Uni Blacks v Uni Blues – Blacks Break Through

With the curtain raiser completed and a large crowd gathering in brilliant sunshine, the scene was set for a classic. Whilst much of the pre-game talk had focused on the comeback of the opposition’s gun forward and former coach, Fergus Watts, the Blacks had one of their own returning from a hiatus. Although water-carrier Phil is certainly a smaller (shorter?) name in VAFA circles, he is a Blacks favourite son and all players got a lift from seeing him bringing out the drinks. As a full-time footwear technician for Essendon, there was concern at one stage he may be implicated in the ongoing ASADA investigation, but thankfully he was immediately cleared when it was determined that ouzo was not on the banned substances list.

The match could not have got off to a better start for the Blacks with Tyntynder old boys Jake Matthews and Bede Mahon combining for the skipper to record a major within the first minute. Given that in the game earlier in the year, the Blues gained the early ascendency, the Blacks fans thought that this was a good sign. The rest of the quarter was a free flowing contest and as the siren sounded with only one point the difference, the fans were buzzing, knowing that both sides were up for a fight.

As had happened in the early game, the 2nd quarter saw the Blacks lift their intensity and start to move the ball through the middle with polish. Two players who were integral in providing the team’s drive were Tom ‘Piglet’ Napier and Rob ‘Thumper’ Humann. Though their monikers may cause one to think of characters from a children’s book, there was nothing immature about their respective performances.

With the Blacks leading by 3 clear goals, both sets of fans made their way to the sumptuous afternoon tea. As paper plates were cradled amongst the makeshift facilities under the June sun, your correspondent became misty eyed at the sight of so many enjoying local football. With trepidation, I approached AFL 2IC and former Uni Blues great Gillon McLachlan to query whether he felt the same. “Of course, Hack”, was his response, “There’s nothing like it. I’d take these scones over the MCG function room re-heats any day”. With that, I shook his hand warmly, slipped my CV into his back pocket and walked away to study the 2nd half.

The 3rd quarter was simply a magnificent quarter of football. At separate times, each side appeared to ready to pull away until being quickly foiled. The last 5 minutes of the quarter typified this as Jandre ‘hashtag’ Slabbert kicked a marvellous off-the-ground goal to extend the lead to 4 goals, only for that to be quickly nullified by Watts coolly slotting his 5th.

Although 16 points was a healthy buffer, the Blacks were certainly not taking anything for granted, especially considering their own barnstorming comeback in the corresponding fixture earlier in the year. With a potential victory to mean so much, the crowd was almost silent as the opening minutes were played out.

And then it came…

First it was a mark and goal from #slab, then it was Charlie Richardson on the run and then when Huw Lacey completed a set shot from 45m like it was a handball in the warm-up, it was 84-48. Not even the palendromic nature of the score could hide the fact that the Blacks were nearly home. After a few minutes passed, Josh Gaylor curled one in after some typically deft footwork and the crowd behind the goals roared as one. A big overhead mark and a fourth goal from Lacey was closely followed by a set shot from Willingham and that was it.

The final bell was met with warm cheering and applause. Surprisingly, it wasn’t over the top but it was certainly heartfelt. The volume did increase though as the players made their way to the rooms, and then some once they arrived in there. This was a moment that was years in the making (with this being the first win over the Blues since 1982) and the fact there were so many gathered around to hear the players’ chorus shows how many were involved in the journey.

This was an important victory against a seasoned opponent that has proudly worn the Melbourne Uni jumper in the amateur football’s highest league for many years. Given this strong record, and the fact that our neighbours are renowned for finishing the season with vigour, there’s little doubt we can look forward to a return bout next season and hopefully many more after that. As quaint as the current facilities are, a derby clash in front of a brand new pavilion would be a sight to see. With that in mind, the Blacks wish the Blues all the best for the remainder of 2013.

St. Bede’s/Mentone next week. Never easy at Brindisi. See you there.


1st 2nd 3rd Final
Uni Blacks 3.3.21 6.7.43 9.9.63 15.13.103
Uni Blues 3.4.22 3.7.25 6.11.47 7.13.55


Goal Kickers

Lacey 4, Slabbert 4, Richardson 2, Roberts, Willingham, Flight, Mahon, Gaylor


Best Players

Napier, Roberts, Humann, Lacey, Willingham, Howgate


The Reserves match report and those from past rounds can be found at www.uniblacks.org.au

About The Black Hack

Loves scoops. Hates deadlines

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