Ammos: No walk in park for SKOBs as Blacks post victory

Regular readers of this column would probably be aware that its author is a creature of habit when it comes to his days at the footy. Like the pensioner who pays his bills at the post office or the ticket inspector who goes straight to the students, your narrator is one who likes to stick with the tried and true.

Needless to say, the change of venue for the 11:40 game was one that threw me off-kilter. Gone was the usual shelter of the Uni, along with Peter Mac’s famed home-made soup, and in its stead were the expanses of Princes Park. Although the Crawford Oval can feel somewhat isolated, the busy roads that border it ensure that, combined with the number of joggers and dog walkers, more people get a look at the match than at any fixture of the year.

Whether it was the curiosity of the surrounding fans or the fact that the opposition were the only team above them on the ladder, The Blacks started strongly. The ugly conditions may have reduced the number of opportunities for our players to showcase their skills, but it gave them ample opportunity to slide, smother, tackle and chase. Their relentless pressure was rewarded with the half time score reading 31-0.

Although there weren’t many individual acts of brilliance, there was one moment that was both inspiring and puzzling. Deep in the Blacks forward line, Adam Cook managed to scoop the ball off the greasy deck, sidestep three defenders, break a couple of tackles and then snap the greasy ball through for a goal. Unfortunately, all celebrations were stifled as the umpire ruled he had run too far. Given the conditions, this was a tough decision to swallow. Regardless, the play was exceptional and the initial pick-up was the best seen on that side of Royal Parade since Bede Mahon was last on the number 19 tram.

The 2nd half was a dour affair with the conditions allowing for only 3 more goals to be kicked. Whilst the result of the game was beyond doubt, the remaining interest focused on whether SKOB could be kept scoreless for the remainder of the game. Alas, the Blacks defence eventually leaked a goal. It is my understanding that Coach O’Connell approached the back 6 after the game and congratulated them on their effort. Sources say he was effusive in his praise but couldn’t resist a sly dig, suggesting that they get together for a game of Uno later that night. Although I believe that comment drew a single-digit response of its own.

1st 2nd 3rd Final
Uni Blacks 2.1.13 5.1.31 5.4.34 7.5.47
St Kevins 0.0.0 0.0.0 0.0.0 1.1.7

Goal Kickers: Gaylor 3, Jesse, Steadman, Cook, Nettlefold

Best Players: Torney, Gaylor, Jesse, Heeley, McNamara, Nettlefold


After taking in the early game, I made my way across Cemetery Rd and into Melbourne Uni. As I expected, the Main Oval was looking a tad worse for wear. Mind you, the Seniors should be appreciative of the fact that they were able to get a spare 3 hours on the ground in the first place. With two college football games on Wednesday night, a monster truck rally on Thursday night, the Paintball Corporate Games on Casual Friday and Woodstock 2 on Sunday to round out the weekend, the Blacks should count themselves lucky that they were able to maintain their traditional timeslot.

Although the toss of the coin is usually more of an issue at the Main during the summer months (i.e. when there is grass on the field), on Saturday it was crucial as there was a decent breeze going towards the Lygon St end. Fortunately, Captain Costello called correctly and kicked with the wind. Not only was the toss important, but the new ball was beneficial as kicking become more difficult with every passing moment (so to speak).

The first quarter was a good one for the Uni, but it could have been great. With the ball in the Blacks forward line for the majority of the time, poor goal kicking meant that only two majors were registered. The hunch from the gathered crowd was that may have been a poor return given the breeze and that the ground’s condition would deteriorate quicker than a Pakistani batting line up in a dead rubber.

This suspicion was confirmed in the 2nd quarter as SKOB lifted and capitalised on the opportunity to kick to the scoring end. Their return of 2.4 matched the Blacks first quarter effort and as a result, the teams hit the sheds with only one point separating them. Also working in the visiting team’s favour was the fact The Blacks played with 17 players on the field for much of the quarter. Though it’s not in your columnist’s interest to comment on official matters, there was a suspicion that the Blacks player in question was guilty only of striking good looks. Having said that, I didn’t have a clear view of the incident due to my binoculars being covered in mud.

With both sides benefitting from a rest, the third quarter was initially quite open and The Blacks used this period to establish a big lead. By applying relentless forward pressure, the home side created chances and were able to make the most of them. Richo and Lace were dominant around goals and their pace, grunt and nous were there for all to see. They say that the ‘cream rises to the top’ and this was true both in the Blacks forward line and in the sumptuous afternoon tea.

Unsurprisingly, Tom Napier was instrumental in The Blacks pulling away during the crucial 3rd quarter. It’s easy to take Napes’ form in the mud for granted, but his constant tackling and clearance work allowed his teammates to thrive. As a footballer, he is easy to admire. He has the star quality of Babe and he leads like Old Major. No wonder the players love him like Wilbur.

The last quarter was a ridiculous affair. By now it was impossible to kick more than 20 metres and repeated ball ups were the order of the day. It says something about the players on both sides that their efforts did not lessen even as they became more futile. With many prospective students from various countries descending upon Melbourne University for the Open Day that weekend, one could do worse than to show them the efforts of not just the players, but also the supporters and on-lookers who probably all had access to an open fire which they could’ve been in front of. Whilst the facilities may not have pleased prospective horticulture students, it gave an insight into the spirit of the community, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

These clubs will be meeting again on a dry track soon enough, so this match probably doesn’t provide much of a form line, but a cold shower after a win sure beats one after a loss, and for that our boys were rightly proud of their efforts.

1st 2nd 3rd Final
Uni Blacks 2.4.16 2.5.17 5.6.36 5.7.37
St Kevins 0.0.0 2.4.16 2.4.16 2.5.17

Goal Kickers:  Richardson 2, Lacey 2, Slabbert

Best Players: Richardson, Napier, Kalms, Drysdale, N Batten

About The Black Hack

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