By Frank Seal
Coming off a refreshing bye, Olinda’s senior women faced a major test on an icy Saturday morning in Belgrave. The club suffered a disappointing round 8 defeat to the in-form Healesville outfit just three weeks ago, and this round 10 clash saw a great opportunity to respond to the rival bloods.
It was a territory battle from the start, the team that cleared the ball forward looked to have the upper hand and it was Healesville showing more class and poise in the contest. Olinda’s effort was positive, yet two damaging Healesville goals in the first quarter established an early uphill climb for Olinda in what was a scrappy, contested battle.
Returning from injuries, Lily Carlin and Kiah Burgess were finding their groove, while usual suspects Claire Hyett and Maddy Collins were giving their all to help lift their side. Each defender was holding up under intense Healesville pressure and Amalija Kostich was gaining high amounts of territory off her boot, but Olinda just couldn’t impact the scoreboard against quality opposition. Healesville was breaking away through the middle section of the match, only to be stopped by a devastating injury which forced play to halt and saw Healesville come out 50-0 victors, giving Olinda plenty to work on through the week.
Olinda’s senior men faced a significant challenge at home against the 2nd placed Wandin, hoping to improve their season record to 5-3 in perfect conditions. On a momentous week for football, both teams were kitted in a special pair of MND-themed socks, and after a special, commemorative pre-game message from fellow blood, Peter Gough, Olinda were ready to leave it all on the football field for the next two hours.
Wandin came out the blocks hungrier, crashing through every contest and challenging Olinda’s ‘one-touch’ ability from the start, as coach Brendan Donovan predicted. Some straight kicking and goal of the year contenders early saw Wandin impact the scoreboard early and give themselves a 16-point quarter-time lead, as Olinda’s inaccuracy in front of goal was becoming an untimely worry.
Olinda moved the ball quicker through the second term, but too much was being left to too few. Kelsey Currie was clean at ground-level, Dale Rohrmann’s defensive contests were halting Wandin’s offensive flow, and the forwards were being offered some gifts from the goal-square to tighten the margin at half-time. But the bloods were far from their best.
Two straight kicks separated the teams entering the second half, and the third quarter was a back and forth set-shot shoot-out. Both midfields dominated in patches, winning clean handballs, and gaining territory from seemingly stoppage. Lachy Taylor was clunking everything, as was Josh Wallis, who was enjoying his time down forward, but the goal-kicking woes were proving a significant factor. 2 goals and 7 behinds for the quarter saw Olinda inch closer, and thanks to some set shot misses from their opponent, it was only a 9-point game entering the fourth.
Through sheer talent and will from Olinda’s stars, the bloods jumped the dogs in the fourth and took the lead early thanks to two crucial goals, including a massive set shot roost from an inspired Matt Rosier. A three-point lead was not going to be enough to hold on however, Olinda needed to extend the margin. Refusing to let go of the game, Wandin continued their hard-nosed contested football, and were showing poise with their disposal, delivering the ball to their talls, limiting any Olinda chance to spoil. Some devastating late-game set shots sailed over the Wandin goals and proved too much for our bloods, who couldn’t respond in time, falling to the dogs by 9-16-70 to 12-15-87 in a heartbreaker.
In other results, the Olinda reserves defeated Wandin 12-11-83 to 2-10-22, while the U/19s had a bye.