Round 5 2024

Friday 17 May 2024

Seniors – Max Gray

The Blacks were 2 & 2 going into Saturday’s clash with reigning premiers and powerhouses of last year’s competition Collegians. Bringing the heat through Blacks pressure was emphasised pre-game, key threats being Collegians’ rapid ball movement and any parking inspectors that may have been circling Harry Trott Oval. With some key outs down forward in Ayui Makieng on VFL duty and Matt ‘The Cockroach’ Grocott defying his newfound nickname, the onus was placed on the front 6 to step up. An opportunity also arose for young gun Oli Rouse, who was added to the growing list of Sydney expats showing class for the Blacks at senior level.

Collegians started well playing the short but wide ground tactically. However, Blacks evened up the contest with Ben Oliver peppering the Wesleyan back 50 and Nick Caris scoring all three of Blacks’ sneaky goals. Not much separated the two teams a quarter time.

The second quarter turned ugly for Uni Blacks, going away from the pressure and hunt that had defined the team all season. Collegians were able to link up with hands out of contest to boot 5 goals without response. Cam Moorfield and Sam McKenzie stood up with the ball coming in hot, although a challenging 30 point lead went the way of Collegians at the long break.

After the question was asked at half time, it was time for the Blacks to punch back, Rumble-in-the-Jungle style. Sam Conway dominated the airspace all day with high marks and excellent tapwork that helped get the midfield battle going Blacks’ way, led also by Lachie Knight and Louis Vescio. Matt McVey and Finn Raymond also had strong quarters and made no mistakes converting to set up the Blacks with a three goal hill to climb in the last.

As light faded the Blacks made a push for victory that had Collegians scrambling for answers. Henry Bennett commanded a brick wall be built across Harry Trott Oval’s northern arc and Nick Caris slotted his fourth goal. Cam Moorfield nearly dragged the boys over the line with an impressive stint up forward, although the siren sounded leaving Blacks with their third loss of the year by under 2 goals. The final scoreline read Collegians 9.11-65 to Uni Blacks 8.7-55, best players for Uni being Campbell Moorfield, Lachlan Knight, Nicholas Caris, Henry Bennett, Samuel McKenzie and Louis Vescio.

Reserves – Baxter Aurisch

This week the reserves team travelled to the Australia’s F1 capital, Albert Park, to face the Collegians at Harry Trott Oval. A few last-minute changes saw the iconic Zach Harris and Seany Heiner-Hennessy back into the side, ready to show some true Blacker fight. The reserves also welcomed Leon Alao for his first Blacks game of his career, and we hope it is the first of many. The Blacks figured out parking, rolled into the rooms, fired up with strong pregame words from Coach Pato and Skipper Perks, and we were ready to take on a strong football club.

It was a warm and sunny Melbourne day, and the Blacks were ready to make the most of it. The game started with a shootout, with 4 goals kicked in the opening couple of minutes. Early goals to Lachie Miller and Cedric Gauder made for the perfect start, with our midfield starting on top. However, the shining light of the first term was the new Leon Alao, who rebounded exceptionally off the half-back line, showing he will be a valuable assest for the Blacks. The rest of the quarter was back and forth, with the Blacks going into quarter time feeling very in the contest.

The second term saw the opposition kick 2 goals to none, extending a small, but frustrating lead. Losing Alao, and therefore a back rotation, was an early setback for the reserves. Down 19 going into the big break, the reserves had to be reminded we are still very much in this. Coaching advice from Pato, Gatorades from Jez and some support from the seniors helped the Blacks keep their heads up. The last words of the break spoke true: “If that is their best, and that was our worse, we are very much in this lads!” John Perks, 2024.

Starting the third quarter, Perks was right. Massive efforts from Jackson Sleep, Jake Schroeder, and Jordan Delahunty in the midfield fire the Blacks back to almost within a goal. Crucial moments from Zach Harris and Oliver Bouchez in defence also proved timely, as the lads only let through one goal, in contrast to our 3 goals 3 behinds. A team effort showed that our best was good enough at this level, and the momentum had swung back our way.

Going into the final quarter, the team was more than optimistic that this could be the first win of the year, with only a 7-point deficit to overcome. The final term was an arm wrestle, with the pressure around the ball lifting to the highest it has been all day. There was a genuine want from the reserve’s players, with the whole team playing with Blacks spirit. An important final quarter snap from the boundary was inspiring from Oliver Bouchez, who swung himself forward to register. We had our moments, we had our opportunities, but in the end the boys just fell short by 6 points.

With Collegians denying us our first win, there was a sour taste in the reserve’s mouths. However, the team is noticeably improving, with this outing against a solid side, there is much to look forward to in this season. Sleep, Gauder, Schroeder, Bouchez, Aurisch, and Delahunty were given the votes this week, with rapid Lachie Miller and strong Cedric Gauder kicking 2 each in the close match. Also a massive thanks to Sam Ackland-Evans, Max Dow, and the faithful Tom Cousins for helping us out on the day… the boys would’ve loved you guys to be out there. Although it was not the reserves day, this is one of the better outings we have had and can't wait to travel to Elsternwick to challenge OMs on their home turf. Stay tuned for that result folks!

Under 19s – Jack Floyd

For the first time on a few weeks the Unders were off the Crawf and on the road to take on Old Trinity looking for their first win of season 2024. After a tough start to the season the winless Blacks were itching to get a good start and be in control for once, although an equally hungry Trinity line up stood in their way confidence was at an all time high. Hard work and focus on structures over the past fortnight had the Unders confident that they could withstand anything the opposition had to throw at them, and they were about to prove it. The fresh look side sporting five debutants took to the field ready to show what Blacks football can do.

The first quarter could not have started any better for the Unders, an early goal to Vijayasekaran had the Blacks up and about, with goals to Bailey and Jessen, both their firsts for the club, setting the tone and having Trinity on the back foot early. Fight through the middle was providing quick entries and first use to the mobile forward line with chances coming thick and fast. Goals to Sands-Morris, Vijayasekaran, Rouston and Mithen had the Vlacks up big at the end of the first for the first time all year. 7.3 45 to Trinity 2.0 12.

Starting the second the Blacks were once again on top, Ripper, Blyth, Turnbull-Gent and Begbie getting down and dirty around the contest and winning their fair share of the footy. The outlet run of Matthew’s, Mithen and Baker were prominent figures around the stoppage, clearing the ball and setting up well behind play. Trinity had begun to compose themselves with ball in hand and looked much more damaging around the ground as they repelled forward entries at a much higher rate. The second was a quarter of inaccuracy for the Blacks and although Old Trinity were kept scoreless thanks in part to the defensive brilliance of Gillam, McInnes, Pick and Thornton the Unders kicked 2.6 to extend their lead although not as much as one may have hoped. Into the big break the Blacks lead Old Trinity 9.9 63 to 2.0 12.

The Blacks knew that even though they were up the game was far from won, and Trinity were going to come out with a fire in their belly; not about to be run over on their home deck. Come out with vengeance Trinity did, two quick goals and they were right back in the contest as the shellshocked Unders looked to compose themselves and regain control around the ground. A goal to Daffey steadied the Blacks and from then on it was a scrap. The usual suspects around the contest fought well to win or at a minimum equal the ground balls as the forwards presented strongly to get a mark and slow the ball. Another goal to Vijayasekaran was about all the excitement from the Blacks to finish the quarter still with a strong lead but a fight on their hands 11.10 76 to Old Trinity 5.6 36.

As the final stanza kicked off the Blacks knew they just had to survive and the win was theirs. Another early goal to Trinity to start the last kicked the Unders into gear and they controlled play for nearly the whole quarter. A few lapses further up the ground gave Trinity opportunities that they capitalised on otherwise the Blacks held strong. Fresh faces of Fuller, C Thornton, Bailey, H Thornton and Acland all provided a spark and did what was required when the ball was at their feet, helping to lead the Blacks to their first victory for the season. The final score was a welcome sight for all who made the journey with the Blacks on the right side of the line for the first time, Blacks 13.13 91 over Old Trinity 8.7 55.

The first win of the year couldn’t have come at a better time for the Unders, full of new names and with big games over the next fortnight it sets the tone for a successful campaign albeit later than all would’ve liked. Although it was slightly disappointing to be winning the contest so convincingly at half time to then let the opposition back into it as the second half progressed, a win is a win and the Unders will take this experience and build on it. Looking ahead a massive day on Saturday as the Unders face off against the Blues on the Crawford at 11:40, about as close to prime time football as it gets in what is sure to be a hugely competitive game.

Phoenix – Nick Powell

Frequent Flyer points continue to accumulate as Round 6 meant yet another away trip for the Phoenix. This time it was down to VAFA HQ at Elsternwick Park to not only face Old Melburnians in what was set to be a tough contest. But to remind those directly involved in the league that the our spiritual home The Crawf is in prime autumn condition and available for use on Saturday mornings.

After a tight back and forth contest in the opening minutes of the first quarter it was the Phoenix were were able to get the first score on the board from a strong mark and goal from Hugh Higgins in the goal square. OMs tried hard to respond but the ever reliable Chris Canny made his intentions clear early down back. Repeatedly taking strong contested intercept marks and using his left foot effectively to rebound and link up with the mids. A theme that continued throughout the day. The rest of the quarter was one way traffic as Angus Stewart and Will Harper bought their own footy’s to the half forward line, with Angus setting up Scotty Glover for the Phoenix’s second goal from the goal line. The highlight of the first term was Phoenix debutant Jett Zacharias showing his speed and skill, dancing around his opponent from a set shot for an exciting goal, helping the Phoenix to a 6 goal to 1 first quarter.

The second quarter saw a challenge come from Old Melburnians who kicked an early goal to try and mount a comeback. The backline was led strongly by Luca Hehir and Linus Smith who continued to repel repeat attacks, while the usual suspects of Jason Raz and Pat Milner worked tirelessly in the midfield to equalise and wrestle the game back on Phoenix’s terms. A miraculous goal from the boundary by Rory Pickles just before half time meant that the Phoenix would win the quarter and go into half time with a 37 point margin.

The boys came out from half time with a strong focus to build on a developing game style of short kicking and changes of direction, using the expanses of Elsternwick Park to full effect. A sluggish start meant OMs managed to kick early goals in the 3rd quarter prompting injured captain Cam McNeil to move the magnets and move the prime moving utility Liam Bell to half back with great effect, providing plenty of run and handball receive options. Goals from Adam Dendrinos, Jett Zacharias and Phoenix debutant Will Harper again steadied the Phoenix, increasing our lead to 41 points turning for home.

The 3 quarter time message was clear from coaches Andy Costello and Alex Cameron. “We’re not satisfied”. The boys were challenged to finish the game strongly and take momentum into next week and the rest of the season. The response was immediate, in particular midfielders James Lyons and Rory Pickles who were beneficiaries of Oscar Gales deft tap work in the ruck. The Phoenix were also able to deliver on their transition game from half back, chaining together handballs through the middle of the ground to generate repeat inside 50s and shots on goal. Winger Bryce McManus was able to cap off a strong performance on a personal level with a final quarter goal helping the Phoenix run out 61 point winners. Final scores were Phoenix 15.10.100 to OMs 5.9.39. Best players for the day were Bryce McManus, Chris Canny, Jett Zacharias, Will Harper, Rory Pickles and Jason Raz A special shoutout goes to Tom Chadwick, Ryan Brown and Henry Kerr who agreed to put on the striking Bumble Bee guernsey and pink socks of OMs to help out their depleted numbers. A task that isn’t easy but demonstrates the Phoenix spirit while taking the opportunity to get some game time under their belt.

Round 5 2024

Principal Partners

Major sponsors

Proudly supported by