Retrospective: Round 15

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Learning about the history of the VAFA thanks to Holmesglen

Geoff Reilley

5 YEARS AGO – 2015

The R15 Club Warehouse Rising Star Nominee was none other than Mitch Hannan. After being offered a spot on the Footscray VFL list for 2015, Mitch broke his wrist during a pre-season match and thus didn’t play his first game of the year until June. Clearly it didn’t take long for Mitch to hit his straps again as he went on the star for St Bernard’s in the William Buck Premier Grand Final and win the Jock Nelson Medal as BOG. Mitch has since excelled in his footy and is a regular for Melbourne FC, something the club perhaps foresaw when describing him for his rising star nom: Mitch came to St Bernard’s seeking to play football at as high a level as possible. At 6’2” and with his athletic abilities and silky skills, we believe Mitch can develop into an elite A grade footballer who may progress to regular VFL football and, who knows maybe even higher.

A couple of club stalwarts notched up their 300th games, with Paul Wintle (SBMT) and Justin Evans (St Bernard’s) celebrating the outstanding milestones, while three-time VAFA B&F winner Paul Baranello (Emmaus St Leo’s) ran out in his 200th for the Animals.

Ivanhoe played Monash Gryphons in Division 2 Reserve and Ivanhoe simply smashed their opponent. The end score was 44.25.289 to 0.0.0. According to our sources, the highest score in VAFA history firmly remains intact. According to an item in FTLOTG published in Round 1, the record was set in 1983 by Melbourne Uni’s combined Holmesglen U19s against Kew in Junior Section 1. It was 65.35 (425) to 1.1 (7). Uni had 15 goal kickers and their top goal kicker booted nine goals. However, Ivanhoe can possibly claim a record number of individual goalkickers, with 18. Their top goal scorer was Ryan Smyth with 12 snags.

10 YEARS AGO – 2010

In Division 3 the top three teams, St Johns, La Trobe Uni and Elsternwick seemed certain of finals’ qualification but the fourth position, well, that was anybody’s with no less 5 teams in the running. After this round it was even tighter as there were now 6 teams all on 32 points (8 wins). Power House helped to even up this group when they held on to defeat Albert Park 8.12 to 8.5 in an exciting game with goals at an absolute premium, although when Albert Park kicked 7 in the second term, they looked certainties to come out on top. As it happened, they could not score another major in fact there was only 1 goal scored by either team in the second half. Best – Fiorini, Saraw Burnside, Leske, Foster, Baker (PH) and McLennan, Maunder, Lanigan King (3), Hagan (AP).

In Division 4, second placed Monash Gryphons added to their percentage with a big win over Swinburne Uni 25.13 to 5.7, putting Swinburne’s faint hopes of finals action completely out of the question. The Gryphons remained in second place but were ahead of top team Mount Lilydale on percentage although a game behind! The next round would probably decide top spot when the Gryphons and Mt Lilydale were due to meet. Best – Allan (7), Fletcher, Munro, Nuguid, Wells (4), Wills (Gryphons); Swinburne failed to name any best players!

In U19 Premier Division two VAFA powerhouse clubs, De La Salle and Old Xaverians met in an important game with De La, the top team clear on top, favoured to take the points. The Xavs however were in third place and, determined to secure their place for the coming finals, threw down the challenge to the D’s. De La kicked poorly (1.5) in the first quarter while Xavs scored 4.1 and the Xavs led at half time 6.2 to 3.7. De La made up a little of the leeway in the third term but were still struggling in front of goal, 5.11 to 7.7. In a cracking last quarter,  De La really  hit their straps kicking 6.5 to run out relatively  easy  winners  11.16  to 10.8. Best – Humphrey, O’Halloran, Clinch, Close, Papamilitiades, Williams (DLS) and Bisset, Curtain, McGrath, Pintal, McLean, Franklyn (Old Xavs).

Anthony Calder (Old Brighton) was the Club Warehouse Rising Star in this round and the VAFA Beiersdorf Trainer of the Week award went to Jane Barnes (Ormond).

15 YEARS AGO – 2005

In D2 Section, top team Old Geelong trounced Oakleigh 26.18 to 7.5 and may have put paid to Oakleigh’s chances of finals’ participation.  The OGS certainly looked as though they were gearing up for a big finals’ campaign. They set the mood for this game with 10.5 to 2.0 in the first quarter. Best – Stevens (6), Casboult (10), Bayles, Goldsworthy, Cannon, Makin (OGS) and C Collins, C Lamb, S Kitts, Rutter, Murray, Bando (Oakleigh).

In D3 Section UHS-VU not only provided the upset of the round against top four team West Brunswick but also cleared them from the danger of relegation. The scores were close the whole game with the ‘students’ winning 9.14 to 8.8. Best – Gorringe, Hams, Mottram, Cracknell, Greed, Moorfield (UHS-VU) and Irving, Gartland, Anderson, Smythe (3), Monague, Maguire (WB).

In D4 Section Albert Park made sure of their opportunity over bottom placed Richmond Central winning 25.11 to 16.7 and in doing so, removed themselves from the immediate threat of relegation. Albert Park’s first quarter set the standard (6.2 to 1.0) although Richmond did kick 6 in the second term. 18 goals in the second half was a very strong effort by the boys from around the lake. Best – Collins (9), Baker (3), Grace, Venables, Chambers, Bennett (AP) and Robertson (5), Evans, Dukic (5), Liuzzi, Speakman, Green (Richmond).

Eltham Collegians congratulated Brendan ‘Kanga’ Evans on reaching his 150th game milestone. ‘Kanga’ had been with the club for over a decade and was part of their 1993 Club XVlll premiership, was a dedicated committee member and had been awarded life membership of the club.‘Kanga’ was also making the commitment to journey from Kinglake West to both play and train!

In Club18 Section 1, Old Xaverians won the 2nd semi-final in a low scoring game, 6.10 to 3.8. Prahran defeated Old Scotch comfortably in the 1st semi-final, 15.11 to 4.7 and appeared the team most likely to be able to challenge the might of the Xavs at this level.

25 YEARS AGO – 1995

Ivanhoe met St Bedes Mentone Tigers in C Section and made sure of retaining their top position although the ‘Hoes did not have it all their own way and were behind at half time. With their defence gradually getting on top, Ivanhoe won the game 9.7 to 7.5.  Best – Tucker, Manuel (3), T Flynn (4), Scoble, Kennedy, Lee (Ivanhoe) and Thompson, McCraw, Newport, Diggins, Johnston, Bilos (StBMT).

In Section D, the two top teams, Hampton Rovers and Thomastown, met on a very windy afternoon, the wind certainly played a part in the variable skills. The Rovers led at half time and increased the lead by three quarter time. Although Thomastown had a number of opportunities in the final quarter, their wayward kicking for goal did not back up their scoring attempts, the Rovers winning 15.8 to 11.16. Best – Amoore, Marshall, McDonald, Helliger, Melnjak, Le Grand (HR) and Plant, Fellows, Smith, Farchione, Harling, Alberti (Thom.).

In the “Tap Outs” column written each week by “The Rover”, congratulations were given to Brian “Benny” Goodman, one of the Association’s leading umpires, upon the safe arrival of a daughter, Alyssa Maree. Clearly Benny’s wife Wendy would have played the major part! It’s pleasing to report that Alyssa now regularly plays a key role at VAFA finals, with her mum Wendy, as our most experienced gate keepers. Alyssa was certainly born into the VAFA!

35 YEARS AGO – 1985

In E Section, the match of the day was between top team Preston and Peninsula Old Boys (4th). Preston were safe but Peninsula needed to win to shore up their position. Preston started strongly and led by a couple of goals at quarter time, but Peninsula had taken the lead by half time. Preston were back in front at the last change, but the importance of a win appeared to mean more to Peninsula who got over the line by 3 points, 12.9 to 11.12 and were now safe in the top four. Best – Carter, Glover, Sampson, McLounnan, McViger, Knight (Peninsula) and Calcutt, Yendall, Caton, Faure, Milner (3), McGowan.

Steve (Stork) Roberts played his 300th game for State Bank a few weeks earlier but in this round played his 302nd game breaking Byron Hill’s record which had stood since 1969. “Stork” joined the club in 1968 and along the way won the best and fairest in 1973 and 1976. He had also won the best clubman award in 1979, was awarded life membership in 1976, elected Vice President in 1984 and had been Club Secretary from 1975 until 1979.

Dennis Grace played his 150th game for Elsternwick and had previously played A Grade football with both Coburg and De La Salle. A pacy and skilful rover, Dennis had been a terrific player for Elsternwick and later went on to a coaching career.


45 YEARS AGO – 1975

Leaders in A Section, St Bernard’s Old Collegians were rocked when 5th placed Coburg, 34 points down at three quarter time, kicked 6.7 to 1.1 and won by 2 points. Best – Calleson, Leckie, Ellis (Coburg) and M Mahoney, Phelan, Mitchell (St Bernards).

Parkside secured their position in the C Section top four with a convincing 34-point win over Old Melburnians. Best – Howell, Cocks, Blyth, Quoiffe (Parkside) and Pisarski, McMullin, P Dawson (OM’s). 150 games for MHSOB player Warwick Ponton, Old Geelong ruckman Richard Weibye and Old Melburnians rover Russell Weir.

55 YEARS AGO – 1965

Coburg won a very important game in A Section over Collegians on a day of very low scoring for some teams. Final score – 3.8 to 2.7. Coburg held their fourth place ahead of Old Xaverians who were challenging strongly and won their game against Old Paradians 15.14 to 6.3. Best for Coburg – Scanlon (3), Corrigan, McLean, Molloy, Condron, Gardiner and for Collegians – D Walduck, C Roach, Tucker, Symons, Lucas, Clark.

Well-known VAFA identity and a current VAFA Vice President, Harry Heathershaw had been the foundation coach of Commonwealth Bank when they commenced in 1919. Commonwealth Bank first played in the Victorian Banks Football Association, but that competition was disbanded in 1931. Commonwealth Bank reformed in 1947 and joined the VAFA and in that season won the C Grade premiership.

65 YEARS AGO – 1955

The B Section final four was already settled but who would stop Coburg, undefeated after 17 games and four games clear of second place.  Fifth side, Old Xaverians had made no impact on Coburg although the final score of 11.19 to 7.10 in Coburg’s favour was not too bad from the Xavs point of view.

The tribunal were determined to support the umpires when they suspended a Bellfield player for 6 games after finding the player guilty of using ‘filthy’ language toward the central umpire. They also handed out a four-week sentence to another player for constantly disputing the umpire’s decision.