Blacks fail to bounce back as Bloods loss cuts deep


Although most local footy fans in Melbourne would have been rejoicing at the sight of brilliant sunshine last Saturday morning, your correspondent was unfortunately feeling the pinch.  After a heavy week of overnight sports viewing including Tour De France, Australia v England cricket and Wimbledon, I was yearning for a double espresso from the moment I donned my panama hat.

Fortunately, the draw of a milestone game, as well as some returning veterans, was enough for me to get over the fact that we weren’t playing at our usual Lygon-adjacent abode. The early game featured Andrew ‘Rusty’ Else playing his 100th game, as well as Hugh Symon returning from injury and Huw Lacey re-appearing after his European odyssey (Thankfully he didn’t encounter any sirens until he arrived at McKinnon. He is a taken man after all)

With the sun and its rays filling all the areas that the morning chill couldn’t, I was immediately taken back to my overnight viewings of Andy Barron Murray on the SW19 Centre Court. With his middle name translating from old English as ‘young warrior’, Andy had been succeeding in the sunshine and I was hoping that Rusty could mimic his doppelganger for the Blacks magoos. For a moment, I thought the big fella must’ve felt the same as I was sure he waved to me. It turns out, however, that that was just his running style.

Although he is over 30, Rusty may have considered himself ‘young’ on Saturday as he was sharing a ground with VAFA legend Mark ‘Disco’ Seccull. Seccull, the 300 plus gamer who recently turned 44, was covering the ground well, directing his charges and leading his young side from the front. This obviously inspired our man Else, possibly making him think that he may still have 13 years of footy left in him, as he kicked 5 goals for the match, including 4 in the second quarter.

The last time these two sides played, the result was a 20 goal win to The Blacks, but you wouldn’t have thought it on Saturday as Haileybury played with a ferociousness that probably should have got them the win. Fortunately for the Blacks fans though, the experienced backline of Purcell, Torney and Symon repelled many attacks. To top it all off, Huw Lacey showed that he had learnt nothing from his time at Royal Ascot as he finished strongly with two clutch goals to ice the game


1st 2nd 3rd Final
Old Haileybury 2.3.15 4.3.27 9.4.58 11.7.73
Uni Blacks 2.4.16 8.6.54 10.7.67 12.10.82


Goal Kickers

Else 5, Myers 2, Cook 2, Lacey 2, Yule

Best Players

Else, Gardiner, Turner, McNamara, Lacey, Yule




Given that the match between these teams earlier in the season was only settled with The Blacks pulling away in the last quarter, the gathered crowd was expecting a match closer than the actual objects in your side mirror. With the sun continuing to shine, Coach Kempton reminded the troops during his pre-match address that this was indeed a ‘cracking’ day for footy. Unfortunately, and for possibly the first time this season, Kempo’s message was lost on the boys as this is his preferred way to describe testing weather conditions. As a result, the players immediately went to their respective bags to pull out their screw-ins and long sleeves.

The first half was a fast, hot contest and it was very clear to all in the Blacks camp that their opponents were very prepared, very capable and extremely keen to record a victory over the ladder leaders. Whilst both sides moved the ball well and seemed to be very well drilled, it seemed to the neutral observer that The Bloods were doing just that little bit extra to snatch the half-chances. Fortunately, your columnist saw the light and moved away from said neutral observer and closer to Andy Smith. Andy, however, just wanted to talk about Carlton’s win from the night before so I just moved on again.

Although the first half was a tight affair with little in the way of individual achievement, there was one moment which caught the attention of the grandstand crowd. After receiving the ball on the half-back line, the self-proclaimed sesquicentennial veteran Dave Batten started to dash down the members wing in his customary style. After taking his full ten strides, Dougy took a careful bounce. By ‘careful’, I mean in a way that a young boy may handle his pet puppy. With that completed, he attempted a second bounce. This was a lot more delicate, and by ‘delicate’ I mean in the way in which said kid would drop the puppy after it nips him on the pinky. Like the rogue puppy, the oval ball was not in a mood to adhere to its master’s demands

After the break, The Bloods met The Blacks challenge and pulled away with a four goals to two quarter. Again, our boys were not lacking in general effort, but they were just unable to match Haileybury’s intensity and polish.

During the third stanza, however, there was one act of skill by a crowd favourite of The Blacks which had all onlookers agreeing that the sight of it more than compensated for the absence of an afternoon tea at McKinnon Reserve. After receiving a handball on the back flack and in true Kipling-fashion kept his head while others were losing theirs, Levi Kalms ever so gracefully drew upon his right boot to deliver a 20-metre pass that had the curve of a normal distribution and the subtlety of the stitching on Jimmy Clarke’s jeans. Your columnist had not heard such a collective gasp since Rob Hanna last strode into the Pavvy with his latest green corduroy and tweed ensemble. Considering that Levi makes Scotty Lucas look ambidextrous, it was an occasion to savour.

Although The Blacks outscored their opponents in the final quarter, it was not enough to avoid defeat. Hopefully the defeat is more the exception than the norm, much like how Dave’s second bounce was compared to his first. Or was that the other way round?

1st 2nd 3rd Final
Old Haileybury 2.3.15 6.7.43 10.12.72 13.14.92
Uni Blacks 1.2.8 4.5.29 6.7.43 10.9.69


Goal Kickers

Roder 4, Matthews 2, Foster 2, Flight, Slabbert

Best Players

Delahunty, Matthews, Mahon, Pitt, Weekley, N Batten

About The Black Hack

Loves scoops. Hates deadlines

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