By Daron Jacks
Moorabool Crocs v Woodend Hesket
April 28, 2019
Meredith Cricket Reserve
I’ve been heading to Meredith on and off for 25 years and had some fantastic times there. Until Sunday April 28, none had involved footy – all had been at the famed Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre.
Festivals are a fun thing in your youth and for some of us who continue it into our 40s, it’s much like playing Masters footy – it’s a young man’s game, but still shitloads of fun, and the recovery also takes a lot longer. So why stop?
The Hawks headed to Meredith to take on the Moorabool Crocs with a 2-1 head-to-head record. Our previous loss was on their home turf and we were keen to make amends.
Wearing black arm bands in honour of Pat Chew mother of Tim Chew, and mother in-law of club founder Stephen Crook, the Hawks joined a guard of honour for Crocs star Sid playing his 150th Masters game for the club.
Consider our club only has about 30 games of history, that’s an impressive milestone. We also found out Sid can play… and has an inter-league best-player award named after him. He soon showed us why.
With plenty of new faces and a couple of debuts – take a bow Eggy and Benny – and no bench, the Hawks were keen to get on the board early. Topped up by three Crocs players, who were all under 30 years of age, we figured we were a chance.
Added to our list was the return of Deano and his long-sleeved retro Hawks jumper. How good was it to see him back in action!
The Hawks got the early jump and with Hodor putting one through into the wind. Chewy took a strong mark soon after only to spray it, but the big unit was bringing the ball to ground and giving our runners something to mop up.
Showbags was up and down and across the ground presenting leads while Dermie was tearing up the centre. With Mango and Eggy swapping ruck duties for the day we had two hardrunning big guys working the field.
In defence we watched a lot of balls miss the goals and my hammy get worked over with umpteen shithouse kicks into the wind or into the opposition hands … who would kick another point.
By the second term Chew was hit up, and after a tough week the big fella kicked a ripper and in a show of solidarity all the Hawks ran from around the ground to pat his back. After we all ran back to our positions we were stuffed and they kicked a goal in response as we sucked in air. Still it was a great moment to be a part of.
Sid was roaming their forward line and for an old bloke, he made us not-as-old blokes look like witches hats. The guy’s a gun. Even after getting slammed once by his own teammate, hobbling around only to snag a couple more goals then injuring his ankle and still persist to snap another sausage. For the record he was Tobin‘s opponent!
With no scores being kept it was much of a guessing game, but we went into the first break in the lead before the Crocs came back hard at the scoring end, which usually meant the fullback had to climb the fence and the cactuses to get the bloody ball!
By half time it was a tight fight and heads were scratched as the second quarter seemed to run for 40 minutes. Chris brought out the cut oranges, which were leftovers from the juniors and a much welcomed feed after that epic half.
Our boys would clear the centre well but a solid Crocs defence would punish us if we ever fumbled. Hodor and Chewy worked well, as did Lieber who kicked a goal after Chewy hit him up after snapping from the boundary in the pocket.
Patty Veitch was another handy inclusion providing run and poise off the halfback flank with Closey working his arse off with the rest of us defenders trying to contain another big tattooed bald unit.
In a great link of play I manage to take a grab at half back, turn to see Dermie leading to the centre and in a brainfart, and realising I have no left foot, turned to play on … into two Crocs players.
The Tool award was signed, sealed and awaiting delivery. Lucky it was already in my bag after Rossco had happily passed it on earlier.
By the third break we were stuffed. Despite having kids running our wings nicely and jabbing the odd goal for us, fatigue and fumbles set in.
With my Crocs opponent taking dives like a soccer player (“mate, you’re supposed to yell and fall after you get touched” – sledge by Tobes) a couple of cheeky easy goals were handed to him.
Still my epic pack mark will go down as one of the greatest in Masters history. I’m happy to describe it over beers any time! Especially at the shock of finding a footy in my hands and bodies around me.
Overall, it was a great day of footy played in a fun spirit. A shitload of laughter on and off the field and a showcase of how footy at our age should be played.
Thanks to Deano for not only strapping us but slipping on the gear and having another run. And Razor for the great work moving the magnets, and hanging shit on us from the sidelines. And as he said “Footy was the winner.”
A big thumbs up to my opponent Scotty who ran off in the dying minutes with me, straight to the bar and bringing back a cold beer each to say “any bloke who lets me kick a goal deserves a beer!”
Yes he did!
Apologies if I missed anyone’s prowess. See you all this Saturday as we take on the Bendigo Bombers at Buffalo Stadium at 3pm.
Scores: No idea. The Crocs by about 20 points.
Goals: Chew 3, Brereton 2, Liebelt, Reed, McDonald, Whitehouse, (and two from their subs).
Points: Mangan while lairising from way too far out.
Best: Chew, Brereton, Mangan, Molenaar.