Our Under 19s Premier Reserves “kicked the dew off” a sun-drenched T H King at 9.20am, pitted against cross town rivals St Bernards OBs.
The early stages were a tough and congested affair, with the fearless Jackson Ward under every pack, and the clever Henry Sholl creating plenty of opportunities for our tall forwards. Once the game opened up, our back line wall, led by Liam O’Meara and Dom Holden, laid their foundations, allowing limited supply into the St Bernards forward area.
Whilst our running midfielders, Jack Davidson, Aides Sweeney and Darcy Grace, struggled to break the shackles, our first breakthrough came courtesy of the hard-working James Briggs, who scrubbed one off the ground, after a goal square marking contest. Our twin tower forwards, Josh Willmott and Alex Connell, were also rewarded with majors, as we shot away to an early 20 point lead, before St Bernards scored a late goal against the run of play.
The second quarter continued in the same scrappy vain, with St Bernards being intent on flooding the mid-field and our forward line, before our ball-winning ascendency was awarded with an opportunistic snap from Aiden Sweeney, and when Henry Sholl slotted one on the run after a magnificent pick up and dish off from Josh Willmott, we headed to the main break with a handy 25 minute lead, with St Bernards stuck on one goal for the game.
Intent on building on our lead after half-time, St Bernards continued to opt for crowding our running players, before elusive wingman, Lachie Russell and energetic forward, Leigh Sfetkidis set up a goal square gift for Ben Pearce (himself a strong contributor during the third stanza), before James Briggs again converted after a strong pack mark in the square, taking us to a 29 point three quarter time lead.
Despite coach Phil McCabe demanding the boys to “find a new level”, St Bernards jumped us in the early stages of the final quarter, kicking three quick and exciting unanswered goals, and missing a couple of easy shots (to get within 8 points) sending shivers through the SKOBs bench, before we steadied with clutch set-shots from the ever-present Josh Willmott and spring-heeled Tom Andriske, courtesy of classy defence from Liam O’Meara, Dom Holden, Joe Lee and best afield Jackson Doyle.
SKOBs 9 8 62
St Bernards 5 10 40
Goal kickers - Briggs 2, Willmott 2, Connell, Sweeney, Sholl, Pearce, Andriske
Best players - Doyle, O’Meara, Holden, Davidson, Ward, Briggs, Sweeney, Tarraran