If ever evidence was needed that football is a mind game, Prahran Assumption presented the strongest possible case at Toorak Park on Saturday.
Lamentable last week against Old Mentonians, the Two Blues were an inspired team from the outset with veteran key forward Adam Sleight goaling twice in the first five minutes to set the scene for the local ‘derby' clash with Old Geelong.
At its first match back at Toorak Park for the season, this was a big occasion for the club which paid tribute at a pre game luncheon to Prahran’s Team Of The Century centreman and captain Paddy Walsh who died last Saturday week.
Walsh, 89, who was revered at Prahran, wore the no 10 jumper carried by club greats such as Kevin Sheedy and dual premiership player Ken Emselle. He was a highly respected person and the players did his memory proud with a sustained exhibition of pressure football.
To add to the emotion of the day forward Paddy Harris lost his grandmother the previous week and Reserves coach Josh Ancrum’s mother passed away on Saturday.
Sometimes teams can be over hyped on such occasions, but Prahran Assumption was relentless leading all day and kept the talented Old Geelong team on the backfoot most of the game.
The only minor cause for concern came late in the third quarter when Old Geelong kicked three unanswered goals to narrow a 47 point lead to 31 points at three-quarter-time.
The Two Blues response was emphatic- five unanswered goals as they careered away to a 16-13 (109) to 7-8 (50) victory and retain possession of the Jon Anderson Cup.
The question posed post game by coach Ash Mills is the query all supporters want answered- what is the 'real' Prahran Assumption?
In its wins against Bulleen Templestowe and Old Geelong the Two Blues looked a potential finalist.
But the alarming lack of intensity and poor skill level evident in the losses are concerning.
The challenge will be to narrow the gap between its best and worst and reproduce a similar intensity against Yarra Valley on Saturday.
With heavy rain falling in the first half on Saturday this was a day for ground level grunt and the taller Old
Geelong floundered in the conditions.
The Two Blues were always going to be stronger for the presence of last season’s best and fairest Matt Wall in his first game for the season but in defence there was cause for concern.
Missing three automatic members of the backline in skipper Jack Matherson, Blayne Dempsey and Ed Macdonald through injury, the new look defence stood tall.
“Junior’’ Vuli, Liam Hunt and John Simonetta were outstanding.
Up forward Sleight, John Robbins and Harris were always threatening and in big man duels Tom Keaney and Sleight more than held their own.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 4-0 6-4 9-10 16-13 (109)
OLD GEELONG 1-2 2-2 5-7 7-8 (50)
Goals: Sleight 4, Robbins 3, Harris, Hogarth, Dean, Rogers, Maya, Wall, Grigg, Musster.
Best: Simonetta, N Costin, Rogers, Sleight, Panagiotaros, Keaney.
Old Geelong showed its customary strength at Reserves level with a dominant 75 point win.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 1-2 2-4 3-5 5- 7 (37)
OLD GEELONG 4-3 7-5 10-8 17-10 (112)
Goals: Ellis 4, Radywonik.
Best: Talbot, Webb, Radywonik, Field, Durnan, H Pitts.
Is Mt Lilydale a suburb of Melbourne, or Greater Melbourne?
The Two Blues clubbies are still unsure, but one thing is for certain - with some heated discussions about whether Caulfield would run a slow 7 or heavy 8, the "Art Series Blackman Hotel" 12 seater bus meandered it's way to pastures green.
The Two Blues started with a three goal wind assisted advantage, before half and three-quarter time to level scores.
Both teams were out on their feet, the home team had a 5 point lead, BOG Nicholas Gouin (he may be a very tall hobbit?) had a shot into the wind from the boundary from 40m and cleared the goal line, SO WE THOUGHT, but apparently a mystical magical invisible creature apparently touched the ball, 4 pts the difference, 90 seconds later, we lost!.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 7-10 (52)
MT LILYDALE 8-8 (56)