Grand Final for Melton
A LATE season resurgence has seen Melton progress into the Grand Final in the Ballarat Football Netball League for the first time in 13 years.
The Bloods recorded their ninth consecutive victory over minor premiers, East Point, this past Saturday in the second semi final at City Oval.
Post-game, Melton’s President, Greg Davis proudly said, with a tear in his eye, “It’s been a journey of pure enjoyment for our boys. We were tipped by many to be as bad as bottom on the ladder and now we are playing in a grand final and I couldn’t be more happy.”
Saturday afternoon was the warmest conditions football fans had seen since the early parts of the season, with barely a breath of fresh air blowing across the ground. Co-Captain, Ben Archard won the toss for the Bloods and elected to kick to the Eastern End.
Going into the game, East Point was forced to make a late change, with dynamic on-baller Mickitja Rotumah- Onus pulling out of the side, meaning Chris Quinlan was gifted the opportunity to play for the Kangaroos senior line-up for the first time in quite a while.
After the Kangaroos weathered an early Melton onslaught, they were able to transition from full back all the way to goal with their first inside 50 being marked and then goaled by Aden Nestor at the five minute mark.
The previous time the sides met was all the way back in round 3 where the game was a real arm-wrestle. This encounter was no different; with plenty of stoppages in the opening term highlighting how both sides were happy just to feel each other out in the first quarter.
The Bloods were able to hold the ball in their attacking fifty, but East Point’s defence continued to come up with the goods with Joel Van Meel and Cameron Lovig instrumental in the back half.
However, despite their good work, Melton did get the break through Ryan Davis sharking the ball from a stoppage at the 21 minute mark to snap successfully and give Melton a slender two point lead.
From here the Bloods went on a goal scoring spree, which fans have become extremely accustomed to in the past few weeks, with Jaycob Hickey kicking a goal from 45 metres out, before co-captain, Braedan Kight, slotted another one as Melton took a ten point lead by the 23-minute mark.
Melton was all over East Point in the final parts of the opening term with gun on-baller, Matthew Denham, racking up possessions at will and was the catalyst in the Bloods taking an eleven point lead at quarter time.
Despite trailing at the first break East Point coach, Jake Bridges, tried to instil a typical positive message to his players at his quarter time address. Bridges focused his address on telling his chargers to ‘gang tackle’ and hunt in numbers, and said that if they could do that they would get in front in the match.
After a couple of missed opportunities East Point, once again, drew first blood in the term with Aden Nestor kicking a goal at the five minute mark of the quarter, to reduce the margin down to three points.
Compared to the opening quarter, the second term was a lot more open and free flowing with both sides looking extremely dangerous in front of goal. Melton’s Kight was particularly proving to be a livewire up forward, marking anything that came his way.
Kight’s good work couldn’t be replicated on the scoreboard with the Bloods scoring three consecutive behinds. This would prove costly as East Point would first level the scores through a Jacob Brown goal at the 13-minute mark, before Bryson McDougall soccered one through one minute later to give East Point the lead back.
This would not last long, with Davis snapping another great goal from inside fifty to level the scores, before Kight gave his side the lead back at the 18-minute mark with a goal from 30 metres out.
The shootout in the second term continued with late inclusion, Chris Quinlan, kicking a cracking goal from right on fifty with his thumping left foot kick splitting the middle and levelling the scores at the 23-minute mark. With it too close to call and the game shaping up to be one, if not the game of the season, East Point was able to take ascendency in the opening half and through Daniel Tung, after his dribbling ball somehow evaded the Melton defence, go through and give his side a six point lead on the stroke of half-time.
The Pointers held a six point lead at the major break despite Melton’s best efforts in the opening half. Melton did suffer an injury concern with ruckmen, Ben Archard rolling his ankle in the middle late in the second quarter, and was to be severely hampered for the remainder of the afternoon.
The third quarter began with the Bloods, and their co-captain Kight, starring up forward with his third goal, levelling the scores. Melton strung back-toback goals with Brock Kennedy launching a bomb from outside fifty to give them a six point lead at the three minute mark.
Again, scores were levelled soon after with McDougall’s second goal coming from the goal square before Melton’s spearhead, Darren Haby was able to finally clunk one inside fifty and his wobbly set shot kick did restore the Bloods lead at the ten minute mark of the third term.
With the frantic pace of the game even too fast for these two greats sides to maintain, the game returned to the same manor that was seen in the opening quarter. However, after some missed opportunities for the Bloods, Jaycob Hickey dribbled a long range goal to give them a handy 13-point buffer at the 24-minute mark.
At the 27-minute mark, Darren Haby proved to be a real handful up forward with another contested mark and again, his wobbly kick was good enough to go between the big sticks and helped Melton to a 20-point lead at the final break.
The Bloods were only 30 minutes away from playing in the Grand Final and you could sense the excitement and anticipation at their three quarter time huddle. Coach, Aaron Tymms said, “Don’t do nothing stupid in this final term, bring the Blood pressure, be a workhorse, and then we are off to a Grand Final.”
This inspirational message from Tymms was carried out by his players, with Melton turning up the intensity to another frightening notch. At the seven minute mark, Matthew Denham made it a 26 point margin at the City Oval.
East Point took inspiration from their performance the prior week in the win over North Ballarat City in the Qualifying Final, where they overran them in the final term despite trailing by 42-points.
They got the ball rolling through Matthew Johnston at the 15-minute mark with a great clearance goal, before McDougall’s third goal one minute later sparked hope in the camp and further poised the question whether this inexperienced Bloods side could withstand finals pressure.
The Bloods could. Despite having everything thrown at them, Aaron Tymms’ men were able to overcome the minor premiers with Blake Souter’s goal at the 23-minute mark sealing their place in the 2018 Ballarat Football Netball League Grand Final.
The impressive 19-point victory was highlighted by an ecstatic Tymms post game. Tymms said, “We were good for all four quarters. We were able to be steady, take time off the clock and be victorious.”
East Point’s season is still alive, with their victory the previous week, meaning they had a double chance. A victory this week over Darley in the
Preliminary Final would set up an exciting rematch of Grand Final Day with the Bloods, and a loss would mean an all Eastern Block Grand Final for the third year in a row.