Three quarter time huddle. St Mary’s 3.9.27 leading the Bullants 2.2.14. Coach Phil...
“Boys.....it’s only 13 points, WE CAN RUN THIS DOWN! WE DESERVE TO BE THERE NEXT WEEK!”
Just over 17 minutes later the under 13’s Bullants parents stormed the Templestowe Reserve oval after a stirring come from behind victory, securing a second grand final birth in consecutive years.
After easily accounting for the Bullants twice during the season, St Mary’s were always going to be tough opponent and the under 13’s knew it wasn't going to be easy. St Mary’s started the game in dominant fashion, doing most of the attacking and with their marking power on full display. Fortunately, they couldn’t convert early, with the Bullants defensive pressure causing several rushed behinds and pressured shots at goal. Capper, Josh and Phoenix were prominent in the middle, while Ben was at his very best at full back and Jack was switched on up forward, timing his leads and looking dangerous. At quarter time St Mary’s led 0.6.6 to 0.2.2.
St Mary’s turned up the heat in the second quarter, and finally kicked the game's first goal after a miskick was marked at the top of the square by their big full forward. St Mary’s continued to look dangerous, with Ben (fantastic repeat efforts), Harry (continually putting his head over the ball) and Oscar (reading the play and taking intercept marks) keeping the Bullants in it. Nater’s work rate and attack on the footy helped shift momentum, and the Bullants snagged one back when Liam assessed a congested forward line perfectly, finding Jack at the top of the square with a beautifully weighted kick which cleared the main pack. St Mary’s hit back just before half time after a controversial free kick resulted in an easy shot on goal, and at half time St Mary’s had extended their lead 2.7.19 to the Bullants 1.2.8
Another goal to St Mary’s to start the third quarter, and things were looking grim. However, the work rate of Lucas, Josh and Phoenix was fantastic, and then against the flow of play, Coen snapped goal of the day from 35 metres after “contested ball beast” Nater out worked the entire St Mary's midfield and forced the ball inside 50. Brody was great taking a turn in the ruck and Capper continued his great form.
13 points down at the three quarter time huddle...
The final quarter was a red and white blur. As Coach Phil told the boys after the game - it was all belief. It started with Makaio in the ruck providing first use, and then Rooey finding Liam inside 50, with Liam's usual composure on display as he slotted the essential first goal of the final term. St Mary's hit back, and having isolated their full forward inside 50, Oscar took 2 great (match saving) marks in as many minutes as the last line of defence to deny their match winner, and make sure his 50th game was memorable on lots of levels. Lauchie and Ben continued to deny St Mary’s deep entries, and Josh and Nater seemed to be at every contest. St Mary's started to wobble, and when the great man Brody smothered a St Mary's kick from inside our congested goal square, and then quickly gather and convert - the boys were 1 point down with 5 minutes to play. The Bullants were a runaway train, and almost immediately, Josh sealed the game with another goal and the Bullants were up by 5. The boys kept attacking and were unlucky not to add a 6th when Liam took a free with 3 minutes to go, kicking a poster from distance. It was an amazing fightback and showed the persistence and character that personifies this group.
Final siren. Bullants 5.3.33 defeated St Mary’s 3.9.27. And the parents stormed the ground....