Match Reports: Preliminary Finals
After the agonising close loss in extra time last week, the boys were confident of overrunning Boronia, having won well the last time the two teams had met. It was a hard week for the selectors, with the Seniors out of contention there were a few players who were eligible to play in the Squad. The ins were Lachie Sverns, Jack Hendriks, Ben Irvine who had played most of the season with the Squad, and the team welcomed back Taylor Van Der Wal and Dylan Robson-Long from injury.
The opening few minutes of the first quarter were tight with neither team able to clear the ball and advance to their forward lines, and when they did it was points. Despite the Squad’s effort to stop the opposition, through tackling and stoppages, Boronia kicked three unanswered goals. Ben Irvine is running everywhere trying to bring the ball down to score. Up the other end Henry Ballard is standing strong in defence taking quite a few strong marks to repel Boronia’s advances. But Boronia is playing in front and as a result finding more of the ball. At quarter time we were goalless and Boronia had a 19 point lead.
It was the same for the opening of the second quarter before Jon Knudsen retrieved the ball and kicked to Rob Wood who scores the Jets first goal and the first goal of the quarter. The reply was quick by Boronia but the boys have lifted. It seems like an eternity, as the ball spent quite a bit of time in our forward line but we just can’t make it count. Amac was a recipient of a free and kicks truly for our second goal to narrow the lead. The ball is being continually kicked to a contest resulting in stoppages again with neither side able to break free. The boys manage to push it forward from an advantage free which sees Liam kick to Taylor who takes a strong mark but only a point eventuates. The siren sounds and the lead is 20 points --- certainly achievable.
The intensity goes up a notch in the third, the tackles are hard and the bumps bruising. Al Knudsen is trying to give us some drive from the centre. Although Connor and Lachie are strong in the ruck we can’t seem to make the most of it. The ball is pushed down towards Boronia’s goal and despite some fierce tackling and smothering, they manage to kick a goal. The opposition seem to get a sniff and as it happens luck was not going our way. They kick another two unanswered goals to extend their lead. But the squad is still fighting for the ball and Jordan Gasparini manages to kick a goal against the play and give the boys some hope. Not for long as they kick another. The ball comes out of the centre again and Parks takes a strong mark and takes aim from a long way out. It just misses - another point. Boronia at this stage can do no wrong and quickly move it out of our forward line to theirs and kick another. A look at the scoreboard at three quarter time doesn’t paint a pretty picture the Jets 3.5-23 v Boronia 10.4-64, The Squad was being outplayed by Boronia on all levels.
Not much was happening in the last quarter, the Squad kept trying to lift. The ball was moving from goal line to goal line with both defences proving too strong, and it was points not goals from both sides on the board. Boronia scored the only goal for the quarter at the 20 minute mark and it proved to be the last for the game. As the siren sounds it is a very disappointed coaching staff and playing group that left the field.
The coach addressed the players in a very silent changeroom after the match - a week is a long time in football, and given how the team played the last two finals he felt we realistically gave ourselves a chance to win – but not sure why but the team was so flat and were outplayed by Boronia all day. The result is something we will have to live with. Guido went on to say that he had loved working with the Squad, the development has been there for all to see, especially with the young guys coming through and the experienced players showing them the way. He wants them all to stick together and who knows what the future will bring.
Thanks to Guido, Sten, Pete McDonald, Pat Warman and VV for all their work with the Squad this season.
Goal Kickers: A.McIntosh, J.Gasparini, R.Wood
Best Players: J. Leithhead, C. Van Der Wal, J. Knudsen, A. Knudsen, H. Ballard, D. Robson-Long
We had to back up after losing to Waverley Blues in the second Semi Final and play Boronia in a cut throat Preliminary Final. We had beaten Boronia both times we played them this year and went into the game confident that we could get the job done and face the Blues in the Grand Final next week.
We got off to a slow start while Boronia were switched on and before we knew it we were two goals down. We managed to peg one back when Liam Coghlan kicked our first goal and we went into quarter time down by four points.
The second quarter was more of the same with Boronia wanting the ball more than we did and dominating all over the ground. Our backline was under siege and missed opportunities from us were starting to add up. Liam Coghlan kicked his second and our only goal for the quarter. We went into halftime 14 points down with inaccuracy a big worry, we had kicked 2.7 for the half. The signs were there in the final five minutes that we were starting to get back into the game and you could feel the momentum shifting.
We came out in the third quarter and dominated play with the ball trapped in our inside 50 for most of the quarter. We moved Harry Isaacs from CHB to CHF and that paid immediate dividends with goals to him and Angus Puddy. We had 12 inside 50’s to four but could only manage 2.5 which would prove extremely costly. We should have been three goals up at three quarter time but instead we were three points down and always playing catch up.
The last quarter was a goal for goal battle. We kicked the first through Harry again who was proving a handful up forward and hit the front. Then Boronia hit back to take the lead. Jack McNeil kicked a clever snap around the corner to put us back in front but a costly turnover at halfback led to another goal to Boronia and our lead was short lived. Things were now desperate for both sides and when Harry kicked his third for the game to put us back in front with a couple of minutes to go it looked like we were home. Unfortunately a terrible umpiring decision led to a free kick to Boronia directly in front with 30 seconds to go, they kicked the goal to hit the lead again by three points and the siren blew shortly after the restart.
It was a terrible way to finish and was a shattering end to our season but really we only have ourselves to blame. To have seven more scoring shots yet lose by three points says we didn’t take our chances and that’s bad footy.
Goal Kickers: H Isaacs 3, L Coghlan 2, A Puddy, J McNeil
Best Players: J Gosbell, H Isaacs, T Braione, L Purkis, T Wallace, L Purkis