Match Report Round 17

Round 17

We ventured out to Toorak park to take on top of the table Prahran. We welcomed in Luke Shiel for his senior debut and O’Donnell and Bendoricchio playing their first games for the year.

Wow! Fair play Prahran , fair play! What a force ! What a fit, strong , skilful, footy smart team playing as a tight unit, they would be competitive in C grade, they just played ball, they were relentless , they had a thirst for more and more and more and enough was never enough. They are where we want to be be this time next year. They had 12 to 13 blokes as fit as our fittest 3. Their spread was spectacular and they had precision skills to match. We kept up for a quarter and a half with some great ball and it was a exciting game to watch with good tough footy on the inside and skilful ball use and running on the outside.
Our game plan was to choke their spread and put pressure on the ball carrier. Dakin and Wilson had jobs on a couple of their key playmakers and both started very well with Dakin getting a free kick from a forward line stoppage and going back and slotting a set shot from 40 out. Chris Galapi also started very well with plenty of dash off the half back flank. Leigh Wallis had a huge assignment playing on Ariel Steinberg in his 5th outing for the 2 blues. Steinberg was picked 31st by Essendon in the 2010 national draft. He played 10 games for them and was one of the 33 banned bombers. 24 years of age and at 191 cm he covered the ground like a AFL player. Although Steinberg was dominate with a knack of turning half chances into goals Leith more than held his own and out played/marked/maneuvered him consistently throughout the day. Odi was most impressed how Leith went about it.
Our second goal was from a great intercept mark and set shot by De Kiezer, Micky Rogers then slotted a beauty from long range and our 4th goal for the term came from some Jackie Cowell stoppage magic with De Keizer finishing the work.
General play was even for the quarter, we let ourselves down with a few forward 50 entries that were off the mark. Prahran kicked 5 for the quarter, 3 from 3 getable shots and snapped 2 goals from 3 half chances.
We started the second well, Palumbo continued his good form in deep defence with Matty Cowell and Tourogianis in support. Our 5th goal came from skilful transition from the back line starting with Jack Cowell to Wilson who found Spiz who put it out nicely to De Keizer who turned and hit up a leading McLaughlin. I was impressed how the forwards were leading, working in and out of space together, there’s some real understanding and cohesion happening.

It was 5 goals a piece. And then I’d say Prahran’s fitness started to come to the fore backed up by their precision ball use. We started to lag a touch and errors in execution started to creep in with missed handballs, clangers and dropped marks. Truth be told the playing core are worn out, the work load over the season has taken a toll, we continued to fight but we couldn’t keep up with Prahran’s break neck transition and they well and truly got on top and went into half time 6 goals up.

The 3rd and 4th continued in the same vain with Prahran’s relentless running and they put out us to the sword, to our credit we went down with honour. We fought on gallantly and consistently showed glimpses of good ball. McLaughlin was a stand out in the 3rd caning himself on the ball and Wilson was lively on the wing. Everyone played out the game, but Prahran was just too good, by far the best team in the grade and one of if not the best D2 side I’ve ever seen.

With Glen Eira having a upset win against Melbourne High we find ourselves only out of relegation zone by percentage. Glen Eira have a winnable game against Parade and we play Eltham this week and our destiny is our hands, this is our Grand final!

We’re at home this week and we would love your support, we’d love to see you around the huddles, Robo’s been rallying the troops like Flaps and Skip and we’d love you to jump on board.

See you at the game

Match Reports Rounds 13-16

Round 13 vs Parade

We went into round 13 treating it like a elimination final, only 2 games out of the four and playing a contender for 4th spot in Old Parade. Intensity and focus at training was heighten and we had club legend, life member, ex Captain, ex Coach,  senior games record holder, best and fairest, all time leading goal kicker and Bull Ant through and through and St Kilda player Dean Mathews say a few words to the lads after the teams were read out on the Thursday night. I asked him to talk about the Bullant journey of 1999, and in particular the time when after a shaky start of four wins and four loses we got on a winning rolling that took us to the big dance. Kenyan was captain and at the peak of powers and he delved into a epiphany he had. It was in the rooms before the Old Carey game and Pat Benatar’s ‘All fire up’ was playing in the background. For some reason or another on this particular day some of the lyrics rang true and had a profound effect on him , ‘for everyone there comes a time’ , and for him it was to fully give himself to the team, to be selfless for the team in whatever role was needed. And there in lies the distinction, the epiphany, he was a great club man, he was captain, he was a gun, he loved the club, he was passionate about the club, but in this moment he took ownership that there was a individual element to his game. The Geelong premiership era comes to mind, they were a team of superstars but the glue to their success was each and every player gave themselves to the team. And that’s what Kenyan did and the ripple effect was a Bull Ant juggernaut for the second half of the 1999 season. As a young Bull Ant playing my second season of senior footy in the back pocket I remember the feeling before the game and on the track, you could taste it in the air, it was magic, it was like being on a ground swell gaining momentum. I felt the that feeling again in 2004, 2008 and 2012 and to a lesser extent 2006 and 2007. This year we’ve flirted with that feeling, we’ve captured it at times but haven’t been able to hang onto it. I get goosebumps when we do, I get so excited for the lads when they do because the feeling I had when I was a player and apart of a Bull Ant groundswell are some of the best of my life.

The Friday before the came I immersed myself in the song and more of its lyrics rang and sang true to where we are at.
‘Where everything falls in line’ rang true, this season has been a continual process of working and improving on the fundamentals, and it felt like it was all going to come together and fall in line.
‘We live and learn from our mistakes’ also rang true and we have learnt from our mistakes , we have learnt from our loses.
‘The deepest cuts are healed by faith’ also rang and sang true, the narrow loses have hurt us, they’ve cut deep, so many people have put in so much work, invested a big chunk of their lives , invested hard yakka, invested passion and emotions , and when you fall short , tantalising short it hurts. As true as that is is the fact that the belief and faith lives, we are a sleeping giant and it is dawn but we haven’t quite woken up yet. And the alarm is buzzing and the question was as we ventured out to Bundoora, were we going to fully wake up or press the snooze button on one or two of the fundamentals.

We welcomed back Luke ‘the Tornado’ Stacker, Joseph ‘the bouncer’ Paolucci and giving us the chop out, our assistant coach, life member, 1997 best and fairest, 1999 grand finalist, 2008 premiership player, the evergreen Jarrod ‘the Smooch’ Prior.
We fired up ‘all fired up’ and the lads went out all fired up to give ourselves to the team and play selfless team footy.

In arctic conditions and kicking with the swirly wind Parade came out strong and dominated the first couple of minutes, they’ve got some very dangerous on ballers and a couple of gun forwards but we settled and got the game on our terms. Going against the wind the wind was in our sails with some fantastic run and carry and handball chains and we peppered the posts and kicked 1.6 to their 3.2. In the autopsy of the loss we had 13 shots on goal to their 5. Out of bounds, marked on the line and 1 smothered make up those 13 shots. To be fair the wind was like a washing machine, it was tough, we missed 3 tough ones, kicked 1 of 4 getable ones , had 2 bad misses, had 2 half chances we didn’t take and were unlucky twice.
We had the momentum and we had the wind in the second and kicked 3.4 and kept them scoreless without a shot on. The autopsy read 23 shots on to 5 for the first half for a 14 point lead.
We were great, we were selfless, everyone gave themselves to the team, we just didn’t cash in, as a collective we didn’t finish our work and although we didn’t know it at the time on a subconscious level all that work for little reward deflated us, it took the wind out of our sails and we lost our edge, the winning edge , the ‘take the game on’ edge, the run and carry and handball chain edge and in the 3rd we couldn’t break through their press and then we got exposed on a couple of transitions and they were up and about and we weren’t. We fought on and tried, we persisted, we looked for a spark, we never gave up but momentum can be a powerful thing, they over ran us and we went down by 4 goals.
Standouts for the day were Billy Wilson, Leigh Wallis, Jack Cowell, Brodie McLaughlin , Anthony Lucisano, Billy Tourogianis, Luke Stacker and Terry Harrisou.
The loss hurt , the dream of finals is gone , but I’m still so excited about the rest season and getting the most out of it, we’ve been good , just not quite good enough, yet.

A shout out to Nick Nassios who injured his shoulder, thankfully no surgery is needed but is out for the rest of the year, Nick’s still young and is building into his football and Jumma and I were impressed how he was coming along this year and was showing some great signs. Nick loves the club and I reckon he’s going to be a 200 game player and I look forward to watching him play for many years to come.

And a shout out to Steven ‘Rexy’ Janev.  He suffered a knee injury, thankfully no surgery but he will be out for the rest of the season. Rexy is a beauty and has become a cult figure of the club. He came down for pre season with the Sugar Art cafe crew to get fit and to check it out. A very good high level soccer player in his own right , Rexy had never played AFL and had barely kicked a Sherrin. To his credit , Rexy that is a big ball of energy was like a big sponge and keen to learn and develop the intricacies of AFL. And it was great to see many Bull Ant’s offering tips on how to kick the footy and his skills have come on leaps and bounds. He was loving the challenge of the game and took a liking to our club and decided to play. Through soccer he displayed great game sense and became one of reserves better players. Rexy tells a great joke at training and has a cheeky smile to match, he’s really gotten behind what we’re all about and is a passionate Bull Ant.

Round 14 vs Melbourne High SOB

Going into the Melbourne game training was predominately goal kicking. Set shots, running shots, snaps, with pressure, without pressure, getting more familiar with the little pockets you find yourself when taking a shot in congestion or running on a angle or both. And getting excited about kicking a goal, getting the taste, our mission is to find our goal kicking mojo.
We welcomed back Burridge and Tribuzio. We were back on the TAJ and for the second week in a row we were playing in swirly windy conditions. We came out firing with McLaughlin wreaking havoc at half forward kicking all 3 of our goals for the 1st, we were up and about, 3 goals to  2, but we lapsed in accountability, and Melbourne kicked 3 unanswered goals to see out the term.
The second was a arm wrestle with the unicorns managing to grind out 2 goals and they went into the sheds at half time 4 goals up. Billy Wilson had a huge first half and helped keep us in the game with 19 possessions, 6 tackles and 3 signature side steps.
We re grouped and re set at half time. Our Co Captain Anthony Lucisano’s start to the 3rd term was special, it was top shelf, he went clunk, bang , clunk , bang , and in 2 minutes it was a 2 goal game and game on. We were all over them with some scintillating passages of play ignited from the likes of Edsall, J.Cowell and Dakin with McLaughlin and Lucisano continuing to mark everything. We kicked 4.5 to 1 goal for the quarter and at 3 quarter time it was a 2 point game. I bumped into Rob ‘Waxy’ Williams my old half forward partner in crime at Greensborough plaza a few days after, he was at the game but left at 3/4 time, he said I thought you guys were going to win. It’s a interesting comment, Waxy knows his football and has a astute feel for the game, but somewhere along the line from 3 quarter time we lost something, Melbourne kicked the first and we lost that same something some more , and so on with the 2nd and third. We fought on like we have in 9 of 10 of our losses, we kicked a couple and we never gave up but we fell short, we were good, just not quite good enough on the day. It’s a interesting feeling when you loose but feel like the side has done enough to win but don’t. And I’m really encouraged by that feeling, we’re almost there. We had 30 shots on goal to Melbourne’s 25. We kicked 2 of 9 tough ones, 1 of 2 easy ones,  didn’t take any of the 2 half chances and kicked 6 of 17 getable ones. When we get those getables ones up to 60-70% conversion rate instead of 30% we’re going to be in business.
Other standouts for the day were Wallis, Burridge, Tribuzio, Harrisou and Tourogianis.
And another mention to Wilson who is becoming a real accumulator of the ball and McLaughlin who first up in the position played one of the better games I’ve ever seen at half forward.

Sadly Jimmy Dedes did his shoulder in the second quarter and will be out for the rest of the season. It totally sucks because he’d just found his groove coming back from a broken leg and was starting to really enjoy playing again. I believe it’s nothing too serious and he should be right for the start of next year.

Was great to see Ricky DeMarte at the game and in the sheds at half time.

The Bull Ant cocktail shindig was a ripper night at the Carlton brewery. To the lads credit they were upbeat, and although we are in relegation zone after the loss it was far from doom and gloom, we’re doing so much right but were just not getting the results. We had a great turn out from the ladies team. For a club function there
was a whole new dynamic with the ladies team there, it feels more rounded, it’s better, it’s awesome, they’re our Bull Ant sisters. Appreciation and thanks to Kristian Mattizzo for organising the night.

And the day before, the Friday I popped my head into the TAJ for the annual Club 100 luncheon. They had Fev guest speak and the place was going off, I didn’t recognise 80% of the crowd , there were a few legendary Bull Ants like Pete Bone, Smythey, Moose, Boydy, Tosca, Johnny Mathews, Gordy Stott floating about but it was mainly business associates. Keasty, Murph, Nippa and co do a amazing job and the money they raise takes the edge off and gives flexibility in for example buying equipment or putting on a pizza night or subsidising the pre season camp costs.

Round 15 vs Glen Eira

We all took responsibility for the Melbourne loss, we shared the loss, me included and we all individually went over our games in our heads and were our harshest critics. I let the lads know where I thought I went wrong, where I thought I did a clanger and where I thought I was not good enough on the day, equally I let them know where I thought I did well as well, that’s just as important, when your straight out honest with yourself , when you truly look at yourself in the mirror it leaves a space for you to learn and grow, and if we all learn and grow a little that’s going to add up to be allot. Leith Wallis and Rob Edsall gave their own critiques on their games to the group on the Tuesday training, which was fantastic and the group got to hear from a elite player and triple best and fairest be honest on his performance. And I feel it helped the collective engage in the thought process of ‘ perhaps I could have done that better, I was a bit slack there, that clanger costed us a goal, that high tackle costed us a goal’ and taking ownership of where you went wrong holds you in good stead for the next time that scenario comes around. And as I said with that its equally as important to acknowledge to yourself
what you did well.

It’s been a interesting few weeks for myself. Ultimately it’s my responsibility and duty as coach for each and every player to enjoy their football and enjoy the club. And although throughout the course I’ve always done the best I possibly could with pure intentions I really had to face up to the facts that I could have handle a few scenarios better and I had to acknowledge that , apologise for them and to get them back on track.

There was allot on the line for the Glen Eira game, a loss would have them go 2 games clear on 3rd bottom with 3 games to go. We’d be staring down the barrel to Division 3, a division we have not been in for 39 years. I was mentally preparing for that scenario. To help our cause it was the coldest training week of many a year, there were many injuries and the reserves where barely hanging by a thread in getting a team together with talks of a possible forfeit on the Tuesday night. The excuses we’re lining up nicely for doom and gloom but although we had low number a on the track it was anything but, training was upbeat and we continued as a collective to work on our goal kicking.

We ventured out to Glen Eira and for the 3rd week in a row we had windy and swirly conditions. We welcomed in M.Cowell, Agius, Lambropolous, Caridi, DeKeizer and making his senior debut Anthony King.

My pre game touched on Nick Reiwolts retirement speech, how he said words to the effect of how by playing football you get to show on a week to week basis what your made of, you get to show your ticker, you get to show your mates how much you care and the lads had that opportunity against Glen Eira when the club we all love needed it most. This was our grand final, this was the club’s biggest , most crucial game in 5 years.

Michael Pace after a successful shoulder surgery was on running duties and said some last minute words to the lads on the ground which I’m sure would have helped.

Kicking into a blustery 3 goal wind we came out playing tight accountable football. We unleashed the Spanish Bull Kristian ‘Toota’ Mattizzo into the midfield who threw his weight around and did a fantastic smoother early in the piece which forced one of many stoppages until a handball chain opened up for Considine to swoop onto a ground ball and bang it forward to DeKeizer with Billy Wilson gathering a front and centre and he kicked truly.  Our second goal came from a contested rebounding mark at half back from Edsall who dished to a running Wallis who dished to a running Wilson who drove the ball long and hit up a leading Considine who went back and slotted a tough goal from long range into the wind. Great start! Glen Eira got their game going but we stood strong with some fantastic last line defending from M.Cowell and Palumbo playing at full back on their giant and barometer Waras Carstensen.  They missed a tough one from long range then a couple of getable set shots before jagging a tough snap from the pocket. Our 3rd shot on and 3rd goal came from a stoppage, a quick kick from J Cowell ,a contest and tackle from McLaughlin with Brancatisano to get to the ground ball and innovate some space in congestion to give a clever little dish to a running Agius that thoughtfully kicked it into space for Lambropoulos to mark. Spiz went back and kicked it like the seasoned professional he is. Our next shot on started from M Cowell winning a tough contested ground ball in the middle , he dished to Dakin who dished to a running J Cowell who continued to run and carry and then hit up De Keizer who turned and hit up McLaughlin who went back and finished the fantastic passage of play with our 4th goal. Our 5th goal came from Mattizzo following up some ruck work with a quick kick onto the boot and McLaughlin marking strongly and kicking truly. The scoreboard read at the 22.20 minute mark GE 1.4 10 BT 5.0 30. Rocket and I looked at each other and thought ‘how good is this.’ I won’t lie , it was a bloody good feeling, I would have been happy with 3.2. It was a even quarter of general play but the lads had taken their chances, they’d honoured and finished the great work from up field with great finishing, they’d laid foundations and set themselves up for the day.
Glen Eira came out strong in the second and kicked the first two with some good passages of running football. Considine countered with a great shot at goal from a contested stoppage. Glen Eira kicked the next and it was a 1 point game. We then got our game going with McLaughlin, Rogers, JCowell, Brancatisano and Moio all prominent and we had the next 6 shots on goal for a 4 goal return and gained the ascendency. Tourogianis was doing a great job on one of their gun forwards in Erwin Ross who carved us up last time. For general play it was a even half with each side having 15 shots on. They kicked 1 of 5 tough ones and 4 of 10 getables. We had a great return of 2 from 4 tough, 7 of 8 getables , 1 from 1 easy and we didn’t take 2 half chances. Although even in general play the scoreboard read GE 5.8 38 to  BT 10.5 65.
The 3rd was a arm wrestle with Glen Eira using the wind and holding sway and it was probably a combination of our relentless focus on accountable football and putting pressure on the ball carrier  with the foundations of scoreboard pressure that saw them miss 5 getable shots and a easy one. They had nine shots on and we had 4 shots on for a goal a piece for the quarter. Wallis, Rogers and Brancatisano were prominent with tough running football.
We came out strong in the 4th with Cherbakof taking a strong clunk and going back and kicking truly, Tourogianis followed with a great snap. Lambropoulos was rewarded with a free kick from some great forward line pressure and he went back and kicked gun barrel. Burridge kicked a superb running goal from down town. Wallis got in the action and skilfully kicked one from a congested stoppage. Our next was all class from Brancatisano who unloaded a running long left boot between the big sticks and Spiz kicked our 7th and final goal for the quarter with a explosive running goal from 30 out and we were 69 point winners.

With our backs against the wall and so much on the line it was one of the better Bull Ant wins I’ve ever seen. Each and every player played with true Bull Ant spirit , grit and determination, and did themselves proud and when the chips were down they went went all in and backed themselves. The autopsy read a more even team contribution which is really exciting, 95 tackles which is outstanding , other than that we played how we have been playing with the key difference being kicking 13 of 17 getables compared to 6 of 17 the week before. And that says volumes of the lads ticker collectively, our goal kicking was clutch, and that to me shows tremendous strength of mind and character to turn it around.

Big Terry Harrisou had a another really solid game in the ruck, McLaughlin had another special game, and as a Bull Ant fan it was great see Spiz so dynamic in the front half with 4 goals.

Unfortunately Joe Caridi did his wrist in the second quarter and will be out for the rest of the season, I love how Joe has a crack with no nonsense footy and has ability to back it up and I look forward to him getting better and better in the years to come.


Round 16 vs St Leos
We welcomed in Lucisano and Galapi and for the 4th week in the row we had windy and swirly conditions. We welcomed a in form St Leos coming off 3 wins onto our beloved TAJ. Going over the game and our win against them in round 1 and how we played then to how we play now, in some areas the contrast is stark, there’s been Bull Ant evolution. That win was on the back of a spirited team effort and some individual brilliance. But how we set up that day looked more like a picnic. And now how we set up is anything but, the lads have not only bought into a defensive mindset but before the game on Saturday they took a mortgage out on it. We up’d the ante and the focus was to lay the foundations from the first minute and each minute after and not let the day get away from us. Kicking with a 3 goal wind towards the Bone Hill end the lads started well, Harrisou took a nice clunk with those huge mitts of his and went back for a set shot, just out of his range he dished to a running Wilson and for the second week in a row snagged our first. A good omen. McLaughlin was busy from the outset with Robo standing next to me joyous, marvelling at the young jets feats. How he flys for a mark, the timing of front and centres, extracting contested ground balls, the come from nowhere punches, the smothers, as I said he was busy. Palumbo set the tone for good day with a couple of golden fists defending from the square. Aguis and Brancatisano showed their intent with 3 tackles a piece for the first term. Was great to see Lucisano finally flying freely after a couple of injuries from early in the season he had been carrying which had clipped his wings. He took 11 clunks on the day with one of them on the goal line for our 3rd and final goal for the 1st term. We had 9 shots on goal for a 3.4 return, St Leos against the wind had 3 shots on for 2 goals straight. It was game on!
We threw caution to the wind and Jack Cowell onto the ball managing a hamstring strain. What a quarter !! Simo our stats man had him on 14 disposals for the term, he was everywhere willing himself to the contest, doing the hard stuff and doing his signature quick kicks from packs and linking up on handball chains and treating the likes of De Keizer on the lead. Chatting to Scotty at training on Tuesday about the great combo bond/relationship/awareness they’re developing, he’s like he puts them out and up nicely into space that you can run on to. I used to love that as a forward, Mark Pietryk used to treat me, Rusty is another that springs to mind.
Terry Harrisou had a fantastic start to the quarter and really imposed his strength around the ground and brought others into the play with some great handballs to running Bull Ants. We were up and about and full of run into the wind, from 5 shots on we’d kicked 3 of 4 getables and Spiz took a half a chance and snapped truly from a contested ground ball. It was a 7 goal to 2 game. It was shaping up to be our best quarter for the year but we let ourselves down and St Leos back into the game with a couple of clumsy free kicks and undisciplined 25s that followed and they kicked a couple of difficult goals late in the quarter for it to be a 7 goal to 4 goal game at half time. This little period would prove to be a key moment in the game. It gave the animals a sniff, we showed vulnerability, we showed cracks. I have no doubt if we had of kept them goalless kicking into a 3 goal wind there would have been more doubt than hope swishing around in the back of their minds at half time.
As a player I never bought into or engage in the mumbo jumbo of disputing a umpires call. I was thinking ‘where’s the ball? where’s it going? Where do I need to be? We have addressed this ongoingly  since the Melbourne away game in round 6 and we have improved in leaps and bounds, hopefully this was just a hiccup, we definitely can’t afford any of this against top placed Prahran this week. And that hiccup didn’t represent what we’re about, each and every player cares about this club, they want to win, they put their bodies on the line. To use Cherbs as a example, playing on one leg, playing in pain, playing because he knows a loss on the day would still have us in relegation zone with no buffer but percentage or worst case a game behind.  The hiccup wasn’t consistent and didn’t represent what we are about.

We reset and refocused at half time and came out playing some good ball. Leith Wallis was doing a great job on their gun and one of the premier players of the comp in Beluszar whilst getting plenty of his own ball and using it superbly, a trademark of his. Mattizzo the Spanish Bull tagged their playmaker Baranello and made him earn every kick, it was a good tussle. Our first goal of the term came from a great mark on the defensive goal line from Dakin, and then we went coast to coast through Palumbo, J Cowell, Considine, Wilson and Cherbakof who snagged a difficult one from the boundary line. Our second saw Edsall punch a St Leos kick in into open space and Bull Ants swooped in. Our 3rd from a Palumbo punch at half back followed by a handball chain and Lusianco running into a open goal.
We had 7 shots on and kicked 3 goals for the quarter, 0/2 half a chance, 1/2 tough, 1/2 getable and 1/1 easy. St Leos had 5 shots on for no goals, 0/2 getable and 0/3 tough. One of the tough ones initially was a getable one with a St Leos player running into a open goal but a determined Chris Galapi pushed over and put late pressure on him and he kicked it out on the full. Fantastic !!
At 3 quarter time it was a 39 point game but we felt we still had plenty of work to do with St Leos last quarter form line of 4,4,4 and 5 goals over the last month suggesting that with the fact they have a knack of winning the close ones.  To help them and their cause the wind really picked up and they came out up and about and kicked the first 2 from difficult long range set shots. We steadied the ship  with some Bull Ant class coming to the fore in McLaughlin, J.Cowell, Wilson, Lucisano combining to find Cherbokof 20 out. Cherbs went back and kicked truly for our only shot on for the quarter. St Leos would have the next 11 shots on goal. Momentum is one word for it , avalanche is another, we were gallantly hanging on for dear life and there were some inspiring acts of play from many. Palumbo, M.Cowell and Tourogianis were the standouts thriving in the pressure cooker of deep defence and we repelled many attacks into the vacuum but it kept coming back, every little bit of resistance added up to us hanging on by 10 points and it was a ripper win! For the day we had 22 shots on, 6/8 getable, 3/6 tough, 1/1 easy and 1/7 half a chance. St Leos had 5 more with 27. 4/11 getable, 3/13 tough, 2/2 easy and 0/1 half a chance. Perhaps we were lucky but the way I see it is that we set ourselves with 3 really solid quarters to have enough the runs on the board to withstand a fast finishing St Leos. Super well done to the lads!
A big thanks to Chance who has had no continuity in his game as he has been selflessly thrown in many roles throughout each game week to week.

Was great to see Rocket and Mal Prior put on a G grade reunion with lots of familiar faces rolling up and reminiscing the golden G grade days of the 90s and enjoying the win with us.

The Ladies team wrapped up their season playing a touring USA B side at Bulleen park last Tuesday night. It was a fantastic spectacle, a close game and a great turn out. The USA A side was there and cheered on loudly in great spirits. It was awesome , it was great, it was unique and fantastic. I heard the TAJ rooms were full with lots of laughs and great banter after the game.

And was great to see Vergs and Pete’s colts side play in their second semis on Sunday. Both games had a solid senior player turn out and both teams played with lots of Bull Ant spirit!
It’s been a big week of Bull Ant footy!

See you at the game

C Grade Reunion

On Saturday the 12th August the club is holding a G Grade Reunion including H Grade and Clubbies. The function kicks off at 12.00pm and the cost is only $20 (including lunch) with drinks at bar prices.
I’ve attached a flyer with further details so if you wish to confirm your attendance or have any queries please contact Rod “Rocket” Lambert on 0425 724 093 or

Click Here to see Event Flyer

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.