Dogs maul hapless Hawks
School holidays are a wonderful thing… if you’re a school kid, a teacher or taking the family somewhere hot to escape winter … and the Masters game scheduled at 5pm under dim lights at the bottom of a bloody cold mountain!
Kudos to those not in plaster, or getting plastered on a beach, who braved the icy cold night to face a Gisborne outfit loaded with two dozen 25-year-olds! And a few token old blokes.
Next time we play Gissy we’re doing a head count and checking IDs.
Missing our runners such as Drewy, Junior, Mango, Racs, Rhysy (who was on water boy duties because he was going to Hawaii the next day!) as well as big guns Jase Van Dam, Chilts and Franko meant we had an average age of 45, a hairline like a moccasin and greys everywhere.
Anyway, it was 21 brave Woodend-Hesket souls who turned up at Gardiner Reserve to take on Gisborne for Round 8 of the Vic Country Masters AFL.
It was a big day for the home team who invited past players and judging by it the Masters decided to let the seniors take their places on the ground so they could drink beers and warm up around their awesome fire pits. Jeez they were impressive fire pits… we need fire pits! Just sayin’.
A younger, fitter and faster Bulldogs set the tone early with dozens of them swarming the ball. Early indications were that the game would be a wrestle in the sticky mud, but the Dogs found ways to clear the nut and run… and run… and hit targets.
But we weren’t going to lie down. Showbag was at his running best and soon found space up forward to take a strong mark and kick our first goal.
Pete McBride soon followed up and we were within a kick of the Dogs, but a couple of quick late goals put them in good stead for the second quarter.
The Hawks rallied knowing we were still in it… but the next quarter was tough.
Keeping your feet was a challenge and when you’re challenged for speed as it is, well some of us may have well been on a treadmill. Fordey was at his scrappy best delivering ‘don’t argues’ and reluctant to handball while Showbag joined him in running up and down the ground to give the Hawks options.
Our defence were guns all game. Had Jase Koliba, Tucky, Woody and Willow not been so tight on opponents we’d have been belted by twice as much.
Tucky was doing his usual weaving out of defence, throwing in the odd pirouette that would make a ballerina salivate, Jase was winding up the arms for some helicopters and Woody was taking some cracker pressure marks. Willow’s neck must be sore from watching the nut fly over his head, but when given a chance he’d drive the ball out.
But with their halfbacks pushing up we got caught out time and again with loose men out wide taking uncontested possessions and then driving the ball back to our defenders.
The rucks were in for a big day with Dropkick and Jacks learning early that for every ball up there was a fresh ruckman ready to jump. Great tactic!
Close to halftime without just a point for the quarter on the board, Watto decided his quarter time directive of “lower your eyes and look for your first option, Boys” was meant for others.
Taking the ball on the half forward flank, Watto used the Gisborne midfielders as witches’ hats, taking them on and getting around four blokes to straighten up on a 45-degree angle and slot a superb goal. We went into the break 33 points down.
The third quarter was tough. Barto was off with a tight hammy so that left two on the bench. Up the ground there were Bulldogs jumpers everywhere waiting to come on. Bloody luxury!
McBride took the coveted No.69 jumper to another level – for starters he wasn’t injured – but his rugby skills were put to use with some crunching tackles and strong marks and the slightest of scoreboard pressure.
American Dave had a few chances for goal, but again his unselfish style saw him dish off what should have been a selfish goal or two. The bloke’s so laid back he should have a deck chair in the forward pocket.
Kohney is putting himself forward as one of the best kicks in the club and his long bomb into the goal square that loomed as a great contested mark and easy goal by yours truly was dropped and McBride duly noted my first Tool nomination for the day.
Pete Wood was ripped off a dead certainty after his mark 30m out was called play-on after the umpire claimed the ball was touched off the boot… 20 blokes from both teams in the vicinity didn’t hear it, but the ball went the other way for them to score.
Not even a rushed behind could be scored for the quarter.
Defeat was imminent, but our intent was still there and we aimed to play out the game by having a crack to the end. But fair dinkum, we had at least two posters for the quarter from what would’ve been great goals. Kohney’s shot from the boundary would’ve brought the hose down, but for that bloody post!
Another great run out of defence by Showbag saw him baulk Bulldogs and hit up Browny, who duly hit the post. The kick in was a shocker and it landed in the lap of McBride who gave us some pride with our first goal since the second quarter to finish with two for the game.
Unfortunately the Dogs ran away 82-point winners. Regardless it was a great game and hopefully we can continue to build on this rivalry.
OK, so creating a bit of a town rivalry in the lead up to the game via some Facebook baiting was sure to lift the spirits of the opposition, but hey, did you see the crowd at the game? Shitloads!!!
I should’ve received a cut of their bar and canteen takings, not a 25kg bottle opener bling!
I’m just going to put it out there – you all need to lift to stake a claim on the Tool of the Week award! No one ever won it sitting on their arse… accept Andy…. But he’s a special package!
Again a huge thanks to Deano for strapping us before the game and taking care of us on the sidelines. The man is our greatest asset. Thanks to Rhysy for running out water. Des for helping with rotations and a running commentary for those of us having a spell on the pine.
It was also great to see families, those unable to play and supporters coming out to support us. It truly means a lot to the club.
Our next game is an away game on July 30 against Kerang. Log your availabilities and spot on the team bus.
GISBORNE: 5.2 8.4 14.6 17.8 (110)
WOODEND-HESKET: 2.0 3.1 3.1 4.4 (28)
WH – Goals: McDaniel , McBride 2, Watkins, Brown
Best: Koliba, Tuck, Woodcock, Forde, Williams, McDaniel, McBride, Watkins, Brown
Gisb: Goals: Pelkonen 5, Vicary 3, Fenn 3
Best: Barr, Pelkonen, Vicary, Cochrane, Ryan and Hunter.