Junior Almanac – Banyule Colts v Surrey Park: Snags and bag, back to the drawing board

Snags and Bags: Back to the Drawing Board


Round 12 v Surrey Park


Classic junior footy. Mud patches. Surrey Park.


The synonymous coupling between mud pits and Surrey Park is as tight as a 40-year-old’s calf after strenuous exercise. Much to the chagrin of the players and supporters of the seven days previously, Sunday once again displayed a fine shade of brown. Despite being in a completely different suburb (Surrey Park compared to North Brunswick last week), us Banyule Division 5 Colts players rocked-up to the ground ready to win our fifth match in a row.


Thankfully, Surrey Park provided a mud pit that was limited to the centre square; a turf cricket pitch over the summer meant that no luscious grass was able to grow over the winter. Therefore, the ground was as inconsistent as a politicians policies around election time, with flowing green grass bordering the dried out and razor sharp valley of mud.


The time was nearing 3PM on a sunny and mild Sunday afternoon. The warm-up had concluded on the baseball field next to the ground. The Deep Heat had been applied, along with miscellaneous tapes. Steve and Gregg had given their spiels and motivated us. Fortunately no motivation was required; we were in fourth position on the ladder and playing fifth. A win would see us dispel another finals contender. A loss would make it difficult for any late August action to be achieved, apart from the eventual resumption of club cricket.


Out onto the field we ventured, with the jog around the charcoal pit followed up by stretching and other various exercises. I finally won a coin toss, and just a couple of minutes later we were underway. With a slight breeze pushing directly across the ground to the grandstand end, Surrey Park had a slight advantage due to their end being a touch downhill. But, the attack on the ball by both sides meant that no easy goals were being scored.


Unfortunately, Surrey Park knew how to tackle, so when they locked it into the forward fifty it more than likely remained there until a goal was kicked. For this, credit must go to our backline, as Coops at full back helped Bakes, Gus (nicknamed Angry when he inevitably brings in a bit of biff), both Mitch C and Mitch L, as well as the courageous Connor T, Harry and Robbo. This meant that despite the Collingwood clad Surrey Park dominating for the quarter, they only managed to slot through one goal.


But, the lacklustre effort was fairly punished at quarter time. Gregg and Steve gave it their money’s worth, meaning that we broke from the huddle delayed and sheepish, yet motivated. The rev up worked, as a clearance from the first bounce resulted in a goal to Chief. This was the first of two for Chief, who slotted two in the second stanza to keep his goal tally flowing faster than a Los Vegas pokies machine. Another goal to Matty H, who ran as hard as ever all day despite his ‘string problems, gave us a three point lead at half time.


The improved second quarter provided a much lighter and positive conversation at the main break, as we had managed to stop the demolition in clearances. Another area of improvement was smarter ball use, with the strong Surrey Park tackles resulting in quicker and often more efficient ball use in the second quarter. Oranges were munched on and drinks were downed like a Saturday night at the pub (minus the alcohol). An encouraging address further acknowledged that we needed to maintain our running game, as our hard running had meant that we could spread better and move the ball faster. The goal now was to move it through the middle: the vaunted and jagged mud pit that resembled concrete under the late Sunday sun.


However the third quarter wasn’t the time to do it, as Surrey Park once again made use of the scoring end. Despite us providing a better fight, we once again conceded a solitary goal, leaving us behind by under a kick at the last break. The problem now lay with our fitness and grit, as the bigger Surrey Park bodies were attacking the contest harder and ultimately winning it. No coach or parent needed to tell us a big effort was required for the last quarter; we knew that we had to dig deep.


Despite the low scoring contest, we provided a spectacle (in junior footy terms) in the last quarter. Both teams fought hard and never took a backwards step. Every stoppage was hard earned, with players savouring the minor break before resuming the hard slog once again. Muscles cramped, bodies pleaded to be saved. But, we still couldn’t completely find our mojo. Our hard running and quick moving game that included handballs and running bounces couldn’t eventuate, as slow ball movement meant that Chief was seen as a beacon for all Banyule players. We had to kick it to him. We had to move it forward.


A tight quarter resulted in a few Surrey Park points, as they missed their opportunities to put us away. Somehow we still remained in the contest with only a few minutes left, as we sat a goal behind. Thankfully, we couldn’t live with losing a tight contest, as we managed to knock the ball ever so slowly forward. Eventually the stoppages reached our forward fifty, then our pocket. A clumsy tackle then resulted in Liam W getting a free kick on a tight angle just ten metres from goal. Here was our chance. If we were to salvage points and keep our finals hopes in relatively good stead, the affectionately known ‘Noodles’ (due to his MAGGI endorsed curly blonde hair) had to slot the pressure shot. Despite only requiring me to stretch out his leg while he lay victim to cramps just minutes earlier, he displayed icy coolness that would have made an Eskimo gasp. Goal. All level.


Jubilant parents and supporters of all ages couldn’t believe it. Division 5 football had hit its entertainment straps. With The Footy Show signs littered around the grounds, surely a camera caught a slice of play for Almost Footy Legends? Those thoughts were quickly dispelled by the realisation that we weren’t playing in the AFL. But a boy can dream. It’s not like you get to play in a nail biting finish every day. Unfortunately no further chapter could be added to the match, as Connor H neutralised the ruck before a late Surrey Park attack was thwarted by the siren. Draw. Not the highest scoring draw, but we’ll take it considering we managed to play our get out of jail free card. We can’t be satisfied by our inconsistent game, but at least we managed to collect two points and maintain in fourth spot. Next week comes an even bigger match, as we take on the newly fifth placed Whitehorse at home. Finals is still a month away…


Banyule          0.0.0    3.0.18  3.2.20  4.2.26


Surrey Park     1.1.7    2.3.15  3.6.24  3.8.26


Goals: Chief (2), Matty H, Noodles



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