Division 1: Kew complete three-peat to secure spot in folklore

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 1 Men's, Finals

By William Balme – @balmey21

John Kennedy Senior once bombarded his players with the unforgettable ‘do something!’ quip. It seemed that Ian Aitken took it upon himself to go down a similar route on Saturday afternoon at three quarter time during the Division 1 grand final at Coburg City Oval with the game firmly in the balance. Ormond had responded to a devastating second quarter from Kew that put them up 32 points at the long break. On the back of goals to Dimitri Fasoulis and Jeremy Simon, Ormond had come within four points before Kew’s Jeremy (Fultheim) steadied the ship with a clutch snap goal in the dying seconds of the third term.

Of course, in hindsight, Ormond needed to be leading at three quarter time to have any chance of winning this game as the wind advantage was significant and exhausting for both sides, however, the drama of the situation called for a hero, and Kew enjoyed the seductive narrative idea. Mal Michael stirred the pot a little more in the final stanza when he kicked the first goal of the term, however from that point on it was all Kew, with Orchard, Spencer, Droessler and even a remarkable boundary line goal from Michael ‘Clamp’ Henderson to seal the deal. Henderson had a magnificent afternoon to cap off an exceptional season as vice-captain of Kew Football Club. His job on the talented Isaiah Tahana on Saturday was formidable, blocking the young man’s run and quelling any sort of influence Tahana would have very much desired to have in the build up to this epic clash.

This was certainly a game built on quality defence. In the second term, Ormond seemed to only rely on two men. Nick Edwards and Simon Keleher, who mopped up over and over, saving Ormond from an even bigger deficit at half time. At the other end, Simon Barnes again matched up well with Andrew Brazzale, who despite kicking two impressive goals, wasn’t at his scintillating best. He was, however, one of the fantastic stories of the afternoon, coming back from a broken nose inflicted in round 17 against Bulleen Templestowe. The other man to go down that day was Rob Maibaum, who too returned to the foray after having his jaw fractured on that very same afternoon. Finally, there was Michael Cochrane. The Kew captain dismantled Matthew Martinov from go-to-woe. Whilst Cochrane doesn’t have the innate ability of a Kyle Margaritas in regard to his skill and ball-use, he is a competitive beast, and once again he did not take a backward step against his sizable opponent.

Ormond’s best player on Saturday in my opinion was Sam Blandford. He was a very dangerous proposition throughout the day, and it was clear that the theme had carried on from the week before where he cut up Old Geelong from the half back line. Perhaps Kew didn’t take the threat of his run and carry seriously in the build up to the game, but at three quarter time, it was pretty clear that he had to be stymied. For Kew, Jack Delbridge and Kyle Margaritas were the two outstanding players on the field. Delbridge, the runner up in the LS Pepper League medal during the week, was pivotal in the clinches, as he racked up first touch after first touch from ruckman Paul Brough. He was Josh Kennedy like in his proficiency in the centre clearances. Margaritas. Well, what can we say about Kyle Margaritas. His game was near perfection. It is pretty apparent that Ormond had either run out of answers or accepted that he was going to get a lot of ball on the day, because his omnipresence throughout the day was mystifying. The quiet young man won his second grand final best on ground medal in a row, an amazing feat for a man of 19 years.

The moment that will be talked about for years to come is the send off of Dimitri Fasoulis. His forceful hit on Zac Jones left Jones dazed and confused, however whether it was deserved of a red card is subjective. Jones played on after a short spell, but did complain of dizziness late in the game, however that could have been attributed to several other instances when he showed bravery beyond his slight frame’s capacity. He was one of several Kew players, short in stature but humongous in terms of heart. Fasoulis was dangerous throughout the game, and certainly brought his swagger along with him, however his hit cost Ormond serious momentum as they were reduced to 17 men for 12 minutes, allowing Kew to capitalise and extend their lead to one that many would argue was insurmountable.

I would suggest that many within the Kew camp, myself included, would argue that this is most certainly the sweetest. The regular season was dampened with late losses to all three of the other top four sides, and injuries crippled their run to the finals, however Kew found a way to get it done, against a pretty formidable opponent in Ormond. For Ormond, they’ve had an exceptional year, losing only three games, and producing some spellbinding football for much of the season. Unfortunately, the only side that could beat them was Kew. The Jack Russell of the 70s and 80s in the Premier sections where Ormond was the prized pooch. They couldn’t seem to stem the relentless run of the Bears. I suspect that Ashleigh Lever and his coaching panel would be lamenting along the same lines.

It has been another wonderful season, and I bid farewell to all of you who have read my column. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the passion of each of the side’s within the division and wish you all the best in the future. Next season, I’m tipping Old Geelong to take on Whitefriars in the big dance.