As many of you know I have been reporting on footy training sessions and meetings for the MYM (Maronite Youth Melbourne) boys as the team’s journalist. Much like the coaching staff I have seen these boys improve on the field and become a team. All the laps and push ups on boiling hot days, all the hours put in on strategy and teamwork all came down to game day.
With two minutes to go until the final siren the intensity hit its highest point.
The MYM Vics were determined to defeat their State of Origin rivals the Adelaide Maronites and that’s exactly what they did.
To the delight of the crowd the match was a constant arm wrestle as neither team let the other get too comfortable on the score board.
Mick Khoury kicked truly slotting the opening goal for the Vics while David Fahl laid a perfect aggressive tackle, but what followed had many spectators feeling anxious. Though finishing the first term only five points behind, the Vics were struggling to find their target forwards. Coach Wag stressed this in the huddle urging the midfield to ditch the extra hand-balls, play loose and go “straight down the guts!”
Taking encouragement from their coach and frustrated on-field leader Daniel Barakat, the boys in navy blue managed to score three goals, the highlights- a booming kick by Barakat after stealing the footy in a contest and a captain’s goal from Chris Darzi giving the boys a slight lead.
As the arm wrestle began favouring Adelaide’s way the Vics lost a crucial player. Defender Mario Diab, brilliant in keeping up the chatter and communication on field hobbled off the ground and did not return to finish the match.
Pressure rose as a fight broke out on the wing in front of the Adelaide bench. Jumpers were pulled and the crowd started buzzing. Umpires were quick to step in break up the fiery fight, resulting in a fifty meter penalty to Adelaide because of a headlock.
With one key player out of the game and the Adelaide boys breathing down their necks, the Vics shifted into another gear in the spirit of their chosen bible passage, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13
The State of Origin trophy was in their reach the Vics had nothing in sight but a win and to defend their record of being undefeated at home.
Instructed to “focus on long kicks” to the forward fifty by coach Wag, the Vics kicked a consecutive three goals. Andrew Nader scored a goal on the wing on a slight angle followed by the captain Darzi. The goal of the match however belonged to small but slick forward Pierre Haddad who launched an absolute monster from fifty meters. His team mates ran in beaming to congratulate him, while I resisting the urge to throw my notebook into the air in celebration, turned around to take in the view of the cheering Vic crowd behind me. We all knew that goal was the sealer, it was too special not to be.
“How long left?!” pleaded the crowd to anxious assistant coach Paul Assaad.
“Two minutes!” he yelled back.
The Vic runners sprinted out to alert the boys to hold play. Those two minutes were agonizingly long. The crowd around me went into panic mode there was nothing we could do except watch and as Adelaide surged forward just watching became extremely painful.
In those two minutes Adelaide went into their fifty zone twice because of nervous turnovers. All around me I could see looks of sheer panic and anxiety, family and friends cheering and gasping at every touch of the footy. I admit I have no notes on this part. My notebook was restrained, closed in a tight grip of death under my tense folded arms.
It was in these two minutes that I was no longer a journalist but just a passionate fan like everyone else around me and I was terrified of losing because the boys didn’t deserve to lose.
Adelaide couldn’t score. We were leading by seven points and when the siren echoed over the ground seven points was more than enough. What a win.
MYM VICS- 10.9.69
First off thank you to the Adelaide boys for flying over and giving us some real competition, shout-out to the player who stepped on my foot during the game behind the boundary line, you know who you are LOL.
Thanks to the coaches; Wag, Lebe Malkoun, Paul Assaad, David Fahl and the MYM Footy Committee for allowing me into the inner sanctum of the footy team, I will always treasure the experience of being involved with my church community.
Lastly thanks to the boys for putting up with my paparazzi-like habits at training and for giving me an amazing win to write about.
Stay tuned for part 2. Player interviews.
GO THE VICS!