Under clear blue skies and with not even a zephyr of a breeze the dad’s army we know as under 14 Division 4 assembled at the “mighty” Boss James Reserve. I have seen Boss James referred to as “mighty” several times this season in official club communique so I figure it must be a directive from the Committee.
Thanks to a mix up involving short colours our team resembled a row of xmas lights with most of the team in White, some wore green and one of our borrowed Vampire players chose to wear red. I think his name may have been Henry but he was for the remainder of the day known simply as “red shorts”.
When the teams lined up the decision to wear white shorts appeared even more ridiculous as Oakleigh in their green and yellow jumpers (and white shorts) basically looked exactly the same as us. One person arriving at the ground queried, “Is this an intra club game?”. The umpires (also in green) would have their work cut out for them!
After a strong and motivating pre-match address from Coach Griffin the players took to the field.
Oakleigh were quick to get the ball moving forward and immediately started peppering the goals at the Frankston end of the ground. Sam Palmer signalled his intent for a big day out with several telling defensive stops including a strong contested mark in the goal square. Jack K joined in with two grabs on the goal line. The defence were under siege and it was immediately obvious we were in for a tough day. With three Tuffleys on the ground the odds (6:1) were always good that one of them would hit the scoreboard first and it was Harry (one of our 4 U12’s playing up) who snagged our first major at the Brighton end. Tommy Randall got the crowd on its feet with a ferocious tackle at half forward and Adam Doyle tripped the light fantastic time and again with mesmerising spin moves more at home on the ice in PyeongChang then at the “mighty” Boss James. Hugh Harris was a casualty in the first term rolling his ankle. He came off the ground but not before several courageous attempts to keep playing.
Quarter time and our boys were down 23 -6
Oakleigh started the second quarter in the same manner as they finished the first. Quick goals early and our backline was under enormous pressure once again. Adam Doyle was a stand out in defence and at one stage someone queried whether he had a twin out there, as he popped up like a sprinkler to get involved in the play time and again. Red shorts was prominent. Mostly because he was wearing red shorts. Sam Palmer produced the highlight of the day and sent the stats man into overdrive as he collected 8 possessions in a 50 metre, 20 second passage of play. It was a series of smothered kicks, handballs that bounced off teammates, opponents and umpires. It was as graceful as it was random. It summed up our day.
Half time and the Rovers trailed 44 – 8.
Third quarter and our boys came out with serious intent. Jack K took over the kick in duties and was thumping the ball long out of defence and we started to get some run going. Perhaps the most entertaining run though was Harry Tuffley who, after being repeatedly buffeted by a man child wearing the number 49, was instructed by Coach Griffin to “run him around”. Well little did he know Harry is a cross country star and the sight of Harry running around the ground being chased by a tiring Oakleigh Charger could only have been made better with Benny Hill music overlaid.
The game went up a notch. Red Shorts was lifting. Almost wedgie material. Will Tuffley was clean with his hands but we were struggling to find space… which seems ridiculous on the “mighty” Boss James.
Three quarter time and Rovers trailed 52-9.
Victory may have been out of sight, but Coach Griffin singled out Frenchy for his continued effort and attack on the ball and he implored the army to lift and win the last quarter.
Max Morris was the first to respond with a crunching tackle in the forward line followed by a mark and quick pass to Jack K who slotted through the first of his two final quarter goals. Tommy continued to show desperation in defence with a perfectly executed spike on the goal line saving a certain 6 pointer. Adam Doyle continued to work hard in a genuine four quarter effort. Jacob executed a perfect commando roll over one of the Oakleigh opponents and James Hare turned spring heel jack off the half back with a sizzling run out of defence. He can move for a big man!
Final siren and despite a last quarter fight back our boys went down 73-23 against a faster and more polished Oakleigh team who will no doubt be there when the whips are cracking at the end of the season.
Frenchy got the Brown Cow voucher, Max won a pizza for his troubles and Caleb was rewarded for his first game for the Rovers with the final award.
With grading period over the ladder resets and we now set sail for the rest of the season. So with that I leave you with a motivational quote for the week:
“Footy is like a sewer… what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.” – Tom Lehrer