Ring, ring…..ring ring…ring ring…..
“Good morning, AFL – Gil speaking” came the voice over the phone….
“Gil!!! How are you mate? It’s Sheeds…”
“Sheeds! Great to talk! Gee I tell you it’s tough in here at the moment, I need a hug I reckon. Tell you what mate, I am gunning for you for the Legends Hall of Fame. By the way, well done on the ANZAC game again the other week!
“No, no, don’t be modest! I made a fortune out of…sorry, it was really well attended and a credit to you! It’s so great for our bottom line….I mean for the fans – they really support it brilliantly!”
“Gil – it’s not that Sheeds, it’s Rohan “Sheeds” Bardwell here. I coach the legendary U8s Hampton Rovers Maroons…you know – Bayside…..near Moorabbin and St. Kilda’s home ground? You gave me your number that night at 3am, at Riva the other week….”
“Oh…um….right….Was I at Riva? Gee – better check the diary. Sorry, where’s St. Kilda’s home ground? Have I missed something? Aren’t they in Seaford? Is that far from Toorak? Seaford. Seaford….somewhere anyway….Hmmmm….might need to include that one on the agenda with Steve…..”
“Steve? No mate, my names’ Rohan remember?…..can you just focus mate? Eyes and ears, Gil. Eyes and ears. Well ears anyway, seeing as we are on the blower – thanks for your time Gil – you should have seen the game yesterday!!! We had Teddy and Tom as Captains for the day – really exciting for them. They were hugely proud and I tell you mate, they were almost walking on air. Teddy fired the team up before game – his captain’s comment was that WE WERE BORN TO WIN….the kids went off – took me and Dimma (long story, but not the Dimma that you know) 2 or 3 minutes to calm them down…”
“Yes, well, that’s great and I am sure they did a fantastic job, but Rohan…..I mean Sheeds, I mean Rohan, apologies….but I am super busy champ, I have back to back meetings with AFL Commission Chair, Steve Hocking, Michael Christian, Adam Simpson, WorkCover WA, Nic Nat, biomechanics experts, fairly standard day, but still flat out ….you know what I mean?”
“She’ll be apps mate – won’t take long! All good! So – where were we? Oh yes, so…. In the first quarter, I can tell you for free, that the kids were really excited and were keen to show their wares particularly for their mums on Mother’s Day! Aren’t our Mum’s fantastic? They do so much. And it was really great to see so many there, braving the autumnal chill on a Mother’s Day morning! Anyway, the team are really kicking along, if you get my drift. Me and Dimma, well we had the kids focus on manning up, running to space and looking for a teammate – and in the first quarter – bang! There it was!! Harry had some great clearances, kicking to Diesel up forward and a shot on goal….Dan copped a knock in the head in the first minute, and he just shook it off and kept going in hard. Sam was lively, and in everything – great energy! The defence was fantastic, repelling attack after attack – Seb and Jack showing the way – and Niko was blitzing down there too…..”
“Ah Rohan….I really have to get back to it…..”
“Sure Gil, I understand – only 3 quarters to go mate – won’t take long….so, where were we? Oh yes, so the second quarter saw more of the same and Cait probably played her best game for the year. She was in everything and handballing out of packs to teammates, kicking long and basically showing the way. She was even seen clapping the opposition’s goal – now that’s sportsmanship for you. Probably the highlight was Cate handballing to Angus on the run, who then drilled a GOOOAAAAALLLLLLLL!!! Sorry Gil, that may have been a bit loud…I was pretty excited though. Diesel was winning great contested ball in the guts and Charlie was taking a leaf out of Harry’s book and turning himself into another midfield battering ram – into everything and chasing, tackling kids twice his size. Bertie was feeling crook, so I put him down in the goal square – great move by me I reckon. He was like a little Dusty Martin down there, lurking, threatening and holding his opposition accountable the whole time….and Ben and Arlo were particularly noticeable, leading to space and getting a couple of important possessions in pack situations. Jack was doing some great in and under work and his handballing under pressure to teammates was a real feature!
Ring….ring….”Hi Gil here – yes, the AFL Commission Chair is here? Sure, won’t be a sec. Rohan….”
“No worries Gil. I’ll keep it short….tell him to wait can you? This is really important. So – after half time, the team continued to really play well. Dimma and I were almost giving each other hugs that normally would be reserved for our better halves – we were so proud of them. The team that is. Though we are proud of our better halves too….sigh….sorry…just got a bit emotional there…. Cait continued her great game, Dan marked and passed to Diesel and Tim was having a huge third quarter – marking everything that came his way. He even unleashed a big barrel! Just missed the goal. Sam continued to tackle everything with red and white stripes and Will was doing his best to man up and keep his opposition kickless. Teddy and Tom were really doing a great job, playing captain’s games, leading from the front. Jason really got into it, and was really strong in defence, taking some great marks and kicking and finding teammates. Great quarter by him. Angus was a bull in the middle, and despite opposition attention, kept his cool and focused on the game and helping his teammates – he was a great player in the midfield. Nearly finished, Gil…..
And the last quarter was more of the same. Teamwork, tackling and leading to space. The kids have really come a long way this year in the 5 games they have played. Seb continued to find the ball, kicking to Harry, whose shot on goal just missed! The boys went down on the day, but it was by far their best game of the year. Look, I probably have to wind it up, Gil. I have someone coming to see me in a few minutes. But just want to say a couple of things.
First – I introduced big coloured buckets – Dimma was freaking out during the week as he had heard on the grapevine his position was in jeopardy due to a lack of effort with the wristbands process. It worked a treat. Dimma was walking around with one on his head after the game, he was so happy…..
Second, I have to say thanks to Paul (Umpire), Kerryn (Umpire’s Escort), Matt (runner), Jonathan (goal umpire) and James (timekeeping). Fi and Maria were again brilliant pre-day and on the day. Dimma is going to have a word to Tony (thanks Tony!), who was in charge of the snakes and oranges, as there weren’t any red snakes left for him after the game. Will have to keep an eye on that one.
And to the Mums. Happy Mother’s Day – the team I hope, did you all proud. Three cheers rang out after the game – they do such a wonderful job…..Gil – great talking to you mate – have to fly. I am a busy man, you know….”
“Um Rohan – thanks for the call…….”
“Gotta go mate – sorry – Dimma’s here. Big strategy meeting for next week. We’ll chat again no doubt…..Go Rovers Maroons!!!”