A classic winter’s day welcomed Footy back to life in 2021, but the cool conditions didn’t damper the enthusiasm of a healthy crowd at TH King to see SKOB open their account in fine style with a win over rival Collegians.
Having enjoyed twelve months respite from the rigours of boot studs, the King was looking a peach for round one and the players certainly enjoyed the carpet like deck on offer. SKOB welcomed four debutants, including Riley Bowman (Hastings and Essendon VFL), Lachie Walker (St.Kev’s boy via De La and Box Hill Hawks), Tom Boyd (Western Bulldogs) and Matt Presutto (from SKOB U19s). It was also fantastic to see Liam Mahoney back in the Seniors lineup after missing almost all of the past two seasons, and Tom Jok, back from a sojourn in the big time with Essendon.
With the aid of the breeze in the first term (do you remember when teams used to kick with the breeze?), SKOB flew out of the blocks and kept Collegians goalless whilst slotting through 4 of their own to open up a 24 point lead at the first change. The Lions were able to fight back strongly in the second period, using the breeze to boot three of their own and keep SKOB without a goal to narrow the margin at the main break to less than a kick.
The coaching staff felt the vibe at half time and it was a bit down in the SKOB rooms. They began the third term with a couple of majors, but the experienced Collegians back half held firm and started to wrestle back momentum. Time and again they repelled SKOB attacks and half way through the third quarter were able to register the first goal kicked to the Waverley end to consolidate the momentum. As supporters made their way out on to the ground for the final change and with only a two goal advantage kicking into the wind in the last, things were looking a bit bleak for the home team.
With a few tweaks and a quiet rev-up at the 3/4 time huddle, SKOB lifted their work rate and began to run and share the ball much better in the final quarter. They kicked an early one to settle some nerves and put a bit of space on the scoreboard, then proceeded to dominate possession and boot another couple into the breeze to stretch out to a comfortable margin. Collegians came again, but the SKOB defence, superbly led by Critchley, Ross and Coates were too strong in the air and then on the ground as they amazingly kept Collegians to just a few minor scores and ensured that SKOB finished all over their opponent.
Connor Ross was impenetrable in the backline, whilst Nick Wood showed he's lost nothing, kicking a great goal in the last term to put a dagger into Lions hearts. Tom Jok had a great return and Holden, Wallis and Matheson all had strong games. Tom Boyd kicked four goals on debut and was a constant headache for the Collegians defence. But in all is was a solid team effort.
The song was sung with as much gusto as you’d expect with a few debutants and no footy for 12 months, but voices picked up in the second half and a few players finished with a gatorade shower and smiles all round.
A good start for the SKOB seniors to go with wins for the Reserves and U23 and a big win by SKOB Thirds over Hawthorn. Our four Under 19 teams were all competitive but found stronger opponents on the day, whilst for the Saints it was a successful opening with all three teams winning, including the Thirds team (most of whom were playing their first game of football EVER) winning by 160 points! Surely the result of the round!