Norwood pocketed their 2nd win of the 2017 season on Saturday with a comfortable if somewhat uninspiring 33 point over Montrose at Mullum Reserve.  While never reaching great heights as a match, the win adds momentum to our season and sees us occupy 6th position on the ladder after 5 rounds, albeit with just the 2 wins.  With the Development squad and Colts also registering strong wins, the club saluted for their 2nd successive “Wooders Day” which can only help self-belief and bring reward and justification for the hard work being done, not to mention a positive vibe around the place.  It’s a lot easier fronting up for recovery and training with a big fat W in your pocket.

The senior game began in pleasant Autumn conditions with a gentle breeze blowing downhill away from Mullum Rd and it was Montrose doing all the attacking early to that end.  With our boys unable to get hands on the ball and also struggling to contain Montrose at the clearance, we were on the back foot all quarter.  On a rare sortie into our forward line Darin Stewart marked and goalled, but it would be our only score for the quarter. To compound matters, power forward Trent Shinners received a deep cut to his head in a marking duel and would be consigned to the bench.  With trainers unable to contain the bleeding, and no doctor available to apply stitches, Shinners would be forced off to hospital and take no further part in the game.    At 1/4T we trailed 1.0 – 3.3 and needed to find a spark.

We didn’t get it early in the 2nd quarter as 13 minutes elapsed with just one point scored.  But finally a clearance from a stoppage at centre half forward saw Rej Jordon find space and slot our first for the quarter.  Soon after from another stoppage in our F50 a sharp handpass from Joel Narburgs found Jason Kroussouatis who snapped truly to close the gap to a couple of points.  Montrose conjured a goal to put a small gap between us but late in the quarter Narburgs slipped a quick kick to Leroy who marked and goalled from a tight angle 40m out.  Soon after, with just seconds to go to the siren Stewart launched a high kick inside 50.  With a lot of ground to make Leroy launched himself at the contest ant took the kind of grab that makes him not only clearly the premier forward in EFL, but also brings a lot of people to the local footy, this correspondent amongst them.  His kick after the siren drifted in on the breeze and was ridden home by the Norwood faithful to give us a somewhat undeserved 3 point lead at half-time, 5.1 – 4.4.

The 3rd quarter saw the contest decided as the home team began to control the game.  Michael Wright had been instrumental with his relentless in and under game and supported by Gouldy’s equally hard work this opened the game up for the the likes of Kreuzzer to impact the game.   With Montrose becoming increasingly nervous every time the ball went near Leroy, he was shoved out of a marking contest at the 5 minute mark and converted coolly to increase the lead to 10 points. Montrose scored the next but it would be their only goal for the quarter as we began to flex our muscles.  In one of several great passages of play in this quarter Rej attacked a ball on the wing, gathered cleanly and dished to Gouldy who found Corey Quinlivan.  His kick to the dead pocket saw Leroy outmark his two opponents.  From 30m deep in that pocket there have been many many attempts at goal over the years, very few of them successful, but Leroy’s kicking this year has been exceptional and he made no mistake. From the next clearance Blair Hudson got an important hand on a Montrose handball. Following up, he saw Rej spin out of a pack and release Gouldy.  With opportunity beckoning Hudson streamed past Gouldy and received the ball, sped towards goal, steadied on his left and scored a goal-of-the-day contender from 30m. a minute later another attacking phase saw Skave camped at Leroys feet. Mounting his own case for goal-of-the-day, he took control of the ball from the spillage, feinted one way, went the other and calmly let loose a perfectly controlled check-side which curved back straight through the middle.  We had scored 3 goals in 3 minutes to effectively end the contest.  Late in the quarter Kreuzzer burst through a pack at true centre-half forward and set sail for goal.  His low drop punt was never going anywhere else.  At 3/4T we had a very handy lead, 10.3 – 6.6, only 21 points, but it seemed comfortable.

Any doubts that may have lingered about the result of this game were put to bed early in the last quarter.  Rej, who had been lively across half-forward, won another ball and pumped it deep where Stewart toe-poked it into the path of Leroy who gathered and slammed it through from the goalsquare for his 5th and our 11th as the lead got out to 27 points.  Moments later Rej’s hard work was personally rewarded as after a series of repeat leads he was fed by Gouldy 40m out.  His kick was true and his customary celebration well received as always.  This had begun to look like a real percentage booster when Westy took possession in the middle and spotted Narburgs leading forward with his man under the ball.  Joel took possession, turned towards goal and took 4 or 5 loping strides before slotting our 13th on the run.  There was an admirable touch of ‘Rej’ to his extended arms celebration.  The crowd could smell blood but the players could muster no more, perhaps disadvantaged by lack of rotations on the bench as Skave had joined Shinners on the sidelines at 3/4T, not to return with a knock to the hip.  The game petered out and Montrose had the best of the last 15 minutes, but they lodged only one goal and had several easy misses which would have reduced the margin.  When the siren rang we had emerged 33 point victors.

Norwood 13.7.85 (Leroy 5, Rej 2 Kreuzzer 2, Narburgs, Skave, Hudson Stewart 1 each) d Montrose 7.10.52

Best players on the day included Writter, whose hard work in the first 3 quarters helped decide the contest.  Kreuzzer is in fine form, playing clean one-touch footy which almost always results in scoring opportunities while Jesse Newman reminded us just how good he is at full-back with his best game for the year.  Leroy with 5 was influential through the middle of the game and Joel Narburgs effort on one of the best (and biggest) ruckmen in the competition was admirable, using his athleticism to get around the ground and make extra options. Fingers and Rej played the sort of games you expect from classy professionals.

We head to East Ringwood next week for a game which will be by no means easy.  We have the opportunity to right the ledger at 3-3 and get the season right back on track –  its one not to be missed.

Go Wooders.