Four wins on the pitch as the King is crowned without a hitch
It was a day that promised plenty and delivered in spades, although not without a few heart flutters half way through the last term in the Seniors as SKOB had to find another gear to shake off a determined Caulfield Grammarians who were looking to spoil the party. In the end, SKOB emerged with a perfect 4 from 4 on the field and a great occasion off it as they celebrated a rare achievement from 2022. Both men's and women's players shared the stage at the King with the Saints Green and Gold teams bookending the Men's Seniors and Reserves on a superb late April day. This week's review will look at all the action from TH King - sequentially - plus a look at what happened elsewhere for SKOB.
It was an early start for all as the Green Machine were first onto the pitch for their flag ceremony prior to the game against the Kew Bears. The sprightly hour didn't dampen the enthusiasm for those on hand with a healthy crowd of home - and visitor - supporters there to see the flag unfurled by Mikayla Dohnt and Remi Fiorentini in fine style. Coach Lewis is all for ceremony but he's strictly business once the ball is bounced and he made sure his team was ready to play - and that they were. The SKOB Saints handled the early greasy conditions better and established a lead they were able to build upon all day. Eleanor Mauri was terrific, Jemima Dwyer - playing her first ever game was fantastic whilst Georgie McEwen and Sophie Matthews are proving savvy recruits. Lucy Kehoe was on fire and Bridie Howard was on the end of great team play, finishing with 3 goals.
The Reserves were next on the field and they made short work of a clearly undermanned Caulfield Grammarians. Andy Clough kept his perfect coaching record going and his players focused as they had most things their way in a strong win. The lunch was getting into full swing as the Ressies put the game away in the first half and continued to apply themselves all the way to the finish. James Jaensch was best afield with James Corboy (4 goals), Captain Tom Pirola, Christian Woolrich, Jack Byrne and Tom Burley all playing well.
Next up, the Seniors were pitted against a Caulfield team who were keen to atone for a first up defeat in round one. SKOB handed a debut jersey to Liam Gunson following his strong performances in the Under 19s. Coach Lynch continuing his pattern of pushing up the youth and giving them experience at the senior level. After a brief ceremony to unfurl the 2022 Premiership Flag (performed with aplomb by Tim Arnold and Peter Hannan - with help from John Di Natale and last year's assistant coaches James Kennedy and Brendon Goddard) the game got underway in bright sunshine. With a similar feel to last week's game it was SKOB who took an early but not commanding lead and held this through most of the day. The visitors were always able to keep themselves within reach and raised their effort in the second half to make things uncomfortable for their hosts. SKOB were only a point ahead at the final change and despite owning the ball in their half early in the last quarter were only able to register 4 behinds for their efforts. Caulfield then converted a long range shot and suddenly were in front. It took some clever play from Mitch Wallis who set up three quick goals for SKOB to wrest back the lead and control of the game. The final margin of 28 points didn't reflect the closeness of the contest but SKOB were able to lift when it counted and move to 2-0 for the season. Sam Cameron was dominant in the middle for SKOB whilst a fit again Bill Coates showed his worth and Cal Matheson again was at his consistent best. Mitch Wallis was a constant danger up forward, kicking 3 goals and setting up others, with brother in law Nick Sing proving a solid recruit down back. Shaun Kennedy as a back up in the ruck showed he has many tricks still left in the bag.
Our final game on TH King was for the Saints Gold who had their own unfurling to complete prior to kickoff. Lisa Ring and Lisa Ginies - who have been incredible supporters of the Saints program for years - were rightly chosen to perform the unfurling (helped out by departing captains, Sarah Cameron and Sophie Straford) in the glorious twilight of a big day. The lights were shining and the yellow ball pinging about as the game was played in front of a large and appreciative crowd. Melb Uni - who were boasting some seriously tall timber in their team - got the first goal, but after a clever snap from the boundary by co-Captain Margaret Gleeson, followed by another out of the centre from Jess Joyce, SKOB took the lead and were never headed. Clearance machine Bree Doyle was sharking anything the Uni were able to tap her way, and Chloe Brown up forward was making the most of her opportunities. By half time SKOB were in complete control and as the light faded and playing was made a bit harder in the second half, the Saints were able to hold out Uni and go on to a well deserved win, capping off a perfect day for SKOB players, supporters and of course our hard working volunteers. Great games were put in by Sarah Betts, Charity Russell, Kira Maass, Dalia Edward and Zoe Guss. The superbly scripted match report from Ollie can be found here.
Around the grounds, the Men's Thirds had a frustrating day in front of the sticks. A wasteful 5.12 to 8.3 in the second half was the story of the day as our scribe at the match reports: "You normally expect to get the chockies when you have more scoring shots but alas the Skob academy team came up 3 goals short against a more efficient Uni Blues. Still gelling together as a unit, the signs were still positive for Ollie and Krushers boys. Mazzeo and Coops were damaging forward. Smart, Lemo, Zander and Chaplin were all there when it mattered. To save time going forward we'll just mention when Sammy Doyle ISN'T in the best players. If we say nothing just assume he was. Because he was."
Our Saints Blue were off Broadway down at Old Rigret on Saturday, and unfortunately found one better in Melbourne Uni in another tight tussle. The Blues are very stiff to find themselves 0-2 after a pair of close losses to start the season, but they are playing good football and adjusting after a lot of changes to the team from 2022. Coach Strauss has plenty of confidence and knows the wins are just around the corner if the team keeps applying itself. They were well served by Ruby Atkin, Remi Fiorentini, Molly Howard, Steph Taylor, Eliza Doble and Steph Augustes
Juniors open their account
A barnstorming opening half from the Under 19 Premier side set up a great win at Williamstown to get their season up and going. After an encouraging outing last week against the reigning premiers, SKOB were obviously keen to make sure that they made the most of their early ascendancy and establish a gap that the opposition would not breach. Jack "Chicken" Palmer was unstoppable, booting 3 goals and having the ball on a string. Ollie Gill in just his second game was all over it, Andrew Butler solid all day and regular stars Will Pfeiffer, Jack Romanin, and Jasper Conquest (who all hit the scoreboard) were strong throughout in a great team performance.
Earlier in the day our Div 2's sneaked over the line against a hard to beat Monash Blues at Monash University. This was a great win by the 2's who start the season 2-0 and are playing with plenty of confidence. Nick Dynan followed up his good form from the week before to be best afield whilst De La recruit Angus Kerr, Max Demathieu, Will Blyth, Tom Buultjens and Henry James were significant in getting SKOB home. Our Div 4's had a tougher time up against Brunswick in an early start at Brunswick. The young SKOBBERS are working hard and never giving in against some hard opponents. Coach Tommy Kerr was well served by Max Timlock, Aiden Posterino, Zach Grace, James Andriske, Luke Augerinos and Joey Kerr.