I’m in one. Now to win it.

 

Earned a ticket to the big dance.

Imperial Football Club sent four teams up to Mannum on a hot windy 27 degree day and each team earned themselves a ticket to the big dance at Meningie on 17 September.

The Under 15s after having the week off did the job against Mypolonga and won by 4 goals.  The Under 17s, the side probably most favoured to win on the day snuck home by 3 points to keep their unbeaten season in tact, the reserves went in slight underdogs and got the chocolates and the seniors, again probably slight underdogs won a very entertaining affair in the main game with a 14 point win in a see-sawing affair.

The jubilation of winning through to a Grand Final lasted only a short while.  The mood after each game was one of joy and a bit of relief but it’s been drummed into us that we’ve only won a chance to play in a Grand Final- nothing more than that.  No players were drinking, the club rooms after the game were well attended but low key, we’ve got all our sides to a granny, a great achievement, but this is a club that even believes getting to a Grand Final is not sufficient enough, you have to win them.

In the last decade the seniors have won the 2002 and 2009 flags, the reserves have won the 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2010 flags, the under 17s and under 15s have won several premierships in that time too.  So as you can see, getting there isn’t enough.

Personally though, I’m stoked.  12 months ago, it’s something I never thought I’d get to experience.  I’d played in one finals campaign in 10 senior seasons and I just couldn’t see myself getting there.  Many of my Cribby team-mates have played 200 plus games and only got as far as a prelim and that’s what I thought was going to happen to me.  I have more footy behind me than in front of me these days.  But a move interstate, being lucky enough to move near a club that was successful changed that.  I’m there and this may be the one and only shot I get at it so I’m going to give it 200%.

My nerves were more settled before the game.  I’d broken my finals duck the previous week and had a solid game so I was better prepared and ready for the game.

Saturday was the hottest day since last summer, it was 27 degrees and very windy.  We had a few more smaller blokes that like to run and carry so I felt the conditions on such a big oval suited us a little better, although we still didn’t really know what to expect because it was a side we hadn’t seen for three months and their personnel was different to back then anyway.

In the reserves against Meningie, we won the toss and kicked with the breeze.  I felt we were a little wasteful early.  At quarter time we were 3.4 to 0.1 in front but I thought it was a 3-4 goal breeze minimum.  I would’ve rather been 4.3 or 5.2 such was the strength of it.  My first quarter was solid, I had a direct goal assist and whilst I was struggling a little at the centre bounces as the ball was hard to judge in the air, I had the better of the ruck around the ground.  A good strong mark early also settled the nerves.

Our second quarter was brilliant.  We didn’t kick a goal, in fact we were scoreless but we only held them to one goal which was a huge physiological boost for half time.  There was a siren malfunction and we kicked a goal but the timekeepers and umpires disallowed the goal at the half time break.  Again some clever ruckwork in bringing the ball to ground to create multiple stoppages wasted some time.  I also felt we were running a little more and despite only being up 3.4 to 1.2 at the main break, we were well poised.

Our 3rd quarter was great, again we ran hard and used the wind well. We kicked four goals to nil and really knocked the sails out of them.  7.8 to 1.2 and with 20 minutes to play all we needed to do was slow the game down and make it harder and harder for them to get back into the game.  The last thing we needed was to concede a couple of quick early goals and give them a sniff.  If there was any doubt it was removed early in the final quarter as we opened it with a goal.  In the heat we toughed it out full of running to win 9.10 (64) to 2.4 (16).  My game was solid again, another 7/10 honest performance.

The final score shocked me really.  I honestly thought we were underdogs.  It was a good tough finals win in hot, windy conditions, we played it well, although we’re wary.  You don’t finish top of the ladder for no reason and I’m sure they’ll bounce back.  By all reports they’ve got one or two to come back into the side.  The Prelim Final will be played out by them and Mypolonga.  Mypolonga ran us hard in the last game of the year so the Grand Final is going to be tough.

The seniors were great too.  Like us, their run and carry and ability to put pressure on their cross-town rivals won out on the day.  At quarter time Imperials were up 5.6 to 1.2.  At half time they were down 9.5 to 6.8 (I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a strong wind).  At 3 quarter time we lead by 7 points and into the wind in the final quarter we kicked away to win 15.16 (106) to 14.8 (92) in an entertaining, if not nerve-racking, game of footy.

For now we’re there and we can prepare.  In both grades whoever wins the Prelim (in the seniors it’s Jervois and Ramblers in which there is a bit of bad blood from an incident earlier in the year http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/football-star-in-legal-win/story-e6frea6u-1226081926029 ) will be formidable opponents.  We’ve only earned the right to play in the Grand Final, nothing more.

In lighter news the League B&F medal count is on tonight and I’m heading up as apparently I’m a show to win to win the Reserves League B&F.  I honestly don’t believe I’m the best player in my team, let alone the league, but I’ve had a solid season so maybe I’m a show.  Here are some quotes from the local rag previewing the count (yes this really did appear in the local paper, I ain’t making it up)

“…The Lokan Medal count can be a bit of a lottery at times but don’t discount Roger Head from Ramblers; his team may not have had much success but Roger has never let them down.

“Wombat” Matthews always has a speech in his back pocket in case he is called upon at short notice but his team mate, the big ruckman “Bert” Newton, could be the wild card in the pack and he might sneak up and pinch the Lokan… I’d expect it to be close with Evan Smith, “Bert” Newton, Travis Lienert and Roger Head to be right there in the finish.”

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Best of luck Jared-

  2. I hope the Eagles win this weekend “Bert”. That way I can send all my positive karma your way for the following weekend. Well played and well written.
    Tried to get on you in the Lokan Medal, but the Betfair market wasn’t up yet!!

  3. Jared Newton says:

    For the record I polled 7 votes. The most from the side but 13 off the winner. When your leading vote getter gets 7/56 votes you know you have a good even team.

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