It was a big day for the club, marking the first ever time we had found ourselves in D4 in our proud history. Knowing the stakes were high we had to start well and did. 12 clearances to 2 for the quarter probably told the story of the midfield domination. The forward line were also working well together and we managed an amazing 17 scoring shots for the quarter, unfortunately due to the very strong wind this only resulted in 9 goals but nonetheless we had stamped our arrival on D4. Senior debutant Liam Whelan was the star of the show with 6 first quarter goals which were a result of a mixture of strong marking, ground play and one cheap handball over the top in the goal square. At the first break we found ourselves leading by 55 points after the best quarter of football we have played in a long time.
Whilst we expected the Mt Lilydale boys to come out hard, and with the aid of a genuine 4 goal breeze we didn’t expect them to score 7 goals for the quarter after going scoreless for all bar 10 seconds of the first quarter. Whether it was the wind, complacency or just that the opposition had finally switched on, we suddenly had a game on our hands. A couple of late steadiers by the boys in red, black and green meant that at the main change we led by 32 points but we knew we had work to do in the second half to keep the opposition at bay.
The second half saw us go back to the football we played in the first quarter. Huge tackling pressure on the ball carrier as well as relentless pack running meant we were genuinely everywhere and well on top of them for the entire half. Debutants Jesse Butcher and James Wright were leading the pack in this regard. It must be mentioned that we were extremely fortuitous in that the howling wind completely changed direction in sync with ¾ time which meant we enjoyed 3 full quarters with the wind at our backs. The wind change also brought with it torrential rain so the tackling and running in numbers we were already displaying were more helpful. Ultimately the Rams didn’t offer much after half time and we outscored them easily.
Final scores were Aquinas 22.22.154 to Mt Lilydale 9.6.60
Senior debutants on the day were James Wright, U19s graduate and son of Anno, Michael O’Malley also from the U19s, Liam Whelan who is the son of Andy as well as Jesse Butcher recruited from Woori Yallock and Haydn Judge recruited from Forest Hill.
The 2s started off brilliantly thanks to getting first use of the ball in the middle. The strength and size of the midfielders was something we really lacked last season and it was pleasing to see them throwing their weight around. Drew Keltie was particularly dominant in the guts. Lachy Naulty was playing in front and made use of continued inside 50’s, kicking 3 goals for the quarter. At the first break we led by 30 points but we’d had the use of the breeze so there was more to do.
Against the win in the second quarter the backline was under the pump with the Rams continually bringing it inside their attacking half of the ground. The midfield was again working hard and as the quarter progressed we began to get on top on the middle. Jason Miles and James Morris were killing it with the centre clearances. Despite playing against the wind, we managed to keep the opposition scoreless. With the second half shortened to 13 minute quarters and a lead of 59 points. The game was effectively in the bag.
Despite the shortened quarters we continued to play our brand of footy, which was all about winning the hard ball at the contest before giving off to our runners and kicking to advantage. A pleasing aspect of the second half was kicking 4 goals in the last quarter despite kicking against the strong wind.
Final scores were Aquinas 15.14.104 to Mt Lilydale 2.0.12
A huge preseason for the U19s in only their second season back in existence meant the entire club was excited to see how they would fare. Coming up against Hampton Rovers who are in C Section was never going to be an easy task but we were up for the challenge. The first quarter saw the away side get off to a flyer and inaccurate kicking from the Bloods cost us on the scoreboard. We managed to work into the game a lot better in the second quarter but once again inaccurate shots for goal cost us big time. At half time the we trailed by 26 points despite having just one less scoring shot.
The third quarter saw a terrific fightback from Aquinas as we piled on the pressure and piled on 3 goals through Daniel Foley and Luke Lattimer. Unfortunately, a couple of late goals to the Rovers meant we still trailed at the last break by 22 points. The game was called off just 5 minutes into the last quarter after a sickening incident saw a suspected neck injury to young gun Oliver Phillipson. An ambulance was called and we all waited with concern to see that he was okay. After spending the night in hospital under observation he has been discharged and is recovering at home. All in all not a bad day for the boys from Ringwood and we can take many positives away, not least that if we can kick straight in front of goals we will certainly give ourselves a chance of winning more games.
Final scores were Aquinas 3.1.29 to 8.7.55
Barry Plant-House of Golf Best on Ground
Narellan Pools-Edge Loyalty 2nd Best
Swinburne Trades-Original Joes 3rd Best