True Legends

Graham Atwood

With the finals out of reach and bodies well and truly broken, the Legends were playing for pride.

The first challenge was getting 11 on the park.

Marshy out with nearly amputated toes, Joey AWOL and Mick being bribed to play for the 55’s left a skeleton crew.

Even a promise of “no back passes” to Mick couldn’t persuade him.

So an enthusiastic and committed 11 threw away their wheelchairs and crutches to take to the field for the last game determined to enjoy and leave with a sense of pride.

Goughie volunteered to pull on the gloves as the conservative 4-4-2 started with Nik, Mario, Gaetano and Peter at the back, Robbie, Frank, Darren and Wardie across the park and Terrible twins striking duo of Dean and Browny keen to do damage up front.

The Tassie team had 18 on the team sheet and looked very fresh. So from the get go legends found themselves under a bit of pressure with the difference in mobility between the teams showing up early.

Before long, Goughie the virgin keeper earned his stripes making 2 excellent stops. But within the first 10 minutes Legends were up against it with 2 quick goals from strong open play from the islanders.

But this did not discourage the boys and the confidence in ball passing and inside channel piercing runs started to show with several surging attacks causing the opposition to sit up and rethink their game.

Goughie came to the rescue again and pushed another shot round the post.

But despite the hard work and painkillers, the pressure from Dad’s Army proved too great and a third goal was conceded before half time. Fortunately We kept all 11 on the park despite trying to test the resilience with a near yellow (Mario).

Half time 3-0.

The team regained composure at half time and started the final 30 minutes of the campaign with confidence and commitment (but no jungle juice this time).

The first 15 minutes was a locked down stalemate with both teams seeking superiority in midfield but neither coming out on top.

But then the “turning point of the game” occurred.

A jinksy run from the Taswegians on the right with a sharp cut in to the box unleashed a pile driver which Goughie did well to push onto the bar but alas, the ball rebounded down onto the line ( or thereabouts ) and into Goughies hands.

1966 World Cup final revisited at Nerang, the Russian / Queensland linesman flagged vigorously for a goal but he was watching the other game of women’s football at the time ! So he couldn’t possibly have seen.

Despite the valid protests the goal was given and the game was over – or so the Tassie Devils thought.

The Legends team picked up their aching limbs again. Wardie put another band aid on his nearly severed Achilles, Peter grimaced as his legs buckled, Gaetano tightened his knee support to maximum, Mario defied his 67 years and lifted his heals.

Robbie went into overdrive and the Legends lived up to their name. Never give in !

Wardie put his body on the line and ended up with a knee to the nether regions which almost dropped the team to 10 but friendly massages helped keep him going.

The games was nearing the end but the boys pushed on. A sweet move down the flank from Dean resulted in a whipped in cross that Browny soared through the sky to meet well but the header grazed the bar.

But then the surge of Legends short burst pressure paid off with Browny advancing into the area, causing chaos and getting his toe end to a loose ball that hit the net.

The well-deserved consolation goal did wonders for the team.

The final whistle was blown to bring an end to the game and the campaign.

The last game was truly a great team performance. The Legends worked very hard for each other, passed the ball really well and kept up attacking pressure when the tired legs allowed.

It would have been easy to capitulate but this team had way too much pride for that to happen and the boys left the field with heads held high.

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