Round 18 Seniors Match Report

All year we dream of finals footy; and after a long hiatus, MHSOBFC Seniors are finally back. With only a 0.6% buffer over Yarra Valley before the game, the finals race was remarkably close. Ultimately, it boiled down to win and win big. Whatever Yarra were doing to Powerhouse, we had to do to Ivanhoe if we were any chance to ensure this wasn’t our last game for the year.
On a ground that encapsulated the amateur philosophy of the VAFA (typified by a very wonky centre square, painted mid reserves game), MHS started with the very strong wind and very quickly took advantage. With our mids on top, the ball spent a majority of time locked in our forward line. While the wind made converting difficult, the pressure was relentless as each and every player gave their all. By quarter time, we had jumped out to a 6 goal lead, but against the wind it was a whole new game.
With the pressure on, the midfield once again stood up. Will Suhr was remarkable all day in a captivating ruck battle, pitting the division’s premier rucks against each other. With BJ back to his pre-Bali form, and Tim Campelj and Bryce Hayes continuing their strong seasons, the midfield was clicking, winning clearance after clearance. While from the backline, Mitch Wilson was playing at a blistering pace, launching attack after attack from our defence. While some ill-discipline gifted Ivanhoe some goals (3 of their 5 for the day were the direct result of 50m penalties), we went in to the break holding on to our 6 goal lead.
With the wind again in our favour, the forwards began to apply the much needed scoreboard pressure. With Jamie Radcliffe-Smith and Brendan Cook (enjoying a scintillating return from injury) marking everything, we once again kept the ball down our end. In a play that perhaps encapsulated Tim Campelj’s fierce determination, an attempted shrugged tackled resulted in his shirt being pulled clean off, revealing his rig in all its glory. As the opposition complained, a now shirtless Campelj launched at the footy, won the hardball, before sending us forward for another inside 50. A few quick goals later and we had a 10 goal lead at the final change, capped off by a remarkable Kane Smith snap from the boundary (which he was quick to claim was in fact kicked “from the car park”).
Without knowing the progress of the Yarra game, we only had one option and that was to continue to score. Mitch Wilson continued his best on ground performance, with relentless run from the backline, joined in tandem by Jimmy Tran. While Jimmy’s flare and passion may have cost us a 50m penalty and subsequent goal, his run was electric, as he and Titch left the opposition forwards in their wake. Tim Strickland, who dismantled Ivanhoe’s attempted tag, found himself up forward to snag himself a goal, while Bryce put the icing on the cake with a couple of smooth finishes. As the siren sounded, MHSOBFC found themselves 77 points up; but was it enough?
A quick look to the peanut gallery revealed Nick Brown launching into a double fist pump, as the reserves players celebrated, signalling we’d made it. After confirmation from the ever-reliable Kylie, (Yarra only winning by 21), we knew the 4th spot was ours and the celebrations could begin, with coach Matt Nicholas joining in on a very loud song.
We now look forward to next week and the exciting challenge of Glen Eira. Be sure to come along and cheer the team along as we look to make the most of this opportunity, playing on Sunday the 1st at Trevor Barker Oval.