The Parade College Writing Workshop – Benjamin Wolczko: St Mary’s v Banyule, 2019


By Benjamin Wolczko


It was a big day in the Wolczko house as it always is when St Mary’s plays Banyule. My oldest brother Jackson plays for St Mary’s while my other brother Toby plays for Banyule. Toby changed from St Mary’s to Banyule when he got to under 17s and that’s where the rivalry began. Mum has always dreaded the games when the boys play against each other and all she wants is there to be no fights.


It was a miserable middle of winter day; cold, wet and extremely muddy thanks to the under 19 game and heavy bodies of the reserves.


We drove through the drowned streets of Watsonia North, quickly getting a change of clothes from home after earning my $20 for water-carrying for the reserves game.


The recently promoted St Mary’s came up against the ladder leaders in Banyule. The mud pit of a ground favoured the underdogs as it brought down the elite skills of the Banyule side, who had three former AFL players on their team.


My mum and I got there at quarter time and met up with the rest of my family. The game was evenly poised at 18 all, thanks to some poor kicking from St Mary’s.


The second quarter was again very frustrating for the Burra, with more missed opportunities. While they had a nine-point lead against the undefeated side, they had kicked 10 behinds alongside only three goals.


The young St Mary’s team finally got some consistency in the third quarter, as they really went in for the kill and kicked out to a four goal lead going into the final break.  Suddenly, the Burra were now looking to hold out Banyule, who had become the underdogs in this match.


St Mary’s looked to be in an unbeatable position when Banyule had to double their score in the last quarter to win the match. St Mary’s had put everything into that third quarter and ran out of legs in the last quarter. Suddenly, Banyule were all over them. Time was running out for Banyule. They were coming back like a steam train. They got within two points as the game got extremely intense. Then, St Mary’s young gun Curtis Howden Clark burst out of a pack and ran on to kick a goal from 40 metres out which sent the St Mary’s crowd crazy. The goal gave the Burra a lot of breathing space and secured the win. The win was St Mary’s first big win of the season after having a few really close and unlucky games against good sides.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Enjoyed your story Benjamin, it must be tough sitting on the fence though!

  2. Do you play, Benjamin?

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