Something old, something new, something borrowed & something blue

by Mic Rees

The old custom above shouldn’t have been confined to events 17,000 kilometres from Oz earlier this weekend. Merv Hughes Oval/Turner Reserve, located on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, played host to a Division 2 Western Region Football League (WRFL) game on Saturday that could have used the tradition reserved to instruct a bride of what to consider as part of her apparel on the big day to promote the days proceedings.

Something Old – Parkside – a charter member of the Footscray District Junior Football Leagues first season – 1931 – a time when the world was mired in the grip of a horrendous economic depression & Isaac  Isaacs had replaced John Baird (no, not  the Borough captain) as Governor-General of Australia. It was the year in which Rupert Murdoch was born. No doubt about it, Parkside Football Club has been around for quite some time. Fourteen Division 1 premierships have been won during their 80 year tenure in the FDFL/WRFL, 21 of its players have graduated to the nation’s premier Australian Rules football competition, the VFL/AFL.

Something New – Caroline Springs – Appearing in their first season of senior WRFL football. A team representing a suburb proclaimed in 1999 and located in the Shire of Melton – the second fastest growing municipality in the nation.  When the results of the 2006 National census were tabled Caroline Springs had a population 10,800. That number is expected to reach 25,000 by 2015. An indication of the potential behemoth the Caroline Springs Football Club could be is found in its junior development. In season 2011 it will field at least one, and in some cases two, teams in each junior age division of the WRFL. Compare this with today’s opponent Parkside, who despite tireless efforts by a hard working committee, won’t be fielding any junior teams in the WRFL this season.

Both sides came into this Round 4 clash desperate for premiership points. Parkside, last seasons Division 2 runners-up, were 0-2 (and a bye) for season 2011 – a final quarter fade out costing it victory against Laverton in Round 1 which was followed by Deer Park giving them a serious touch up in Round 2, the 18 goal loss even less palatable taking into consideration former Parkside favourite, now playing coach of Deer Park James Condos helped himself to a lazy 10 goals that afternoon. As for the new kids on the block, Caroline Springs won their opening Division 2 match in Round1 beating another of the grand old teams of the local league in Braybrook by 53 points. Reality gave the newbie’s a smack over the head in the form of a 75 point belting from Laverton in Round 2, before the previously mentioned Condos (13 goals) helped lead Deer Park to a 229 point annihilation of the Springs in Round 3. Ouch !

More intrigue, if any was required, was added as this April 30 match-up would see the return to The Merv Hughes Oval of Gary Turner. Turner, the inaugural coach of the Caroline Springs Football Club, departed as senior coach of the Magpies mid way through 2010, a season in which Parkside would come within a goal of a Division 2 premiership and a return to the top echelon of the WRFL. Would Coach Turner find the grass greener on the other side of the fence, oval, municipal boundary? – Only time would tell.

Under a brilliant cloudless sky, something Blue, the teams took to the field, the siren sounded and the battle began. Caroline Springs kicked to the Flemington Racecourse end, and despite getting plenty of possession early couldn’t register a major. Parkside would eventually crack a hard working  Springs backline with a couple of goals, the first coming off the boot of Michael Newport following good lead up work from Chris Muratore. Peter Krueger generously handed “Big Mo” Khartabil’ his first goal for the day shortly afterwards, his hand-ball over the top found the unmarked forward standing alone in the square. Dean Borg missed with a shot on the run for Caroline Springs, and they were punished when first Clement, and then the talented Krueger, slotted goals for the home team. Trent Tyrell & Co-captain Muratore were terrific for Parkside with Smolinski, Sfiry & Daniel Ingram likewise for the visitors. It was Muratore’s snapped goal on the siren that took Parkside to a quarter time score of 5.2-32 Caroline Springs 0.5-5. During his quarter time chat Parkside coach David Orchard seemed relatively happy with proceedings, if somewhat disturbed by the opponents dominance at the stoppages.

A nice on the run goal from 45 meters to Dan Williams pushed the Parkside lead to almost six goals. Co-captain Drew Vincent led a tight Parkside defence that wasn’t pierced until about 10 minutes into the second term when Borg, the recipient of a nice pass from Smolinski, notched Caroline Springs first goal for the afternoon. Two goals to Parkside interchange player Kahl Hoblos were separated by the Springs second of the match, gifted after consecutive 50 meter penalties put Darren Parkinson within a few meters of goal, which he duly converted. When Adam Davis brought up Caroline Springs third for the quarter the margin had been reduced to a little more than five goals, but strong marks deep in attack first to Julian Storey, quickly followed by another from Darcy McMahon, resulted in Parkside’s ninth & tenth goals. Borg’s smart soccer effort was complemented by Ingram’s snap on the siren, and by kicking the final two goals of the quarter Caroline Springs had reduced the home teams lead to a little over five goals, the scores Parkside 10.6-66 to C Springs 5.5-35. 

The social rooms at half time were a buzzing. Parkside were celebrating their past players this afternoon, former heroes such as Gordon Casey, Stephen Power & Mark Komp could be found mingling amongst fellow black & white alumni. Any visiting Caroline Springs official would be heartened to know that some time, hopefully in the not to distant future, their fledgling club would celebrate their champions of yesteryear. Brian Watt was announced as Parkside’s Number 1 ticket holder for season 2011. Watt is the one time curator of the Western Oval. In Spring & Summers past there was nothing more beautiful to a fan of the Footscray Cricket Club than to see the perfectly manicured green tops prepared by Mr Watt. When your team possessed attacks that included Ron Gaunt, Alan Hurst, John Sharp, Barry Watson, Merv Hughes, Len Balcam & AIC Dodemaide you could hardly expect him to prepare a “highway” could you?

Trent Tyrell snapped truly for the home team within a few minutes of the resumption of play in the second half. With Parkside getting on top at the stoppages things didn’t look good for the Springs. Matt Bongiovanni’s successful shot from 45 metres stemmed the flow. Somewhat.  Matthew Shult goaled to restore the six goal buffer and the hosts took total control. Krueger, now well and truly in the thick of things, was providing the grunt Parkside lacked at stoppages earlier in the match. Poor kicking however stopped the game from becoming a farce. Three scores, all behinds – Mo Khartabil unable to convert after two strong marks well within range – meant the seven goal margin between the sides wasn’t a true reflection of the home sides complete control of proceedings. Tim Baddura bobbed up for a couple of goals in quick succession & Big Mo finally kicked straight following another strong mark deep in attack. When Clement & McMahon added majors the 12 goal gap was a more honest indication of the difference in size, class & skill of the two combatants. Daniel Ingram, one of the rare standouts for Caroline Springs, chipped to an unguarded Anthony Brook, who from 15 yards out got his first for the day. Ingram, as he had done the previous quarter, scored the last goal of the term to take Caroline Springs to a score of 8.7-55 at three quarter time, trailing Parkside 17.13-115.

Despite the fact he would’ve been excused if he’d addressed his men with a cliché laden rev prior to the final quarter, Coach Turner kept his three quarter time message simple, and constructive, to his young team. He asked them to show some pride, but more importantly demanded his men keep running in the final quarter. 

Parkside opened the final period with two goals to Khartabil, one from a mark, the other an agile piece of work that included snapping truly from close range. A strong mark and goal to McMahon, his second goal for the day, pushed the gap between the two sides to 79 points. Daniel Ingram was badly winded in an incidents that often has supporters offering advice along the lines of “Count them, don’t rub them”. Parkside trainer Ray Barber approached Ingram inquiring whether he needed assistance, thus providing the something Borrowed component of the game and completed our quadrella for the day. Nice work Ray, you’re a good man. Goals to Parkinson (snap) and a clever off the ground effort from Scott Hepburn stopped the procession if only for a short while. Storey, Mohammed Abou-Zied & Igor Bera registered six pointers and were followed by Khartabil’s fifth & sixth goals for the day, which by then pushed the margin between the teams to just under three figures. Borg brought up his third goal of the afternoon and in doing so ensured his team wouldn’t register back-to-back 100 point floggings. The final siren sounded shortly afterwards with Parkside scoring 25.19-169 to defeat Caroline Springs 11.11-77, and in doing so brought up their first premiership points for the 2011 campaign.

Big Mo Khartabil with six goals led all scorers, whilst six other Parkside players scored two goals a piece. In total 14 Parkside players scored goals, such a spread of goal scorers would please Coach Orchard. Dean Borg’s three goals for the Springs were a fine effort considering how starved the forward line was of opportunities. Joe Jamieson, Drew Vincent & Trent Tyrell were adjudged best for the winners, the aforementioned ruptured Daniel Ingram, Dean Borg & Adam Davis getting the nod for their efforts for the beaten visiting outfit.

In fading light handshakes and pleasantries were exchanged. The victors are off and running, this effort hopefully sparking a run of form that will take them to the finals. For the defeated the education for players, coach & club will continue for some time. But beware the emerging giant that is Caroline Springs.


  1. smokie88 says

    The WRFL will surely be pleased that Caroline Springs did not eneter their senior team in the VAFA, as Point Cook did two seasons ago.

  2. Mic Rees says

    Smokie # 1 – I’m glad they went local, gonna be a lot of change in the Essendon & Western Region Leagues over the next few seasons.

    Do you remeber what PC’s reason was to join the ammos ?


  3. John Butler says

    Obviously a subject close to the heart Mic.

    Another nice piece. As a bayside boy originally, it’s good to get the perspective from the deep dark west.

  4. Steve Fahey says

    Nice piece Mic

    Good to see my locals, in the black and white, finally get on the board this year

  5. Mic Rees says

    John #3 – Unfortunately deep & dark may describe some local teams prospects over the next decade or so. Hope I’m wrong, wouldn’t be the the first time…….today.

    Steve #4 – Yes, very good to see PFC take the points for the first time in ’11, hopefully many more victories will follow. Do you have a link with Parkside ?

  6. Shame it was so one-sided. Nearly went to that one, but ended up at EDFL’s Abers and Oak Park.It was a good Saturday for local footy.

  7. smokie88 says

    #2. Mic,
    I know at least one fellow who was on the committee at the time of Point Cook’s decisiom to join the Ammos.
    I won’t go into all the reasons on this public forum, but I do believe one factor was the amount of $$ that
    they would need to pay players in order to be competitive in WRFL Division 1.

  8. Someone tell me when when your son takes a mark and the umpire pays the mark then the siren go’s only to find out it was the siren on the other ground after wasting precious time the umpire realises what went wrong then takes the ball off my son to ball it up when clearly he had already paid the mark then the siren go’s on the ground where playing on after the ball up 2 and a half mins later neither team scores and we are down by a point in a grand final when I know that if the umpire paid the mark then my son that was straight in front of goals roughly 25 to 30 meters out that won the goal kicking for the season last year would of been a chance to register a goal or point goal we win point it’s a draw in my eyes my son and his footy team were robbed by an umpire that could of been umpiring blind people if he had any idea what a bloody idiot yes I have had a rant but to see the look on the boys faces nearly had me in tears as well.

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