Reserves Elimination Final Match Report
Swinburne University 5.5.35 defeated Powerhouse 4.8.32
Goal Kickers: R. Hurst, D. Webb, J. Dwyer, J. Curran, C. Barton
Best Players: N. Iskra, M. Hodgson, E. Black, D. Webb, C. Barton, J. Curran
There was absolutely no questioning the endeavour and commitment from the Reserves side, given the fact they'd all spent the best part of an hour on the road just to make it to the venue, for their first final against Powerhouse.
The group arrived at Casey Fields greeted with the news that we would be competing on the VFL pitch, rather than one of the other thousand grounds they have in the vicinity. This news was initially met with excitement, though that quickly dissipated when it became apparent that the ground was about 4.5 times the size of our beloved St James Park. Even Michael Dunn seemed somewhat disheartened; though this was more to do with the lack of UV rays and coconut oil available from the medical staff, rather than the size of the ground.
Having only played against Powerhouse 7 days earlier, memories were still fresh of who were the key players, and what worked last week when the margin was cut back from 27points to a solitary behind. Upon arriving at the ground Coach Kelly was his usual cool, calm and collected self, though this persona quickly disappeared during the pregame address as he became more animated than Hassa at a Lululemon warehouse sale. With more excitement than the late “Big Kev”, our very own Big Kel urged all players not to window-shop, but instead to “buy buy buy!!”. There was apparently no time for lay-by, interest free loans are available, and the Casey Fields presented what could only be described by Nick Mauran as “a real melting pot of buying potential”.
Enthused, and albeit somewhat confused, the pigs were ready and raring to go. KB won the toss and elected to kick with the wind in the opening term, which proved a master stroke as the piglets took control of the match from the outset. In conditions that could best be described as “cold and sh*tty” the Razors men stood up tall with Emrys, Joldy and JC combining well in the ruck and giving the not-as-tall midfielders in Adam “short” Hyman and Marty “shorter” Leahy first use of the ball. Mitch “qué?” Hodgson was also seen doing what he does best, gathering the loose ball from the outside and only creating a contest when the ball had already been won, while Nathan “Isshereallygoingoutwithhim?” Iskra was prodigious on the wing creating multiple scoring opportunities for our forwards. KB was gifted a goal after the Powerhouse captain gave away consecutive 25m penalties due to quarrelling with the Razorbacks resident Mexican import. The resulting conversion giving the Pigs greater dominance as they completely controlled the first quarter, taking a 10 point advantage into the quarter time break leading 2.0.12 to 0.2.2.
The second term saw the wind and rain lift to another level, as Powerhouse became more dangerous with their ball use, using the conditions to their advantage. Thankfully they couldn’t kick to save themselves, and had a poorer conversion rate than Nards on footy trip (or anywhere for that matter). Up the other end, the conditions meant our forwards were finding it especially difficult to convert opportunities, however David “Barrel BBQ” Webb managed to create a goal out of nothing, and put the pressure on Powerhouse as the Pigs took a 2 point lead into half time. The half time address included more references to Boxing Day sales and interest free loans, with Hymie becoming particularly aroused at the prospect of saving a few shekels.
The 3rd term saw the conditions deteriorate from “wet and windy” and “wetter and windier”, with the ball hardly entering the Powerhouse forward line, and when it did it was quickly repelled thanks to the handy work of Chris Rhoden and Jack Carson. The match slowed down and became stoppage after stoppage, as the Razors pushed the ball forward through the grunt work of Jack “Jack Jack” Curran and more fancy footwork by Nathan “Isshereallygonnatakehimhometonight” Iskra on the wing. Joel Dwyer was proving a dangerous target up forward, while David “Moorcroft” Webb channeled his inner Jesaulenko, demanding the ball anywhere “in the vicinity” and obliging the request with a high flying mark of the day contender! The end of the 3rd quarter saw the Pigs extend the lead to 3 straight kicks 5.5.35 to 2.5.17, with Powerhouse to kick with the wind (and rain) in the final term.
Coach Big Kel spruiked more sales at the final break, demanding his players act on instinct and leave nothing on the shelf for the rest of the day. This, combined with some motivating words from vice-captain KB, ensured the boys were switched on and dedicated to the task at hand. The conditions favoured Powerhouse, as they kicked the first 2 goals of the final quarter. The play was kept to the outer side and in the opposition forward-line, meaning rotations through the bench involved a 80m run away from the contest. As Powerhouse closed the margin to within 1 goal, the Pigs’ intensity rose; continuing their hard attack on the ball, with Tom “Joey” Polites setting the tone for ferocity and hardness at the ball as he almost split an opponent in twain to half a contest and force a boundary throw in. Stiffy provided strength disproportionate to his frame, ably beating his opponent and shutting down any space to score from. Roydon Hurst was instrumental across the half forward line, pressing back to assist the defenders in locking down Powerhouses options, and using his voice to direct teammates with great effect.
Thankfully, the umpires put the whistle away for the last 10 minutes and let the game play out, tackle after tackle, stoppage after stoppage. Supporters’ hearts were in mouths as KB applied one of the best clotheslines you’ll ever see at the top of Powerhouses goal square with only seconds remaining, with the umpire having none of it and declaring a ball up. Fantastic shut down work from the Razorback defenders saw the siren sound with the margin just 3 points to our favour; 5.5.35 to Powerhouse 4.8.32. The boys had withstood a barrage of forward pressure and come out on top with the win and a chance to play off for a Grand Final berth next week. Other outstanding players not already mentioned were Jamie “Lego” Lynn, who provided plenty of run through the midfield and across the half forward line, and Emrys “Constable” Black who dominated in the ruck. Coach Big Kel was visibly ecstatic after the game, saying he was “incredibly happy for the players to win such a tough game”. Lego was also having difficulty containing his excitement after the win...
Now we look forward to next week, taking on Emmaus St Leo’s in the club’s first Preliminary Final since 2012 at Garvey Oval on Saturday September 5th at 11:30am. Put it in your calendar!