The most unpleasant weather conditions for the season greeted spectators who gathered to watch the Tonners take on the Peninsula Pirates, who steered their course for South Rd on a freezing nor’-wester and were comprehensively scuttled. The unbeaten Premier B leaders were in no mood to show any mercy for the cellar-dwellers, and after an even first term, bolted away to hand out a 90 point drubbing to the visitors. Co – Captain, Harry Hill, is bent on making up for lost time, and after a mid-season absence through injury, Harry is in rich form, dominating yesterday and making light of very difficult conditions. He kicked five outstanding goals, the best of them from a sharp angle after running down an opponent and tackling him brilliantly.
The Pirates had first use of the savage wind but were unable to make any impression on the Tonners’ defence. They were always under pressure, leaving Andy Dewar and Dylan Verney to intercept regularly and drive the Pirates back. The Tonners opened the scoring when Ollie Cavallaro drove a strong shot into the teeth of the wind and we were able to nullify the Pirates’ advantage, leading by a point at the first break. Ben Jarick had seized the initiative in the ruck and his mid-fielders worked hard to maintain possession in conditions that hurled the ball towards the railway boundary, and often over it. Not surprisingly, all players found it difficult to follow the curling flight of the ball that changed direction drastically if players did not kick it low and hard. On the balcony, up in the swirling whorls, we fought to keep circulation in our fingers while the diners behind the glass swapped recollections of premiership heroics achieved forty years ago.
The Tonners worked to a strong lead in the second quarter when Harry began his burst that saw him kick three consecutive goals, all requiring great skill to negotiate the wind. After half-time, the Tonners took over completely, scoring 5.8 to 3.1 into the breeze. Harry made it four in a row with his shot from the old cricket pitch pocket, Karayannis snapped another and young Joel Balleggi did really well to convert a difficult set shot and then mark strongly in front for another. Matt Gadsden almost incited a riot amongst his old team-mates on the balcony when he goaled in the square and calmly ignored their raucous heckling from the freezing heights. The Tonners swept into attack and peppered the sticks throughout a term that took the game completely out of the Pirates’ reach.
In the final term, we raced away to an emphatic victory. Jimmy Davis is back with a vengeance and he staked his claim for a permanent berth, darting about, charging in under packs and causing consternation with his pace and focus on the ball. Michael Slater will one day be one of our best players. He did well yesterday, using his strength to win the ball and his excellent disposal to put it to advantage. Pat Liston has been a priceless inclusion this season and his skill was especially vital all day in the erratic wind. Ben Jarick played intelligently at the stoppages and kicked the ugliest goal we are likely to see for the year!
The stage is set for the long-awaited rematch with Old Scotch, with whom we drew earlier in the season. Both sides will be out for bragging rights in what looks to be an early preview of a semi-final clash in September. The Scotchies had a massive victory over St. Bernards yesterday so are obviously in top form. One can only hope that the huge crowd likely to flock to the game, will be spared the freezing conditions that accompanied yesterday’s fixture.
OBGFC: 1.2 6.7 11.15 16.21.117
PENINSULA: 1.1 1.1 4.2 4.3.27
Goals: Hill 5, Karayannis 4, Balleggi 2, Cavallaro, Gadsden, King, Jarick, Forato.
Best: Hill, Karayannis, Liston, A. Dewar, Davis, Jarick, Mastromanno, Slater, Verney.