Joey’s boys win Herald Sun Shield by a point!

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9 August 2016

By Jack Blood*, St Joseph’s College, Geelong, First XVIII Football Co-Captain

In a sporting nation like ours, there is no more hallowed ground than the MCG and in school boy footy,
there is no more highly valued prize than the HeraldImage 1 - Herald Sun Shield. Image 2 - the Joeys boys when the final siren sounded. Image 3 - the Joeys boys with the Herald Sun Shield. Sun Shield. On 30 July 2016, in front of a supportive crowd of family and friends, and curtain raiser to the Collingwood versus West Coast AFL match, the Joey’s First XVIII did what we hadn’t done since 2006: we won the Grand Final against the highly fancied St Patrick’s College, Ballarat.

It was a match that both sides could be proud of. Fiercely competitive from the first bounce to the last, there was little to separate the two sides. The St Joseph’s midfield dominated in the early parts of the game, putting a lot of pressure on the St Patrick’s boys and giving the forwards every opportunity to capitalise. Some wayward SJC kicking and some tough defence from the Ballarat students meant that at the end of the first quarter, scores were level at 1.7.13 to 2.1.13.

The second and third quarters were also characterised by both teams giving their very best. The Joey’s defence held up well against the might of St Pat’s and our forward line steadied to kick a stream of goals. Additionally, our midfield combined well with forward movement and transitioned well to help out in defence.

Although we led at every quarter the match came down to the final ten seconds. When St Pat’s marked inside the 50m line, we thought that all our dreams were about to be shattered. When their final kick sailed out on the full, the siren sounded and stadium erupted. It was then that we realised our dream of playing on the MCG AND winning had been realised. As awful and as tragic a moment as it was for them, it was a joyful and spine-tingling moment for us.

Both schools deserve credit and acknowledgment for playing such a high calibre game in the spirit of sportsmanship. Hasker Dawborn, the St Patrick’s Captain, and Howard Clark, the Head Coach, though disappointed with the end result, ought to be justifiably proud of the Ballarat team.

For the Geelong boys, it is a tribute to a lot of work from a lot of people that we were able to achieve this feat. Throughout the year, we have given our best in every match, with 50 players being called upon during the 10 game season and all of them contributing and standing up when needed.

For me, what stands out most has been the mateship. We bonded as a squad and were so lucky to have each other. We were a united squad of Year 11 and 12 students. We always wanted the best for each other and pushed each other to be our best all year. Along with my co-captain, Darby Schilder, we feel so grateful to have worked with such great blokes.

We were also lucky to have had two great coaches in Mr Chris Lynch and Mr Jono Holt. Both of these men went above and beyond the call of duty; they were always there to encourage us, to support us and to challenge us. They challenged us to be better players and challenged us to be better men. I know that all the players really appreciate what they did for us and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

To play on the ‘G’ with our mates and to be surrounded by our friends and families is something none of us will ever forget. Long after the final siren has sounded and the jerseys have been put away for the final time, the memories of that one day in July will linger for ever.

* Jack Blood was awarded the Neale Daniher medal for Best on Ground in the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final. 

For further information, videos, photos and match reports on the First XVIII and Year 10 football seasons,visit the St Joseph’s College football website or watch the mini movie below.