Blacks hold on as Snake roams the grass


There was no finer place to be in Melbourne last Saturday than at the home venue of Old Ivanhoe Grammarians. Whilst Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee celebrations were dampened by inclement weather, it would no doubt comfort the Monarchists to hear that an inner Melbourne park named after a picturesque Suffolk village was bathed in sunshine during the Australian winter. Mind you, even the Republicans were in a spritely mood, with Mick and Steve Comma sporting both their customary footy shorts as well as facial expressions that lit up Ivanhoe in a manner rivalled only by the Christmas lights which dominate the Boulevard every year. 

Speaking of facial expressions, reserves coach Luke O’Connell had come under fire during Thursday night’s ‘Black Spot’ (Uni Blacks’ answer to the Footy Show, albeit a clever version)  for his perceived lack of mirth in recent weeks. The general consensus within the crowd was that this view was a bit harsh, especially given Luke’s commitment to comedy earlier in the season when he deliberately left reserves captain, and the famously non-laid-back, Andrew Jesse off the team sheet on the Thursday before round 1.

With the ‘Black Spot’ being a co-hosted event, there was a murmuring amongst the faithful about whether Daz Collopy or Mitch Aitken was responsible for the gag. Needless to say, when the teams were read out, these hypotheses were put to rest with Mitch being promoted to the seniors, and Daz being named in the backline of a twos team coming up against the bottom side.

As the match began, it was clear that The Blacks were the superior outfit. Woodsy and Yuletide controlled the ruck, Cam Turner and Dornauf extracted it, and Stinger McNamara did everything else in between. Whilst the first quarter was littered with missed chances, the boys took it up a notch with 9 majors in the 2nd quarter to kill the game.

Another player who stood out within a team of winners was Levi Kalms. With a build and running style borrowed from Fred Flintstone, hair the colour of Wilma and a left foot as swift as Bam Bam, Levi continuously made the ground look smaller than it was through his long, accurate disposal. In compiling Levi’s ‘Player Profile’, I asked the budding architect what his dream project was and he alluded to a series of footy change rooms encompassing bunk beds, specifically for pre-game use. Fingers crossed.

Needless to say, this was a clinical win and the team’s form should bode well for upcoming games against the 3rd and 1st placed teams. Whilst there’s no doubt that a win in both games would put a smile on the coach’s dial, my sources close to the club suggest that when Daz was being pinned down by three Old Ivanhoe players on the outer wing on Saturday, it wasn’t just Lukey’s magnetic board that was gleaming white.

1st 2nd 3rd Final
Old Ivanhoe 1.0.6 1.0.6 1.0.6 1.0.6
Uni Blacks 4.6.30 13.11.89 20.12.132 25.16.166


Goal Kickers: McNamara 5, Brennan 4, Woods 3, Kalms 2, Steadman 2, Farrow, Guthrie, Clarke, Keegan, Jesse, Turner, Gardiner, Lord, Judson

Best Players: McNamara, Turner, Brennan, Dornauf, Yule, Woods


Unlike last week, the perfect weather conditions held firm for the main game. With The Blacks sitting undefeated, and Ivanhoe at the other end of the ladder, one could be forgiven for expecting this match to be a lopsided one. To be honest, I wasn’t so sure. Our boys had a few big names missing, and although all of the players substituting were of the highest quality, the talent of players like Jordie Foster aren’t so easily replaced. I know that because I was lucky enough to be standing within earshot of Jordie in the stands and overheard his preview of the game. (Hack, lay off the kid – Ed)

Player availability was actually a strong theme pre-game with word coming through that Ivanhoe’s full forward would be missing, and of course The Blacks already knew (and were proud of the fact) that Bede Mahon was not playing due to his selection in the VAFA Under 23 side. With all these omissions, your columnist was curious to see whether Rusty Else would be missing the game also, perhaps as a result of the strike taken by staff at his employer, Fairfax, during the week. I actually posed this to Rusty pre-game, asking him whether he was ever in doubt, but the big guy just gave me an eye-roll, followed it up with a ‘nah’, and wandered over to the Commas to tell them how much his Bombers were going to smash the Demons by.

The first quarter was played at an extremely quick pace, with both sides obviously keen to utilise the perfect conditions that were a stark contrast to last week. Although the pace slowed down in the 2nd quarter, there were still some fine skills on display, and the Blacks were doing it comfortably. The 6 goal lead was an accurate reading of the difference between the sides.

Now, it is at this point that I have to disclose a distinct lack of professionalism on my part. Instead of venturing into the rooms to hear Coach Kempton’s instructions, I was sidetracked by the allure of the Ivanhoe afternoon tea. Having said that, I’m pretty sure that the following speech was NOT given:

“OK boys, I’m pretty happy with that, and I think you should be too. In fact, I reckon if I had’ve planned this better, we could’ve had some slabs organised by now. At the very least, I could’ve had some more afternoon tea arranged. That way, we could’ve had a couple of scones and a cuppa and chatted about our first half. That’s probably a better option than some slabs isn’t it? I mean, you all have to drive home”

Nope. Probably not.

The third quarter was ‘on’ from the get-go as Ivanhoe firstly matched, and then surpassed the Blacks in effort, skill and discipline. TheChelsworthParkfans, dog-walkers, passers-by and Tai Chi practitioners all roared with approval as the home side smothered our boys with pressure. 3 goals to none was the result, and the game was there for the taking.

With Coach Kempton’s three quarter time speech ringing in their ears (and mine, though the arvo tea had left me quite full and sleepy), the Blacks went out with an increased level of effort. Unfortunately for them, Ivanhoe now had their tails up and actually got to within one goal. Fortunately for the away support, their side steadied and pulled away to record a tough win and maintain their unbeaten start.

In terms of individual efforts, it was the tale of two big men, with Jake ‘The Snake’ Matthews and Andrew ‘Willy’ Willingham producing outstanding efforts. Both men contested brilliantly in the air and also kicked goals at valuable times. Willingham’s torpedo goal on the run will certainly be remembered by all who saw it. Of course, this columnist does recognise the phallic nature of their nicknames, but can assure all and sundry that you couldn’t meet a gentler pair of giants.

The ones face the same schedule as twos after the bye. Well, obviously they do. However, what I actually mean is that their opponents are also 3rd and 1st in the competition. What a big two weeks. See you at the Uni in a fortnight.


1st 2nd 3rd Final
Old Ivanhoe 2.3.15 3.8.26 6.10.46 9.10.64
Uni Blacks 5.3.33 9.7.61 9.10.64 14.15.99


Goal Kickers: Matthews 2, Flight 2, Richardson 2, Bismire 2, Napier 2, Slabbert, Willingham, Costello, Gaylor

Best Players: Matthews, Delahunty, Lahy, Willingham, Aitken, Richardson


About The Black Hack

Loves scoops. Hates deadlines

Leave a Comment