Redders v Monash

Second preference, second preference, second preference; this was the chant (taunt) we old Redders used to inflict on students from Monash. You see we never considered that there was more than one uni in Melbourne. This University was in Parkville and was the home of the Reds. Monash was the southern outreach program of Kew Cottages. La Trobe was where the more dangerous people from the Mont Park Psyc home were housed.

Today we were down to Monash, after defeating the top side, and looking for revenge for a crucial draw last year which ruined last season. Before I go to the match let’s talk about the footy week of derrinalphil. Lucky Phil is my name and once again I won the meat raffle at the North Fitzroy Arms on Thursday night. I buy my meat from a butcher in my home town Heathcote and on Monday he delivered one thousand dollars of meat to my freezer. The freezer was chockers so even Mrs Derrinalphil was in agreement with a decision to hand the prize back. Even Methodists can be generous.

I like to emphasise the positive in these articles but I did have to front my doctor during the week to receive some sobering medical news. My prostate may be firing on all cylinders BUT I am deficient in vitamin D. Now this particular chemical is not available in Rutherglen Muscat so I was told either to take a pill or get more sun on exposed skin. This is the reason that, my magnificent beanie, thirty seven years old, has been retired for the season. Those of you at the game would have seen my bald noggin exposed for the “Vitamin D forming solar rays” to hit bare derrinalphil skin. For the first time ever it did not rain at Monash during a footy match. The sun even shone for much of the game so I feel better now, with Vitamin D levels markedly raised, and look forward to even greater baiting of opposition full backs.

When I arrived the talk was of the injury list. In came Jessie, Pat O’Conner, Dan Clark, Nick Marshall, Ryan Ewin and Scottie Cations. Out went real quality: Jimmy O, Josh V, Matt and Matt Nathan J. and most disappointing to me Michael Cussen. Last year, this would have been disastrous but this year, well, let’s see what happened.

The first quarter was a scramble with neither side showing any flair, neither looking to make a statement or impose on the contest. This was the best footy that Monash could achieve but in the second quarter we shifted into another gear. In the last two games we have played one very poor quarter of football that has hidden the actual quality of our total performance. Today one quarter of exquisite footy showed how we have a side that even, with a depleted list, can cut a side apart.

Scores at Quarter time 3 6 to 2 4 Monash’s way. Then we tore them apart, into the breeze, keeping them scoreless for fifteen minutes and goalless until the twenty five minute mark of the quarter. We were not taking the second preference, rather taking the first option, giving the ball to the spreading runner. Seven majors to one in a quarter of high quality running football and the question to be answered “why did it happen”? The unthinking answer would be Fourth verses Ninth (positions on the ladder) but I will go deeper looking for our match- winning period of play. I hope you get to watch the Twos because you will see a disciplined, organised running game. There have been two reserve games where I have thought that the “Twos” did not have fifty percent of the play but finished up winning easily because the coach has incalculated a game style that is disciplined, organised and smart. The twos run, spread and use each other spontaneously. When one of our second’s player moves into the ones he can seamlessly merge into a running brand of footy that is hard to combat.

Luke Ablett and Rory had the ball on a string in the second quarter as they tore the onballers of Monash apart. They may not be “untackable” but no one from Monash laid a finger on them as they showed how a smart onballers can get the contested ball one second, run in front of the contest and receive the easy (?) outside possession twenty seconds later. Assured kicking for goal, handballs that put players in the clear, running forward at full pace, crisp field kicking and continual pressure on Monash when they had the ball gave us a seven goal to one quarter. There was no way back for Monash. They had the ball late in the second quarter on the fifty metre arch but passed it once too often laterally. The siren rang while the ball was in the air so they missed a shot on goal. This summed up their day.

Mention must be made of the whole defensive unit that were without the general Jimmy O’Reilly. Dan Clark and Ryan Ewin fitted into the senior team seamlessly. Nick Marshall, playing in the long sleeves, was named in the best players in his first game with the seniors. Monash had plenty of the play in the second half but the pressure applied by our backs was relentless. Monash looked for the wide option continually as we controlled their central scoring corridor. One unkind scribe voiced the opinion that it was the ugly mutt of Dan Clark that caused Monash, when moving forward of the centre, to continually go at right angles to the goals, deep into the flank. Hang on; that was me.

Toby Two Dads (I now name him Two Dads Two) kicked three for the day and is developing into a valuable senior player. Luke Ablett and Rory will share the umpire votes for the day. Two Dads, the Big Bear, is now the front runner for the first- ruck berth for the combined C Grade side.

Only two discordant notes for the day. One was Monash awarding of six cans of beer to our best player (Ablett). Bugger me, they only gave two cans last year when Clarky won it. I confiscated them last year ( I sponsor The Eastern Distributor) and still have one on the kitchen shelf. Could have done with a few more.

The other was allowing them a few cheap goals in junk time, a few minutes to go. We were eight or nine goals up half way through the final term. We did this against Banyule as well. I hope we don’t rue the loss of percentage later in the season.

Next week is week off so I will see you all at the BSO in a fortnight. Go the Redders.

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