AT first it was a blustery northerly wind, then light rain conspired to reduce Prahran’s VAFA Division 1 season opener v Oakleigh into a battle of wills.
After an enthralling last quarter with the scores level in time-on Oakleigh emerged triumphant with the last two goals of the match, the final one after the siren, to win 13-13 (91) to 12-8 (80).While skills were at a premium because of the tricky conditions the closeness of the scores and constant momentum changes made for an entertaining contest.
As coach Brett Dickinson told his players post match this was a ‘gettable’ game.In fact after a sluggish first half the Two Blues edged away to a 19 point lead mid-way through the third quarter which fleetingly looked a match winning break.
But tellingly the home team regained momentum to kick the next three goals against the breeze to level scores at three quarter-time.
The last quarter was a heart stopper with an early goal into the breeze by full-forward Matthew Clifford levelling scores. Oakleigh replied only for Rory Brodie’s long snap goal levelling scores again.
A minute later Oakleigh goaled in reply only for Clifford to step up and goal and again level scores.After a scoreless six minutes Oakleigh regained the lead at the 23 minute mark only for Clifford to goal two minutes later to level scores for a fourth and final time for the quarter.
Last year the Two Blues twice defeated Oakleigh but you could sense from the opening bounce there was a resolve among the home team this was not about to be a third time in succession.
Oakleigh’s tackling pressure rating was sky high and the Two Blues were forced into error upon error.
To be fair conditions were testing to say the least, assured ball handlers on both teams struggled to judge the vagaries of the strong wind.
Oakleigh was wasteful in front of goals and its six point half-time lead flattered the Two Blues.
But goals to James Musster, Zac Podmore, Adam Heatley and Clifford gave the Two Blues control half-way through the third quarter before Oakleigh rallied.
Clifford with five goals provided a telling contribution but for the future Two Blues fans would have been buoyed by the debut of on baller McKenzie Mayne who racked up countless possessions especially in the first half. Co captain Musster and former co captain Beau Adams gave their all but in the end the Two Blues made too many skill and decision making mistakes.
PRAHRAN 3-2 4-3 8-6 12-8 (80)
OAKLEIGH 2-2 4-9 7-12 13-13 (91)
Goals. M. Clifford 5, R. Brodie, T. Maya, A. Heatley, Z. Podmore, J. Musster, E. Plaza, B. Adams
Best : M. Mayne, B. Adams, M. Clifford, Z. Podmore, J. Waters, J. Musster.
ANOTHER close contest with the Two Blues again outlasted by the home team
While Prahran trailed all day the Two Blues were never out of the game but lacked the firepower up forward to reward efforts from the mid-field.
PRAHRAN 1-0 2-6 4-7 6-8 (44)
OAKLEIGH 3-4 4-6 6-9 7-12 (54)
Goals:W. Axford-Wood, M. Grogan, J. Matherson, D. Hughes Churchett, D. Marrows, J. Panagiotaros.
Best :B. Graham, M. Grogan, D. Hughes Churchett, M. Woods, W. Axford-Wood, O. Burke.
PRAHRAN 2-2 3-5 4-5 5-6 (36)
RICHMOND CENTRALS 2-0 3-6 5-8 9-10 (64)
Goals. C. Berger 2, C. Klouda, J. Marshall, A. Stewart
Best:J. Marshall, P. Smith, J. Andrews, N. Tetteroo, T. Beddison