WOW … six weeks ago the Seniors slipped to sixth spot on the ladder with two home and away matches to go. They had to win the last two games of the season and rely on the results of other teams to give them a chance of participating in finals. Fast forward to this weekend and after three tough, well-fought finals wins they find themselves facing Park Orchards playing off for a Premiership and a chance to move up to Division 2 for the first time since the early 1980’s. This is what football dreams are made of! But not only are the Seniors playing for the holy grail, so too are our Under 19’s who have had a fantastic season. The future is looking bright for the club.
Once again Heathmont went in as underdogs against minor Premiers and close rivals Ringwood. Could another upset happen?? A big out for the Jets was the injury to ruckman Jonathan Wynn. Young Lachie Sverns came back into the Seniors after playing out the season in the Development Squad.
Spring had sprung finally! The sun was out and only a gentle breeze compared with the howling winds of the previous weeks.
Our start in the first quarter looked promising with Ben Abbruzzese taking a strong mark and kicking the first goal of the day. Ringwood then went on to kick the next two and appeared to have all the play. It was another week of finals pressure. The Jets managed to push the ball forward and it found Chris Colombo for our second of the quarter - a tight game at that point. The opposition scored a quick reply, and then had a purple patch, kicking the next three to go in at the first break six goals up! It was a very despondent supporter group that went to the huddle at the break. But confidence was still high amongst the group considering the last two finals wins the boys had had.
And then there was the second quarter -- the team upped the ante, with the first goal of the quarter to Ryan Young and then the next, from a good mark, to Kev waiting at the back of the pack. With another goal to Brent English and a long bomb by Josh Davis the Jets had the momentum, and kicked four unanswered goals. Ringwood finally managed to kick a goal, but a quick reply, through a flurry of hands and feet to Jon Knudsen, saw the momentum swing back the Jets way and it was a 12 point deficit at half time! What a quarter.
The third quarter was all about pressure and contested football. Although both sides were pushing it to their forward lines inaccuracy was becoming a major factor, with goals very hard to come by. A great snap from Rob Savory saw our only goal for that quarter, with Ringwood only scoring two goals themselves. The gap widened to 19 points at the last break.
So would this be our last quarter for the season? The team was still positive, and from over the fence it looked like Ringwood were starting to struggle. The message was just to keep going, win the ball, be at every contest. I don't think any of us could foresee what was about to happen!! When Al Pettigrew, running from half back, received the ball from the centre bounce and kicked long down to Ben for a strong mark and goal - all within the first minute of play - there was a feeling from the Jets faithful that perhaps they could pull this off - again. And then from the next centre bounce, the ball ended up in our forward line again with a juggling mark to Jake Sherriff --- mmm a defender kicking a goal? He did and the Jets were only seven points down at the five minute mark. There was excitement from the Jets Army urging the players on. A running goal from Abbruzzese saw the scores all even and then a strong mark to co-captain Tom Rourke and goal, saw the Jets hit the front for the first time that day. We were six points up at the 15 minute mark - with at least another 15 minutes to go if the previous quarters had been an indication.
The nerves were kicking in for spectators. Ringwood were trying, but couldn't get it down there and when they did it was a point. The backline again was standing firm, led by Dylan Sverns, Al Pettigrew, Ali Knudsen who just seems to bounce off the surface, Aaron Walton and the ever reliable Jarrod Spurrell again, for the third week in a row, marking everything coming his way. English, Sinders, David Knowles, and Jack Cornwall were again in amongst it. Colombo was running the length of the ground, and Lachie Sverns was making the most of his inclusion into the side.
A goal to Young and another to Kev saw the lead out to 17 points at the 25 minute mark .... how long to go? Just when the crowd was starting to hope, Ringwood kicked two quick goals - the first one to silence from the opposition crowd, and then another, quickly gave them a slight sign of hope. It was a five point ball game with only minutes left. As the tension grew, nerves from the outer were well and truly frayed, yells of 'slow it down' could be heard from the supporters. A strong mark to Savory from just outside the 50 saw a long kick at goal, to be mark on the last line by Kev, who didn't miss, and it was an 11 point lead. And the Jets crowd began to dream! Finally at the 32 minute mark the siren sounded and the Seniors had made it into next week's Grand Final!! Dare to Dream!!
Goal Kickers: K. Clark 3, B. Abbruzzese 3, R. Young 2, R. Savory, B. English , J. Sherriff, J. Knudsen, J. Davis, T. Rourke, C. Colombo
Best Players: J. Spurrell, T. Rourke, B. English , B. Abbruzzese, C. Colombo, D. Sverns
Thanks for all the support it was great to see so many of the Juniors and Past Players at the game and hopefully we will see you all again next week.
Congratulations to Joel and his coaching staff for the achievement - one more game to go.
In his words ' Embrace it, Relish it, Bring it on.'