The Parade College Writing Workshop – Laird Ramshaw: My Under 14 Premiership triumph




By Laird Ramshaw


The under 14s Fitzroy Junior Football Club team was full of pride and determination. A team full of 22 strong individuals who would do anything for each other. Brothers from another mother you could say.


It was an overcast Sunday afternoon on the first of September. Grand Final day. There was little to no wind and the ground was in good nick. The game was scheduled to be played at Gordon Barnard Reserve in North Balwyn.  We were set to play a very strong team in Surrey Park. We had played them once in the regular season in Round 13. The game was close, but they pulled away in the last quarter to beat us by 17 points. Their star power was too much for us to handle.


The warm-up to the game could’ve been better. The nerves were getting to us. This was our first grand final we’d ever played in and it was our first final series (we hadn’t been the best team in our junior career). We played in the first division in the first half of our junior football careers and let’s just say we were like Gold Coast. Losing by 50 points was the norm. But something clicked at the start of last season, we began playing like the Richmond of junior footy, only losing two games for the whole year in Division 2. We went from dead last in under 13’s to finishing first the next season in under 14’s.


In the rooms before the game the atmosphere was intense. Boys were doing some quick handballs to sharpen their awareness and concentration while other boys were doing their stretches. But me, I was imagining the game. Thinking about what the game would have in store for me. Just relaxing myself and getting into the mood. I always do that before my game. I imagine what’s going to happen, my opponent and think about my celebration if I kick a goal. My coach Scott Hamilton called the boys in for the final coach’s message. As an ex-army soldier, Scott (or Scotty as we call him), was an intense man. Whenever he speaks, you listen. That’s just how much the boys and I respected him. You’d listen to every word he said.


As we ran out as a group, the boys were ready. The look on our faces was as if we were going to rip the opponents’ head off. Our captain Finn Cleary got the boys together in a huddle and said his final message. Just like Scotty, the boys would listen to every word that Finn would say. I can’t remember what he said but I remember that what he said got everyone in the mood. He reminded me of Luke Hodge with his leadership. Although he wasn’t the best at footy, he didn’t have the best skill. But his determination, hard work, second efforts, desperate acts and leadership were the reasons he was captain.


The first quarter was fierce, the ball going back and forth for the first five minutes. But Surrey Park started to get on top. They kicked four goals in a row in a short time period and our heads started to drop. But late in the first quarter we kicked one back. The scores were 27 to 7, Surrey Park’s way.


The second quarter was a great quarter for us Royboys. We dominated around the ground, winning the contested ball and putting some scoreboard pressure back on Surrey Park. We managed to kick three goals and pull the game back to nine points at half time. The scores were 34 to 25, Surrey Park still winning.


The third quarter was tough for both sides, neck and neck. Both sides got their fair share of momentum and their fair share of entertaining moments. The ball was going back and forth like a tennis match. Both teams kicked two goals, but Surrey Park was starting to tire. We could just tell. The score at three quarter time was 49 to 39, Surrey Park still winning.


The last quarter was where the magic happened. We were pressing hard, making Surrey Park earn every last possession. They kicked two behinds early in the quarter. And that was it. Not one score after that. The quarter was coming to an end. About five minutes remained. We smashed them all quarter but couldn’t capitalise. But something clicked in those last five minutes. Inside 50 after inside 50 after inside 50. We only kicked one point earlier in the quarter. It was a nine-point game. The ball was inside 50, left half forward.


My skinny teammate Sam, who is nothing but bone, got the ball out of the stoppage and kicked the ball right to the goal line. Coincidentally, me and two other Surrey Park players were standing there. I pushed one of them out of the contest. I took the mark over the Surrey Park player right on the goal line. I kicked the ball straight through the big sticks. We were back within three points. With the new 6-6-6 rule in place, we got a free kick in the centre circle because they had seven players in the backline. Our tall ruckman Dom kicked the ball inside 50. Our key forward Max ran to the ball with a defender hot on his tail. He did a quick sidestep after gathering the ball, steadied, and snapped the ball. Snapped the ball…for a goal. I couldn’t believe it. We were in front, after being behind all game. We somehow managed to pull it back in the last five minutes.


The siren went. After a long game, it was finally over. After going from last the season before, we had now won the grand final. It felt like we were the Western Bulldogs of 2016. We did it. We finally did it.



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Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.





  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Wow, great win Laird, and what a way to win a Grand Final, coming from behind! Well done, you all must have felt proud of yourselves for the fabulous effort.

  2. Great passion,Laird congrats playing in a premiership side is something you have for life you reminded me of a a school hockey flag a few weeks ago,1974 is a few weeks ago isn’t it ?

  3. Vanessa Fox says

    A fantastic article Laird! I had goosebumps reading about the match. Just goes to show that having good people leading you, along with solid teamwork, and some grit & determination, can turn things right around.

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