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