Victorian Derby Honours Shared

Graham Atwood

It was a cold and frosty night at Nerang for the second game of the day with all at stake to stay in the race for the medals. 

The team donned their respective puffer jackets and scarves to keep the arctic winds at bay as they recharged their batteries following a hard fought but disappointing loss earlier.

3 points was the only acceptable result so an all out attacking line up was called up,

3-4-2-1 with Peter and Darren as speedy backs given freedom to press forward and overlap at will.

Legends started with Mick (playing his 203rd game of the tournament), Nik, Darren, Peter, Rob, Rod, Gaetano, Goughie, with Wardie, Browny and Dean up front.

Legends played with the wind to try and gain some advantage. The team started very strongly with a high pressing fast game and created 2 immediate chances in the first 5 minutes with great ball to feet passes from Rod and Rob through to Browny and Dean who were eventually stopped by some last gasp defending.

The boys continued to apply really good pressure and much of the game was in the opposition half. 

Browny was then bundled over by a tiny specimen of a man but our statuesque forward was obviously a little unsteady on his feet as a result of beverages, drugs (legal), lack of sleep, too much pocket money weighing him down after his casino visits, and general knackeredness.

So the guys took a breath and prepared for the anticipated set play which we forgot to plan for before the game !

(Funny that we planned for yellow cards though !)

A perfectly flighted cross from Rob tested out the keeper and nearly resulted in a goal. Seconds later another Kovacs cross from open play almost did the same thing but alas luck was not running with us.

Castlemaine started to press but Nik was controlling his defence well and any great attacking play was snuffed out quickly.

Dean then chased chased down a wayward opposition back pass and caused havoc with the rebound creating another scramble.

Gaetano then showed his many years of experience by running down a loose ball in midfield, holding it up for support and securing a free kick taken by Mario who fired in another great cross to the far post which beat all 22 players !

Half time 0-0 with the Legends having the greater possession and chances in the first half with great forward pressure and lots of movement causing the CM boys plenty of problems.

2nd half commenced and within 2 mins against the run of play, the opposition playmaker advanced in midfield, danced through the defensive midfield line and set himself up from 20 metres with a blistering drive that went like a bullet just inside the post leaving Mick no chance.

The Legends were unsettled for a few minutes and a couple of speculative crosses came through but Mick collected and mopped up nicely.

The game opened up with a resurgent push and Legends worked through the middle with some sharp 1 touch stuff between Mario, Rod, Frank and Rob.

Then almost disaster, Frank diplomatically queried the referee about the validity of the linesman’s call for an opposition throw, whilst kindly advising the linesman about the geometry of the ball, the width of the touch line and the discounts available at Specsavers that Frank advised the linesman to take advantage of.

Unfortunately the ref mis-heard Frank and showed him a yellow card.

With 10 on the park, loins were girded and the boys lifted their intensity refusing to let a 1 man and 1 goal deficit stifle the fight.

The speed merchants pushed forward and a series of silky 2 touch moves on the edge of the box encouraged Peter to continue a mazy run into the danger area. An offloaded pass from Browny found Mario, then Dean then Mario again who fired in a great cross to Peter who connected with a sweet first time hit into the roof of the net.

1-1, the crowd erupted and flares were lit from the dug-out. The bronze medal play off was still alive.

The final 10 minutes was a hard fought midfield battle with tired bodies being tested.

Mick saved a good Castlemaine attack on the line and punched clear a dangerous corner to settle things down.

The last couple of minutes saw Dean push hard and chase a fast break but alas was harshly judged offside but only by 2 metres.

Final whistle 1-1; a hard fought draw played in great competitive spirit and the Legends were justifiably proud of a great performance that just edged them out of medal contention.

This was a great team performance, full of energy and everyone working for each other. Some very eye-catching moves and on another day would have gained the 3 points.

BOF: Peter for his relentless energy, box to box running and super finish.

Muppet moment : Split decision Frankie for his love of colours and Joey for his coaching advice.