Henry and the Jets: Thanks Paul Hudson!

This week was a little out of the ordinary for the Jets for a couple of reasons – one good, one bad. The good occurred on Thursday night down at HE Parker Reserve where we clambered together on a balmy August night to listen to Hawthorn (and Western Bulldogs, and St.Kilda) great Paul Hudson, who imparted some wisdom on goal-kicking and forward craft. I’m still unawares as to who had the connection to “Huddo”, but all I know is that his commute towards Heathmont that day began extremely far south from us in a little place called Tasmania. All we could hope is that his goal-kicking routine would kick goals for us on Saturday.


This week we faced up against a team who had beaten us twice already this season, the Mitcham Tigers. As has been the case for 3 weeks running now, today’s game was a must-win should we maintain our finals hopes. And as Coach Andrew “Gas” Smith put it, this was our third final out of a required 8. Just a modest 8 straight wins and that cup was ours – how simple it seems.  After watching the Colts and reserves go down, we got ready for battle in the Tigers’ makeshift away rooms while their grandstand underwent some impressive renovations. Warm-ups were undertaken in the cricket nets of all places as all available grassy patches were taken by shipping containers or change room portables. Despite the improvised conditions, the boys did their best to accommodate their own idiosyncrasies and soon the must-win game was upon us.


The opening stanza saw us take 5 of the game’s first 7 goals, with a quarter-time score of 15 to 31. Unfortunately, it wasn’t without a big scare for the Jets (and not one of scoring or strategy). Just 20 minutes into the first quarter, prolific intercept mark Matt “Disco” Decler suffered a scary neck injury after landing on his head in a marking contest. Disco’s legs were taken out from under him as he flew for another tally to his trademark intercept column. The rest can be left to the imagination as he was left clutching the back of his neck, face down on the far wing of Walker Park. Play stopped for 30 minutes while Disco lay in the same position awaiting an ambulance. His close friends and family gathered around in comfort while the team huddled awkwardly at a bit of a distance. Thankfully, the ambulance arrived in nice time and we were assured there was no major damage to our great mate – his fingers and toes all moving as asked. It would be remiss of me to omit any mention of how respectful and helpful both the Mitcham players and support staff, as well as the umpires were while the game remained at a halt. As Matt was wheeled off to the ambulance and play was restarted, the Jets were left with one final phrase from the injured defender for us to remember all afternoon – “make sure the boys win it or me.” And I mean, what kind of team would we be if we didn’t follow up on that kind of farewell?


It was an absolute classic match between the cross-Eastlink rivals, with the day’s biggest margin the decider at 18 points. And thanks to our new friend Paul Hudson, not one, but two bags of 4 goals to Jordan Haynes and Ayhan Bajramov saw the Jets compile another hard-fought and well-deserved win away from home. As a result, the Jets find themselves in the top-4 for the first time in far too long this season. While only by a margin of 7% over Templestowe in 5th, you can imagine how tightly we intend to hold onto some potential September action. Scoresby had better watch out this week because the Jets have another final to win.


Tune in next Thursday to hear how the Jets go in the final home and away round.

It’ll be a fairy tale or a fireball, the Jets know no other way.




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. Ian Hauser says

    Henry, good to hear that your season is still alive. Best wishes for this weekend.

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