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
Chivs