August 26, 2017, 2:00 pm
And so the immediate destiny of Brunswick NOBSPC came down to the final round of the season. Again. But our superior percentage meant that our opponents, St John’s, would need to beat us by over 100 points to push us into relegation.
A blistering start of five goals straight to none in the first 20 minutes of the game put that threat to rest so our attention turned to finishing off with a strong win at Dandenong. That part of the equation turned out to be a fair bit harder as we gave up the lead late in the game only to wrestle it back in the dying minutes.
Such an outcome had seemed unlikely as we dominated the opening quarter, especially with Dom Sullivan and Matt Shannon on fire up forward. Our ball movement was quick and clean and the goals were flowing. Late in the quarter we let ourselves down by conceding two goals through lapses in discipline, keeping the home side in the contest.
The second quarter saw the Sullivan/Shannon show roll on and they had seven of our nine goals between them at halftime, but some worrying signs were emerging as we became distracted by the over-zealous umpires.
With a solid lead going into the second half we were looking to kill off the St John’s challenge in the third term. Instead we got a turgid quarter of ineffective footy, but the backline led by Cam Fox held strong to keep the home side to only two goals.
The first goal of the last quarter was going to be crucial and when it went to St John’s nerves started to fray. They were settled somewhat by Sullivan’s fourth goal, a banana on the run.
Still St John’s came at us. Hard. When they hit the front it looked like the game was up. To the credit of our players they came again and it was fitting that our most consistent player of 2018, big Scott Thomas took a big mark in the goal square and slotted through what would prove to be the match winner. The final frantic minutes were noteworthy for the fact that both sides played like they had forgotten how to win, which was understandable given their seasons.
But we gladly took the four points, don’t worry about that.
The most pleasing part of the win were the strong performances of our young players, headed by best-on-ground Sullivan, the silky Daniel Mott, the exciting Matt Dickson, the talented Lewis White, the hard-at-it Anthony Argento and the lively James Schmidt.
Well done the players and coaches for their efforts in retaining a Division One place for the club in 2018 under tough circumstances.
A big thanks also to all of those who helped the team during the season. See you next year!
Thomas Carroll Reserve
McCrae St and Box St, Dandenong