The Blue & The Gold: A Win for the Ages












A Win for the Ages

By Darren “Smokie” Dawson



Unfortunately Smokie has been stretched for time this week. In the meantime, given we are playing our old mates, he thought we might revisit his report on the 2009 grand final vs. those very same opponents. I’m sure there are plenty who have not read it before (it was originally published on the Almanac site – and he went back through the archives to find it). It actually reads like ancient history even though it is only 8 and a half seasons old.


Almost two weeks on from my old club’s stunning grand final victory, it is only now that the hairs on the back of my neck have begun to settle down.


Having been comprehensively defeated by D1-section rivals Peninsula Old Boys in the second semi, Willy CYs had fought back through the preliminary final to earn another shot at the Pirates. The grand final was a see-sawing affair. An arm-wrestle between the experienced bigger bodies of Peninsula and the youthful running types from Williamstown. At three-quarter time, the game was up for grabs.


The odds were stacked against the Williamstown boys. Only eighteen fit men. Only thirteen points up and kicking into a stiff breeze in the last quarter. Backs well and truly against the wall. This could be a day when heroes were made: Coops had dislocated his shoulder in the first half, but returned to the field to kick an inspiring goal before suffering a second dislocation; Chickenhead could hardly run at training on Friday, had nonetheless declared himself fit, but was now stopped to a walk; young Fin’s ankle had blown up, but he too had returned to the field; and Jules’s groin was severely curtailing his run. We were in trouble.


Alan “Oopy” Elliott is a club legend: former comp best-and-fairest winner and premiership captain (both in 1984), team of the century captain, club life member. Upon sensing that the club needed an experienced hand to develop a talented crop of youngsters before the 2008 season, Oopy had again put his hand up to coach the club, this time in D2-section. He and club were rewarded with the club’s first flag in 24 years. The premiership went some way towards healing the pain of Oopy’s three grand final losses as coach in the ’90s. Before last year’s grand final, the CYs were raging favourites. This year we were very much the underdog.


The many supporters who bustled out onto Waverley’s Central Reserve for the coach’s address at the final change wore faces of concern. Looks that said it had been a gallant effort, but at the very least we would be promoted to D1 as runners-up. Enter Oopy Elliott. His first request was for the players to gather close, sit and rest. His second request was for the throng of supporters to move in closer. He was no longer the hot-gospeller who flogged us on the track after losses, as happened in my playing days, but he could still strip the paint off the changing-room walls if he thought the players needed a rev-up. It would be interesting to see which direction he took at this juncture.


He began quietly and thoughtfully. Rather than address the players, he spoke to the group as a whole: players, assistants, trainers, relatives, past players, supporters … everyone. Not denying the reality of the situation and the effort required, but emphasising it. He reflected on the year’s journey, and the destination at which we now found ourselves. He said we were all in it together. He asked us all to gather in even closer.


I began to feel as if I were again playing. I was ready to take the field. These people will bring us home, he said, pointing to us supporters. Could we do it? Yes, I heard myself yell. Yes we can! Leaving the oval as the siren blared, I was confident. I was empowered. I was ready to scream myself hoarse for one final quarter.  And those aforementioned neck hairs were bristling.


In the season’s final stanza, there were many acts of courage from both teams, which were befitting of a tough grand final. But the Willy boys (and their supporters) hung on, in no small part inspired by an ingenious oration. It truly was a win for the ages.


While enjoying a quiet beer in the Stag’s Head last Friday night, one of the regulars ambled past and said, “What about that three-quarter time speech, hey?” Like a couple of old salts talking of our days at sea, we reminisced about an event that was not even a week old! Suddenly, I had visions of similar conversations taking place at other pubs around Williamstown; and the hairs on the back of my neck began standing to attention all over again.


Guru 360


Last time we met

Rd 8, 2018 @ the Fearon: Williamstown CYMS 28.16.184 defeated Peninsula 7.6.48.


One week after losing their first game for the season, Williamstown CYMS cruised back into top spot on the ladder with a 134-point victory over Peninsula at Fearon Reserve. Leading by 17 points at the first break, the CYs exploded with nine goals in the second term and a total of 24 to five in the final three quarters. Nick Ebinger was unstoppable up forward and finished the match with seven goals, while Ben Gray (5), Jack Gray (4) and Jack Noonan (4) each had few issues in front of goal. Blake Hillman stood tall for the Pirates as their only multiple goal kicker and best player.


At selection

Three changes this week as we lost Blackney to LA (@blackerrrss), Adamson to a 2-game suspension and Mackenzie to work. Returning to the side is Jake Slee, whilst Costa and Lindner debut.


Take 5

  1. Rod Ford take a bow, after getting both Fin and Del off their respective charges at the VAFA tribunal. Whilst Fin took the prescribed penalty for one charge, he was facing a 5 game absence if he lost his contested charge on Tuesday night. Evidently the Chewbacca Defense worked again: “If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit.”


  1. Costa from the U19s I don’t know anything about, but he becomes CYMS player no. 478 in the VAFA. That makes Lindner – up from the Ressies – player no. 479.
  2. Mackenzie, Blackney and Adamson are three big outs, literally. It will be interesting to see how we go with a quicker, smaller side, on a ground that often rewards quick play and an open forward line.
  3. One area that has remained unchanged for an age now is the midfield, with the starting four of Jones, Johnstone, Wheelahan and B.Tucker, backed up by Hemphill, Ackerly and Noonan, one of our great strengths and enviable depth. Whilst we’ll miss some of the outs this week, that midfield alone will ensure we get the four points on Saturday.
  4. It was great to see the Kallan Dawson of old last week, with a best on ground performance against the Hoers. Off no pre-season, and suffering another early season shoulder injury, it was always going to take some time before he returned to his best. There’s no better sight than him flying for a mark running back with the flight of the ball, and amazing how often he marks it. Let’s hope his good run of form and luck continues for some time yet.


The tip

Last round, Peninsula finally broke through to seize their second win of the season, beating Old Mentonians by 16 points at Keysborough Playing Fields. It was the Pirates first win since their last win over PEGS in Round 3, and while Old Mentonians held the slimmest of leads at both the first and main breaks, the Pirates responded by pinching a three-point buffer leading into the final term. It was there that the visitors held their nerve and extended the lead by a further two goals to win. George Fletcher was named best afield for the Pirates, while it was an even effort down forward with four players kicking two goals each, including Will Harbinson and skipper Sam Glenn.


The 134 point shellacking in Rd 8 will have hurt Peninsula, and rivalry alone will ensure there isn’t a repeat of that. Still, their (poor) form this season and at home will struggle to stop us having 30 shots at goal on Saturday. A return of 15.15 will see us win this 50-odd points.


Senior team









Other teams in a sentence (or two)

RESERVES VS. PENINSULA: No danger here for our Ressies taking on the 2-9 Pirates with a percentage under 50.

S2 THIRDS VS. DE LA SALLE: A great win last week by our Thirds over Beaumaris to move back into the four, but a 9:20 start out at Waverley against the undefeated De La says no.

S2 U19S VS. UNI BLUES: Con inspired some magic at half time last week, and a dominant third quarter saw the U19s record an important win. That form should continue this week against a side they often beat.

S5 U19 COLTS VS. PRESTON BULLANTS: This is a huge game for both teams, with some country and western in 5th at 6-5 and us in 6th at 5-6. Home ground advantage to get us over the line, just.

D2 SEAGALS VS. OLD IVANHOE: The Hoers will be too strong at home for our ‘Gals, unfortunately.


See you Saturday. Go CYs,


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About Darren Dawson

Always North.

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