The Senior and Reserves teams did not have a match in Round 4 due to the bye caused by the withdrawal of Box Hill North so the match reports below are Round 3. Round 4 match report is given for the U19s.
A big day at Allard Park Brunswick saw two undefeated teams face each other in the clash of the top of the table teams. Whilst we had been preparing all week for a big test it was clear early that North Brunswick had come to play. The home side kicked the first two goals of the game through spectacular marks from two of their forwards, both apparently recruited from local powerhouse Doutta Stars. We managed to settle a lot better toward the end of the quarter but still went into the first break trailing by 11 points and with some work to do.
The 2nd quarter was more of the same as we really struggled to move the ball through their 18 man press. This was easily the best structured team we had come up against all season and it took us much of the 2nd quarter to figure out that we had to slow the tempo down and control possession. Ankle injuries which spelt the end of our two Vice Captain’s Lachlan McDonald and James McMahon didn’t help the cause. At the main break we trailed by 14 points.
It’s hard to tell what coach Ash Naulty said at half time but it seemed to work as we finally started to play some real Aquinas footy and thus piled on 6 goals for the quarter. The main beneficiaries of the improved midfield work were our two key forwards Liam Whelan and Paddy Mahon. We went into the final break leading by 12 points. Unfortunately, North Brunswick managed to regain the ascendency in the final quarter and hit the lead about half way through. For the final 10 minutes of the game both sides traded goals before a fortuitous goal to an opposition forward with a minute left meant we had our first loss of the season to the tune of 5 points.
Coming up against a side which was also 2-0 meant we knew they’d come out firing and come out firing they did. The first 5 minutes of the match was really hard contested footy. Unfortunately for North Brunswick this was where the good news ended. Our disciplined aggression and intensity at the football meant the opposition midfielders couldn’t get first use and as a result we dominated the clearances. Shane Fox lead the way with his effort and attack and was rewarded with 4 goals. The forwards worked well as a group to generate space and were rewarded with quick, direct delivery from the midfield group. The half backs were the real stars of the show, continually repelling opposition rebound 50’s and setting up attacks for Aquinas. This line was lead by Leigh Toomey, Al Guthrie and Jayden Rosewarne in his first game for the club in 8 years. Jayden has been rewarded with senior selection this week as well as Michael O’Malley. Final scores saw us run out 135 point winners and the margin would have been greater had it not been for 2 late North Brunswick goals.
Round 4 for the U19s saw Aquinas take centre stage at Bloods Stadium in the only match of the day against an opposition which was also sitting at 0-3. We started like a bull at a gate and thanks to some magical work from captain Michael Di Donato on the wing we had our first goal within 30 seconds of the opening bounce. From there the pressure, harassment and skill did not let up. Liam Whelan, filling in for the day due to the Senior team bye kicked 8.4 in a dominant display which takes his years tally to 24 in just 4 games. Elliot Muckleston also kicked 3 goals in a super performance for the young gun. Best on ground for mine was Lachie Steer at full back who read the ball superbly in flight all day and was always there with a fist or an intercept mark. Congratulations also to club debutants Harry Dwyer and Anthony Mattioli.
The Past Players Day is being held on Saturday July 1st in the O’Driscoll Room. The set up will be much the same as previous years with lunch, drinks and plenty of stories and laughs. The day will be focussed on the 30th Anniversary of the 1 point premiership victory over Whitefriars in 1987 but as always all past players and supporters are invited and welcome to attend.
Later that night we will be holding our $5000 draw and this will be our major fundraising event for the season so we hope it gets the support it deserves. More details will be forthcoming.