Old Paradians: 0.2-2
The Kingdom of Sweden has given MHSOB thirds much to celebrate since our inception. Ikea furniture and the sounds of Ace of Base aside though, we’ve been fortunate to host visits from the Swedish Elks national AFL team, we’ve had fierce clubbies warriors Ponthus Pontus Thunholm and Hampus Carl play in Grand Finals for the team and along the way we’ve had cameos from all round good blokes Tim Johansson Bräck and Eric Grundén.
But Round 2 versus Parade brought about the debut of our latest Swedish import, Buster Sund. Hailing from the small town of Norrtälje outside Stockholm, from the first bounce Buster rained down hell like Thor’s hammer Mjölnir upon our opposition. Dominating ruck contests for the High, Buster gave our grateful onballers James Hansford, Josh Vellin and Chris Miller first use of the ball and an even more grateful full forward Arran Bouten the opportunity to gobble up the only animal product you’ll see him devour, the red TW Sherrin.
And gobble Arran did. He pegged 6 goals in just the fist term as the High ran wild in the windy conditions. Our on ball brigade racked up plenty of touches early, Captain Morgan Cole-a playing the role of linkman to perfection moving the outside ball forward while James Hansford dominated the term with his Swedish-inspired ‘dancing queen’ sidesteps.
Nicholas Huett snuck forward to add to a happy scoreboard, and with the Unicorns up 7.4-46 to zilch at quarter time, the boys came in pleased with the effort, but hungry for more.
The second quarter became a bit of a stalemate not unlike that seen in the Polish–Swedish War of 1626–29, the wind playing havoc with efforts to simply keep the ball in play. On a number of occasions kick-ins from the boundary went straight back out again, at least keeping our backmen with something to do. Jim McGuinness and Adam Granger were both excellent across the halfback line and were greatly assisted by Albert Kuang who provided terrific support for the backs from his wing.
With the ball stuck for much of the term on one wing, it looked like Damian Grantham would be a stalemate breaker when he took a mark 30 metres out then found himself as the recipient of a whack to the neck that earned him a 50 metre penalty. Lining up for goal with his opponent standing the mark on the goal line, Damo fell victim to a freak burst of wind that saw him miss from point blank range with a kick that would have even made Max Gawn cringe.
With big Az Bouten having a quieter term, it was left to Chris Miller to break the deadlock. We added just the one goal for the term, though our efforts in keeping our opposition scoreless for the first half left us satisfied that we’d certainly rained on their…Parade.
The third saw our pace of scoring pick up again, 4 goals added for the term. And aside from Arran Bouten adding to his haul, the scoring came from non-traditional channels, with Chris “Centre Half” Birch relishing his time up the ground and slotting one, while Buster Sund showed he could do it all, adding to the scoreboard whilst playing with the sort of passion Marie Fredricksson delivered when she belted out Roxette’s tearjerking ballad “Listen to Your Heart”. Ex-backman Troy Diedrich also showed some chops up forward, marking strongly and putting his hand up for more time away from the backline.
But it was another of our international imports, Thijs de Jong, that really delighted the team as he added further to the forward highlights, slotting a major to break the deadlock. Indeed, in perhaps his best game for the high, Thijs added to his highlights package again in the fourth quarter as the team endevaoured to hold the opposition scoreless. Remembering Brendan Reeiiddyy’s advice that like Shakira, when tackling the hips don’t lie, Thijs hunted down his prey with an almighty tackle just as Parade looked set to add to the scoreboard.
And if that wasn’t enough, Thijs kicked another goal in the last to seal a big day out for the Dutchman who recently celebrated his birthday. He was joined on the goalkicker’s list by onballer Josh Vellin who had a solid day, while Arran Bouten achieved his PB as he brought up his 8th. While Parade managed to add 2 points in the last, there was no lack of desire and intent from the High boys, so much so that Parade got about their only clearance for the day when Birch and Hansford wanted the ball so much that they collided heads and let the ball spill free.
Our onballers were superb all day however, with Liam Johnston and James Hansford hitting the packs hard and showing agility around the contests. Fresh from his show during the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Adam Ashton provided great backup in the ruck whilst it was nice to be able to say that Chris Miller was again “very good”. Fittingly, on a day where our Swedish connection was prominent, Adam “Snygg Häck” Adam Granger was one of our best, our strong backman himself a scandophile with a lovely Swedish girlfriend. Running out victors by a thumping 100 points, as the Swedes would say in their own poetic way, we “glided in on a shrimp sandwich”.
Goal Kickers: A. Bouten 8, T. De Jong 2, C. Birch, J. Vellin, C. Miller, B. Sundh, N. Huett
Best Players: A. Granger, J. Vellin, C. Miller, B. Sundh, A. Bouten