Junior Footy (Colts) – Banyule v North Brunswick: Snags and Bags

Snags and Bags: The Joys of Junior Footy

Round 10 v North Brunswick


There’s nothing quite like junior footy.


The decrepit scent of mud. The canteen sausage rolls. The parochial screeching of passionate parents. The slow ball movement accentuated by the occasional fast break or dose of skill. It’s a wonder that parents can sit through up to ten bitter winters of this.


I have played nine seasons of junior football- eleven if you include the delightful Saturday morning Auskick sessions. I’ve played for two clubs (St. Mary’s and Banyule) and have experienced many different football scenarios, including one point wins, 100+ point smashings and a three point Grand Final loss. From a player perspective I love footy and the involvement it has in Melbourne, as a Sunday wouldn’t be complete without a day of suburban junior footy.


Following last year’s harrowing three point defeat in the Grand Final, my team (Banyule) have managed to run into a hot vein of form this season. The first four grading games saw four losses in a row. This can be reduced to the fact that we now play in an age group called Colts, or Under 17’s, meaning that two age groups are combined together. Due to our top team playing in Division 1, us Division 5 warriors are mainly made up of bottom age, or Under 16’s players, except for a select few. But, after being re-graded and building up form, we had won three in a row before our game on Sunday.


This meant that we sat fifth on the ladder, as our game against North Brunswick would determine whether we could slide into the top four with just over a month left in the home and away season.


Despite the bye and school holidays giving us a few weeks off, the idea of a footy game was exciting for everyone. Finally, there was something to do. Unfortunately, the game required us to venture out to Allard Park in Brunswick. Normally, it is fine to go on an away trip, but when I turned up right on the 2 o’clock deadline I learnt that a worse ground could not have been chosen. We may have curled our tails and started producing loud “oinks”, as the mud patch that confronted us was barely recognisable as a footy ground.


Nonetheless we ventured out onto the ‘hallowed’ turf, completed our warm-ups, made incessant immature jokes and eventually pulled on worn boots and trudged out onto the sludge with mouthguards already lodged in mouths. A trot around the square was harder than usual due to the unrecognisable lines of the centre square, as the mud also compounded our conquest by attempting to pull our shoes off our feet. It was a horrific and pungent mix of mud and quicksand.


After the coin toss (which I managed to lose once again, despite my faithful choice of tails) we wandered out to the centre circle and were confronted with the fact that mud was about to cover us from head to toe. Five minutes later the thoughts had been dropped, as we focussed our thoughts on the ball. Led by our faithful coaches in wonder coach Gregg and fierce motivator Steve, we began the match well. With Connor H dominating the ruck with his lanky frame and Liam winning the clearances, it was only a matter of time before we hit the scoreboard. Despite the shocking conditions, Jarryd managed to snag two quick first quarter goals in his comeback match. After a stint on the sidelines, having Jarryd back in the team and being able to ‘get around him’ was a highlight. It’s why I play junior footy. It’s the mateship involved.


To finish off the quarter, a rare fast moving play resulted in our Coleman Medal leading full forward Chief (or Alex) slotting a running goal to extend the lead. The siren soon sounded and we trotted through the sludge to our quarter time huddle. Huffing and puffing, water was being passed around quicker than the ball, as instructions were delivered by Gregg and extra yelling and advice was delivered by Steve.


Due to the excessive mud, a slide into the mud to retrieve the ball quickly led to clumsy stacks. Much to the chagrin of both teams, there were deliberate slides intermingled through both teams. As we all know how lengthy the temper of a teenage boy is, a weak brawl or scuffle was guaranteed. This littered the whole game. But, despite the testosterone barrelling through the mud, we managed to keep our heads on a swivel in the second quarter. Another two goals to Jarryd and goal sneak Eddie put us five goals in front at half time, as we had managed to keep North Brunswick scoreless in the opening half.


The break provided fifteen minutes of excessive oranges (none for me- can’t have that bloated feeling at the start of the third quarter), re-applied Deep Heat, and another message from Gregg and Steve. Before I even had time to look at my position on the board it was time to head back out into the harsh unforgiving mud. With the ball being thrown up, it took half a second longer for everyone’s freezing limbs to kick into gear. Ah, the unprofessionalism of local footy.


A good old dressing down at half time must have spurred the North Brunswick players on, as they attacked the ball with more vigour in the second half. With our players taking a bit longer to warm up, the opposition happened to get to the ball more often. Fortunately they were handball heavy; perfect for us on a wet and muddy day.


Still, they managed to lock the ball in their forward half for most of the quarter, as a cheap goal (despite the fact that Connor T obviously scraped red paint off the ball with his fingers) led to a second before three quarter time. Luckily enough big Jimmy managed to snag a terrific banana before three quarter time to ensure that the lead remained at 25 points at the last change.


A final inspired delivery from Gregg, along with the gruff yells of Steve, complimented the lollies on offer well. Five minutes after the resumption of the last quarter and the game had petered out into a slug-fest. It was to only to be livened up by the occasional angry scuffle between a North Brunswick player and fiery Gus. A late goal from Jimmy, earning him 20 bucks due to his $10 per goal deal with his dad, sealed the deal. We ended up being 33 point winners, as we had fought through a dismal ground to win our fourth game in a row.


Following the customary shake of hands and three cheers, it was time to trudge back into the rooms. Weary yet satisfied, we belted out the tune merrily (likened to the Hawthorn theme song: “We’re the team that comes from Banyule”) before heading to the showers. Despite the atrocious mud covering the oval, the showers were in pristine condition. Well, they were until we bombarded them looking like a human representation of a chocolate fountain. Approximately half an hour later we were out and remarkably cleaner, as it was time to commence the trip back home.


News that we had finally pushed into fourth spot made the win even sweeter. However, the following week set up a telling clash at fifth placed Surrey Park. Considering they are infamous for having a rather large mud patch on their home ground, I’ll be ready to report on the shower situations once again.


Until next time, go Banyule!


Banyule:                      3.1.19   5.3.33   6.5.41   7.7.49

North Brunswick:         0.1.1     0.1.1     2.4.16   2.4.16


Goals: Jarryd (3), Jimmy (2), Chief, Eddie


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