Sunday 24 June. What a day. A momentous day. Not sure what it is particularly about the 24th of June generally, but it certainly holds a special place in many people’s hearts and certainly yours truly. But I am not here to talk about the merits of the day itself. I am here to talk about the mighty Maroons, who came up against Beaumaris on their home deck.
The kids were greeted by weather that, compared to the previous week, was positively balmy. This however, didn’t stop Sheeds donning the now customary beanie and jacket – fashion items in themselves – in fact, rumour has it that he carries a small mirror in his jacket pocket and quietly whips it out every now and then, just to check his beanie’s position on his head – so that the only exposed areas that can be seen by those privileged enough to be in close proximity are his eyes and his slightly twitching eyebrows….
One of those privileged few is Dimma, and boy was he happy on Sunday. Not only was he glad the precipitation was nil, it was over 3 degrees and the wind had dropped, but Sheeds was talking to him, and he had regained all his faculties (desperately missing the week before) – so much so, that he apparently drove to the game with red, yellow and blue streamers tied to his car, was wearing his beloved buckets on his head, and both his arms were adorned with all the wristbands on offer. Certainly a sight to behold.
So. On one hand, we have a mirror-bearing master coach whose fashion sense has been compared to an Italian male catwalk model (possibly without the height and also slightly less hair, but I stress only slightly less hair) and on the other, a bucket wearing, colour wristband obsessed bloke who now yearns solely for the quarter, half and three-quarter time breaks so he can get about his charges and throw all the colours in the air and see where they land… The Maroons are certainly in good hands….
Last time the two sides played, it was a pretty dominant win to Beaumaris (by 7 goals – but there’s no scoring) and the Maroons only managed the one goal for the game, for a total of 6 points (but again I stress that there’s no scoring). Disclaimer: This is just an estimate of the game and the result, and no correspondence will be entered into, or liability taken, by the author of this article in relation to this very rough, wet the finger, place it in the air, pluck from the air, speak to all 22 kids on the team, estimate of scores. In fact, if it makes it easier, please ignore this whole paragraph and forget it was ever written….
I know I keep talking about it, but the continued strong development of this team of kids is amazing. If you do have vague memories of the above paragraph, it was with a small amount of trepidation that the team and coaches came together at 9.30 on Sunday to address the small matter of trying to match it with Beaumaris, especially on their home ground.
Any fears were quickly dispelled. “Why?”, I hear you ask…Well my Maroons and Rovers friends, let me tell you….
The Captains for the day were Arlo and Angus; and they were so pleased and honoured to lead their team for the day. Well done Arlo and Angus! Detailed discussions were held between the two as they plotted the coin toss and the way they would kick if they won. Certainly a great day for them and their families! Dimma asked them for their autographs before the game, but they had bigger fish to fry and politely refused….
The opening bounce saw an immediate clearance to Beaumaris and the ball pumped into their forward line. Sheeds flinched (only just – but I noticed his eyebrows). Dimma dropped his buckets, his jaw open at its maximum capacity. The Rovers crowd gasped. The birds stopped singing. Even the canteen stopped. What would happen? Would it be history repeating itself, with the ball sitting in the Beaumaris forward line for the whole quarter?
The ball sailed through the air, every eye at the ground followed its trajectory, waiting for a blue and white jumper (well someone wearing this aforesaid jumper) to pluck it and have a shot for goal. But no….a GREEN AND GOLD player, in the towering, blonde Jacob, leaped and punched it to the ground – and GAME ON!!! Off the kids went! In and under. At em. Crazy. Guts and determination. Team tackling! Calling teammates’ names. Handballs out. Look for a teammate. Kicking to targets. Terrific. Tim, Jason and Harry (all becoming a weekly occurrence!) were supporting the U8s version of Nick Riewoldt (Jacob) brilliantly, and repelling every foray.
Arlo, Lucas, Cate, Angus and Teddy were all equally in and under the packs and Charlie’s attack on the ball and getting the ball out to teammates is becoming legendary….. Dan suited up against the odds and battled hard but was smart enough to realise that when you are feeling crook, it’s not a great idea to play football and brought himself off for the good of the team (and possibly also for the well-being of his father when he got home) – well done Dan!
Essentially, the game itself was very evenly matched – with both teams playing the game in great spirit and the ball bouncing between each defence throughout the game. So, compared to the first game the two teams played – it was completely different and showed how much the team as a whole have improved over the course of the season. Will, Niko and Sam were, as usual, throwing themselves around and making it hard for the Beaumaris team to get clean possession.
Ben was having probably his best game for the year, and on top of all that, kicked a marvellous goal! Well done Ben! Alex was providing a great centre half forward presence, and pulled in some terrific marks, Jack was providing his usual drive and selfless football wherever he found himself, Tom was hustling and manning up exactly the way Sheeds had asked and Sebastian and Diesel were their classy selves with their lovely kicking style on display quite often!!
The team went down on the day, but not by much! Fantastic effort.
And to Angus and Arlo – as Captains, you did the Rovers and the Maroons proud.
Thanks again to all the parents – to those parents who helped on the day with team functions (goals, trainer, umpire escort), to Maria and Fi (as usual!), Paul (umpire) – and to the parents who get the kids there on time, kitted out, and then stand in the cold and support. Without you all, the game wouldn’t take place.
GO ROVERS MAROONS!!! #gorovers