Round 8 - Match Reports

31 May 2016

Seniors down in a close one, Ressies get it done, Thirds met top Team

Match Reports – Round 8

Seniors : St Bernards FC 14.9.93 v St Kevins 15.15.105

Goal Kickers: N. Cooke 3, T. Sullivan 2, D. Colaco 2, C. Hughes 2, T. Delzoppo, J. Manunzio, C. Vague, J. Shine, A. Singleton

Best Players: T. Sullivan, C. Hughes, M. Hughes, Z. O'Halloran, T. Caven, J Bevanda

This clash of traditional rivals was five years in the making as St Kevins 2015 B Grade Premiership, put them up into Premier Division, for the 2016 year.
The game is played for the Justin “Joc” O’Connor Trophy, honouring Justin who played for both clubs, but sadly passed away in 1997 in an industrial accident, at just 28yrs of age.

We welcomed back Simon Caven (Coburg had a bye), and Luke Scerri took Sam Wood’s position just before game time, after Sam pulled up with a hamstring in the warm-up. Making his debut was key forward Luke Mitchell. As per VFL players who move between the VFL and the VAFA, Luke is currently playing in the SANFL and had a bye, and his registration to play was handled in co-operation with VAFA staff. Very good to see a player of 8 years standing in the junior club, plus having siblings and father Gavin all past players, make his debut at home. The Mitchell's have worn the no13 with distinction over many decades(and thanks to a loan from Tristan Cartledge) Gavin presented the jumper to Luke pregame. The emotion of the occasion was significant, for Gavin, Luke and those in the rooms. 

St Kevins which include a number of ex AFL players, came out hot and our top rated defence lead by the Caven’s and Angel, were working overtime to keep them at bay. All day the defence, especially in one on one contests, acquitted themselves very well. Two late goals and we went into the first break only 11 points behind. Zach O’Halloran and Jake “Sneaky” Forder again battled manfully against bigger opponents, and as time ticked over, their strong input enabled our mids to win the stoppages and contested ball.

The second and third quarters saw Bernards step up pressure on the SKOBS ball carriers, with the Hughes twins working well with Jake Bevanda and the pocket rocket Tom Sullivan.The mids, forced many turnovers and counter attacking goal opportunities. Forwards, Cooke, Colaco, Hughes all hit the scoreboard, Singleton fired up on his wing, while the defence continued to stand firm, all resulting in a three goal lead at the final break.

Simon Atkins, (coaching due to Mark Riley’s one week absence), kept the messages short, focussed and positive, so it was game on in the final quarter.While the mood was good a breeze was blowing to the SKOB end, and they again got hot and ended up snatching a very tight game, by 12pts.

For the 7th time in 8 rounds St Bernards, despite significant turnover in players, have been within a kick or leading at three quarter time, and have lost three games by two goals or less. While frustrating and cause for some soul searching, this is testimony to our players bravery and fight. While the win-loss ledger is not what we had hoped for, a strong positive is the way the young players in the team (8 in total are either u/19 or first year seniors) are getting their development fast tracked, in the Senior Team.
Next week we face another traditional rival, second placed De La Salle.

In the VAFA this year the competition has never seen so many closely fought games, with very little separating all teams.So as the saying goes, opportunity knocks for St Bernards FC with the game again at the Snakepit.
We have over 80 already booked for the Past Players Lunch, so tell your friends and spread the word. Its another great opportunity for the club & community to strongly back the boys, and urge them on to what can be a gutsy and hard fought victory !!!!

Reserves: St Bernards 8.4.52 Defeated  St Kevins 5.16.46

Goal Kickers: I. Madden 2, A. Dillon 2, P. Gamwell, M. Tonge, W. Kingston, E. Sibbald
Best Players: I. Madden, K. Daly, W. Kingston, J. Turville, L. Sullivan, M. Stapleton

Conditions were bleak as we fronted for our game against a strong 4th placed St.Kevins outfit that had won its past 5 games.
The late omissions of Jack Gay, David Wall (injury) and Luke Scerri (1sts) robbed us of plenty of talent and experience but provided opportunities for Will Kingston, Sean O'keefe and Josh Turville as well as the rest of the team to step up and fill the void.

The game started with st.kevins jumping out of the blocks displaying their fast ball movement game style. Thankfully for us, their inaccurate goal kicking kept us in the game and we stepped up the pressure with Isaac Madden providing some great tackles inside 50 resulting in goals! Qtr time had us in front by 2 points.

The rain turned the 2nd qtr into a real scrappy affair which suited us down to the ground. Luke Sullivan, Sean Okeefe, James oruba and Bern Shepheard were holding firm down back and providing plenty of rebound.

Our mids, Matt Stapleton, Kingston, Sulzberger, Hedley were winning contested footy and our tackling pressure all over the ground was enormous. A goalless qtr for both teams had us in front at half time by the smallest of margins.

For the 8th week in succession we were down to 2 on the bench with Claude Issa and Giacomo unable to take any further part and our fitness and heart was going to be tested once again.

St.kevins kicked a few early goals and it looked like we may be able in trouble but we dug in.
Kane Daly and pat Gamwell were finding the footy, nick Larkin had gone into defence and started giving us plenty of drive with Dillo swinging forward to snag a goal and keep us in the contest. 3 points down at the final break.

We had been in this position numerous occasions the last few weeks and weren't able to get the 4 points......I could see the desire in the boys eyes at 3/4 time and knew this time would be different.

First goal of the last qtr was going to be crucial and it was a real arm wrestle for the first 10minutes before Dillo kicked his 2nd and we were in front. Josh turville and Matt Tonge were getting leather poisoning and when Kingston and Tonge kicked back to back goals, our lead was out to 15points.

We held strong the last 10minutes as st.kevins kept coming and recorded our 2nd win for the season and one of the best wins I've been involved in as coach! A truly great TEAM performance!

Chris Davis - Coach

St Bernard’s Thirds 2016 Round 8 vs St. Kevins OB Gold

Final Score:  St Bernard’s 3.5.23 defeated by St. Kevins OB Gold 8.12.60

Goals: Z. Awan, L. Cookson, E. Dugdale. 

Best: S. Whelan, L. Whelan, M. Satterly, L. Cookson, Z. Awan, L. Baird.

The mighty and focused St. Bernard’s thirds took on the ladder leading St. Kevin’s OB Gold down at Walter Street Reserve in wet and slippery conditions. The challenge of playing the best team in the competition was there before the thirds to take on. In the log jam, that is the middle of the Premier thirds ladder, this game had the potential for the Bernard’s thirds to jump above the pack.

After some late call ups to the reserves, the coaching group set about reinforcing to the group the need for a full 4 quarter effort from all players, if they were to topple the top team. Desire, Determination and Discipline to do the team things, would be the keys to success.

The first quarter started as an arm wrestle with players from both sides giving their all with many repeat efforts at stoppages and contests around the ground. St. Kevin’s managed to exert a bit of influence on the score board by adapting to the conditions a little bit quicker and playing the percentages, getting the ball forward at all times by foot. Slowly the Bernard’s thirds worked their way into the contest, the attack on the footy was strong, led by the midfielders of S. Whelan, M Satterly and Dutchy Holland, they were taking the tackle and then when they could, moved the ball on quickly by foot. Going into ¼ time Bernard’s were down by 5 points and were up to their necks in the contest.

Unfortunately the 2nd quarter didn’t go so well for the Bernard’s thirds. St. Kevin’s made the most of their time in possession, they were cleaner in their skill execution and played solid wet weather football for the majority of the quarter. Under relentless pressure the backline was holding firm, stand in skipper Luke Baird was showing the way with his attack on the footy and the contest. He was ably supported by L. Whelan and Ed Connelly, who worked tirelessly to repel the St. Kevin’s forward forays. Bernard’s showed a willingness to switch the ball when moving out of defence and it worked in slowing the St. Kevin’s momentum, they were just let down by some slow reaction times by players further afield, not adjusting to wet weather football and watching the ball falling short of the intended targets. A valuable lesson to be learnt for the coming months of winter conditions, fight for the front position at all contests.

Going into half time, the Mighty and Focused Thirds found themselves 21 points in arrears but by no means out of the contest. The message at half time was all positive, it was an even contest in terms of effort and attack on the footy and the contest from both teams. It was only the cleaner skills and preparedness of the opposition to move it on quickly that was the difference. The thirds came out firing and after a bit of an arm wrestle to begin the quarter, they had had two goals on the board in quick and rather fortuitous circumstances. After the initial goal, some undisciplined acts by the St. Kevin’s players saw Zeesh Awan lining up for a goal before the ball had made it back to the centre for the restart. This had the boys believing they could overrun their more fancied opponents and thus ensued a tense 15 mins of hard, intense and continual effort footy. It was only through a small lapse in concentration by the Bernard’s boys that St. Kevin’s were able to kick two late quarter goals and restore their handy 22 point lead from half time.

The Bernard’s boys knew what was needed in the last quarter to overcome their opponents, play the percentages, be strong over the footy, move the ball on quickly where possible and hold their ground around the stoppages so there were players to release the footy to. The players put this into action and gave it a crack. Tireless work around the ground from L. Cookson and big Ugi, was helping the midfield but the opposition was resolute and not about to let the game slip. They managed to snag two last quarter goals to put the game beyond doubt and record a 37 point victory in tough conditions.

The scoreboard doesn’t truly reflect how close the game was. The Bernard’s thirds matched their opposition for effort and fitness and as a coaching group we could not be prouder. But it showed us what we need to be able to produce if we are to match it with the two top sides of this competition. Our skills under pressure and ability to control the ball and “not spend it before you get it” are areas that we need to improve on and the best way is to hit the track this week and train hard and get ready for our next assignment at home against Old Melbournians.

Paul Rahill – Coach