REWARD for effort, finally!
After successive frustrating, heart breaking one point defeats Prahran Assumption delivered a season best performance to trounce Oakleigh by 49 points last Saturday.
Played in enemy territory against a top three team, the Two Blues kept finals hopes flickering and showed they are the equal of any team in VAFA Division 1 with a 17-16 (118) to 10-9 (69) win.
Any thoughts the Two Blues may have been demoralised by those close losses were erased early in the contest.
Throughout the game the Two Blues pressure rating was outstanding. With ruckman Rory Brodie dominating big man duels and co captain James Musster in vintage form, surely the best combination in the competition, were in control from the first bounce.
Pleasingly the Two Blues did not rely on power forwards Matthew Clifford and Shaun Chapman for goals. Indeed 10 players shared the 17 goals.
As coach Brett Dickinson told his players this was a reward for three weeks of high intensity toil heading into the mid season break.
The sobering reality is the Two Blues remain a game and a half outside the top four.
Despite that it proved a red letter day for the Two Blues as the Reserves caused a huge upset defeating second placed Oakleigh.
The signs were encouraging from the first bounce with Zac Podmore kicking the first goal against a stiff northerly breeze.
A two point lead at the first change was impressive and with the breeze at their backs dominated the second term with a 4-7 return holding Oakleigh to two points.A mark and goal after the siren by Rory Brodie was a bonus after missing several gettable goals.
The third quarter was Oakleigh’s chance to get back in the game but while they added five goals, the Two Blues kicked four including one from a superb mark by centre half-back Joel Hume in the goal square after missing from close range minutes earlier.
Any chance of a last quarter Oakleigh revival was snuffed out in the first minute by Brodie who was awarded a free kick on the boundary line on the non dominant side for a left footer.
When he threaded the ball through with military like precision it was game over and signalled an avalanche of goals from Jack Noonan (2), Jake Forrestall, Joe Whiting and Ethan Plaza with the final and personal third for the day.
The much anticipated duel between Oakleigh’s champion full forward Aaron Cloke and the in-form Jayden Williams saw the points go in favour of the Two Blues defender.
Cloke was restricted to three goals and had little influence on the game despite enjoying a considerable weight advantage over the slightly built but skilful Williams.
The Two Blues defence is one of the best in the competition as they proved yet again on Saturday.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 3-3 7-10 11-13 17-16 (118)OAKLEIGH 3-1 3-3 8-8 10-9 (69)
Goals. Brodie, Plaza 3, Clifford, J Noonan, Whiting 2, Everest, Bowes, Forrestall, Podmore, Hume.
Best. Musster, Brodie, Simonetta, Gottschalk, Waters, Williams,
A stunning upset by the Reserves after a 20 goal plus loss the previous week v PEGS.
A five goal first quarter with the breeze setting up the win.
With coach Jack Matherson in transit on a plane from a business trip to Germany, the underdog Two Blues did him proud.
Leading by just one point at three quarter-time kicking into the breeze, the Two Blues added two goals to one in a triumph for perseverance.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 5-3 5-5 6-13 8-14 (67)OAKLEIGH 1-4 6-6 7-6 8-7 (55)
Goals. Campbell 3, M Capra 2, Hann, Russell, Taylor.
Best. M Capra, S Capra, Campbell, Holland, Ribbands, N Martin.