After a bye in Round 1 and a replacement intra club game we were more than ready for Round 1 against UHS-VU at Brens Oval. Two more training sessions of working on our structures meant the only danger coming into the game was an opponent who already had a game under their belt against genuine opposition.
The first quarter started out quite scrappy and contested before some fine improvisation from Jai Perrett saw us kick the first goal of the game at The Zoo end of the ground. We then worked into the game a bit better through our back line runners Nick Morrison-Story and Russell Foster. Jack Price kicked his first for the day before a magnificent individual effort from debutant Pat O’Leary helped to set up Perrett’s second after the quarter time siren.
We started the second quarter with a flourish, a fantastic early tackle from another debutant James Morris helped to set up Price’s second goal before Nick Morrison-Story ran from the back flank to score his first goal of the day and set up a 34 point lead with 10 minutes to go in the quarter. It was from this point however that UHS-VU started to work into the game for the first time. Three straight goals to finish the quarter meant we went into the main break with a lead of only 14 points.
The third quarter saw more domination from UHS-VU as they kicked 3 majors and left us goalless. This quarter also saw hamstring injuries to Russell Foster, debutant Marcus Whelan and full back Alex Guthrie who was absolutely dominating his man and was on track to take 15+ marks for the day had his hamstring not gone. Steve Tibb and Matt Prouse also copped heavy knocks meaning the ¾ time deficit of 9 points seemed far greater. A terrific speech from coach Russell Barnes asking the players “do you want to be a great side, or keep being a good ordinary side” spurred the team into action.
The final quarter started as badly as possible with Jack Price hurting his shoulder. This meant we had only 17 players on the ground for large stages of the last term. Some awesome tackles by Timmy Neizen and Mick Jess inspired the team into action and we kept pushing despite the injuries. Michael Neizen and Nick Morrison-Story were terrific in the last quarter where we managed to kick 5 goals and get over the line by 18 points in what was one of the great wins for this club over the past few years.
Best players on the day were the back line players Daniel D’Angelo, Matt Prouse, Michael Van Rooy and club captain Lachy Barnes as well as Steve Tibb and Pat O’Leary who finished with 3 goals. Jack Price also kicked 3 with Jair Perrett and Nick Morrison Story kicking 2 each.
Next week we face West Brunswick at home for the first time in over 20 years.