Match Reports: Uni Reserves Reach GF
University qualified for the 2019 PFL Reserves Grand Final with a three-goal win but the A-Colts went down in a heartbreaking fashion, while the Pirates made it back-to-back-to-back flags and the Dingoes & C-Colts lost their deciders on a busy Saturday.
PRELIMINARY FINALS REPORTS
STEINEPREIS PAGANIN A GRADE
CF DIRECT A RESERVES
Uni Bulls 5.7.37 defeated Fremantle CBC 2.7.19
Beware a wounded Bull!
The Mighty A Reserve Bulls, who lost valiantly to the Beach in the second semi last week, and desperate to join their A Grade brothers at Steel Blue next week in a rare chance to do the A stream double, arrived at Millington to take on the Fremantle City Bum Cleaners for the third time in a month. The score line in the last two clashes was one each with Uni prevailing in the most recent qualifying final so it was always going to be a red hot clash between two very good teams.
Fittingly, the King Bull (el toro rey), Ashley Chapman, aka Chooka, was playing his 100th game. Chooka more than anyone has been the face and heart of the Bulls for the past six or seven seasons and has led the team magnificently on and off the field. The only player in Aussie rules history ever to play 100 games and never receive a free kick, Chooka plays hard and tough every game and always gives 100%. Given his status as King Bull, there were a number of telegrams, faxes and emails sent to yours truly that we read out to the team before the game congratulating Big Chook on his magnificent performance including ones from such AFL dignitaries such as Gillan McLaughlin, Kevin Sheedy, Rene Kink, Leigh Matthews and Stewie Dew to name a few along with the universal Bull alumni including His Majesty, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Antonio Baderas, Seve Ballesteros’s widow, Michael Jordon and Denis Rodman along with numerous VIP’s including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Governor General and the Prince of Wales.
With tears in our eyes from the emotion of it all, the Bulls came out late (which wasn’t so stupid considering it was hot and the Cleaners had been out warming up for ten minutes) , and only had enough time for Captain Shackles to lose his 21st consecutive toss which saw us kicking into a very slight breeze for the first. A massive battle took place with neither team given an inch. T Ferg was on fire , Bowering winning the taps, Donovan , Vaughan and the Pickle Slicer, Gajewski, running kilometres in the heat on the wings. After an eternity Huggy got our first goal but it was quickly matched by the bottoms and at quarter time Uni led 1.3 to 1.1.
The second was extremly tight. Young Bull, Sammy Monkhouse, being watched by his Grandmother all the way up from Margaret’s, started like a prize bull. Champ Hutton was running around like a bull in a china shop and the forwards Cullerton, Dent, Durward and the great Bomber Harding, ever so keen to make his great mate Choke’s 100th a success, were playing like lunatics. “Nobby” Harris was at his most dangerous and providing a massive headache to the Bums fullback who just couldn’t keep up with him. Our defense was brilliant in the first half and even better in the second. Led by Big Balls Mumford, who won handsomely, aided by the fact his opponent didn’t leave the goal square which suited old “Grande”s down to the ground, the brave and graceful Ben “Fisty” Fitzgerald outstanding, Riley Evans having a day out, Owen Halliday tough and cool under pressure, The Golden Greek, Nick Lantzke running amok like a he was dancing the zorba at a Greek wedding , the Dashing Jacob Orr running off half back like Carl Lewis and with plenty of run and grunt being provided by Taco, Captain courageous Shackles and the great Chooka, playing like a man possessed along with the man with the golden Nose, T Ferg, who was on fire, meant we led by 8 points at the long break.
Coach Weapons was inspiring in his delivery at half time, urging the Bulls to keep their cool and maintain the rage. Unfortunately for the cleaners, they lost two soldiers to serious knee injuries in the first half and were always going to have their job cut out in hot conditions, two down against a young , fit and Chooka inspired Bulls team. Two magnificent goals to the Champ, a great goal to Cullo and then a long bomb from Riley Evans sealed the game and a great victory for the Bulls.
It took half the team and Bomber’s dodgy shoulder popping out to carry Chooka off the ground but it was worth the effort because never has there been a more fitting tribute to a great team man and heart and soul of a team like the Big Fella.
We play at noon this week at Steel Blue versus North Beach. The A Grade plays at 2.30 versus CBC. The last time the A Grade and Ressies won the double was in 2011. What a great feat it would be if we could do it again this week. It won’t be easy as both the A grade and the Bulls are playing formidable opponents but nothing worthwhile comes easy and a double would be the most worthwhile thing I could imagine at this stage of proceedings.
For the history buffs, the Pirates won the clubs 94th WAAFL Premiership last Saturday (congrats to Jakey “Premierships” Day and the lads, well done). If you add the four flags we won in the Metropolitan league before the WAAFL Colts competition started in 1960, that makes 98 flags for the club. So, in the event both the Bulls and the A Grade get up, that means 100 flags for the UFC in all competitions which would be a good reason for a week-long celebration! The A Grade are in their sixth Grand final in nine years and will be attempting to win the WAAFL’s record 20th A Grade premiership since our first flag back 1929 (coincidentally the same year Neil Donaldson’s turned eight!) . 98 flags is an Australian Rules club record for number of premierships won; there is daylight between us and second placed Wembley who have won 53 WAAFL flags and with 19 A Grade flags before this Saturday, there is already daylight between second place Wembley (14 A Grade flags) and North Beach (13 A Grade flags). The A Reserves have won 3 flags since the A Reserve competition commenced in 1997, the last in 2016.
Commiserations to the Dingoes and C Gulls who lost grand finals last week as well as to the A Colts who were narrowly defeated after a gutsy performance in the prelim. The two Colts teams have won a combined nine of the past 12 colts flags so, as good as our system is, missing out was always probably going to have happen at some stage but I am sure Louis Mac and his team will bounce back in 2020.
It would be great to see a heap of the UFC army, especially anyone who has played or been involved in one of the previous 98 flags, at Bassendean for what could be a historic as well as outrageously big day out for the boys and girls , young and old, of the Green Machine.
Goals: Hutton 2, Hug 1, Cullerton 1, Evans 1
Best: Monkhouse, Fergusson, Hutton, Donovan, Chapman, Gajewski, Fitzgerald, Mumford
STEINEPREIS PAGANIN A COLTS (Phil Scott Colts)
Uni 7.6.48 def by North Beach 8.4.52
The A colts season ended a week earlier than we would’ve liked, going down to North Beach by 4 points in a heartbreaking Prelim final loss. A second quarter display of astonishing set shot kicking for the North Beach full forward proved the difference in the end.
Once again, the boys showed a huge amount of character to come back from a 4 goal margin at half time, hitting the front with five minutes to play. Alex Donaldson’s running goal from 45m to take the lead truly was a great UFC finals moment.
Unfortunately, North Beach managed to snag their second goal of the half and steal back the lead. It was a disappointing end to what was a challenging and enjoyable season, but the lads should be extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished. They have played in the spirit of the club for the whole season, and I greatly look forward to what they have to offer for many years to come.
DISTINCTIVE HOMES PIRATES (D1 Grade)
Uni Pirates 9.4.58 def North Beach 5.1.31
The Pirates have become the first side in D1 grade WAAFL/PFL history to go back-to-back-to-back with an excellent 27 point win over a stellar North Beach outfit at Wanneroo Showgrounds. The game was thoroughly engaging with both teams playing an intense brand of football that can only be described as compelling throughout the afternoon.
The Pirates had been eagerly awaiting this game since beating Fremantle CBC two weeks ago with the boys remarking that it was our best performance of the season. That game was won with run and carry and a cohesive defensive unit that has been stubborn the previous 5 games. These traits, coupled with a dangerous forward line, made us a very well-rounded unit. Both Uni and Beach have played this season in a similar style, and at the risk of oversimplifying what eventually ensued, it would come down to which side executed their game plan better on the day.
All week and what has become the mantra of this Pirate side was to “bring that smoke”. For those unfamiliar with this concept this is the idea of playing a relentless brand of football based on high pressure forcing the opposition into mistakes. This message coupled with Coach Day placing the game and the day in perspective made for a memorable pre-game speech with the boys taking that energy into the warmup.
The boys as they ran out were greeted by a chorus of boos from the Beach faithful who had a significant number of supporters present on the day. The anthems blared and what followed were final messages from skipper Matt Bailey and VC Andy Diamond who talked about how hard we had worked to get to this position and to embrace the challenge that lay ahead.
The first quarter Uni were kicking into the breeze, and were wary that Beach finished off exceptionally well against CBC the week prior. For the first 5 minutes or so the game was primarily stoppage based with both teams showing that initial hesitation to play their up-tempo brand, rather opting for longer down the line kicks. Eventually the game started opening up which led by the strong midfield of Sarge, Diamo, Super, Bails and Fossil enabled Uni to start building some early momentum. As called in the Pirate Podcast last week by one of the panellists it was Chaps who kicked the first goal using the breeze to bring it right to left. From there the Pirates added a couple goals and looked set to take a three goal lead however a mistake down back gave Beach a goal to give us a 12 point lead at the first break.
The second quarter, despite kicking with the breeze, proved more difficult to score with the ball spending a good amount of time in the Beach forward half. However, the backline led by Bando, Flemmo, JT and Hoady proved resistant not conceding a goal for the second quarter, a very impressive feat considering Beach was the second highest scoring team in D1 this year. Over the other parts of the ground the midfield continued to dig in for the contest and the forwards continued to present. The ever persistent Tommy C, Hoppo and Con epitomised the work rate the coaches have asked of their players. The Pirates kicked 2 in the quarter providing a 4 goal lead at the main break.
Half time came and went in a flash with both coaches not wanting the boys to change their approach and attitude towards the game. The intensity, tackling pressure and work rate was all evident throughout the first half, but it was warned Beach would come again similar to how they played the previous week. Accordingly, this is exactly what transpired with Beach kicking three goals for the quarter, and the ever raucous crowd getting right behind them. It felt like Beach were carrying all the momentum, and looked like Uni would be kept without a goal for the quarter. However, the ever mercurial and finals specialist Jordie Mayo came up with what can only be described as a moment of magic. Just outside the top of goal square, with his back to goal and under pressure from multiple Beach defenders a snap over his head gave the Pirates a crucial late goal to put them up by 13 going into the last.
At 3 quarter time the group spoke about weathering the Beach storm and the final quarter would be about executing under pressure. The quarter was an arm-wrestle with both teams swapping goals to start the term. However, from there the Pirates wrestled back momentum with Super and Diamo proving damaging in the midfield, Al Davies crashing into a massive pack, Nifty shutting down a dangerous Beach small forward, Chaz Mitchell and Ricey finding space on the wide Wanneroo ground, Flemmo with a passage of repeat efforts, Frenchy playing with a hurt wrist and Blackers coming to life. Blackers up to this point had been quiet through the first 3 quarters, however, he turned it on in the last kicking 2 goals and proving very dangerous against the Beach defenders.
Despite these efforts the moment most remembered from the quarter was Sarge’s goal. Sarge who had been a workhorse in the ruck all day found himself in space 50 out and taking the mark. With the breeze behind him and the entirety of the Uni Footy Club supporting him he has gone back and slotted it much to the delight of the players and supporters.
As the clock wore down a sense of excitement started building with the boys beginning to celebrate. As the final siren rang there was a true sense of pride amongst the coaches who recognised how difficult it had been to get to this position. Diamo was awarded the Norm playing a stellar role in the midfield, with the likes of Bando, Boekey and Coxxy all finding their way into the votes.
On reflection the boys played the game in a fashion befitting of Premiers and showed great will power few other groups possess. For a lot of the boys it was their first senior flag and goes to show the exciting young talent currently running around the club in the lower grades.
Before I wrap up I will pass on my commiserations to the Dings, Gulls and A-Colts. All three of those teams have had excellent seasons in their own right. In particular thanks to Erk and Roida who have been tireless in their efforts looking after the Dings this year, and have helped the Pirates get to where they are today. To the League and the Ressies amazing results on both fronts, very excited to get a chance to watch both units take it up to CBC and Beach respectively.
To the Pirates of 2019, it has been a truly special year for this group. To go from being undefeated to dropping three straight, to having to win 6 games in a row to win the premiership is truly something special. Contributors like Jimmy L, Cohen, Joe Dale, Timmy O, Ado Pearce are people who aren’t forgotten in successes like this and it was so great to see them celebrate with the rest of the group the entire night. Additionally, contributors aren’t just those people who play but they can be supporters, in this case Paulie Day. Paulie has been one of the pillars in the Pirates culture the last three years and his overall support for the boys does not go unnoticed. Speaking on behalf of the players, the jersey is only a small token of our appreciation and all your newfound sons truly love what you have brought to the side.
To wrap it up, it was a memorable day for the thirds and epitomised everything Coach Day and I have been wanting to build. You brought that smoke and created a big piece of history along the way, helping to lift the Pirates mast for another year.
Votes – Diamo (5); Bando (4); Chaps & Super (3); Sauce, Tommy C & Hoady (2); Nifty, Boekey, Coxxy & Mayo (1)
Goals – Chaps, Blackers & Mayo (2); Con, Tommy & Sarge (1)
BDO DINGOES (D1 Reserves)
Curtin Uni Wesley 9.2.56 def Uni Dingoes 4.4.28
The Dingoes were unable to go back-to-back as Curtin got some revenge for last year’s Miracle on Grass. The lads put up a great fight with the first-half a genuine tussle where we won heaps of contested footy led by Jerk but unfortunately broke down with Curtin’s structure affecting our ball use.
Porge got our first goal with some magic as we trailed at the first change by 4 points. But Curtin ramped it up a gear in the 2nd term, kicking three goals to none to open up a four-goal buffer.
Coach Erk Dog pointed out our downfalls and we managed to use the pill more wisely and hit some targets. We kicked the first goal in the 3rd quarter with minutes of the restart and built some momentum. We grabbed another to move within 11 points at three-quarter-time.
Shooter did a sterling job at centre-half back along with the whole backline who held up well under heat but we couldn’t fight our way back into the game and Curtin kicked a few late to run out 28 point winners. It wasn’t our day but it was an amazing year from the Dings and we’re confident we’ll keep building in 2020 with no major player departures expected and alot of companionship enjoyed over the weekend as we commiserated and celebrated.
8 Bucks Medal: Shooter
BRUCE APPAREL C COLTS (Brett Jones Colts)
Uni 5.2.32 def by Fremantle CBC 13.6.84
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