It was the day that the side had been waiting almost two months for. A chance to avenge a devastating defeat. A chance to send Bulleen Templestowe and the rest of the competition a message. The side still not back to full strength and only two players on the bench, meant the side would have to be at its best in order to get a victory over the second placed Bulleen Temp.
The first quarter was both a successful and frustrating one. De La would fight and struggle to win the contested contest and eventually after hard work be able to capitalize, only for a few minutes later Bulleen Temp to be allowed to walk the ball out of stoppages and score themselves far too easily. A late goal to Bulleen reducing De La’s lead to a single goal at quarter time. Sean Anderson and Lyngberg starring in the first quarter to put the side in a good position.
It was put to the midfield in the second quarter that they had to be more accountable at the stoppages and stop leaking easy clearances and they replied strongly, leading to a great second quarter performance. This midfield dominance and contested intercept marking from key defenders Zitzen and McMahon allowed De La to take a 20 point lead into the main break.
Our limited availability was only exacerbated when De La lost two players in the first half to injury. The side would have to dig deeper than it ever had before to hold on to a victory in the second half and few are better at doing that than big “Stomp” Martin. Stomp completely dominated in the ruck all day, mainly unassisted, putting it on a platter to midfielders and then showing his work rate around the ground. Despite this, Bulleen Templestowe were stealing the momentum and slowly chewing into the De La lead, that was until an absolutely inspirational rundown tackle by Angus Sheedy, who then turned around and delivered beautifully inside 50 to set up a goal and turn the momentum back in our favour. The 3/4 time margin seeing De La leading by 19 points.
The side knew that Bulleen wasn’t going to go down without a fight and as expected they came out firing. Tyquin gave Martin his first rest from the ruck for the day and really proved himself as a potential asset in that position going forward. This wasn’t enough to prevent Bulleen from taking control of the match and slowly reducing the margin. De La was goalless in the last quarter and just trying to hang on. When the margin was reduced to 5 points, the team knew it was now or never. The midfield and backline gave their absolute all, individuals providing three, four or even five efforts in a single passage to prevent goals from being kicked. Yes, De La could have done a few things better or smarter in that last quarter but I challenge any person out there to find a team with more grit, heart and commitment than these boys right here. Eventually holding on against all odds to win by 5 points and gain revenge for the early season defeat.
A special mention needs to go to James Harper, Hayden Reed and Harrison Pietsch who regardless of which team they are in are always there and willing to offer their support and assistance if needed.
With this win, the Colts leapfrog Bulleen Templestowe and move into second place on the ladder. The boys have another big test next week though as they face 4th placed Xavier who won their opening round bout by 5 points! It will take another big 4 quarter performance to bring home the win. 9:20am @ Stradbroke Park.