Winning ugly is a term used to describe a classier team forced to dig deep and defeat a determined opponent despite playing below its best.
So it played out at Garvey Oval on Saturday when host Old Paradians muzzled the Prahran Assumption forward line in the first half to hold a 12 point half-time lead restricting the Two Blues to just 3-4.
But a 4-6 to one point third quarter gave the Two Blues a 17 point lead. Old Paradians kicked the first two goals of the last quarter and it was 'game on' but a Tim Maya snap which bounced like an off break to go through the goals made the game safe and Adam Sleight and Elliot Christopher stretched the margin to 25 points with late goals to win 10-14 (74) to 7-7 (49).
Garvey Oval has never been a happy hunting ground for the Two Blues- last year they were trounced by 66 points- and it was apparent early in the match they had a determined, big bodied opponent. Only the intercept marking of James Gottschalk kept Old Paradians at bay in the first quarter. The hosts poured on the pressure to add 4-3 to 1-2 in the second quarter aided by some horrendous turnovers. But the Two Blues showed why they are top of the ladder with a dominant third term started by a classy goal on the run by Jon Simonetta. The move of Tom Freeman on ball proved telling and fellow on ballers Paul Donahoo, Dan Freeman and Trent Rogers continued to provide plenty of forward 50 entries. In a game where goals were hard to come by Sleight with three and Ged Hogarth's two third quarter goals proved telling.
Donahoo and wingman Beau Adams were two of the few four quarter contributors while forward Will Brereton continued his development with some impressive high marking and courageous attack on the ball.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 2-2 3-4 7-10 10-14 (74) d OLD PARADIANS 1-1 5-4 5-5 7-7 (49)
Goals: Sleight 3, G Hogarth 2, Leske, Christopher, Simonetta, Maya, Dickinson.
Best: Donahoo, W Brereton, Gottschalk, Adams, T Freeman, Stocker, Sleight.
The two's have continued to match the senior team, improving their 9 - 1 record with a 110 point win over Old Parade, despite putting on undoubtedly their worst display of football in a half all year.
The Two Blues had a strong start, with a dominant 7 goal first quarter to Parade's 1. The scoreboard pressure resulted mainly from clear clearances and strong rebounding of half back from Blayne Dempsey and Clint Milner. The second term saw a similar result, with the likes of Nathan Mcculloch and Tom Marmo providing class and a platter of football for Rick Ellis, bagging eight by days end taking his season tally to 44, top of the Division 2 Reserves competition.
There was very little to take away from the second half, with Prahran losing it's composure in the forward half and playing a very different brand of footy to it's usual risk taking, numbers around the ball type game. At one point Prahran kicked an unbelievable 16 straight behinds, but got away with 'murder', with Parade not managing to score after half time. The final term saw a slight regain in composure, steadying it's accuracy to a still inadequate 4-5 .
Some solid performances from the back six lead by Blayne Dempsey, as well as a haul of eight from Rick Ellis, and new player Reece Conlan's best game of the year. Aside from that, one of the less satisfying 110 point wins this side will go through!
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 7-5 12-9 12-21 16-26 (122)
OLD PARADIANS 1-0 2-0 2-0 2-0 (12)
Goal Kickers: R. Ellis 8, W. Candy 2, T. Marmo 2, A. Dodson, J. Hutchison, R. Conlan, N. McCulloch
Best Players: N. McCulloch, B. Dempsey, R. Ellis, L. Hunt, R. Conlan, T. Marmo.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 4-6 (30) lost to HAWTHORN 14-13 (97)