Round 14: Maribyrnong Park at Maribyrnong Park

Last time we met the game was like an arm wrestle until the final siren, with Marby walking away the victors by 10 points in a nail biter. This time round we had our backs against the wall and our finals hopes in jeopardy. A win was the only end result that would be acceptable.

Our message pre game was simple: outwork, 22 contributors, and each week from now on is going to be a prelim final. With some fresh faces - James Gregory debuting and Bev Newell back in from the Reserves for his first game for the year - all we asked was for everyone to have impact and play their roles and that’s exactly what they did.

We won the toss and got the wind advantage. Marby’s mids started strong, hitting the contest on the fly, but our backs propelled the attack, intercepting and providing damaging ball movement into our forward line, allowing them to gain momentum and put score on the board. While Daniel Harris kicked our first for the quarter, some missed opportunities early hurt our chances of really knocking the confidence out of Marby by the quarter time siren.

The second quarter was a battle in the middle but we had confidence in our mids to get the job done. Marby had the wind so we had to ensure we won the ball from the centre to be able to defend from the forward half. Sam Caruso, Craig Anderson and Michael Ross worked hard at reading Jesse Boyd’s ruck work to get the ascendancy and after being challenged at quarter time we backed Marby in to come in at the break on top. Despite the breeze being in their favour, we managed to stem their scoring and even score a couple ourselves to be four goals up at half time.

The game was still in the balance but the group was up for the challenge. We now had an hour of intense football to play and 22 players had to be willing to find another gear to ensure we brought home the  four points. We started the third quarter with the same pressure we had finished first half with our mids forcing ball forward and Matt D’Angelo kicking a great goal to get the team going. From there on the pace was set and we kicked six goals four for the quarter to come in 54 points up.

We now had a great chance to ice the game and build up some handy percentage, but we had to make sure we didn’t take our eyes off the prize and move away from the game plan that got us in this position to start with. The group maintained focus and you could see they really enjoyed the way we were playing. The confidence in our ball movement was at the highest it has been all year and we finished off the game the same way we started. We managed another five goals for the quarter and kept them to just two to complete the game seventy points up.

Not only was it great to beat the team at top of the table, it was terrific to see the whole genuinely enjoying each other’s company and seeing everything we trained being implemented at the highest level. Every player that put the jumper that morning impacted the game in a way that helped the side win and for me this was our first four quarter effort for the season. We knew the challenge was great: the group responded and responded in a great way.

Next Week: Avondale Heights at Raeburn Reserve

This week we come up against Avondale Heights! Last time we played these guys they challenged us for three quarters but it was our talent that got on top to make the win it was. This week we have to attack the game in the same manner we did against Marby. It is another final and we must take care of what we can control. Back on home soil, it is another must win game and we would love to see as many supporters there as possible to help bring home the four points and keep our season alive.

Final score: Maribyrnong Park 7.8-50 | Pasoce Vale 18.13-121

Goal Kickers: M. Watson 4, D. Harris 3, J. Gregory 2, J. Polizzi, M. D'Angelo, J. Cellini, K. Economou, M. Ross, G. Urquhart, J. Graham, J. Boyd, B. Inglis
Best Players: S. Caruso, E. Ogden, D. Harris, M. Watson, J. Blakemore, L. Foster