When Shark looked at his magnetic board before the game he wasn’t filled with confidence. This rag-tag bunch of blokes was missing Lora, Skips, BG, Mouse, Benny, the Wiz, Sammy, Paddy, Lukey-Mac, Nicko, Swoopa, Smithy, Weisheit and Fitzy.  They were replaced by green newbies, Paddy and Ryan, plus a swarthy looking Heater and the irrepressible Richo. Ahhh Richo. That put Shark’s mind at ease a bit.

17 players who avoided any pre-season hill runs (thanks to Shark not turning up) took the field, led by Matty Seadon in his debut as skipper. Matty inspired with the words, “just implement what we’ve practised”. Unfortunately for many blokes, they interpreted this as late starts, early finishes and plenty of fluids.

Effort couldn’t be questioned. Clangers charged around the field bandaged and bloodied, and wouldn’t have looked out of place with some Braveheart face paint. Irish Paddy gave his absolute all, combining his bone-crunching hurling skills with some instinctive rugby passes. Cocker leapt from 10 rows back to punch the ball 40 metres forward. Browny and Riddles racked-up the stats, Heater bustled his way through the packs, Killa took a screamer, Seddo showed-off his captaincy credentials by running half the field to make a lead – that wasn’t honoured – Big Burnsy seemed to cover more ground than any of the small blokes and Richo was doing his best to replace everyone that was missing.

However, disposal efficiency was not a highlight for the 17 exhausted vets and turnovers gave Wantirna the chance to apply scoreboard pressure. Shark’s pre-game words of wisdom to “keep possession” were lost on this bunch.  He no doubt would have dragged half the team if he could. But he had no runner. And no bench.

So it was a valiant effort in the end to only lose by two goals and to stay a threat of winning right to the end, improving team chemistry as the game went on.  The match was played in great spirit by both sides, nobody got injured and the teams enjoyed very hospitable catering afterwards. Well done fellas on a great fun first round and a spirited performance.