You can't win them all, as SKOB found out on Sunday when they came up against a very professional Uni Blues unit at Elsternwick Park in a high standard game of Premier Grade football. The tale of the tape will show that it was SKOB who weren't able to take their chances whereas Blues did, and that was the big difference on the day.
SKOB came out firing early and dominated the early phase of the game, even though they were kicking into a slight breeze - worth maybe a couple of goals, but not a full on gale as Elsternwick Park often serves up. After booting the first two goals through Edgar and Waite, SKOB were 2.3 to 0.1 at the halfway mark of the first term, but they then coughed up two in a row to the Blues. Nick Wood aimed for a steading goal after receiving a pass inside 50, but his shot drifted wide and from the kick in, the Blues took it coast to coast to boot a goal and hit the lead. This would set a pattern that would be repeated countless times throughout the afternoon and probably spell the difference between the teams. Barnett missed a set shot and it was swooped to the other end by the Blues to end in a goal. Whenever SKOB seemed to miss a shot they would be punished to the full by Uni Blues who were able to transition too easily from defence to attack and then finish clinically when they had the chance.
After their early rush, SKOB fell away in the back half of the opening term, however, Plugger Lynch in his final game for SKOB managed to snap one through late on to bring the margin back under 10 points at the first break. With a bit of wind assisting them in the second term, SKOB had their best phase of the game. They were all over Uni Blues kicking to a big SKOB hill at the golf course end, but they were unable to translate this dominance onto the scoreboard. Billy Kanakis finally got one on the board and then Jarrad Waite was the beneficiary of constant SKOB pressure that led the Uni Blues defence to force a deliberate behind from which he snagged his second. Jack Holden then received a pass after some brilliant play by Sam Barnett and kicked truly to give SKOB a decent lead. Soon afterward, Waite had a shot that just missed, but SKOB were looking dominant and hoping to take a sizeable advantage into the main break. Unfortunately, it was the Blues that finished the quarter well, rallying for three late goals against the run of play. This would signal a significant momentum shift in the game.
After half time, Blues lifted their workrate and with the advantage of the breeze they made their move. Billy Kanakis just missed a shot and the ball went straight down the other end for a Blues goal. Again SKOB surged into the breeze but missed their shots at the Glenhuntly Rd end. SKOB missed another and bang, it went down the other end for a Blues goal. Then it happened again. SKOB registered 5 behinds for the third quarter to Blues 6 goals and that was basically the game. In the final term, when SKOB missed their first chance and the Blues booted the opening goal it was 10 in a row to the Uni side and they were on their way to victory. SKOB fought out the game as well as they could and they never let up. Ultimately having the same number of scoring shots as the Blues, but just not having the radar on when it counted. That must have frustrated the coaching staff no end.
Lachie Sullivan was a giant for SKOB playing a great game in the middle and giving plenty of supply to his teammates. He was ably supported by Phil Edgar, Sam Cameron and Mitch Brown in the middle, whilst Billy Lloyd and Sam Critchley held up brilliantly in the backline under enormous pressure all day - particularly in the second half. But it was not to be for SKOB - Uni Blues were too good and worthy winners on the day.
It was a sad end to a great season for SKOB, but they certainly should be very proud of their efforts to get there. They played two great finals and maybe this was just one bridge too far against a talent laden team who had the benefit of a week's rest and certainly looked the fresher after half time. Plugger Lynch was lauded after the game in a great show of respect from all at the park. The fairytale ending may not have come for him but it's been a great ride and we're all the better for having had his presence as a great player and leader.
SKOB 10.16.76 Uni Blues 18.8.116
Goal Kickers: J. Waite 2, P. Edgar 2, S. Cameron 2, J. Holden, A. Lynch, B. Kanakis, J. Wood Best Players: L. Sullivan, P. Edgar, S. Cameron, B. Lloyd, M. Brown, S. Critchley