Round 9 Under 21 Match Report

MHSOBFC Maroon: 7.9-51

Old Xaverians:        6.9-45

Heading into our clash against the private school everyone loves to hate, we were looking to knock Old Xaverians off 2nd on the ladder and cement our place in finals before the Queens birthday break.

With nerves abound the boys put in a fantastic pre-game warmup that was demonstrated by how quickly we shot out of the blokes. Although Xavier had some larger bodies in the middle our quick ball movement on the outside gave us the edge as we found club favourite Lachie ‘Shin Splints’ Dowling quickly put our first two on the board with supreme kicking accuracy. Although we conceded the next two goals in succession, we fought back hard with strong tackling pressure being applied around the ground. The movement of Stephen ‘Boooooo’ Raikes forward was a masterstroke as he led hard and presented a strong forward option to accompany Ashan ‘Rubdown’ Wijayakumara and Oscar ‘Wow’ Sargeant. Controversy unfortunately marred the first quarter as Xavier’s star player got a red card after he pulled one from the WWE playbook by clotheslining Rob ‘90% average’ Rae from front on.

Although we had the upper hand early Xavier were able to bring the game on their terms and constrict our outside run by using their larger bodies to win the inside ball. Nevertheless, our backline led from the front all day after Byron ‘Seniors’ Gunn kept danger man Healey to 0 touches and a hamstring tear, Will ‘Sunday Trading Day’ Penhalluriack was indispensable punching everything from behind, whilst young gun Tom ‘Revs?’ Golz took one of the best intercept marks Division 4 Thirds had seen in quite some time. Fantastic stuff to see as we continue to keep usually high scoring teams to low scores.

Although we fought hard early Xavier continued their high intensity play into the third quarter preventing us from gaining the upper hand with our run and carry restricted. However, the strong tackling and unselfish play of Al ‘Drink Card’ Rogers along with the rest of our midfield helped to prevent the brunt of their attack. Unfortunately, at this point the game was called off with only a goal in it as one of the opposition players went down with a suspected broken leg. We were unable to find out if we would have weathered the storm and fought back; however, the endeavour shown by each player throughout the day would have certainly helped to get us there. As it was called off in the 2nd half whilst we were up we were awarded the points and have now moved into 2nd spot on the ladder.

Next up is the quadruple header to be followed by Chadstone and ladder leaders Hawthorn.

Watch this space.

Goals: L. Dowling 3, S. Raikes 2, N. Wood, A. Wijayakumara
Best: L. Dowling, W. Penhalluriack, B. Gunn, S. Raikes, A. Rogers, N. Campbell