Last home and away match already? Sure is, and on behalf of the club I would firstly like to say a BIG THANK-YOU to all our coaches, team managers, weekly helpers and volunteers that make it all possible to field 12 teams each and every week throughout the entire season, of which for many commenced with pre-season training way back in October 2016! Without your selfless efforts, time given and sheer desire to give our kids the opportunity to be part of something so special in their development and life long memories, it simply wouldn’t happen.
I would also like to congratulate our Colts 1, Under 15’s, Under 12’s and Under 11’s for making the finals commencing this Sunday, August 13, with all the match details available through the normal channels. Would love everyone across the club don the Mighty Red of the Bullants and get to as many games as you can in support of our fellow teams and cheer as loud as you can. Congratulations to you all and good luck! Do the club proud and be the best you can.End of season family pizza night
They say pictures tell a thousand words, and 110 pizzas later fair to say, it was a very successful night indeed at the PCO Grandstand function room. What started with a slow build up quickly became a fantastic night of fun laughter, storytelling and a good old catch up as close to 300 people turned up to see the home and away season out, and to hear directly from the club’s coaches who had a summary to share with each of us as Dom Vaiano, our director of coaching went through their individual seasons with them. Check these out!
Russell Lambert Club Person of the Year Award 2017
Mr Russell Lambert is one of our club co-founders who laid a monumental foundation for us today to build on. The annual club person of the year award is awarded to an individual who is both selfless and generous with their time, an individual who just can’t seem to do enough for the club off their own back, an individual who is present at all functions, games and simply has a passion for such a wonderful family club. This year’s Russell Lambert Club Person of the Year Award was selected by the committee unanimously and was awarded to Mr Ray Clark.
Ray recently coached the 2016 U11’s team, who he himself gave up time to do and then opted to step aside to allow the group to develop further. Not only was he a wonderful well respected coach, but with the same group, rather than walk away, Ray filled in countless roles, from trainer, to water carrier to anything that was asked of him by either of the coaches or team manager - he just cannot volunteer quick enough. Ray also kindly donated his time and money to assist the club with not 1, but all 3 banners that we now use, saving the club plenty in future materials we would normally purchase for the older style banners.
Ray, you are a gem and well loved by all those you come across. A fitting reward for a truly generous, kind hearted, loving family man. Congratulations to you Ray and thank you for all that you do.
Preston Connected Community event
Club Secretary Suki Styant-Browne, along with Club Treasurer Mark Giuliano and I, attended the Preston Connected Community event mid-week, which was hosted at the PCO Grandstand Function Centre. This is where the club was awarded a $2000 grant to help bolster our funding of the SALT (Sports and life training) program, which was expanded this year to include of course our wonderful girls teams.
It is with a huge thank you to the Preston Connected Community group and the Mighty Northern Blues that we received this grant along with community sponsor Bendigo Bank, who do great things with all local community groups. The ability to have an influence on so many young children and to provide support to them as they develop into teenagers and young adults is of vital importance, as is the continued growth of the culture within the club, and the SALT program is one we will stick with for some time yet.
Follow this link and have a quick look (1 min video) of what it is the money is to be used for and give the Preston Connected Community FB page a “like” while you’re there:
So it has been another big week at the club and I would again like to thank all involved for making it happen. Good luck to our teams in the finals and remember, wear the Bullants jumper with pride and honour for the symbol on the front is more important than the number on the back…
Go the Mighty Preston Bullants!!
Preston Bullants JFC
Best of luck to all teams participating in finals this Sunday - U11, U12, U15 and Colts 1. All your hard work has certainly paid off this season.
High drama rocked the Under 9 Tackers White team in the lead up to our final game. Our star forward Sonny was expected to be out after spending time at the Austin on Friday night with a sprained ankle. I had to check my glasses twice when I saw Sonny turn up to the game in playing gear. I then realised I don’t wear glasses, and figured I was in some sort of alternate universe because we really didn’t think he would be playing.
Our final game for the year was an away game against Brunswick W on a bitterly cold morning, but the kids got some news prior to the bounce that put any thoughts of cold out of their minds – they would be playing on a full field for the first time!
Earlier in the year, we had the closest of wins against this same Brunswick team, and they clearly wanted to reverse the result. With a howling wind at their backs, Brunswick through their superstar forward got off to a blinding start, and very quickly had the Bullants on their heels. The Brunswick team scored first, but hard work in the backline through Josh, Ethan and Brock got the ball into the midfield, and the hardest working midfield in the comp in Zac, Oscar and Archie, did as they have done all year and delivered the ball nicely to the forward line for a quick goal back to Sonny. I also feel it is the best midfield in the comp, but that could be my bias. Patrick was in the middle of everything and really showing his characteristic toughness.
Brunswick scored several more goals in the quarter and had a sizeable lead, before the Bullants came again in a final push before the bell. The forwards were doing their level best to get Phoenix and Ella their first goals for the season, but the wind against them was making it difficult. Brunswick only had 14 players, so the decision was made to loan two of the Bullants so everyone would get a game. Ned, who was on loan to Brunswick, was on a mission to make the Bullants regret the decision. He was making it hard for the Bullants to play the free-flowing game they like. Down by a couple of goals at quarter time and we clearly had some work to do.
After a tough quarter, an inspirational coaches talk was needed and boy did Adrian deliver. I saw several of the parents in tears and overcome with emotion. Anyway, the Bullants wasted no time in getting to work in the second quarter. Sonny was on fire and using the wind to his advantage. Noah was also busy, and clearly had a score to settle with his older brother who was goal umpire. Geez Noah was making him work. Phoenix was getting close to his first goal, and let fly with quite possibly the biggest bomb of the day, only for the ball to be stopped by the post. This kick would have gone over 50 without the posts interference! So after a cracking second quarter, the Bullants were up at half time, but the team knew there was more work to do, especially with the championship quarter coming up in the third.
Adrian put in another solid pep talk, but it was the key comments and insights from Sam that got the team thinking about their job at hand. The third quarter was a brilliant display of shutdown and spoiling defence by the Bullants, who knew that Brunswick Dragons had the wind at their backs. Jack and Tom anchored the backline and put in a superb defensive effort to nullify any scoring efforts that the opposition threw at them. Our ‘Chief Terrier’ Edwin again spoiled any attack that came his way and the determination shown by Josh in chasing down his opposite number was rock solid. Ethan was working himself to a standstill.
Oscar came up to me at three quarter time puffing from exhaustion and told me he had done BOTH his hammies. After a quick snake and a couple of oranges, he jogged back into position. Nothing stops this kid, not even two stuffed hammies.
With the Bullants taking a 2 goal advantage into the fourth quarter, it was do or die. Brunswick peppered the Bullants goal line early, and in what was probably the play of the day, Patrick showed an extremely high footy IQ rushing a behind. It might not sound like much, but at such a crucial part of the game, to show the poise to think quickly was special, plus this kid is only 7 years old. From the ensuing kick restart, Tom delivered a towering punt that went straight over the backs and into the midfield, and from there the midfield and forwards controlled the game. Jakob was doing his brilliant best to not let anything past him and Kade, well Kade was a tower of strength in the middle taking several strong marks. Liam who was seen shivering through a few of the coach’s pep talks was running like a man possessed and showing off his silky-smooth skills with great passing and safe marks. Brock stuck to his man throughout the fourth quarter and ensured that his opposing number was not getting the ball.
It was a great day and the Bullants got the win. Opposition coach gave the medal to Phoenix for his big day out in the forward line, and Ella got the Bullants Coach award for relentless effort.
It was a fitting way to finish the year, and we are all looking forward to the 2018 season.
A special thanks to all the parents this year for all the effort. I am sure the kids will remember this season for a long time.
Brunswick v Preston Bullants at Clifton Park. How quickly the last game of the year came upon us. We met Brunswick at home in cold and blustery conditions. Lucky the change rooms were heated. Our boys seemed a little distracted before the game. Maybe the upcoming pizza and burger night was at the forefront of their minds. For the second time this year we played a full-sized ground and both teams ran the lines hard. It was Brunswick kicking with a strong wind and they hit the scoreboard a couple of times for the quarter. Our usual suspects in The Stoj, Christian, Daniel, Sid and Barnaby were all trying their hearts out. Dylan played the first quarter for the opposition and set up their first goal. I love how our boys have put up their hands throughout the year without a single moan or groan to play for the opposition if they are short on players. To me that is what junior football is about. Sportsmanship, understanding the game, looking after your mates and improving each week.
The second quarter saw us claw our way back into the contest. This seems to happen week in and week out. The boys always find an extra effort when they have their backs against the wall – a magnificent trait to have in football and life in general. This quarter will go down as a special one for the year. Apart from playing some excellent team football, we had Jacko lose a tooth in a collision. Lucky it was a baby tooth and he was back on soon after the incident. It was also lucky I wasn’t wearing my white Jamie Elliot boots as there was a fair bit of blood. Not sure if the tooth fairy pays out in such conditions. The player of the term was Barnaby, who in the last half of the season has played some sensational football in all positions. He kicked a long drop punt goal that Buddy Franklin himself would have been proud of. I honestly could not tell you which position suits Barn the best as he has dominated in all three zones. Well done Barn.
The third quarter saw us change the team around, primarily to rest up our original mids who needed a breather after playing on the full-sized ground. Alex went to his favorite position at centre half back with immediate success. His spoiling reminded me of a young Gavin Wanganeen at Essendon. Lachy also went to the backline and together the boys were responsible for saving half a dozen forward entries by Brunswick. Lachlan is another player who has developed in all aspects of the game in recent weeks. And to think he will be playing in under 9s again next year. Look out opposition! Daniel, Sid and Christian are fast becoming Mr Reliables with all three giving consistent performances during games. Daniel and Sid use speed and long kicking to great effect while Christian seems to have time in tight situations. Good stuff boys.
The last quarter was a blur to be honest. The rain started tumbling down but the boys from both teams kept battling on. Running alongside them on the ground and seeing them from close proximity really shows me how much the game means to them. The way they look after their team mates and the way they communicate with each other is pretty special. As the season went on I deliberately gave them fewer instructions on the field in an attempt to get them ready for next year’s step up to under 10s. Back to the footy, Sam had a solid last term. He is just so ferocious around the contest and at the football. The siren went and Brunswick probably was a little too strong for us on the day but as always the boys’ effort can never be questioned. Daniel won the opposition medal for his solid four quarter performance and the boys sang the song for one last time in 2017.
Football clubs and football teams don’t just happen. A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes. I have been lucky enough to be involved with three teams this year – under 9 boys, under 12 girls and under 16 girls. Every one of those teams has dedicated parents whose jobs sometimes go unrewarded. But it is the hard work of these people that allowed me to only worry about coaching. Honestly, I see the coaching as the easiest of all jobs. In the under 9s a special thank you goes to Dave Debono who has been assistant coach all year. Without Dave and his excel spreadsheet I would be pulling my hair out. And that would take a while. Steve Ferraro has been awesome as trainer and another assistant on training days. Mark Wakeham started off as team manager and did a fantastic job keeping us all organised as well as the kids. This role was taken over by Simon Thomas towards the end of the year and the transition was seamless. Also thanks to Nic Rush who assisted as trainer when his timetable allowed. Thanks to Melissa McCarthy who runs the uniform shop and is just about our number one supporter. I would also like to thank my partner Lesley Harding for her support and help throughout the season. Finally I would like to thank the boys who made my year an enjoyable one. They have all shown terrific improvement and as much as I might have grumbled and yelled at them at different times I loved every minute I spent coaching them.
What an unbelievable year these boys have had and no surprise that in our Lightning Premiership round they delivered more amazing feats!
To understand what occurred last Sunday it is important to recap and celebrate the U10’s 2017 season.
A mere 18 weeks ago after some scrappy practice matches, I recall Simon and I having a conversation about how we were going to get these boys playing any sort of cohesive and competitive football. I honestly thought we were in trouble and regretted not starting pre-season sooner. A loss to West Preston in the Hocking Stuart Cup did nothing to ease my concerns. We had talent. We had individual performances but we had kids who hadn’t played together as Tackers as well as some new to the club. This lack of familiarity showed on the field. Starting our season in Green Division also had me worried… Then the kids started teaching me lessons.
4 Wins from the first 4 grading matches, often coming from behind, they always seemed to find a way, every victory bringing the team closer together. Each week they hit the track harder and soaked up drills and advice from the coaches. Each win driving their desire for more success.
Promotion to Brown division. Worried about going up a grade but no good reason not to give it a crack. I recall asking the kids how committed they were and that we were not going up to Brown “just to make up numbers”. Their desire grew even more and Richmond bore the brunt of it the following week. Round 6 and Surrey Park brought us back to earth, a brave loss but maybe one we had to have and the team was closer and stronger for it. Whitehorse and Warrandyte were next to fall, before Banyule taught us a lesson about playing to the conditions. Round 10 and Park Orchards found out who wanted it more as we took them apart in the frost, Bullants bonds even stronger for fighting through adversity together. Another brave loss to the giant Kew Comets but we had them worried all game….again Richmond paid the price the following week. Then Round 13 “Redemption Round” against Surrey Park. The collective desire of twenty four 10 year olds to exact some sort of justice was palpable. If there was a game that epitomises their season it was this. The teamwork, the shared belief and the shared desire never more apparent.
And so with a record of 10 wins, 3 losses in Brown division, the home and away season was done for us. The shared experiences of largely playing away, the dodgy grounds, the frost and rain and cold and all the season threw at them…the team that emerged was nothing like the one we started with. It was a Bullant Brotherhood, unselfish, full of confidence, self-belief and desire.
Game 1 v Whitehorse. First half saw all the play in our forward 50 going with the wind. Hamish, Tom, Ziggy and Tamer peppered the goals but whether it was the early start or the tricky wind we only managed 2:4:16 for the 10min half. The midfield was working well and the forward line’s defensive mindset to lock it in from the kick outs was impressive. In the second, Whitehorse took advantage of the wind and put us under immense pressure. Despite impressive runs and fierce tackles from our boys, Whitehorse kicked 2 quick goals and looked like they would get a run on. Dominic, Marcus, Callum and Harry went up a gear while down back, Tommy G was impressive as always. Ably supported by Issy, Cameron and Woody, the backline kept up the pressure and restricted Whitehorse to 2:3:15. It was the Bullants by a point and our premiership campaign was on track by the narrowest of margins.
Game 2 v Kew Comets. With an hour break we got to work on a plan for taking on the tall Kew side. When we last met we had given a good account of ourselves but were out-marked in the packs. Today we would run, carry, kick short to leading targets and use our pace to effect. There could be no long bombs to packs and we would have to fight and defend like never before. Ned was given a sweeping defender role, running from wing to defence when they had the wind and Simon quietly went around the group giving each player their instructions and role. Into the wind, the Bullants gave it their all, taking on their bigger opponents and sticking to the plan. Into the wind we had plenty of action in our forward 50 but couldn’t manage a score. More importantly, for that crucial 10minutes, we denied Kew an opportunity and went into the break 0 all, right where we wanted them. The maturity and ability to follow such a specific game plan speaks volumes of how far the team had come. There was a quiet confidence at half time that we could do something that a few weeks ago would have been deemed impossible. If Kew had been worried about our run and carry game in the first half, the Bullants blew them away in the second. The pace of our midfield was well supported by accurate short passing, hard leading and tight defence. Xavier and Pablo providing perfect examples by hitting targets and tackles to get us out of trouble. Pure pace, desire and relentless pressure saw opportunities to Tom, Ned and Marcus in front of goal…all of them missing with quick kicks, but any score would do. With 3 behinds to 0 the Bullants had done the impossible!
Game 3 v Surrey Park. 7 days ago in a hard hitting affair, the Bullants had taken Surrey to task and come out victors by 19 points. We had spoken then about how Surrey might feel facing us again in the Lightning Premiership…with only minutes to catch their breath, our mighty team took to the field again. The fierce determination seen last week was now coupled with a Bullant side full of confidence. They knew how to play the ground and conditions and they knew how to play as a team….Surrey Park never had a chance. Out hard, the Bullants drove forward and within minutes Andre weaved out of the pack and snapped truly. Surrey responded quickly only to be outclassed and out muscled by “Full Back of the Century” Tommy G whose 2nd and 3rd efforts constantly denied his opponents the ball. All around the ground, Bullants followed suit….they were a joy to watch and the collective effort soon saw the ball in our forward line, again in the safe hands of Andre. Into the break, Bullants 2:1:13 to Surrey 0:0:0. “10 more minutes! Leave it all out on the ground and you will be in a Grand Final!” They had already achieved so much yet we asked for more…and this mighty team delivered. Hamish opened the second half with a lovely goal into the wind before Surrey rallied. Dom, Tom, Marcus, Harry, Joe and Hamish hunted in packs, tackling fiercely all over the ground while Kes, Woody, Xavier, Jake and Tommy G defended bravely. Surrey managed 2:1:13 but were made to earn every point….late runs by Sam and Harry almost got us within scoring distance again before the siren sounded. The Bullants achieving a spot in their first Grand Final with a 6 point win.
We now had 45 minutes to regroup, recharge and find out who we were going to face…whispers around the ground were that it would likely be old foes Banyule.
I must admit that what followed is a bit of a blur. Coaches huddled over the team board and set the sides up for the 4th and final game of the day….we stuck to the tried and tested and started getting around the boys. To get to this point was amazing. No matter what the outcome, we were proud beyond words for what they had done today and all season. In my heart of hearts I wanted one more win for them…no greater deserving group of kids. Having given so much and worked so hard I wasn’t sure what was left in their collective tanks.
Grand Final v Banyule. This game really is a blur. Banyule won the toss and kicked with the wind. Callum, Ned, Tommy G were enormous in defence and, as they had done all day, every Bullant player rose to the occasion and fought for every possession. With the wind advantage, Banyule kicked 1:3:9 for the half. Entirely achievable, I dared a fleeting thought….We really could do this…. Again, every Bullant played their heart out. Faces were red and some pace was lost but still they fought on. Hamish and Tom troubled the scorers early, both kicks wide for behinds but the play and momentum was ours. Then on the far wing a Banyule player went down, Trainers in attendance, the clock kept ticking. More play in our attacking half, another player down, more time lost. Tommy G urged to run forward and assist with the attack, ball deep in our forward 50……Siren. Banyule by 7points.
The image of the pain, anguish and tears on our boys' faces will stay with me for a long time. They had given their all, as they had all season. They had played tough, fair footy as a united unselfish team. With their arms around each other they shared their grief as they had shared their successes. Tears in my own eyes I tried to console them, remind them of their fantastic achievements, of how proud we all were of them. We tried to sing our song and found it’s hard to do when you’re crying. We will reconvene in the coming weeks to celebrate and reflect on a fantastic year and look ahead with excitement.
They are brothers now. United by everything they have achieved together. The proud, confident and cohesive group that emerged today, a far cry from the boys who took the field back in April.
A huge thank you to Simon for his football wisdom and time mentoring me as well as our boys! To Paul for making our boys safety a priority and for his tireless help at training and game days. Chris, all be it a bit “part time” this year, still one of the best TM’s going around! Thanks for your support and help for another year. Rob, despite juggling business (everyone get around Mr Griffiths 524 Macaulay Rd, Kensington – Best Burgers and Poutine in town!) thanks for your support again. Finally to all of the great Mums and Dads who helped at training, game days, rode the highs and lows and showed your support in so many ways….thank you for letting me have your boys for a few hours each week. They are a fantastic bunch of young men who are a credit to you and to our club.
Proud Coach as always. Scott.
|Ashburton R||Preston Bullants|
The Under 11 Bullants welcomed Surrey Park to PCO last Sunday. It was fantastic to finally be back home; what a difference it makes to play on home turf! The result of this game was going to decide who went through to the finals, Surrey Park or the Bullants. Understandably, many were calling it the game of the season. If the truth be told, the Bullants have been playing ‘the game of the season’ for the last 5 rounds. Each of the last 5 rounds have been ‘make or break’ games to keep finals hopes alive. Round by round, the boys rose to the challenge, unnerved about what lay ahead and excited by the opportunity. Each game they won, clawing their way up the ladder to position themselves against a team who were also vying for a position in the top four. This has been a journey you would only read about.
Pat called a pre-game meeting in the centre circle of PCO. The players and coaching team looked each other in the eye and made a commitment to perform at our best on the day. Justifiably the boys were focussed on the outcome. Jodi reminded them that it wasn’t about the outcome, it was about the method and effort…’focus on the method and effort boys, and the outcome will take care of itself’. To add to the excitement, it was Rylan’s 50th game…congratulations Rylan! You are a tremendous asset to this team, continually delivering exemplary football and voluntarily taking on a leadership role at training and on match day. We are excited about what your future holds.
The team setup strong behind the ball, spread well and played intelligent football to open up the game and play their preferred run and carry style of football. They demonstrated to the Bullants supporters that they are understanding the game and how to play it to their advantage based on the conditions. Grady’s performance was outstanding, his willingness to regularly put his head over the ball, tackle, chase and support his team mates is a pleasure to watch. His determination to win, set the standard early for the Bullants, allowing them to open up the game with a strong lead. Well done Grady, best game we have seen you play to date! Jaxsyn has stepped up to the challenge over the last few rounds, his preparedness to work hard to gain possession and move the ball forward is pleasing. Will ‘the engine’ Hanlon…..wow! Dependably executing at a high intensity for four quarters with consistent accurate disposal and effective clearance and possessions. Thomas (TJ) showed his versatility by moving from the mid-field and wing to the half back flank. He held defence strong and when moving the ball forward he maintained possession with accurate disposal into the forward 50, a clean handler and polished finisher. Kalan kicked his first goal for the club that resulted in a well-deserved celebration. The display of camaraderie was momentous with all players on the field, even the backline, running forward to congratulate Kalan. It was a proud and spine tingling moment for the coaching team to watch such a display of solidarity.
The Bullants beat Surrey Park, 5.6.36 to 0.4.4. The Under 11 Bullants play in the first semi-final against Hawthorn Citizens on Sunday. The last time we met Hawthorn Citizens we were 1 win, 5 losses and we rose to the challenge and beat them by 31 points. However, as we all know too well, finals footy is a different game. All the teams in the finals have been prepared well from a skills and fitness perspective and have a sound understanding of how to read the play. Teams that win the finals are those who have the emotional intelligence and courage to work hard to be successful. Characteristics that many adults struggle with. Let’s all get behind our boys on Sunday, congratulate them on what they have achieved to date and give them the confidence to continue their journey.
|Preston Bullants||Hawthorn Citizens 3|
|Goal Kickers||Josh, Mahmoud, Jack, Lucas|
Preston Bullants hosted Hawthorn Citizens 3 at Preston City Oval for what was the final round of the 2017 home-and-away season, which also served as the 50-game milestone for four of our players; Harry, Nathan, Dion and Mahmoud.
In an encounter where the rain had threatened all game, the spotty drizzle and windy conditions made it hard for both teams to take control of the game. The Bullants took advantage of early momentum with a few shots at goal, but were unable to convert, kicking a few behinds until Josh was able to break through with the first goal of the match. Moments later, Mahmoud would add a second after winning a set shot from a strong contested mark. Dion was very persistent up forward with his second and third efforts, applying plenty of forward pressure.
Preston Bullants kept attacking the ball in the second quarter and Mahmoud continued to mark cleanly in spite of the wet conditions. With the pressure around the ball, Hawthorn Citizens 3 found it difficult to find avenues to escape, especially with the defence responding well to any clearance kicks. Harry in particular, pounced on an opposition kick that should have set up a transition to attack for Hawthorn Citizens 3, but instead set up a set shot for Jack to kick the Bullants’ third. Hawthorn Citizens 3 were able to respond moments later, kicking their first – and what would be their only goal of the match. They could have added a few more, but for the desperation showed by the Bullants’ defence, typified by Seb F who chased a bouncing ball kicked into space, against a leading Hawthorn Citizens forward closing in, who was unable to effect a clean shot due to the mounting pressure.
It was a bit of an arm wrestle after half-time, with very few scoring opportunities from either side. But again, the Bullants maintained their attack at the footy, with Lucas kicking the only goal of the third quarter. To their credit, Hawthorn Citizens 3 withstood a lot of the pressure, making sure any chances the Bullants had to score, weren’t straightforward and had to be earned. Lachie was instrumental in defence, ensuring there were repeated attempts as he intercepted a handful of opposition kicks to generate repeated forays forward.
Similarly, the last quarter was a low-scoring affair, with neither side able to add a major to their scores, despite continuous pressure from The Bullants, and Nathan with his physicality in the contest, even in the dying minutes of the game. This was a great 31-point win, one that cemented 2nd spot on the ladder, and a finals berth to prepare for in the coming week. Congratulations to Harry, Nathan, Dion and Mahmoud for their 50-game milestones, and also to the wider Bullants team for what has been a terrific season.
|Goal Kickers||J. Nicolo, J. Beker, L. Camilleri|
The Bullants Under 13 Team (players and parents) would like to wish the Under 11s, 12s, 15s and Colts 1 teams the best of luck in Finals.
Our boys arrived at CH Sullivan Memorial Park for their last match of the season against Parkside. They arrived very relaxed but excited and ready to get back to basics and have fun. This was to be the game that we come out with a clear understanding of our approach to the game, our attitude, and be ready to leave absolutely nothing in the tank.
With our two leaders Steven and Kristian setting the tone for the day, we entered the first quarter with the intent to unsettle the opposition and leave them bewildered. There is no denying Parkside's skills with the leather ball and they have had a great season this year, however the Bullants left them in a panic with their pressure and ball movement. It was magnificent to watch, with every Bullant member working hard and as one. Our midfield was winning most of the clearances, our forward line wasn't waiting long to receive the ball and our backline was always prepared to defend every contest.
It was fantastic to see the speed at which our Bullants boys were moving the ball all game, and how they were talking to one another. Even though Parkside slowly extended their lead each quarter, we never gave up and we can never ask for any more than that. The work ethic was tremendous across the board and even though Parkside continued to play good football, the Bullants never felt like the game was ever out of reach.
Our boys were awesome today, their two leaders had tough games with Steven having a blood nose in the first quarter and Kristian later in the day discovering he broke his big toe in the second quarter. Jordan was flying through the packs and finding space where there wasn't any, and Marcus was leading the backline with Felix. It's tough to not mention all the members of the Under 13s squad in today's game because everyone had some influence on the game at certain stages.
We can all be very proud of the boys and their performances in this game, but also for the whole season. We've asked a lot of them this year, from taking on more responsibility for their decision making on and off the field, as well as increasing their work ethic.
This season, the coaching group once again set out to develop the boys strategically, to encourage them to think about the game for themselves, and to learn every position on the ground. Going up a divison again, for the second year to Brown (Division 2) was a welcomed challenge and they worked hard all season, despite the steep learning curve. Position rotations continued, and the boys knowledge and understanding of every position improved; many of the boys now have a good understanding of what position(s) best suit their style of play and their indidivual strengths. The boys have shone this season and are very capable of playing and excelling in multiple positions.
The season came with some highs and lows on and off the field, but to see the boys come together and put consistent efforts into training twice a week, for six months, demonstrates their love and commitment to the sport, the club and most importantly, their team mates.
I would like to thank all parents for your help this year and a special mention to our Team Managers Lisa D'Ath and Meri Beker. To Craig D'Ath and Julian Morgan, thank you both for your assistance and time given to me and the boys this year. It's 6 months of training two nights a week, and 14 rounds of YJFL games that you both commit to, and I thank you for your efforts.
Boys, thank you all for your hard work this year and for a great season! Keep up the training in the off season and I hope you all return to play for the Bullants next season!
Go the Mighty Bullants
|Preston Bullants||Camberwell 1|
No report this week.
Well, in the last home and away game for the season our boys came up against Doncaster. Last time we met them we won comfortably, however the scoreboard didn’t really reflect Doncaster’s competitiveness.
In the first we started well with goals to Jackson and Sam. Brodie in his 100th game was right into everything, putting his body on the line repeatedly. However as the quarter rolled on Doncaster had worked their way back into it with number 18 for Doncaster showing us the way. Their forward entries resulted in multiple scoring attempts. Despite some desperate work from Ben in defence we trailed Doncaster by 15 points. Four goals to two in the first term.
In the second we had all the play early but our entries into forward 50 were easily thwarted by Doncaster’s very solid defence. Good skills for Preston from Jai at times, Brodie in hard again, strong kicks from Rhett and great marking from Jack Baddock. Jackson Kane our only goal scorer in the second. An even quarter a goal apiece to take the half time score to Preston 3.5.23 to 5.4.34, down by 11 at the major change.
The third quarter was all Doncaster and their desperation in hoping for a miracle way to make the finals seemed to be on display. Perhaps we were off a little and this gave Doncaster the inspiration to run away with the game. Three strong goals to nil in the quarter. Our standouts for the quarter once again Brodie, Jack Baddock and Ben.
In the final term it was fitting to see Brodie score a goal in his milestone game. Ange tried to make a few changes to the team to try and turn around our prospects. Sending Ted to full forward was our last hope and even then Doncaster were still on top. There was some interesting banter from the sidelines, with Michelle bringing Rob’s coaching role into question wanting to know what Ass(istant) Coach meant??Very funny stuff!
Doncaster too good for us today and their captain spoke really well after the game saying how excited he was to be playing at PCO, how lucky we are to have PCO, and how determined his boys were to finish on a high with a feint hope of finals. A game played in good spirits. That said we will need to be switched on against Beverley Hills in the finals if we want to continue our season on any further.
Last Sunday saw the girls in their final match of the season and up against a stronger Fitzroy team than they had defeated earlier in the season. The game was quite even up until the second half, when the Fitzroy team’s extended bench gave them the luxury of resting and rotating players. As has been the case all season, the girls made no excuses and battled their opponent right up to the final siren.
Congratulations to all the Under 16 girls who became part of the Bullants’ history this year. You have represented the club with enthusiasm and spirit, and have at all times been a credit to yourselves, your families and the club. The Bullants are a better club for your participation and you have shown all who have watched your games what junior sport should all be about.
I have really enjoyed being your coach this year, and want to thank George, Danette and Sofie for their invaluable contributions as coach and team managers. I sincerely hope and am relatively confident, that you will all return next year for another season in the Under 16s. Thank you to all the parents who offered their services each Sunday and completed roles that allowed the girls to play.
|Camberwell||Preston Bullants 1|
No report this week.
|Parkside W||Preston Bullants 2|
Playing against Parkside (who are on top of the ladder) was always going to be a challenge. Our best game for the year and with our captain Scatto out for the last game allowed Miles Rankin to take over the captaincy.
We managed to get two fill-ins for the day which took our numbers to seventeen. Unfortunately the last game didn’t pan out the way we would have liked. We were beaten soundly by a far better opposition. I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching all the boys without exception. I told the boys prior to the game that I admire their ability to persist and never give up and thanked them for making me grow as a mentor and a coach.
I would like to thank the Preston Bullants Committee for giving me this great opportunity.