In the two matches against The Basin this year it was the Jets by 20 points in Round 5, and The Bears by 10 points in Round 17. In both games the away team was the victor, and Matt Decler and Ryan Young featured in the best for the Jets in both games.
The last time we played at Central Reserve was in the Semi Final last year when we narrowly beat Templestowe by four points. The Jets named just the one change this week with the return of Dylan Sverns. It always seems to be windy at this ground, and the flags were indicating a stiff southerly breeze, which The Basin had the advantage of in the opening term.
The first quarter saw Gary Conyers, Jordan Haynes and Callum Norris all gathering early possessions and providing dash. The opening score of the game was an instinctive mid-air soccer kick goal by Bailey Stevens from the top of square on the edge of a congested pack. The Jets were working their hit ups into 50 well, but tight defending from the Bears’ backs meant that the forwards were not able to cleanly take possession. In a neat passage of play Brent English worked the ball to Dave Sindrey, whose deep kick resulted in a second crumbed goal in a row to Bailey Stevens. The opposition had been inaccurate until the 15 min mark when they registered their first major. Fin Brown was infringed in a contest, and his kick to the hot spot found Ryan Young, who marked strongly and converted on the siren to give the Jets a 10 point lead at quarter time. The stats board showed that the Jets had won the stoppages, and were up in the number of switched plays. Coach Joel Cordwell encouraged the players to keep hitting up rather than bombing the ball forward.
Fin got us off to perfect start to the second quarter with a set shot goal. We controlled the play for the next five minutes with several repeated entries but no majors. The Bears scored their second goal after a free kick from 50 metres out in front. Both backlines rebounded through the term, but two “off hands” opportunistic goals to The Basin in a row narrowed our lead to just one point. Desperate players from both teams threw everything at it as there was stoppage after stoppage on scoreboard flank. Quick hands from one of these stoppages found Brent English, who booted the ball forward to pocket. This went out of bounds, but from the resultant boundary throw in Leigh Odermatt was pushed in the back, took the free, and kicked truly from 40m. The Bears responded with a goal of their own from a set shot, and the margin was back to one point. After a behind to Jordan Haynes, Gary Conyers took a great pack mark and sent the ball sailing over the goal umpire’s hat to give Heathmont an eight point margin at the long break. Justin O’Dwyer was his usual positive self in the rooms, encouraging the players and urging them to run and carry through the second half.
The first clearance of the third term went to The Basin, but their long range shot went for a point. From there we were in defensive mode for the next five minutes as we struggled to clear the ball. Jake Sherriff was desperate on the last line, punching through a shot from the oppo. When we did start to attack The Basin were effective in transferring out of our forward line by running in packs. After a couple of early behinds, The Basin levelled the score with a goal from a mark in the pocket. A point to the Jets reclaimed the lead before a super tackle by Dylan in front of the scoreboard stopped a dangerous Bears charge forward. Luke Casini was playing tight on his man and consistently winning one on ones, and Matt Decler was strong at every contest. Cam Evans was terrific all day, and took a great overhead mark on the centre wing then drove the ball deep. This resulted in a stoppage, from where Ben Abbruzzese grabbed the ball out of ruck and snapped a crucial goal. At the 15 minute mark the Jets were up by seven. Multiple smothers demonstrated the endeavour of our backs, but the Bears snagged a goal to bring the margin back to a one point, Jets lead at the last change. The banter on the hill in front of the bar had been fairly colourful through most of the game with both supporter groups getting behind their teams.
The Basin manufactured an early goal in last to take the lead. They then kicked another within a couple of minutes, and a third a few after that. In the blink of an eye the season was slipping away for the Jets. A succession of handballs out of a stoppage found Brent English who swung onto the left and pegged back a goal. The Basin attacked again and again, but managed just two points to take their margin to 13 points. Ben Abbruzzese effected a neat ground ball pickup, and dished off by hand to Ben Irvine, whose bullet pass found Callum Norris, and “Chuck” goaled from 50 to narrow the gap. The Jets dug deep with gut running to transfer by hands up the wing. Lucas Grierson’s run and carry found Leigh Odermatt, and he registered his second goal for the match. The ball went end to end as the pressure built. Individual moments counted, such as a great mark to Cam Evans, and an important intercept by Dylan Sverns. Normally match reports don’t talk about behinds, but Ben Abbruzzese’s point levelled the scores to have the crowd on the edge of their seat with only minutes to go. The Basin transferred the ball from defence to attack via three clean marks, but they could not capitalise. At the 24 minute mark Jordan Haynes’ shot on the run drifted across the face of goal for a point, to put the Jets in front. The siren sounded two minutes later with the Jets victorious by the narrowest of margins! The Heathmont crowd went crazy, and we look forward to another semi final at Central Reserve next weekend.
The Basin 10.7-67
Goal Kickers: L. Odermatt 2, B. Stevens 2, R. Young, B. English, G. Conyers, B. Abbruzzese, F. Brown, C. Norris
Best Players: C. Norris, J. Haynes, C. Evans, B. English , J. Sherriff, B. Stevens
Not too many changes this week, with Rob Woods and Jess Francis back into the side for the DSquad’s first finals match against Ferntree Gully. The sun was shining as the team arrived at East Burwood last Saturday with high expectations. Both teams had a lot to play for and from the first bounce it was a very torrid affair, with stoppages and contested ball preventing any free flowing game. The Gully score the first goal in the early stages, the Jets then take it out of the centre and work it towards our forward line, after some pushing and shoving Jon Knudsen is given a free in front of goal and kicks truly for our first score. It is a pressure quarter and a good mark to Jack Hendricks sees the Jets second goal on the board. Gully push back hard and manage to kick their second just on the siren and it’s a one point ball game at quarter time.
It was a controversial opening to the second quarter, when it was discovered that the opposition had started with 19 on the field. Confusion reigned for a few minutes, as a count was done and rules checked. As a result we were given a free goal kick – so another went up on the board kicked by Jono. This seemed to rattle both sides for a bit. Our backline was holding strong and rebounding Gully’s attacks forward, where Ders managed to retrieve the ball stepping aside two opponents and kick to Jess Francis who kicked our second goal for the quarter. Gully seemed to have the ball in their forward line for a large amount of time but couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. Henry Ballard and Jack Leithhead were ensuring that the ball kept rebounding back into attack. Eventually Jono managed to grab the ball, kick to a running Al Knudsen, who in turn found Joel Merrett within scoring distance and, after inaccurate kicking early, kicked the ball through on the siren. The Squad now had a lead of 17 points at the main break.
Would the third quarter prove to be the premiership quarter? It seemed that way when Rob Wood found the ball in his hands after a great passage of play out of the centre at the first bounce, starting with Al, then to Connor Van der Wal, then Nick Sellar, then Rob, and the first goal was scored within the first minute. One of the marks of the day would have to go to Robby Savory running with the flight of the ball nearly colliding with his opposition, a very gutsy mark. Ders and Ali seemed to have the ball on a string and it found Truck who scored his second. Our defence was still standing firm with strong marks to Liam Douglas and Robby helping work the ball back down to our forward line. One of these attacks found Rob Wood alone in the goal square – and another was up on the board. The Jets were keeping the opposition from scoring. A strong mark to Godra out of defence found AMac who turned and seeing no one on his mark, ran in for another goal. Not long afterwards as the pack once again formed at our forward line, out of nowhere, Shorty managed to kick one out of the pack to extend the lead. The opposition hadn’t scored a goal since the first quarter. This was soon to change, as they managed to buy a goal against play at the 18 minute mark, and then another, and then another straight out of the centre at the next bounce making it three very easy goals just prior to the siren and the lead was now 28 points at the last break.
Ferntree Gully tried to continue where they left off at the siren, again taking the ball out of the centre but were inaccurate. Another strong marking attempt by Robby, against four opponents, saw the ball bumped down to Connor and a quick kick off his foot sees the ball go through for a goal and stop the flow of goals by the opposition. It’s then goal for goal, they get the reply and then Al kicks the next as a result of a high tackle - again they kick a quick reply. A strong mark by Savory, from just outside the 50M arc, sees him size up the goals and kick long as the crowd watches it sail through the middle of the goal posts for our 13th goal. The opposition weren’t giving up and seemed to find their loose men much easier than we had, but the pressure from our defenders was making it very hard for them to score accurately, and although Ferntree Gully score the last goal of the match, the Jets find themselves in the second semi next Sunday against Scoresby where a win would see them straight into the Grand Final.
Ferntree Gully 8.7-55
Goal Kickers: J. Knudsen 2, R. Wood 2, J. Merrett 2, J. Francis, D. Short, A. Knudsen, R. Savory, J. Hendriks, A. McIntosh, C. Van Der Wal
Best Players: J. Knudsen, A. Knudsen, H. Ballard, J. Hendriks, J. Leithhead, D. Robson-Long