VAFA B Section – Parkdale v Fitzroy: Maintain Your B Grade.

It was Gough Whitlam, captain of the Sydney Reds, who implored his followers to “Maintain your B Grade.” That’s what the Tram Conductors , those doughty set of blokes (and Kelly and Tonka) who populate the reverse goal square have been warbling on about all year.

Well, its mission accomplished. Parkdale, we won’t see you next year. Thanks for coming.

Today I want to do a small review of the year. If we knew at the start of the year that Ablett, Josh, Bear, Speckie and Pickers would not play, relegation would have appeared a certainty. It hasn’t happened, we have won 6 games and were unlucky in a few more. Our defence has been magnificent all year. Who cannot remember those goalless quarters where we fought and scrapped? I cannot remember which game that Anthony summarised the game thus: “We tackled them into the dirt.” Several times this year we have been fifth on the points scored against table despite being at the bottom of the ladder.

We competed all year, at all contests, all around the ground. The St Kevins coach after the last game said that he would not like to be the Fitzroy official scoring the sacrificial acts of Fitzroy players. We have never given up (except for Melbournian’s) so why have we only won 6 games.

Our forward line sucks. They are the reason for my stomach problems. Last week’s stomach biopsies could find no dysplasia but there is a lot of dysfunction forward of the centre at the BSO. I think a lot of it is self-belief. Many of our players, Racka is an example, do not believe they should be in B Grade seniors. Their lack of confidence when shooting for goal is palpable all around the ground. They will grow into this grade now they have another year in B Grade. There is a lot of upside in many of our boys.

Look at what has happened this year to Micky Lee who was forced into the first ruck. He was monstered yesterday, especially early, but he doesn’t give up despite playing against bigger players every week. Micky now contributes something every week and has been in our best several times in the last half of the year. He will be better next year, bigger and stronger.

We need another forward line player and if Pickers can get fit we have him. We need some onballers with explosive pace. Won’t he Fenton is a BOTP Templar, he always hands the ball back to the umpires at ball ups, but he does not kick multiple goals. Sammy Baker is a back flanker playing in the middle and does not have running speed or quickness of disposal to be a “Rory”.

Enough of this, what happened yesterday at Parkdale? For those of you who have never been down to the Gerry Green Oval you haven’t missed much. The centre was a “bog” and the facilities around the ground can only be described as ramshackled. The ground has very deep pockets and Parkdale jumped out of the block and went continually into those pockets. They dominated the first twenty minutes. You see they had to win to avoid relegation. This game had a lot riding on it for Parkdale.

All day they played players behind the ball making it hard for both teams to score. I reckon when you have to win the game this was silly. In the first quarter they went wide into those deep pockets. We hurt them on the rebound with young Dillon Patcas twice running into open goals. The salient point is we were going down the middle while they were going wide. Scores at quarter time were 3 2 to 0 5 which was an accurate summary of the game.

The second quarter was an arm wrestle. They had the better of play generally but our defence held firm. Matty K kicked an absolutely crucial (kyroucial?) goal half way through the quarter, one of those pressure goals that we have missed all season. Parkdale’s kicking for goal was terrible while our forward forays were comically inept. All day we picked out their defenders when we moved the ball forward. Just on the half time siren Simco dropped off his man a millimetre who marked and kicked a goal after the half time siren to put them within 8 points.

We won the game in the third quarter, scoring 6 goals to 3. Daniel B went into the ruck and dropped the ball to Rory who gave us a few quick centre breaks. Pickers kicked a couple of goals. There was some great smothers up forward and a great tackle by Baby Baker, all these acts applying the forward press so beloved by the TV commentators.

The last quarter was a tame affair. Parkdale refused to play man on man, dropping players back into defence. It meant they could not score enough to win the match. Late in the quarter young Dillon P kicked the sealer. The final score of 11 6 to 6 10 tells the story.

Just think, we won’t have to go to Parkdale or Werribee next year and we will get another chance to beat Carey

Go the Roys.

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