Henry and the Jets: a win and some strings

The place is Batterham Reserve, home of the Basin Bears. The situation, late in the final quarter of a must-win game for the Jets if we are to keep pace with our finals aspirations. My back faces the raucous jeers of Basin locals as I tensely man my opponent, deep in our backline. The Basin trail us by 10 points in red-time and one might say we had the W well secured at the 25-minute mark. However, with all 3 previous quarters exceeding 30 minutes, and the free-flowing nature of an AFL game in its dying stages, anything could still happen.


Stoppage after centre-wing stoppage we watched as the ball was repeatedly thrown in and punched back out by our stalwart ruckman, Cam “Thickness” Evans. Despite some seemingly painful quad soreness, Evans battled it out all day in arguably the worst position on any AFL ground. 9 wing stoppages followed by 3 more inside the Basin’s forward 50 were undertaken in the space of less than 5 minutes to wind up the brutal clash. (I would have happily exaggerated those numbers, but alas – match day footage)


Thankfully our mids were able to hold play up until the final siren saw us run off as 10 point winners. Our finals hopes remain intact as we prepare for a 3rd match for the season against Mulgrave.


As a defender, it’s in those moments described above – muscles cooling as the ball holes up on the wing for the day – that the game becomes almost more mental than physical. All kinds of thoughts can jostle their way to the foreground of your head while you wait for the pill to inevitably make its way back down the park.


What’s for dinner?

How’d my AFL team do today?

This bloke stinks…


What’s important is to keep the game, our great game, as physical as possible. This involves keeping warm when there’s not too much to keep warm about. (While I’m on the topic, it’s looking like another 7 degree, 20mm of hail kind of day this weekend, so I’ll try to thaw my hands out in time for next week’s column.)



As a friendly reminder to keep warm while the play remains at the other end, here’s my top 5 list of big strings going ping:


5. Ben McGlynn tears and then tears.

McGlynn shows us how much it means to those at the highest level.


4. Jason Johannisen slots it on one hammy

JJ goes bang on two accounts – from scoreboard to sore board.


3. Adam Treloar does double the damage

As if one string isn’t bad enough, Treloar makes a good job of it in front of the interchange gates.


2. Garry Lyon – at least he didn’t cry this time

Once upon a time, there was The Footy Show..


1.  Usain Bolt’s final race.

Bolt finished his career the way he started it, with a bang.



Henry Ballard is a final year journalism student at Deakin University.



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About Henry Ballard

21 year-old student of journalism, local footy, and fluent conversation. Of which I have perfected none and should never hope to.


  1. Henry, is that the first of four out of four that your lads have to win to make the finals? I love the nickname ‘Thickness’ – he was clearly clever enough to work out the best way to wind down the clock as your team held on grimly. Good luck for the coming weeks – and get out the thermals!

  2. Henry Ballard says

    Yes Ian that’s the one, and Jets fans will be glad to know we got the second of the four wins this Saturday just gone – the road to September continues!

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