Brave Two Blues stay in finals fight


AFTER a draw, and two one point losses earlier in the season Prahran Assumption was overdue to win a close game.

And so it transpired on a sodden Toorak Park in VAFA Division 1 on Saturday, downing Oakleigh by three points- 8-6 (54) to 7-9 (51).

As coach Brett Dickinson accurately described post match this was a brave win.

When the opposition, in this case Oakleigh , display all the same desperation and being equally tough in the clinches, these narrow wins are special.

The Two Blues persisted in a show of mental strength on the back of a dispiriting 10 goal defeat the previous week.

Just to show there are  footy Gods, for the first time in those clutch of close finishes this time the 'rub of the green' went the Two Blues way.

For instance a Matthew Clifford goal five seconds before the half-time siren to take the lead, then two 50m penalty last quarter goals, which on another day may not have been paid.

It was the Two Blues second win for the season over Oakleigh and brings them within two points of the coveted fourth place on the ladder.

With persistent drizzling rain for the first three quarters this was always going to be a blue collar day.

Such was the gloom the lights were turned on in the third quarter.

After Tony Mirabella kicked the first goal in the opening minute Oakleigh had control.

But a 1-5 first quarter return proved costly, yet when gun full-forward Aaron Cloke kicked a long goal early in the second quarter the signs were ominous,

But Jack Matherson from a 40m set shot and a crumbing goal from Nat Martin within minutes and suddenly the Two Blues were back in front.

Oakleigh regained the lead before Clifford slotted a long goal on the run just seconds before the half-time siren.

Coach Brett Dickinson, playing his first game for the season, broke an 18 minute deadlock with a 40m conversion for a free-kick.

Then a free-kick to Oakleigh for a goal moments before the siren and the scene was set for a last quarter thriller.

Oakleigh kicked the all important first goal before Taylor Bamford found Clifford who played on a thumped a 50m goal.

Not to be denied Oakleigh stayed in touch when a forward found himself alone in the 50m arc and duly goaled.

With the game on the line Mirabella marked 50m, attempted to play on but his opponent held his jumper and a 50m penalty was awarded resulting in a vital goal.

When Jon Simonetta found Clifford 35m out the game looked safe, it was shut and locked when Oakleigh conceded another 50m penalty.

With 10 seconds remaining on the clock Oakleigh kicked a consolation goal to trim the margin to three points.

Zac Podmore led the mid-field with his inside the contest skills to the fore in the conditions while Riley Hogan was dominant with his speed and kicking skills.
Jayden Williams crucially held Oakleigh match-winner Cloke to just two goals but to be fair he missed two ‘sitters’.

But goals were like gold and it was Clifford with three majors, two in the last quarter, which provided the finishing touch to the collective efforts of his 21 teammates.

PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 1-1 4-2 5-4 8-6 (54)
OAKLEIGH 1-5 3-5 4-8 7-9 (51)
Goals, Clifford 3, Mirabella 2, N Martin, J Matherson, Dickinson.
Best. Podmore, Hogan, Williams, Waters, Everest, Bamford.

THIS was a miraculous come-from-behind win.

After Oakleigh piled on 5-6 to 3-0 in the third quarter to take a 20 point lead the game looked over.

But with no wind advantage and on a slippery surface the Two Blues found another gear slamming on four unanswered goals to inflict a second defeat on Oakleigh for the season.

PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 2-2 4-4 7-4 11-5 (71)
OAKLEIGH 3-2 4-6 9-12 9-14 (68)
Goals. Taylor 5, Grogan 2, Pavlou, Noonan, Forrestall, Panagiatoros.
Best. Taylor, Graham, S Capra, Bowes, M Capra, Grogan.