Chasing that elusive premiership


It’s been a while since I’ve written an update and it’s not because things are going badly and I’ve cracked the sads but more to do with the fact I get pretty busy these days.

The Imperial Football Club is sitting pretty in both grades at the moment with a 6-3 record and second on the ladder.

Personally my form has been pretty good.  After being dropped to the reserves after our thrashing at the hands of cross-town rivals, Ramblers, I managed to get in our best in 4 of the 5 games and be a key part of the Reserves 5 wins on the trot after a dismal 0-2 start to the year.

It’s fair to say the seniors didn’t miss me too much after my omission either, they commenced with a 90 point win against Mypolonga, dispatched Mannum after giving a 5 goal head start, they also beat Tailem Bend in a 55 goal scorefest kicking 35.8 to 20.16.  The seniors then had a little stumble when they lost to Meningie by 4 goals who were sitting on the bottom and then Mannum (yes we only played them 3 weeks earlier) on their home turf.

The Reserves in their 5 game winning streak like to do things the hard way.  Not a single win by over 20 points, we usually waited until late in the final quarter to ice the game.  My form had been pretty solid and whilst I wasn’t standing out I was getting the better of my opponents in the ruck and having an influence playing good consistent footy.

Against Mannum a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of 7 mates coming up to watch me ply my trade and I managed to disappoint playing an absolute stinker of a game.  I was shaded in the ruck (albeit by a very good player who was of a 1sts standard) and had no impact on the game whatsoever.  We couldn’t make it six games on the trot and were dispatched of quite easily in the end and to ad insult to injury, as only I could do, I found myself running into an open goal with my mates behind the goals cheering me on, much to their humour, I was caught, dumped and pinged for holding the ball.  It was one of those days for me.

Last Thursday on the track I thought I was no chance of getting a call up as whilst my form overall had been good, it wasn’t great in my previous game but sure enough I was summoned to train with the seniors.  The coach walked around and talked one on one with a few players but not me so I assumed that I’d probably be in the ressies still, but sure enough when the team was read out I was in there and named in the forward pocket.

It dawned on me that this is probably my last shot at cementing a spot in the senior team moving forward for finals.  I’m really only in at the moment to cover injury and probably need to play some good footy here to hold on come finals time.  Sure injuries might gift me a spot but at full strength I probably sit somewhere just outside the 21 in the pecking order.

Saturday’s game was against the Ramblers and a big opportunity to put the seniors slightly derailed season back on track.  In round 3 Ramblers (sitting on top) demolished us by 11 goals.  We had lost our last 2 games and losing our grip on 2nd spot.  It was the perfect setting for a backs to the wall speech from the coach pre-game.

When running out it was interesting to note the ressies got over the line by 11 points against a side they should’ve put away early.  Good to see they are winning, but every one of their six wins have been by a margin between 8 and 20 points.  With a percentage under 50 (or under 100 if you’re  a Victorian) it’s mediocre for a team with a 6-3 record, but as long as you keen winning the 2 points (4 in Victoria) is what’s most important.

Starting in the pocket, my instruction was to stay anchored in the goalsquare and take some ruck contests up forward.  The crowd was huge and the rivalry is as big as any country footy rivalry you can get.  Murray Bridge used to be one club and 80 years ago there was a split to form Imperials (the Blues) and Ramblers (The Roosters).

The game was tight early although we struggled to get the ball up forward.  My first opportunity in the pocket saw me get my head over the ball and taken high.  Free kick.  You beauty.  In the pocket, into the wind and not where you’d want to be for a left footer with a hook I duly sent the kick across the face and out of bounds on the full.  Damn.

A couple of minutes later from a kick in the ball was chipped deep into the pocket in my part of the zone.  With intent I went onto the mark and smothered the kick out of bounds, the throw in I managed a handy hit out to our midfielder who ran on and dished the ball off but we turned it over.  At Quarter Time scores were level and whilst I hadn’t made the most of my opportunities I was in and around the play.

The game was tight all afternoon and ebbed and flowed and was an excellent advertisement for country footy.  Two clubs, sitting first and second, huge rivals who absolutely detest one another (but are more similar than they care to admit), fighting it out with some bloody good footballers on the park (except yours truly who was warming the pine most of the 2nd half) fighting out a close battle.

After trailing most of the day we went a goal up with 3 minutes to go and with about 90 seconds to go a Rambler midfielder had a set shot from 50 out to level the game.  He hit the post.  We were in front when it counted most and won 12.12 (84) to 12.7 (79).  A huge turnaround on our drubbing in round 3 and a win that made a statement saying Imperials were back on track.

It was a great win and the atmosphere and to be part of it was a privilege but unfortunately for me I hardly had an impact on the game. I contested a few grabs without managing to hang on and rucked OK but I’m going to have to do better than ruck ok to hang on in this side.  My biggest problem is whilst I’m not doing much wrong I am failing to make the most of my opportunities when they are presented.  It’s hard work playing on and off the bench in bursts and I won’t use it as an excuse because in my 1sts career it’s my lot in life.

The good news for me is that coaches don’t always tinker with winning sides, especially when they are against the benchmark and unfortunately a couple of injuries to bigger players may hold me in the side for another week.

It may give me the opportunity I crave.  If I get my chance and fail I’ll cop my medicine sweet come finals time, I just know if I get a decent crack I’ll take my chance.



  1. All you can do Jared, all you can do. A positive attitude around the club will be noticed.

  2. Jared – don’t take any prisoners!! Get a good old fashioned dose of white line fever before the game and KILL THE BASTARDS.

  3. Jared Newton says

    Yeah I might need some headbanging music to listen to before I run out!

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