Junior Footy – Banyule Colts v Whitehorse. Snags and Bags: Glass Half Full

Snags and Bags: Glass Half Full

Round 13 v Whitehorse


A famous aphorism states that ‘what goes up must come down’. Whether it’s due to gravity or other worldly forces, all good things must eventually come to an end. Unfortunately for us Banyule Colts, Round 13 was the time for the impressive undefeated run to finally come to its conclusion.


Ongoing since the end of May, four successive wins and a thrilling draw against Surrey Park increased our positioning to fourth on the ladder. But, the fifth placed Whitehorse Colts were our next grudge match, as these ‘fourth against fifth’ matches tended to become a weekly occurrence when the season slowly winded down. With the scare against Surrey Park still fresh in our minds, we ran out onto our home Beverley Road Oval ground knowing that our get out of jail free card had been used up the previous week. Therefore, no more excuses could be accepted in the pursuit of finals, which I have learnt are difficult to get to in junior football, nonetheless any football. 100 game milestones for Dan P and Jimmy provided great motivation, as simultaneous fly kicks through adjacent banners provided a photo-worthy moment. Now it was the team’s job to make sure that we could win for them and make a special day even more memorable.


It didn’t begin particularly well from an individual perspective, as I was an innocent bystander to the opposition captain calling tails and successfully winning, before choosing to kick to the ‘river end’. Famously known as the end with the wind’s aid, we had a harsh task for the first and third quarters. We had to defend and withstand the burst of momentum.


The previously unseen Whitehorse jumpers were a red tinge that matched the colour of the Sherrin. Unfortunately for us Banyule players, we saw both coincide consistently throughout the first term. We were out worked, out muscled and out thought. High floated kicks came out of defence, only to come straight back in like a horizontal yo-yo. ‘Coach killer’ kicks and handballs lobbed up into the late Banyule wind and set up a Bears player for a rudimentary smashing from a closing Whitehorse player. Luckily, the likes of Matt B (or Bakes) and ever-present Connor T managed to restrict the rampant Colts to 3 goals. Unfortunately we had no score on the board, as the Beverley Road end produced a ground-consuming mud patch that ensured that no ball could skim across the surface towards goal. Instead, a plop and a complete stop forced players to overrun and turn over the ball, meaning that we could never get a good look at the big sticks.


Gregg and Steve both individually had turns to discuss the dismal first quarter, with Gregg’s methodical break down being followed by Steve’s encouraging barrage of advice and motivation. But, poor preparation must have been the blame, with half-asleep players being overrun by a Whitehorse side desperate to make finals. Another excuse for our lackadaisical first half was the missing players. With Will and Reece both missing, we were without hard edged players who led the field when it came to attack on the footy. Unfortunately, a school football injury to Reece meant that we missed that grunt in the midfield that we so badly needed against a strong Whitehorse team.


Without capitalising on the benefit of the wind in the second quarter, we went into the rooms at half time with a disappointing feeling hanging over the team. The effort of everyone had to improve. Heads were down. Eyes didn’t meet. It took until Gregg and Steve’s instructions for us to realise that for all of our poor efforts we were only five goals down. Anything could happen – it’d been done before.


That belief took us into the second half, as we ran back into the late winter sunshine ready to at least give it a crack. That’s exactly what we did, as a sustained and more even contribution allowed us to keep Whitehorse goalless for the whole third term. But, we still faced one problem; we hadn’t kicked a goal yet. All we needed was just one, and we believed that we could get a run on.


Despite the limited attacking effort, our defensive effort throughout the second half was unheralded. Midfielders like Liam and Josh ran tirelessly to help out the reliable defenders. Angry Gus was bustling through packs and taking the game on. Matty H was running rings around helpless Whitehorse players, while Maxy T managed to get clearance after clearance. Darcy, Dan R and Alex (or McLovin for his Superbad looks) all began to influence the momentum. But, at three quarter time we stood impressed with our increased effort, yet still disappointed that we hadn’t managed to get on the board ourselves.


After the logical instructions and inspirational rev ups from Gregg and Steve, we resumed the fourth quarter 31 points in arrears. Resting in the forward half, I got to see the work of Matty H and Connor T in the midfield, as a fortnight of midfield defeats shifted to incessant clearances in just one quarter of football. A hasty clearance resulted in a scramble up forward. Just thirty seconds in, a Whitehorse player decided I was a teammate, with a handball flying straight into my hands for me to snap through. That’s it. We were on the board. Let the floodgates open.


A couple of minutes of intense hard play allowed the ball to once again settle in the rare hands of our forward line. After a few stoppages Matty H continued his fantastic match by seizing control, as his running goal from the boundary only raised the noise level of the parents attending the late afternoon game. Just three goals down, we began to believe. More clearances, another intense play. A goal to Chief, and it was only two goals the difference. Surely the Heidelberg lads down the path next to the river could hear this.


But, to provide another aphorism, ‘the lord giveth and the lord taketh away”. Except that the ‘lord’ could be seen as the umpire, who tainted whatever religious persona he had after this shocking decision. A congested stoppage on the wing was finally broken open by our first moving wings, with the ball falling to Jacob. Another player we missed the previous week due to concussion from school footy, his superb game looked set to be added to with a wonderful over the top handball to Chief, who ran to fifty and bounced through a massive goal. With celebrations in full swing, a deadly pierce of a whistled interrupted the jubilant high pitched yelling that only teenage boys can muster. The umpire had called a throw.


While we all turned around in disbelief to hear the explanation, Whitehorse played the game well by running. All the way down to goal. Despite the defence’s stoic attempts of saving the goal, it was only inevitable, as the most disheartening of two goal plays had devoured our comeback and perhaps our finals chances with it.


A late Chief goal (his second of the quarter) proved to be a consolation, as the final siren sounded with us 13 points behind. Hands were shaken, three cheers were given, but it wasn’t the ending that we wanted, as Dan P and Jimmy didn’t get the memorable victory that they deserved. The problem was simple; another football analogy states that you can’t win a game by only playing a half of competitive football. We slipped to fifth, as we now take on a St Marys line up that sits comfortably atop of the ladder. With two wins needed in the last two games to give us a chance of dethroning Whitehorse in the top four, the grudge matches look set to increase even more.


A week’s a long time in footy. Let’s see what next Sunday holds against grudge team St Mary’s.


Banyule:         0.0.0    0.3.3    0.3.3                4.5.29

Whitehorse:     3.4.22  4.6.30  4.10.34            5.12.42


Goal kickers: Chief 2, Sean, Matty H.



  1. Jolly umpires! have they got no sense of theatre? I was with you all the way Sean. Nice piece. Lookkig forward to seeing whether you jump above Whitehorse again?

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