UGLY, gutsy, courageous- that was coach Brett Dickinson’s verdict on Prahran Assumption’s gritty 17 point win over Peninsula in VAFA Division 1 last Saturday.
It was an apt description for this was trench warfare football style if ever there was .
The reward was a rise to fourth place on the ladder.
Peninsula had won just one of its first four games but as Dickinson stressed in his address at quarter time that was irrelevant with desire and will to win the qualities needed to emerge with a win.
Skills went out the window on a windswept, showery day on a soft track where stoppage after stoppage prevailed.
Away wins are precious in amateur football and when the Pirates were fast out of the blocks with the first three goals of the game in the first 15 minutes the signs were ominous.
From the chat on and off the field you could sense the Pirates had marked this down as an upset win.
But kicking against a strong cross wind the Two Blues showed maturity to kick the next four goals from a Matthew Clifford mark, a Shaun Chapman snap out a ruck duel, a Chapman free kick and a 50m goal to Ethan Plaza after a Joe Whiting pass.
At quarter-time Peninsula led 5-2 to the Two Blues 4-1.
From then on goals were harder to come by and in fact free kicks became the main source for both teams, evidence of the contested nature of the game.
Following a superb goal on the run from Whiting, key defender Joel Hume took advantage of a 50m penalty to goal followed by a free and goal to Clifford.At half-time scores were level , a fair appraisal of the match.
The third quarter proved pivotal with the Pirates held goalless while a Pat Rhodes pass to Chapman for a goal in time on crucial giving the Two Blues a four point lead.
Peninsula regained the lead into the breeze courtesy of a free in the first five minutes.
The next 10 minutes resembled a rugby match with scrum after scrum.
When Clifford ran into an open goal only to hit the post Two Blues fans feared the worst.
But Clifford went from villain to hero with a mark and goal from 30m out,
He then hand balled to Tim Maya for a goal and then iced the game with a fourth goal.
Yet again the heroes were the Two Blues defenders led by Jon Simonetta which held the home team to just one goal in the second half.
While this was a team effort few could deny the influence of Chapman , whose attack on the ball must have been as inspirational to his teammates as it was intimidating for his opponents and dominant big man Rory Brodie.
After a quiet first half, Brodie reigned supreme in ruck duels and was impassable in defence with his marking or spoiling.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 4-1. 7-5. 8-7 11-9 (75)OLD PENINSULA 5-2 7-5 7-9 8-10 (58)
Goal Kickers: M. Clifford 4, S. Chapman 3, T. Maya, J. Whiting, E. Plaza, J. Hume
Best Players: J. Simonetta, S. Chapman, M. Clifford, J. Stent-Powell, B. Adams
A frustrating day with a lamentable second quarter costing the Two Blues a winnable game.
After kicking two goals into a stiff breeze in the first term, the Two Blues went into hibernation managing a solitary point with the wind while conceding 2-5.
The Two Blues rallied to kick the last four goals of the game but alas it was a case of too little, too late.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 2-0 2-1 4-2 6-4 (40)
OLD PENINSULA 3-6 5-11 8-13 8-13 (61)
Goal Kickers: D. Campbell 2, H. Somers, R. Juricic, J. O'Dwyer, J. Garlick
Best Players: J. Noonan, D. Campbell, J. O'Dwyer, T. Bowes, S. Capra, D Loschiavo.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 1-0 2-2 3-4 6-8 (44)
WILLIAMSTOWN CYMS 6-2 11-4 15-6 19-9 (123)
Goal Kickers: T. Beddison 2, J. Greaves, C. Berger, A. Lindeman, J. Andrews
Best Players: N. Cibiras, J. Andrews, C. Crewes, T. Beddison, C. Berger, G. Scott