A rejuvenated Under 23 team headed to Old Scotch with new renewed purpose after breaking through for their initial win in the previous game, but there was also the
Resisting the urge to “load up” on senior players due to the senior bye the team was able to reward those who had been regular players and augmented that selection with the addition of a couple of players returning from relatively longer term injuries to help provide them with opportunities to press their claims for selection in the reserves in future weeks.
The value of a support local council was shown as the playing surface of Camberwell was in very good condition and the game was played in relatively good conditions despite the early morning dew surrounding the ball with a slippery coat and making clean handling quite difficult initially.
The teams were evenly matched, and there was a contrast in playing styles with Old Scotch looking to emphasise their height and marking power whereas De La was looking to it’s smaller running players led by Danny and Ben Melissinos, Ricky Rando, Nic Robertson, James McCormack and Ed Clinch to open the play with their running.
The teams traded early scores, but the reality was that both sets of defences were on top as the ball traversed between each back line and early scores were hard to find.
In what was a low scoring first half the teams retreated to the sheds with De La holding a 3 goal lead, after a couple of terrific goals, one where a series of handballs traded between the running players starting from deep in the defence led to a wave of Blue and Gold jumpers running through the middle of the ground and culminating in Danny Melissinos kicking truly and then Pat Cook eschewing the opportunity to show his prowess with a banana kick kicked truly from the boundary line with a drop punt which even had his opponents applauding his effort.
Old Scotch fought back in the 3rd as their taller marking players got on top and the game tightened up all over the ground. Old Scotch pressed forward, De La retreated deeper and deeper to try and stem the onslaught and the number of players in the De La back half was increasing as both teams looked to assert dominance and find the breakthrough that would bring about the defining moment of the game and allow their team to finally win.
Our (allegedly) taller defenders Jono Florentzou, Liam Kelliher and Zach Huggins although conceding height to their taller opponents were able to smother and frustrate the Old Scotch marking players and the efforts of “Gorgeous” George Vasili, Matt Courtney, Tom Coyle and the returning Nick Jarvis in winning those subsequent ground balls and working the ball out of defence was not to be underestimated.
By sheer persistence when the game was in the balance we were able to push the ball forward where big Charlie Langkau was able to run in and kick a goal that helped to give us a bit of breathing space at a time when the game appeared to be slipping away from us.
With the momentum of the game now looking to see Old Scotch in the ascendancy the team repeated the running goal when we were able to break free and run the ball from deep in defence with a series of handballs from the running players which resulted in Josh “porto” Almeida kicking a vital goal that established a bulwark for the team as the game entered into the final few minutes.
Credit to the on-ballers led by the tireless Mike Canny who was able to combat the twin towers of Old Scotch throughout the day, but it was also the increased levels of communication between each line with Clinchy leading the instructions in the mids, the backs working together and the forwards desperation in closing down their opponents that allowed us to enjoy a well deserved 10 point win.
In summary, where the scores may show a relatively low scoring and dour affair, it was anything but that as the game was not scrappy, rather it was a case of 2 evenly matched teams both seeking ways to work the ball through well marshalled defences.
Result: De La 10.6.66 def Old Scotch 7.14.56