Round 4 2024

Friday 10 May 2024

Seniors – Louis Vescio

In pristine conditions at the Main, the Blacks welcomed the Snowdogs in front of a healthy crowd as the members of the famous 2014 A-Grade double flag watched on from the Pavvy. The Blacks welcomed back cult figure Sam ‘Sticks’ Conway into the team, whose new streamlined physique has been one of coach Dale Bowers biggest talking points over the pre-season. Lining up at the centre bounce meant the Blacks had the luxury of throwing big Gus Rana up forward, a key forward being over 6 ft 3 a rarity at the Main.

The Snowdogs came to play early kicking two quick goals, but Blacks eventually got going. With Rana taking a big body up forward, the spring heeled duo of Nick Caris and Ayui Makieng were able to cause havoc for their opponents, Caris cleverly roving a pack and finishing around the corner giving the Blacks their first major of the day. Sticks’ dominance in the ruck gave the midfielders first use and the wheel started to turn, as the Blacks began to get busy around the stoppages. The work of pressure hound Finn Raymond and the worlds cleanest man Max Gray were crucial in helping build momentum for the Blacks. Ben Oliver, who is having some sort of a start to the year, kicked a nice bender to give the Blacks their first lead of the day. Caris and Ayui started getting their mits to a few up forward (check out Ayui's mark of the year contender in the photo below, brilliantly captured by Pete @Pistol's Photos!) but were unlucky not to capitalise, Bernards were then able to hit back with their own goal. But then the aforementioned duo found their kicking boots slotting back to back goals. Some miscues on goal throughout the term could’ve had the Blacks further in front at the first break, a 10 point lead good, but left some work to be done.

The second quarter saw the Blacks begin to click. Despite Bernards venturing forward multiple times to start the term, the back six held firm. Skipper Campbell Moorfield found his marking this week, intercepting at will. As well as Henry Bennett (don’t get me started on this guy's last two weeks) continued to float across half back and helped launch the ball forward on multiple occasions. Tom St Clair found himself on the end of one and cleverly snapped his first of the game to give the boys the start they were looking for. The Blacks found them one down after workhorse Benny Stephenson copped a heavy bump. With one mid out, young Harry Broderick stepped up, continuing his good form he found plenty of the pill both at the coalface and around the ground. The human cockroach Matt Grocott’s found himself relieved of his goal square duties and was able to use his tank and precise foot skills to cut up the Snowdogs on multiple occasions. More goals came as Jack Cassidy split the middle before TSC added a second for the term. Grocott nailed a set shot late and the Blacks took a 33 point lead at the main break.

The message from Blacks coach Dale Bower was clear, don’t rest on your laurels or we will get torn apart and the lead will evaporate in no time. As the premiership quarter commenced, it was the Snowdogs who came out fired up, kicking two early goals, one of which came from a very late whistle that had all Blacks players confused. But as this 2024 Blacks team has shown they can respond when needed. Thanks to the continual run of dynamite wing duo Oliver, James Clark and Lachie ‘The Vindicator’ Knight the Blacks were able to bounce back. Grocott found some space and Ayui continued to cause headaches for his much less athletic opponents. The Blacks continued to pepper the scoreboard, albeit mainly with behinds. Clarky could’ve had himself a bag if he brought his kicking boots. Joel Ernest, who would have been excused for having the week off to enjoy the premiership reunion, found himself on the end of a 50m penalty to slot one through, sending the boys into a frenzy. The Snowdogs needed a miracle and some bloke delivered it with a barrel that swung and dipped itself over the line. Blacks extended their lead but there was some life in Bernards left going into the final term.

Entering the final stanza, the Blacks needed to put this game to rest. Early goals to Ron Vescio and Benny O had the peanut gallery going bananas behind the goals. Oliver’s third of the day certain to have caught the attention of the umps. As the sting appeared to go out of the game, the Blacks may have put the cue in the rack early, Bernards rolled the dice and put on a string of goals. It may very well have been a few more goals if it wasn’t for the work of the back six. Xavier Chalkley continues to grow as a player, while usual dour defender Charlie Francis decided he would like to taste the leather a bit more this week, provided plenty of run and good ball use throughout the day. Bernards finished the day with a monster barrel after the siren, the three goal margin the end result. Best for the Blacks were the ever-dependable Chicken Bennett, Benny O and skipper Moorf back to his best as well. Ayui, Brodders and Grocott also big contributors in what was a solid day across the board for the Blackers. Goal kickers for the day three each to Benny O and Ayui. Two sausages for Caris Groey and TSC, one each for Jets, Cass and Ron.

The Blacks head to face to Collegians full of belief that they can match it with the big boys if we continue to play a great team brand.

Reserves – Jordan Delahunty

The reserves team faced a high-pressure contest against a gritty St. Bernards outfit. With a rowing regatta drawing multiple players from our side, opportunities for our youth from the thirds arose.

The boys indeed rose to the occasion early, seizing a cheeky one-point lead coming into quarter time thanks to the late efforts of Will Baker and Samuel Robertson. However, St. Bernards came out firing in the second quarter, and our boys couldn’t capitalise on our chances with three behinds, leaving us 16 points down at halftime.

Despite our efforts in the second half, St. Bernards' rapid counterattacks from our turnovers proved to be too much for the Blacks. We fell behind by 5 goals as the final siren blew. A breakout performance by Tom Crozier on the wing earned him the best on ground title, followed by Jordan Tunbridge consistently competing in the air and in the ruck, and Jake Schroeder solidifying his spot in the midfield with his aggressive attack on the footy, receiving second and third best on ground respectively. Other standout players such as Oli Rouse, Cedric Gauder, and the goal-sneak Samuel Robertson provided a plethora of positives for the young side, who are still chasing their first win, a promising achievement that looks to be on the horizon.

Phoenix – Liam Bell

Overcast and dewy conditions set the scene for the Phoenix in Round 5 as they took on Old Xavs at Stradbroke Park for the second time this year after some interesting regrading. The boys knew going in that it would be a tough game but were up for the challenge after a disappointing loss to Williamstown the week prior.

The game started quite scrappy, but Oscar Gale was able to give our midfielders first use, and with Jason Raz, Patty Milner and Chris Ciotta getting in and under the Blacks were able to match Xavs early in the game. The boys were able to transition the ball into the forward line regularly, but the conditions proved quite challenging for our forwards to get on the end of any. Nevertheless, the boys toiled away until Sam Shattock was able to register the first goal for the day.

Going into the second quarter, the messaging was clear, keep up the intensity and clean up the skill errors, and we are right in the game. Down back, Harry Attiwill, Linus Smith and Chris Canny held up brilliantly, but given the sheer volume of entries, scores for Old Xavs were inevitable. The boys stuck at it though, attempting to bring in the short kicking game aided by the play of Angus Stewart and Cameron McNeil higher up the ground. This change in game style led to a nice goal from Hugh Higgins who took a very nice contested mark just outside the goal square, giving the boys something to get behind for the second half.

The boys reset and were ready to take the game on going into the second half, with the margin not exactly being in the favour of the Blacks despite the faultless effort and intent throughout the game. Nick Powell continued to toil away and attacked every aerial contest, managing to clunk his fair share throughout the day. Excellent ruckwork and tackle pressure from Tom Chadwick in his first official game of football resulted in an opportunity at goal but as was the case for most of the day, the boys were just not quite on the same page.

Going into the final term, the Phoenix were keen to show their pride and leave it all on the ground, with the continued effort and endeavour that was shown throughout the day. The magnets were flipped and Oscar Gale was thrown forward, allowing Nick Powell to free himself up and managed to kick 2 goals in the final term. The final siren rung, and despite the scoreboard, the boys should be pleased with the effort they displayed throughout the day, something to carry forward throughout the season. Final score read 21.21 – 147 Old Xavs to 5.6 – 36 Blacks. Best players for the day were Harry Attiwill, Jason Raz, Tom Chadwick, Cameron McNeil, Sam Shattock and Chris Canny.

Another week and the under 19’s were back on the Crawford looking to right the wrongs of weeks gone past and secure their first win of season 2024 against the Parkdale Vultures. The newly regraded blacks were hoping to be much more competitive in the division 2 competition that they performed so well in last year and really set the tone with a convincing win. The early morning dew hadn’t begun to lift as the blacks took to the foggy Crawf for the 9:20 start, however there was no hot air balloons to remove so things were looking up already. The first quarter was a scrappy affair, both sides struggled in the wet conditions and resulted in hacking the ball forward at all costs. Plenty of stoppage work for the regulars in the midfield of Ripper, Fu, Blyth and Turnbull-Gent who scrapped all morning looking to give first use. College rowing had resulted in a few out and a reshuffling of the magnets but fresh faces such as Yorke and Delzoppo down back held their own and provided a spark while starting the forward push. A few near misses and dropped marks hurt the blacks on the scoreboard with Parkdale capitalising and heading into the first break leading 4.2 26 to the Blacks 1.3 9.

Quarter number two didn’t consist of many positives for the Unders. The effort was there from whistle to whistle but skill errors all over the ground really hurt. Uncharacteristic sloppiness found its way into all players and a solitary behind was all the Blacks could manage in the slippery conditions. Thankfully Parkdale had caught a case of the Blacks inaccuracy and managed to kick 3.5 for the quarter. High pressure down back from iron fist Edwards and Gillam provided enough chaos to force errors from the Vultures forwards however the 25 minute bombardment was inevitably going to hurt on the scoreboard and although not as much as it could’ve been the Vultures maintained a healthy lead at the half, 7.7 49 1.4 10.

A strong talking to followed during the break and the blacks, although down realised that they were far from out of it and headed back onto the drying Crawford looking to settle the score. Two fantastic early goals from Daffey and the Blacks were looking promising, their tails up and pushing forward at every contest. Unfortunately, although the ball was spending much more time in the Inders forward half scoring opportunities were few and far between due in part to the defensive setup of Parkdale but more so because of the simple skill errors costing the Blacks dearly in dangerous zones. Vijayasekaran and Pick both shone across half forward and provided good outlets for forward movement however it wasn’t enough as the Vultures once again kicked further away leading 12.10 82 to the Blacks 3.4 22 Disappointingly, the final stanza provided a sight that very few Blockers wanted to see so I’ll keep it short. More skill errors limited the Blacks ball movement and running on tired legs gave Parkdale too many opportunities. The Vultures kicked 9.3 in the last while the Blacks did not manage a score to eventually go down do a good side 21.12 138 3.4 22.

Another frustrating day for the Unders, promising signs were evident in patches however could not be strung together for more than five minutes or so. The sheer amount of dropped chest marks, missed kicks and handballs and lazy defending made the result even harder to swallow as they knew that their best was good enough, but there was no proof. Looking on to next week a trip to Old Trinity sees the Unders looking once again to open their account for season ‘24 and hopefully provide much of the team with their first rendition of the song. Trinity is the only side originally division two who are currently winless so the Blacks haven’t a better opportunity.

Round 4 2024

Principal Partners

Major sponsors

Proudly supported by