The ambitious Justin Perillo flies for a mark in the last quarter, electing to jump over all 3 ruckmen on the ground.
The Swinburne Reserves travelled north to Garvey oval in Bundoora, the site of the senior’s unfortunate loss the Sunday prior. Notwithstanding the recent misfortune of the Seniors, Garvey Oval holds great omens for Swinburne Reserve sides; having won three finals including the big one in 2007. Members of the 2007 sides reminisced upon arrival at Garvey, albeit while their playing careers are gradually dissipating (sorry Browny). On a fresh but dry spring day, one of the strongest Swinburne Reserve sides of the year took to the track, with some unlucky gents missing out at the toughest selection table of the season – credit to them for staying involved and getting around the boys on the day. With some unlucky omissions, the team was further strengthened by senior regulars Mick “Cult Hero” Daly, Sammy “Hassa’s Idol” Capra and Cus – all in best from the seniors final – plus everyone’s favourite body builder Juzzy, who had been on a strict diet of rice and plain toast after last week’s late withdrawal.
Without too much emphasis on shopping lists or window-shopping, the piglets were out battling a team they had trounced on both meetings this year. Unfortunately the pre-game confidence did not immediately translate on the field, with the boys looking flat early – a common trait in the reserves during the year. Swinburne highlights were few and far between in the first quarter – or the second for that matter – with Emmaus St Leos playing with a finals like intensity that seemed unattainable to the pigs. Cus carried on his great end of season form, harassing in defence and rebounding with aplomb, and Voges won key aerial battles, but with the repeated forward entries eventually the goals came for the opposition, luckily some inaccuracy in front of the sticks kept the margin within reach – just. A goaless first half was tough to read at the main break.
It was a sombre and concerned peanut gallery that spent the half time break muttering amongst themselves “could this be it”? Surely a team so dominant throughout the year could not be held goalless for much longer. Some choice words from Supreme Leader Shane at half time needed to spur the troops, but a goal less half was a tough pill to swallow. The pigs needed one to break the deadlock, release the shackles and be that circuit breaker. Some key magnet moves over the longer break proved decisive, with Emyrs thrown deep forward, Joel sent back and the midfield instructed to kick long instead of trying to pinpoint short. Finally, shortly into the third, the peanut gallery had cause to celebrate, riding every bump with the team as Emrys marked strongly and goaled, followed instantly by Juzzy who looked as excited as when Musashi protein is half price at Coles, and a very unlucky Mitch mongrel punt that had the faintest of touches on it. Joel’s long kicking from full back cleared the Emmaus zone, and Dunny and Capra did as they pleased through the middle. Momentum was shifting, and the boys could feel it.
With the supporters behind them, the pigs rose in confidence and intensity, with Joldy finally getting angry and pulling down some huge defensive and offensive marks, locking the footy in and keeping the pressure on. Joey completely obliterated the opposition’s best player of the first half, and a 2.4 to 0.3 quarter saw the pigs road back into the game. With all the momentum behind them, Swinburne produced one of the most exciting quarters of the year in the last, dominating their opponents everywhere. Mick Daly achieved cult status by stepping on blokes’ heads all over the ground with some huge clunks and having a hand in several goals. Cam Atkins made no mistake with a beautiful snap early in the final stanza and we took the lead, and successive goals of the running variety to Ish and the clunk and set shot type to Joldy sealed the fate of the game, much to the delight of the senior players and supporters behind the goals, who were in raptures.
The Reserves now go into their second grand final in 4 years, with a relatively clean bill of health and all the momentum out of their recent match. Bring on West Brunswick next week where the boys will go all the way!
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