Match Reports Rounds 11 & 12

Round 11

A win would have been met with euphoric election, it would have binded and highlighted all the things we’re are doing right, and we’re doing allot right. Instead it was the polar opposite, that one really hurt , and the feeling in the rooms after the game was the seams that keep us together had loosened because the few things we aren’t doing quite right were put in the spot light and amplified.
And those thoughts you take home and naturally marinate in the loss and the things that went wrong, and before you know it a vicious cycle of a negative thought has permeated to a whole you opinion of the club, coach, player/s, attitude , or whatever it may be. And whatever it is it’s not healthy, yes there’s relevance to the particular thing, and yes it needs addressing, and with addressing those things and improving on those things like training attendance our challenge is to keep in mind the things we are doing very well and to keep doing them.

We were back on our beloved TAJ taking on 3rd place Yarra Valley. We had Murph’s mate and 80s A grade captain Shane ‘Digga’ Gilmore down from Townsville for the week to support his son in the TAC carnival. He came to our game and spoke to the lads before it and you could see that the place and the memories it brought up meant allot to him. He spoke from the heart about his playing days at the Bull Ants and emphasised the importance of doing the little things and walking off the ground after the game with no regrets. What he said was fantastic and it all rang true , and thats a beauty of our game that the ethos and principals of yesteryear are still the fundamentals of our game today. Thanks to Murph and Digga.

We welcomed in Chris ‘the Stampede’ Galapi, Scott ‘the Avalanche’ De Keizer and Terry ‘the Inferno’ Harisiou. Our mission for the day was to bring what we brought against West Brunswick the week before, and we knew if we did it will hold us in good stead and give us every chance to grab the chocolates.

Kicking to the Marcus road end we started very well with high pressure , accountable footy , and when we won the contested ball we were off and running. Lucisano kicked the first 2 and the 3rd was a very special running goal from Jack Cowell playing in his 100th senior game for the club. As I said earlier we are doing so much right and this was on display in the first. Also mixed in with all this great play were 3 sloppy clangers that hurt us with Yarra Valley kicking their first 3 goals with them. Two of them we kicked out of bounds and they skillfully dobbed them both from boundary ,quite incredible. We also missed 2 very getable ones, we could have been 6 goals to 1 up at quarter time, but it was 4 goals a piece and game on. Coulda , woulda,  shoulda is not my style but as coach my job is to dissect the game and find the reasons why. And clangers have haunted us all year, you cop the odd one but the trend has been 2 or 3 in a short period in most games. Kicking and in particular short kicking has been a huge focus since day one of pre season, and our kicking has improved, our care for the kick has improved, our pride for hitting the target has improved and it will continue to improve and eventually we won’t be having these 2-3 collective clanger lapses.
And at the other end another trend has been missing getable goals, collectively we have belief and with that confidence in our ability and skill set to kick goals, our composure can improve and with that a contributing reason why we’re missing the getable ones is because we want it too much, we can taste it, it’s right there, and in that moment we are out of the moment and we’re not quite watching the ball onto the boot or moving into goal on the correct line. As Digga said ‘the little things’
Kristian ‘The Spanish Bull’ Mattiuzzo was one of the standouts in the first quarter putting on a brilliant display of last line dourness of strength, composure and evasion which he continued for the rest of the day.

We started the second quarter really well with the highlight being a coast to coaster starting with a scrumptious boot from Edsall that found Dakin who wheeled around and delivered a delicious ball to the leading Dimopoulos in front of the BBQ who dished off to the running Wilson who exploded down the clubhouse wing with a couple of bounces and a hot long boot to Cherbakof who was one on one and he turned his opponent inside out and slotted a super sausage roll.
There was good energy and it’s the old trap and this has also been a trend throughout the year. When things are starting to go well we get ahead of ourselves , literally ahead , we think we’re on a roll now and the balls going to be there and I’m going to be there when the ball is there and it is going to be great, and in the second half of the second quarter there were quite a few Bull Ants thinking and doing this and not thinking and doing , I need to be, the team needs me to be , the team relies on me being accountable to my direct opponent first and foremost. And the result was we got exposed on transition and they kicked 4 goals and it was a 2 goal game at half time. We’ve been addressing being exposed on transition for a few weeks and this was a lapse, some teething problems on how we as a collective go about our football.
The lads responded and brought out great pressure in the 3rd, we didn’t allow them any flow in their game , making them change their direction and forcing mistakes and creating smoother opportunities, smoothers are becoming a new weapon in our arsenal. There were quite a few throughout the day , Brodie ‘The Glove’ McLaughlin did the second best smother of the century after Heath Shaw’s 2010 Grand final one. Just in front of the scoreboard he dove and flew like superman, it was as spectacular!
As good as our pressure was Yarra Valley had some classy passages of play and we got lucky with their inaccuracy in front of goal. We kicked 3 straight and it was a 3 point game at 3 quarter time.
When playing I used to love these moments , battle Royale with the late after sun stretched and drenched over on our field of dreams. We came out in the 4th dominating with all of the momentum, I felt the Bull Ant spirit. Just like the previous week against West Brunswick it was on like donkey kong. Terry ‘the Inferno’ Harrisiou was putting together a great game in the ruck against one of the better and bigger ruckmen in the comp in Amos. For the second half and the 21 ruck contests he competed in he won 9, broke even 8 times and only lost 4 times. And with that got involved in plenty of chains with some fantastic handballs. Scott DeKeizer was as busy as normal with clunks and quick release handballs and some fantastic inside 50 deliveries, The usually suspects in Wilson , Edsall, McLaughlin and Jack Cowell all had great games , Jack Cowell had a game high 36 touches with one of them throwing himself into a pack in the dying minutes and somehow getting a boot onto the ball and going our way. I thought David Dakin was fantastic, he has been fantastic all year, week in week out he plays with great tenacity and spirit, his effort and courage is elite and it’s only a matter of time for the rest of his game to follow and we’re seeing exciting signs of that.
Unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on our opportunities in front of goal and the few times they got it up their end they did but we never gave up and it went down to the wire, we kept coming, we wanted it so bad , our  Co Captain Lucisano was on one leg but put himself into the middle and just willed the ball into his hands and got it onto his boot and going our way, it was inspirational! We gave it our all and once again it just wasn’t our day , some undisciplined play didn’t help our chances when we needed everything going our way.
It’s a bit of this , it’s a bit of that , it’s clangers, it’s missing goals, it’s being undisciplined , it’s not being accountable, all of these contributed to our loss on the day and Yarra Valley to their credit took advantage of it.
We’ve got the talent , we’ve got the passion , i watch the footage and I can’t help but be excited about the possibilities, our good is great but our not so good is bad , and this is our quest.

Was great to see a young 17 year old Angus Murphy running around the TAJ with his blonde locks like a whippet in the reserves.  It just looks natural, like seeing Joey Brenner on the track, their old men have been massive for our club and seeing their off spring run around just looks
natural and is awesome!

Congratulations to John Mathews and Harry Harrisou on being awarded the VAFA  125 year medallions for significantly contributing to our ongoing success over the last 25 years. The presentation Russell Wallis did after the game was fantastic and wonderful and the crowd got a feel and a appreciation for body of contribution both have done to our club.


Round 12

We needed that, was great to sing the song, was great to embrace as one and celebrate our efforts, not just for the day but for everyone’s ongoing commitment.

We ventured out to Rathmines Rd Hawthorn to take on the bottom placed and the winless Hawks. We welcomed in Joey ‘The French Revolution’ Moio for his first game for the season and 50th senior game. We also welcomed in Joey ‘ The Snarl’ Caridi for his first game for the year. We welcomed back Wallis, Bruce and Rogers.

We had a shaky start with Hawthorn getting first hands on the ball, we settled and found some groove, Wilson and Brancatisano were super busy and there were some some eye catching running passages of play from Jimmy Dedes. Cherbs was super dangerous up forward with 3 goals for the quarter and Lucisano was presenting and clunking beautifully at half forward.
Rathmines is a short ground with the arch and centre meeting around the 43 mark. Both teams didn’t need much room with ball in hand to do some damage, and both sides had 9 shots on for the quarter.
Hawthorn kept coming in the second with a unassuming gun wearing number 77 marking everything and kicking goals with both feet. He kicked 9 for the day, in his 3rd game for the club, I heard he’s a golf pro and was keen for a game, just a natural gun, but doesn’t look like one.
So the game was a shoot out, Jack Cowell for the 3rd week in a row kicked goal of the day, and this one takes the cake, it was pure magic, pure instinct, very similar to Luke Hodge’s grand final boundary one. It’s one of the better Bull ant goals I’ve ever seen, Matt Bain’s running goal at old Geelong in 2008 springs to mind and Rob Illingworth’s long bomb from a centre clearance in the dying minutes of the 2006 under 19 granny is another.

We went into the sheds at half time 10 points up. Micheal ‘The ‘Rolls Royce’ Considine really stepped up in the 3rd and played some great footy, we had a pretty even contribution throughout the course of the second half and we gradually pulled away for a 7 goal win. Some heart in your mouth courage from McLaughlin flying back into a pack, Joey ‘The French Revolution’ Moio slotted nicely back into the pace of senior footy and some encouraging signs with Galapi finding some touch. With Burridge, Mattizzo and Paolucci out De Keizer really sured us up down back, we had good drive from Tribuzio and Wallis was in good touch too. Was great to see Stewy Smith in the rooms after the game.
Was a great way to send off Santino too! Him and Connie are off to Europe for the next 5 weeks, this week will be the first Bull Ant football and cricket , junior or senior game he has missed in 15 years! Over the years he’s been invited to attend corporate boxes and luncheons at the ‘G’, he replies ‘no thankyou , there’s only one place I want to be.’

On a sadder and unfortunate note, Lachy Bruce injured his hand on Saturday , has had surgery and will be out for the rest of the season. A big thankyou for your efforts this year Big fella, some super efforts rucking games solo and pushing yourself to the limits. Respect to that and to your team first attitude, you were getting better and better each week and I think and hope you’ll be a integral part of the senior team for years to come.
And just a shout out to everyone giving us the chop out to field a reserves side over the last couple of weeks, our injury and unavailable list is at 27, amidst all that coach Jumma continues to be a big ball of positive energy rallying the troops with Bobby helping out as a source of wisdom right by his side.

See you at the game

Match Reports: Rounds 9 & 10

Hello fellow Bull Ants

A big thanks to Murph, Keasty and the 100 club for putting on a smorgasbord of pizzas on the Thursday night going into the queens birthday weekend. We had a much needed relaxed night around each other. Jack Cowell dominated the table tennis with a unplayable serve and has staked his claim as the man to beat on the TT table this year.

A big thanks to Rexy (Steve Janev) for hosting a players get together and BBQ on the Queens Birthday Sunday.


Round 9

We headed out to Eltham for another ‘any given Saturday’ game against the turtles welcoming back in Lucisano, De Keizer and Cherbakof. We came out with guns blazing and Cherbs snagged the first 3 with his second rather remarkable, deliberately kicking a rolling banana off the ground from 20 out. We were up and about and probably started to get ahead of ourselves and were too attacking which left us exposed on their transition and the Turtles kicked the next four to be a goal up at quarter time. We started well in the second but then lost our way again with the Turtles getting on a damaging roll kicking 7 straight for the quarter and us heading into the sheds at half time 40 points down. I still could not question the lads courage with Leith Wallis backing back into a pack and taking a huge funky hit exemplifying that.

We adjusted a couple of things and came out in the 3rd playing some fantastic accountable football which took away being exposed on their transition and when we got it our instinctive footy that we’ve been working on for months came to the fore and we dominated the quarter kicking 4 goals 6 behinds to their 2 points and we where back in the game at 3 quarter time being 2 goals down.
How we were playing was thrilling stuff, disciplined, focused and taking the game on, Jack Cowell embodied all of this and linked up beautifully with the likes of Brodie Mc , Chance , Micky Rogers and De Keizer on the clunk as Cherby continued to be super dangerous up forward. It was a terrific team performance with the defence rock solid lead by Leith Wallis and Joseph Paolucci.
The turtles responded in the last quarter and we continued to fight and never gave in and I felt when the siren went , as sour as the feeling was, I felt we’d turned a corner.

Heartfelt thoughts with Andrew Verga who did his knee early in the piece. Andrew coaches the Colts, Captains the first 11 Bull Ant cricket side and was playing some good footy. I’m devastated for him. He is a spiritual leader of our club in football and cricket and is a all welcoming figure for anyone in the Bull Ant community to go and have a chat with. In true class and passion to our cause he took the devastation in his stride and was helping me from the sidelines within 5 minutes of coming off.

Heartfelt thoughts to Daniel Tonelli who seriously damaged his hand in the reserves and will be out for the rest of the year. He’s a absolute ripper and like Vergs a great clubman. He was my half forward partner in crime in 2008 before doing his knee in the second semi, he came back from that and was a key member in our 2012 premiership. He has since been pivotal in the reserves winning the past 2 best and fairest’s and was building for another crack in the seniors which would have been awesome, but as Vergs and Dan both said the following Tuesday at training, ‘that’s footy’. Thoughts with you Dan and the club appreciates and values yours and Andrews love for the club.


Round 10

We ventured out to West Brunswick and welcomed in the young jet Luke ‘the Tornado’ Stacker from the Oakleigh Chargers for his first game in the blue and gold for the year. And was great to have Oran ‘The Storm’ Aziz returning from injury.
We had Billy ‘the Spartan’ Tourogianis playing his 250th senior club game. A monumental effort and getting into some really special territory. I said to the lads before the game if I was to pick my dream team of Bull Ants I’d played with, and those players were at the peak of their powers, my first pick would be Billy, he’s still playing good footy but at the peak of his powers he was something special, week in week out, quarter in quarter out, contest in contest out he was as relentless as any one could be with high pressure contested footy and damaging when he got it. And that’s what we brought out with us, I feel really proud writing this , the lads effort and application was spectacular and we produced a exciting brand of footy. When we got it there were 1 2s, there were draw and give offs and take the hit , there was running with the ball, there was ‘the moment is right ‘tempo retain the footy’ footy , and when they had it , there was dour last line refusal defence on all parts of the ground, there was sticking up for your mates, it was enthralling and we went into quarter time 2 goals up.
The class that is West Brunswick responded and came at us in the second kicking 4 goals but we were gallant and denied them getting on a roll and we kicked 2 goals of our own and went into the sheds 3 points down.
We’d really tapped into some hunger for the contest, we were thriving on it and it went up another notch in the 3rd starting from the engine room in Billy ‘Superglue’ Wilson, Jack ‘the Lavaman’ Cowell and Brodie ‘the Glove’ McLaughlin. Nick’ the Hammer’ Palumbo and Chance’ the Undertaker’ Burridge shared the ruck duties for the day and both were focused and influential. The backline was a wall with Luke ‘the Tornado’ Stacker’s class and long left boot on show and Leith ‘the Bear’ Wallis oozing commitment to the cause. Matt ‘the ‘Clamp’ Cowell and Kristian’ the Spanish Bull’ Mattizzo were giving it their all and Joseph ‘the Bouncer’ Paolucci had kept their gun on a leash. Tyler ‘the Shadow’ Aguis and Jimmy ‘Wolfman’ Dedes didn’t give their opponents any room and Billy ‘the Spartan’ Tourogianis did what Billy does. The pressure was insane and that was consistent all over the ground with our half forwards and wingers in Oran ‘the Storm’ Aziz, Leon ‘the Lock’ Dimopoulos, Micheal ‘Pockets’ Rogers, Rob ‘the Pressure Cooker’ Brancatisano and David ‘the Blanket’ Dakin all being dangerous and accountable. Our captain for the day in Anthony ‘the Monsoon’ Lucisano and Micheal ‘the Jack Russell’ Considine we’re willing themselves with true grit and determination to influence their contests. Kristian ‘the Iron’ Cherbakof was doubled and tripled team from the get go and still continued to find a way and keep the scoreboard ticking over. All this great stuff was happening and then there was a very special Bull Ant having a very special quarter. Sir Robert ‘The Squeeze’ Edsall rose to the occasion and to the flying Sherrin however it was coming in, it was simple delicious football and there was a moment there when he went bang with a banana from a set shot after a crowded goal line clunk that I felt a force in the Bull Ants that I have not felt in a long time. It was brilliant and we went into the 3 quarter time huddle a goal up.
The last quarter was on like donkey kong , lead changes , moments of magic , moments of despair , the game was on a pendulum. And this well drilled, winning culture, polished, damaging unit of West Brunswick found a way, and I was devastated but proud.

This journey that we’re all on has been a continual process of discovering a brand of football we love playing and that stakes up. And although we’re 3-7 and in relegation zone I truly feel we are building foundations for a fruitful future. So it’s onwards and hopefully upwards.

See you at the game


Match Reports Rounds: 7 & 8

Hello fellow Bull Ants,

Round 7

We welcomed in Joseph Paolucci, Jimmy Dedes and Oliver Schmidt for their first games for the season. Was really great to see Jimmy back in the side after a long road of rehab after breaking his leg early last season, and the same with Oli that’s had ongoing issues with his shoulder. Unfortunately Pete Voglis got the confirmation we weren’t wishing for with him needing surgery on his ankle and is out for the remainder of the season. Pete’s had ongoing back issues over the last few years and was so meticulous in his pre season work load and had himself up and firing and was loving his football and then unforeseen issues with his ankle bopped up. I just want to take this opportunity to thank Pete for going above and beyond and doing everything that he possibly could.

Parade brought it and we left it in the sheds, their intensity threw us off , the swirly conditions threw us off, I didn’t recognise us , how we were playing didn’t represent what we are about. I didn’t see this coming, and it highlighted when as a collective we play within ourselves and don’t take the game things unravel very quickly.
Our intensity lifted at the start of the second and we were workmanlike without any reward until Cherbs snapped one through in congestion. Soon after we had a fantastic passage of play from a stoppage in the back pocket starting with Jack Cowell finding Aziz, Aziz a searching handball to the running McLaughlin that kicked long to a leading Cherbakof that turned and found Tribuzio running into a open goal. We got the next clearance and De Keizer was held off the ball and he went back and slotted a great long goal.
We’d turned it around and went into the sheds at half time 2 goals behind.
We started well in the third , the intent and dare was there, one moment we had it and the next we didn’t , and it became a scrappy arm wrestle, we didn’t take our chances and Parade took theirs and they were 4 goals in front at 3 quarter time.
We surged forward early in the 4th but missed a couple of opportunities which would have got us back in the game, Parade once again made the most of their opportunities and that was all she wrote. We fought on and didn’t roll over but Parade were the better team on the day. It was a lacklustre performance and with the past players watching on we missed a great opportunity to showcase the spirit and flare we’d tapped into and expressed the week before. Matt Cowell was a stand out and had his best game for the year. Mattizzo showed more encouraging signs, De Keizer was a work horse all day and solid contributions from Wilson, McLaughlin, Jack Cowell and Leith Wallis.

Some really unfortunate and sad news to come from the day was Ashwyn Mohandes doing his knee (PCL) in the reserves and will be out for the season. Thoughts are with Ashwyn and it’s such a shame because he’d only just come back to football and he was loving it and we were loving having him in the blue and gold.

Round 8

Playing the top of the table Prahran we welcomed back Edsall, Tourogianis, Lambropoulos, Brancatisano and in for their first games for the year Terry Harrisou and Ben O’Conner.
Key marking forwards De Keizer and Cherbakof were out with strains and Lucisano had not come up.
We came out of the blocks with fair dinkum intent and with some great forward line pressure from Paolucci and Brancatisano we kicked the first goal. Prahran were very well drilled and gained the ascendancy around the stoppages for their fleet of footers to run onto and they disposed of it beautifully. They were super impressive, they were super slick by hand and foot and kicked 5 goals to our 1 for the quarter. Our intent was there and if we take out our two unforced clangers which ended in Prahran goals and some undisciplined arguing with umpires it could  have been a 1-2 goal game instead of a 4.
The 2nd and 3rd quarters ran consistent with the first, the effort was there but they continued to be dominant around the stoppages and slick with ball use. We showed some fighting qualities with Billy Wilson not finding it as often as he normally does but he became a tackling maniac, Mick Rogers was getting amongst it, Ben O’Conner was giving it his all and Brancatisano showed some real class. Edsall was magnificent down back and then on the ball and Dimopoulos provided a fantastic leading target for us at half forward. McLaughlin was huge and ran all day. And at 3 quarter time it was a ten goal game, but felt like 6 and could have been 4. Unforced clangers and undisciplined play really hurt us, the little things are the big things , many times we remonstrated a decision with the umpire whilst Prahran quickly played on. This is disheartening for the players that are busting theirs guts and doing the right things, the team things. And the forth quarter saw the dam wall break and Prahran flooded in 10 answered goals that had a feeling of numbness that reminded me of last quarters in by gone years against Caulfield in 2001 and Rupertswood in 2006 I’d rather forget.

Moving forward win lose of draw its going to be about really standing for something.  Standing for playing good, honest, hard, positive, disciplined football, that’s what I stand for and that’s our standard.

Congratulations to Leith Wallis for being promoted to Co Captain of our football club. Leith was a member of the 2011 under 19 premiership side and the Senior Premiership the following year. Leith has been a rock for our club and plays with Bull Ant heart and passion.

Congratulations to Jack Cowell, Chance Burridge and Scott De Keizer for being promoted to Vice Captains of our football club. Jack like Leith was a member of the 11 and 12 premierships and has continued to play some pretty special football year in and year out. Chance is a absolute ripper and a Bull Ant through and through and brings a real edge and presence. Scott De Keizer is new to the club and has been a breath of fresh air, a thinker of the game and is a natural leader of men and has got allot to offer for the playing group to learn from.

And some more really awesome news, some amazing news, some beautiful news. Our very own wolverine Big Dave Floz has been running around on the training track, to think where he has come from and where he is now is a real life miracle. And what stands out to me as I watch Dave train is the appreciation he has just to be out there running around catching the pigskin with his mates.

It’s great to be a Bull Ant
Hope to see you at the game


Round 7

After a strong week on the track and a change in mindset we came up against a strong st Kevin’s side who are unlucky to not be on top of the ladder.
The competition was fierce from the first bounce. Both teams had opportunities in front of goal however st Kevin’s were able to capitalize on the scoreboard where we weren’t able to do the same.
It’s amazing what a simple change in attitude can do, the previous week we played Fitzroy (8th on the ladder) and we lost by 50 points, this week we lost by the same margin to a top side. Whilst we weren’t able to put a score on the board the way we played and held ourselves in the contest was a drastic change!
This match saw several girls play their best games so far for the season. Our youngest player, Anti Dedes, only 16, put on relentless tackling pressure and won plenty of clearances for us out of the middle.
Liv kurczycki final had that moment where everything clicked. She has been strong in defense for us all year but this week saw her put attack and defense together and had the opposition forwards chasing her.
Katherine Collins, one of our newest players, was unstoppable on the wing. Every time she got the ball she ran and took us from defense to attack with no one able to catch her.
The scoreboard did not show how well our girls played. Going down by only 8 goals to a top side shows that our girls are heading in the right direction.

Round 8

The attitude all week and prior to the game was constant positivity. Great numbers on the track and a strong performance the week before saw our girls desperate to get out on the field at the chance of another win.
Our opposition, Canterbury, had just come off their first win and are on a similar position to us on the ladder. We new we were in with a shot today.
Whilst Canterbury got the jump early on us our girls did what they do best and never stopped trying. 2 minutes into the second quarter saw the score 15 (cafc) to 0 (btafc) however from here the game changed to be on our terms. For the rest of the game Canterbury only scored one more goal and we put on plenty of scoreboard pressure.
Our three goal scorers for the day included two first time goal kickers. Gezza and Lucy Moores both scored their first goals by putting on constant tackling pressure up forward. A great reward for effort.
The day also saw another two girls play their best games for the season. Mel krienke was unable to be stopped on the wing. Winning the ball on the inside and the outside, she did everything right.
After a small break kate McQueen back to her best. She was a coaches dream being the “mrs fix it” playing in about 5 different positions throughout the day and performed strongly in each one.
The momentum of the game was in our favor for the entire last half, and we knew if the game had gone another 2 minutes we would have got the win. However the game was a great contest and going down by only a point proves we are only inches from our second win.

Match Reports Rounds 5 & 6

Hello fellow Bull Ants,

Round 5

Ladies day prompted me to look back at the support I’d received from women in my life. I remember as a young bull ant going home after a bad loss, bruised and battered and having played a bad game, I’d be on the couch feeling sorry for myself and Mum would come over and give me a hug and say something like ‘it’s ok’ , I remember as a dreaming kid kicking the footy in our back paddock with my sisters until after dark and only stopping because Mum would call out diner is ready , I remember my good friend Laura coming to watch games when I was captain. And I think it’s beautiful that they get it, they understand and appreciate that this gladiator sport we play and love is a emotional roller coaster with highs and allot of lows and they see and feel that first hand , they get what it means to us , they feel our losses and are happy for us when we win, and things like a little hug or seeing a mate, a mum , a sister, a wife or a girlfriend cheer you on from the boundary line is massive.
So it was great to see our rooms dressed up in pink looking a million bucks and the women behind the men enjoying themselves. Huge efforts from Andrew Verga, Kristian Mattizzo and co to make it happen and with the Lady Bull Ants enjoying their first win the atmosphere was magic.
With last years D3 premiers Glen Eira also on 2 wins and 2 losses the stakes were high. Interestingly I bumped into our 2008 premiership coach Dave Mathews before the game wearing a Glen Eira jacket assistant coaching, we enjoy a mutual respect and we had a little chuckle over the complexities of coaching.
We came out playing solid ball, we were having a crack, Billy Wilson and Jack Cowell were in and amongst everything , Tribuzio was at his rebounding Jason Johanison best on the half back flank and Cherbakof was as lively as ever up front. The Gryphons delivery into their forward 50 was primo and they had a trio of marking forwards with dukes to match. Our defence has been magnificent all season, the standout group but they uncharacteristically let 3 marks on the goal line happen. I was super impressed how they on their own accord got together on the quarter time siren to address it.
We threw things around a little at quarter time with Tribuzio sacrificing his own game to blanket the red hot Erwin-Ross. We unleashed the Nimbus 2000 McLaughin into the action to instant effect, Burridge started to get into the game and Wilson, DeKeizer and Bruce were super busy and awesome. General play was generally even in the second, we were doing a lot right but as a collective we were caught up in what we were doing wrong. We went into the sheds at half time 7 points downs with the ghosts of our past hovering over us and haunting us. They followed us into the sheds too. I wish it was as easy as Harry Potter waving his wand and calling out ‘Expecto Patronum!’ to ward off a dementor but alas we are mere muggles and we ain’t playing quidditch. That said it took Harry quite a while to master that spell and it was originally his godfather Sirius Black that saved his tush from a dementor. But we address it and touched on the negativity that was weighing us down.
We came out and the intent, passion and heart was there, it’s been there all season, I watched on with Rocket, I’ve moved Rocket from running duties to standing next to me, this great Bull Ant is so in tuned with where we’re at, where we’ve been and the general vibe. We watched on and once again we were matching the general play and peppering the goals. But there were moments, where we were working out a scenario beautifully and then it’d become unstuck and they’d get it and score which left me thinking ‘how did that happen?’. This happened half a dozen times throughout the day and had me and Rocket bamboozled, thinking about it now , maybe those ghosts from by gone years had something to do with it.
27 points down at 3/4 time the lads fought on and never gave up, I felt a belief we can still win this right up until the siren went, we just needed something to click, and although nothing clicked it was very encouraging. Special mention to Lachy Bruce who put in a Goliath effort rucking all day.

Round 6

I had a real tough week, my mantra was fight the urge and get on with it. I never used to be a smoker, I become a social smoker in my mid to late twenties, and then it went up a cog with touring life in my mid thirties, and then over the last few years helping set up a couple of business’s, one in Sri Lanka, my brothers decline and passing and now coaching it’d become my go to, to go and have a cigarette and a ponder. It’s a bad habit that’d become a part of my life.
And then it was a funny moment, in the rooms after the Glen Eira game, Billy Wilsons mum Robyn came up to me with half a packet of cigarettes, she’d pick pocketed them from my back pocket a couple minutes early , I had not noticed, she went something like ‘naughty naughty’ , and we had a laugh over it. And then the next day I was thinking, let’s just roll with that , it’s a bad habit, let’s just run with it and get off the smokes. So it was a tough week fighting the urge and getting on with it.
I needed to do this, for myself obviously , but for the lads as well, to show them it can be done, over the last four seasons and 70 games we’ve won 19, drawn one and lost 50. Those losses have naturally done damage to our self belief, we have baggage, we had similar baggage and on field bad habits in 2004 after a bleak period but we manage to win those early in the season close games which ultimately created healthy on field habits and was the start of a 5 year successful period. So after 3 close losses , which were all fighting and proud we needed to trouble shoot. We had a really positive team meeting on the Thursday night and we all pledged to fight the urge of disputing umpires call, to getting caught up in argy bargy’s to dwelling and marinating in something that didn’t work , we decided to give it a go , to just roll with it , be positive and get on with it.
I was already seeing the benefits from not smoking, allot less junk food, less soft drink, having cereal in the morning, my appetite is back, so I’m cooking at home,
I’ve gain some extra vitality and some creativity, riding my bike to work I’m seeing jumps I could do up gutters and I’m appreciating buildings I hadn’t notice before, my eyes have broaden.
When your consumed by something it closes you down from being open to the possibilities around you.
And I didn’t even realise the smokes had consumed me, I thought I was on top of it but by getting off them I’ve realised I was consumed and it was dragging me down.
So Melbourne high at the unicorn stable was a danger game, they were 1-4 but could have easily been 4-1 with 3 close losses as well. We welcomed in Kristian Matiuzzo in red hot form for his first game for the season, and was great to get Ashwyn Mohandas back into the fray. And there it was, I had goosebumps, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up , there’d be a shift from self doubt to self believe, the boys were getting on with it and playing inspiring high pressure footy. Billy Wilson rode a set shot home from down town, Andrew Verga’s passion was radiating, Considine was super lively , Tribuzio was thriving in his new role , Palumbo and Dakin were up and about and Burridge and Brodie where everywhere and everyone was hitting the Bacon and Eggs buffet (tackles). It was by far our best quarter of the year.
Melbourne High responded and came at us in the second, it was a great dwell with our defence holding up strongly. We were getting lots of cleverness and run from Jack Cowell and Oran Aziz, Sir Robert Edsall was at his marking best and Cherby was doing what Cherby does, when the ball goes near Cherby i take a break from coaching and become a fan, it’s thrilling to watch, the guy is a artist.
Really positive and relaxed vibe in the sheds at half time with no ghosts from our past hovering above.
Another impressive quarter in the 3rd with Pete Voglis pinch hitting beautifully and Scotty De Kiezer being huge and super smart around the contests. Palumbo was a workhorse doing ruck duties on his own and was great to see David Dakin bring flare and polish to his hard as nails game.
8 goals up at 3 quarter time I bungled up the tactics for the last, I’m not afraid to stuff up and that’s how i want the lads to play their footy, the boys embraced it and gave it a crack but we went too defensive and I’ll learn and grow from that.
All in all a really encouraging day.
I’d like to throw out a mention and thankyou to Rusty and  Robo that are both doing a super superb job in their roles and the group is really taking on and learning their insights on the game.
See you at the game


Round 5

The ladies went into the game against brunswick with confidence levels through the roof.
having come within 4 goals of hawthorn the week before with only 16 players, we knew that finally getting a chance to play with a full bench we would be able to have a real chance at our first win.

for the entire day the ball rarely left our forward half. the girls put never ending pressure on the brunswick players when they had the ball, and when we had it we ran, attacked and took on the game.
half time provided a chance for us to throw some things around, the score being 3 goals, 7 behinds to nothing, we knew a few girls would have a chance to kick their first goal.
this was the case for Ash Herman, Sarah Chong and Sophie Freeman. all three scored by getting their head over the ball and pushing hard against brunswicks quick defense.

A fantastic effort by all the girls. we set a standard of footy that we can definitely use for the rest of the season and i couldn’t be prouder of the girls.

Round 6

After a thrilling win last week, the girls were all raring to go to get another taste of victory.
We saw ourselves against a strong fitzroy side, who had been playing good footy all year but for little reward. Unfortunately our girls rocked up not ready to play and fitzroy got the jump on us straight away and we werent able to catch up.
Whilst all the girls put in a solid effort, it is the perfect example of you play how you train, or in our case, how you warm up.
The girls left the field going down by 44 points. whilst this is a disappointing result the girls have all responded well and are keen to bounce back, knowing what is now expected to get another win on the board.

Match Reports: Rounds 3 & 4

Dear Fellow Bull Ants

Round 3

It was going to be awesome, he’s a ripper , I knew that the first time he rolled up to preseason , his demeanour, a footballers footballer , no fuss , tough and wirey and when he handled the Sherrin he had a sureness about himself and what he was doing. He had a great debut at half back and was building into the season, round 3 there was excitement in the rooms before the game about the battle ahead, I noticed a unfamiliar face with familiar facial features, I knew who he was and went up and said ‘Gday you must be John’s Dad’ ,we chatted for a minute about his son and what he brings to the Bull Ant party and I left thinking this is going to be awesome. Football and a common cause bringing people together, and there we were in the thick of it late in the 3rd playing West Brunswick at home in a enthralling in close stoppage battle royal with the occasional scintillating transition, John Springett was having a ripper game , 15 possessions and a heap of 1 per centers, he was thriving in the contest and loving his new club, loving being a Bull Ant. And then as I watched the players pick themselves up from another hard fought contest you realise something ain’t right, and you think ‘oh no’, You think ‘that’s not good’ you think , ‘what does he do again, he’s a tradie’ and you think ‘oh no’ again , you think about their livelihoods, and you think thats just cruel , this guy’s doing something he loves and now there is serious repercussions. It’s a real empty, hollow and flat feeling. John the poor bugger broke his arm, this wasn’t in the script , he’d just proposed to his girlfriend the week before, he was loving his football, he was running his family business, he was loving life and that was not supposed to happen.

John came to the game on Saturday and is in good spirits and is on light duties at work, life goes on and you find a way but it stills stings. He’ll be missed, missed when I look at the magnet board and think John would have been there , at worst it would have been a break even and I reckon he would have bobbed up with 3 or 4 best ons. But the flatness in me that stays is about the friendships, bonds and comraderie that won’t be able to grow and flourish. It’s just not the same, that’s the facts and that makes me flat.

West Brunswick, a fellow district club, respect to them, tough, hard at it and tactical football. Between the seniors and reserves they’ve lost 9 home and away games over the last 3 seasons for 3 flags. I admire how they go about it and the environment they’ve created. I see them being competitive in C grade in the next 3 to 4 years. And bi jingoes we had a massive crack and were always in the game, we were gallant, we had a resolve, we fought hard and I was proud of the lads. Leith Wallis aka Dustin Fletcher played his best game for the club in a inspiring performance of composed stylish football under high pressure in deep defence. Superbly supported once again by his partner in crime Mathew Palexus. They are our Batman and Robin. We also had a young Bull Ant moving like a young Kenyan before he got pick up by St Kilda in the early 90s. Brodie McLaughlin took the game on playing pure footy and gave us allot of run off half back.

Cowell and Wilson were prominent in the midfield and Cherbakof was magically magnificent again kicking four goals and then moving onto the ball in the last and almost dragging us across the line. We welcomed in Scott De Keizer for his first game for the club and he kicked a couple of clutch goals. Impressive signs from Bruce, Agius, Brancatisano, Dakin and Galapi which are all going to get better and better with all being hard working and keen students of the game.

We went down by 7 points , we went down fighting

Round 4

Round 4 we headed over to Doncaster to play Yarra Valley who were also on 2 wins and 1 loss. With Spiro Lambropoulos playing his 200th senior game for the club the lads were switched on and pumped for a big day. We welcomed in Considine, Dimopoulos, Hodges, Aziz and Verga for their first games of the year. I like what I saw , running, instinctive, hard at it footy with Burridge, McLaughlin, Dakin, Edsall and the Cowell brothers on fire and then they started to physically put us off our game. Long gone are the days of what happens on the field stays on the field, footy has evolved and society has evolved, I have no doubt it was a tactical move by them and it changed the flow of the game. Early in the second Andrew Verga took a ripper of a slips catch in front of goal and was heading back to kick our 3 rd goal to their one. Just off the ball a Yarra player fished for the retaliation (the ump is now watching) free kick and we bit the bait, it’s the oldest trick in the book but the boys are still human. It’s still not good enough but I understand and we as in the whole club will learn and grow from this. The decision was reversed and the momentum had changed, they got it up the other end for a goal and were up and about. Subconsciously it effected us, some negativity hovered over the collective including our supporters, we felt hard done by, we battled on but we couldn’t let it go , we dropped our heads and we’d lost our edge and it effected our instinctive style of footy, we’d lost our dash and dare. Yarra had a dominant quarter kicking 5 goals. Cherbakof and Tribuzio showed enormous fighting qualities when we had our backs against the wall. I’m airing this dirty laundry because we as a club, players and supporters need to improve on how we feel as a collective when shit happens, the players can feel the angst from the boundary line, but ultimately its up to the players to let it go, to re set and re focus. This is our standard and this will be our culture.

We re grouped at half time and got back in touch of what we’re about and got back into the game. Jackie Cowell was dominant and De Keizer continued to be super busy, Wallis, Palexas, and McLaughlin were huge down back. Bettiol in the ruck was warming into the game and thriving in the contest and then that ‘oh no’ feeling again, the big fella was in trouble, the same feeling as Johny Sprigett, the same feeling as Michael Pace, your engaged in their lives and they’re loving their football, players often go down and have a moment but when it’s serious you just know , you feel the despair in the air, Luke did his knee and he’s a tradie too, I feel for the big fella, he’s a bloody ripper human that was loving playing with his cousin in Luca and footy has dealt a cruel hand again.

As Bull Ants do we fought on and were always in the game but fell short for the second week in a row. That one really stung, but the positives were we never rolled over and we fought to the end. I feel a real steely resolve creeping in which is going to keep us in good stead for the years to come. I enjoyed how the new lads to the team went about it and Oran Aziz’s natural talent was eye catching.

I thought Spiz refusing to be chair off the ground was all class and I felt the lads disappointment that they didn’t make his special day grand.

So I’m flat about Luke, John , Michael and Dave Floz. And I really miss Michael especially, it was him and me from the start, it was him who was the shining light of rallying the troops in the dark season that was last year, I miss him on the ground, I miss our chats on the phone, I miss our drives to and from footy training, I miss us talking and workshopping about our beloved Bull Ants with him leading them, he was devoted to the club, he was devoted to taking his game to new levels, he was loving it and we were loving it doing it together and I miss him.

The more flatter I am and the more I miss these ripper blokes the more motivated I am to keep the Bull Ant train that is up and  running Cho Cho Chooing! It’s all aboard and it’s full steam ahead! We’re throwing more coals on and having more of a crack.  We’re going to honour the imprint Michael has left on us ,the whole group needs to pick their game up by 5% otherwise we will creep back into some bad habits, and it’s the little things , the little moments where we need to be aware of and then diligent and focused.

That’s where it’s at for us, it’s looking like a  very even comp this season and we’re going to keep having a almighty crack!

See you at the game


Women’s Round 4

Round 4 saw a new begging for the women’s side, with all teams now being graded to an appropriate standard, we went into the game confident of gaining our first win.
Whilst we only had 16 players we were able to get three girls out on the ground for their footy debut. These girls may have been new but boy did they make an impact. Sophie freeman was thrown straight into the midfield and had an instant impact winning multiple clearances to put us into attack.
Sarah Chong started up forward and looked menacing in front of goals with good pace and pressure.
Danielle Polkinghorne has come home to the Bullants after a quick stint at another club. Playing at center half back she helped our backline keep hawthorn goalless in the first quarter.
The game was tight all the way to the end. Our ladies were within points of the lead five minutes into the last quarter, however hawthorn having a full bench meant they had the fresher legs and were able to run over our exhausted 16 players.
Charlotte “Ginge” Mckinnon was able to put a stop to the oppositions star mid, and Bridgette Henry did a brilliant job at keeping their key forward (a 6 foot 3 monster) quiet for almost the entire game.
Another valiant effort by the girls. 3 goals 4 behinds for the game is a great reward for all the hard work put in. Going down by under 4 goals with no bench against a side with a full 24 players shows we are well and truly heading in the right direction and are not far away from our first win.
Harry Urwin

Builders Academy Certificate IV Course



Bulleen Templestowe Sports Club will be hosting an Information Night on Tuesday May 16 at 7.30pm in conjunction with Builders Academy Australia.


Builders Academy Information Night

Mr Bullant

It’s that time of year again! BTAFC opens its doors for all the beautiful ladies in our lives for the famous Mr Bullant Contest! A night that expects to live up to its reputation, where men and women alike come from all around to partake in what will be the greatest night on the BTAFC Social Calendar.

The night is to be held at the BTAFC Clubrooms on the 13th of May with the nights proceedings kicking off at 8:00pm.

Ticket prices are to be $30 per head. This price includes a drink upon entry, finger food and transportation to the after party (Venue TBA).

Drinks will be sold at bar prices – with drinks specials for the ladies (drinks menu to be released in the coming days)

The night will be co-hosted by the one and only Andrew Verga who will be ably supported by Kristian Mattiuzzo and with plenty of entertainment for the girls to look forward to there is no better function.

There will be topless bartending, raffles, live acts and games for the ladies to participate in. Games will come with prizes for the winners and in some cases the participants as well.

The main event is of course watching four of the finest Bullants BTAFC has to offer, battling over a 3 round competition for the prestigious title of Mr Bullant 2017.

For now the contestants will remain a mystery with the ladies to find out on the night!

Get involved, I promise you’ll have a good night! I look forward to seeing you all there!


Please contact Kristian Mattiuzzo for tickets on 0413 406 969