Prahran Assumption has fallen agonisingly short in its first game of the 2015 season, going down to St Pats/NOBs by six points on Saturday afternoon.
The match, which was played in glorious conditions at Gillon Oval in Brunswick, was neck and neck all day with St Pats outlasting Prahran for the 13.6.84 to 11.12.78 victory.
For Prahran Assumption first gamer Stephen Conlan was simply outstanding in defence, whilst Ged Hogarth was gallant in defeat, booting six goals. John Robbins was also impressive for the Two Blues, finishing with four goals in a mid-field/forward role, as was Matthew Pell, who sparked the visitors with his run and carry.
NOBs (North Old Boys) on the other hand was led strongly all day by Peter Shepherd who staked his claim as the league’s top ruckman in a dominant performance, whilst Lachlan Ezard and Chris Horsley were also impressive for the victors.
The match started in typical Round one fashion as both teams applied immense pressure all over the ground with neither Prahran nor St Pats being able to break free.
Prahran Assumption was able to rebound from defensive 50 quite effectively but continued to break down once the ball reached the half forward line and would consequently trail by five points at quarter time.
Tempers started to flare during the second term. Gerrard Bence of St Pats received a red card for a front on charge, minor spot fires broke out across the field and Prahran Assumption gave away four 25 metre penalties in the second quarter alone (gave away six for the game).
St Pats seemed to have had control of the match but couldn’t capitalise its chances, leaving the door open for the Two Blues, who wrestled their way back to trail by nine points at half time.
The two sides managed just three goals between them in the third quarter as the struggle continued, leaving St Pats with an eight point lead with a quarter to play.
The final term was an epic, as both Prahran Assumption and St Pats fought tooth and nail to get the victory. St Pats buried two of the first three goals courtesy of Chris Ford and skipper Matthew Keown to take an 18 point lead, but the Two Blues were not to be denied.
Hogarth and Robbins combined to kick four goals between them in the last quarter, bringing the deficit back to just one straight kick. Enter the final five minutes.
The ball found its way into the hands of Pell who carried the ball through the middle of the ground before unloading from just inside 50, only to hit the post which brought the margin to under a goal.
St Pats then managed to transfer the ball from one end of the ground to the other and seemingly looked to have iced the game when the ball sailed through for a goal, only to be overturned by the umpire, who deemed it touched off the boot.
The Two Blues had one last roll of the dice to even up the score, however ran out of time and fell just one kick short in new coach Luke Egan's first game.
Prahran Assumption, away from home for the first three weeks of the season, made a concerted point pre-game on how important it was to get a first up win on the road, which made the result even more disappointing.
It wasn’t all bad for the Two Blues though with the Reserves side comfortably taking care of St Pats 12.11.83 to 7.9.51 as they begin defence of last years’ Premiership.
The Two Blues will now look to bounce back next Saturday when they do battle with Kew Football Club at Victoria Park, Kew.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 2-2 5-6 6-10 11-12 (78)
NORTH OLD BOYS/ST PATS 3-1 7-3 9-4 13-7 (84)
Goals: G Hogarth 6, Robbins 4, Donahoo 1.
Best: Matherson, R Costin, Conlan, G Hogarth, Donahoo, Pell, Scicluna.