were crowded around listening to the EFL radio and willing Templestowe on – the players came over to the pocket to listen as well after the siren had gone – it was a rather tense situation. All those listening felt every kick and celebrated every Templestowe score as they worked their way to the lead, so when the siren rang there was jubilation at the Hangar as the Seniors were back in the finals race.
South Belgrave 6.4-40
Goal Kickers: K. Clark 6, B. Abbruzzese 4, J. Knudsen 4, J. Hendriks 2, F. Brown 2, J. Wynn, T. Rourke, J. Merrett
Best Players: K. Clark, B. Abbruzzese, F. Brown, C. Colombo, J. Hendriks, J. Spurrell
This was the last game of the season for the Development Squad and their goal was to finish with their fifth win in a row! It would be VV’s last game as coach, it was also a big day for Pat Warman, a stalwart of the club – having literally grown up down at HE – he was playing his 200th club game. It was our Cystic Fibrosis Fundraising round and many of the team playing were remembering their teammate Simmo. There had been a few late withdrawals from the team and thanks to Kyle Delaney and Nick Sellar for stepping up. And we welcomed Declan Browne from the Under 17’s and Regan Davis from the Seniors. So a BIG day all round.
The weather couldn’t make up its mind – with sun one minute and sleeting rain the next! The boys ran out against, what looked like, an undermanned South Belgrave and let their intentions be known early, with Nick Holloway kicking the first goal. Our international recruit Bernie Lechner was in amongst it and took a great mark, but the distance was just a little too far and that elusive goal evaded him. The ball had remained in our half of the field for most of the quarter and another goal to Jack Leithhead, and a great goal, through the pack by Trent Matthews, followed up with a beautiful long goal, again by Nick. We took in a 25 point lead at the first break, whilst keeping the opposition scoreless. Holloway featured again with another long goal in the opening minutes of the second. Nick Sellar also chimed in for another, in what must have been his first goal for quite a while, considering he is usually wearing training whites on game day! Davey O chimed in for another and Bernie nearly had another but the siren rang just before he marked the ball. It was 39 point lead at the main break.
It was more of the same in the second half – with the squad trying to help Bernie get that elusive first goal in Aussie Rules. He took another mark but passed it off – the team thing to do! Nick Holloway featured again with another, and 200-gamer Pat Warman did so too. It was definitely not going past the centre for South Belgrave. Davey O added to the score and so did the Captain David Short, to take in an unassailable lead of over 10 goals at the last break. Trent goaled within the first minute of the fourth quarter! But South Belgrave were giving it their all this quarter, and managed to force the ball into their forward line managing two goals against the play. The Jets responded with another to Davey O and as the crowd held its breath, Bernie had a shot but it was a point! It looked like that goal was going to evade him after all. Under 17 player Declan Browne then chipped in for the last goal of the day and his first in a Senior game, and as the siren rang on the DSquad’s season, it was their fifth win in a row, the first time they had strung that many together since the Premiership Year of 2010.
The song was sung with gusto for the last time this season, with the Coach telling the boys how proud he was of them and their commitment, especially in achieving the five wins in a row – which took the tally to eight wins for the year and three more than last season. VV also told the boys how much he enjoyed coaching them and thanked them all, with a special thanks to those that helped him from the sidelines. It was another team effort!
South Belgrave 3.3-21
Goal Kickers: N. Holloway 4, D. O''Brien 3, T. Matthews 2, P. Warman, D. Browne, J. Leithhead, D. Short, N. Sellar
Best Players: D. Short, D. Hoffman, T. Van Der Wal, D. O'Brien, J. Francis, D. Browne
It was great to see the U19’s decked out in the fundraiser Hawaiian themed shirts to remember Simmo for Cystic Fibrosis round. We welcomed back Captain Lucas Grierson, plus Wade Van Leeuwen and Josh Kral, all who have represented the club admirably at Senior level. The first quarter of this clash against South Belgrave saw Billy Norris and Jackson Scotti gathering possessions with poise and creatively transferring the ball laterally to teammates. Cam Osborne and Ryan Burleigh both hit the scoreboard with two goals each as the Jets’ delivery inside 50 was clean and accurate. Handball receives were high at 52 for the term, and our lead at the first change was 40 points.
Wade Van Leeuwen’s characteristic attack on the ball and hard running was evident in the second term as the Jets ran in packs. Jack Lacey’s speed was on display, and Lachie Phelan made an impact at ground level in attack with two majors in the term. The back line were under some pressure as South Belgrave’s intensity lifted, but Lachie Purkis and Nathan Amos read the ball, cleaned up around contests, and switched well. The Jets extended the margin to 51 points at the long break, but Coach Gary Burleigh challenged the lads to share more and play to the team structure in the second half.
In the third term we had Callum Norris showing us his party tricks as he carried the ball behind his back Robbie Gray- style. Ben Irvine and Josh Kral were involved in a great end-to-end running passage with a string of handballs that finished with a classy goal to Trey Braione. Daniel Wynne took two crowd-pleasing marks across half forward, and the Jets had extended their advantage to 76 points at three quarter time.
Lucas Grierson took a fine juggling mark then played on and kicked truly, but then gave reason for the fines tin to get heavier after a falcon dropped surprisingly into his hands. Connor Weightman was industrious across the four quarters in his best game at this level. Lachie Phelan kicked his fourth, Trey his second, and Cam Evans a magnificent banana from the impossible angle for his second - brilliantly captured for eternity on Riley Honey Media’s highlights video! The Jets had a prolific seven goal last term and ran out with a 120-point win. Across the game we had 13 goal kickers, and the U19’s can now set their sights on a Qualifying Final clash against Boronia next Saturday at 10am at East Burwood Reserve.
The collective thanks of the U19’s this week are extended to the many wonderful club helpers who have made the U19 season go so successfully. There are way too many to name them all, but we must call out a handful including the magnificent Marty Sverns, who is often first to our games with trainers kits, Gatorade, water bottles, and everything that a footy team could need, all packed in the back of his station-wagon. Marty and his much better half, Kelly, have always been great supporters of the U19’s and we can’t thank them enough. Burkie is another tireless helper who is at the home games at the crack of dawn getting the place set up, and his breakfast BBQ has been part of the staple diet of many of the U19 parents this season! Lesley Knudsen is the administrative wizard whose pre-season is just as exhausting as the players as she manages the registrations of literally hundreds of juniors, seniors and ladies teams. Athol Warman ensures the player transfers from other clubs all happen without a hitch – including the last-minute urgent ones, and the challenging ones that we need to give a push along. Jo Parker not only runs the junior club, and does a stack for the Senior club, but is always busy on game day updating scores and adding posts to Facebook to ensure the world knows how the Jets are going. Thanks to the many members of the Club Committee who are busy in the background arranging everything from the social events, to sponsorship, merchandise, the canteen, the bar, game day activities, and the list goes on. And the biggest shout out goes to Rob Parker, and his lovely wife Anne, who are the glue that hold this great club together. It would be impossible to add up the hours that they put into the club, and nothing is ever too much trouble. The millions of dollars required to build the new clubrooms have been promised by government and council on the back of Rob’s professional, hardworking approach, his persistent lobbying, influencing, and the way that he has made the relevant decision makers a part of this family oriented club. And to finish on the note that this report started, Rob and Anne’s unwavering support of the Cystic Fibrosis round has helped raise awareness, and considerable funding, for this worthy cause. Go Jets!
South Belgrave 3.2-20
Goal Kickers: L. Phelan 4, R. Burleigh 3, C. Evans 2, T. Braione 2, C. Osborne 2, L. Grierson, J. Scotti, C. Weightman, B. Honey, J. Herring, J. Kral, D. Robertson, J. Lacey
Best Players: C. Osborne, R. Burleigh, J. Lacey, L. Grierson, C. Weightman, J. Kral