Norwood snapped a two game losing streak in fine style with a thumping 58 point thrashing of upcoming finalists Blackburn at home on Saturday.  In what was undoubtedly our best win of the year, we led from start to finish, turning a handy 26 point half time lead into a commanding 60 point lead at 3/4T with a huge 8 goal third term, before coasting home in the last.  Coupled with a courageous win by the U19s against a 2nd placed opponent, the two wins gave the clubrooms a real boost post match, a feeling which has been absent all too often this year.  Drinks were flowing and there were smiles all-round.  Amazing what a win can do…  With one finalist scalp under our belt, we can now rest up with the bye this week before tackling another one – Noble Park, next game.

We began the game on a cold but clear winter’s day without an obvious ruckman as Skave took the first bounce.  It soon became clear that he, Leroy and Trent Shinners would do a 3-way swap between ruck, CHF and Full-forward all day.  Against a well regarded opponent it appeared to be a gamble, but there weren’t many other choices due to injury.  The move paid off spectacularly, with Skave scoring the first goal in the opening 2 minutes after a free paid downfield when Josh Buceto was collected late.  Skave would take a couple of great marks in the next few minutes as he began to exert an enormous influence on the game.  13 minutes in Bish was taken high and Zak Carroll took the advantage squirting one through from 30m.  Blackburn kicked their first at the 15m mark but they would not score again in the quarter.  We dominated and should have scored more, Shinners missing and Rej with a  mark-of the year contender at the 22m mark when he took flight over his opponent and hung in the air interminably in completing a magnificent grab.  Sadly, he missed the conversion from 40m. Skave was at it again from that kick-in with a great handball which set Blair Hudson free for a snap from 35 which found the mark.  From the next clearance we looked good again as Gouldy found an unguarded Matt Jessop who streamed in from 35m but couldn’t register a major which we really deserved given the run of play. At 1/4T we led by 14 points. 35 – 1.3 . Coach Denis Knight was up and about at the break, reflecting the mood of the whole team, praising them for their efforts – particularly Mat Aver’s shut down job on key forward Hammond.

Josh Buceto opened the 2nd quarter with a nice snap from 25m after attacking a loose ball and breaking a tackle, with Leroy, Skave and Trent prominent in the build up.  Blackburn responded at the 7m mark with a lucky holding the ball free when Corey Quinlivan had had no prior opportunity.  10 minutes in Matt Aver flew high to take a strong intercept mark on centre wing and when a Blackburn player encroached he took full advantage of a generous 25m penalty to slot home a big drop punt from 50m to re-establish a 3 goal lead.  Blackburn responded immediately and briefly it looked like our good work might be undone, They controlled the next 7-8 minutes of play and reduced the margin to just 7 points at the 20m mark.  In one of our most important periods of the year, we responded magnificently in the last 10 minutes of the quarter. Lachie Dickson started it by roving a defensive punch and slicing through defenders to score from 20m and re-ignite our charge. After some undisciplined play by Blackburn Gouldy passed to Skave on 50. He sold some candy and slotted through to the immense delight of the faithful who were beginning to believe.  After another big mark from Shinners and long miss, a poor kick-in went straight down Rej’s throat and he sent it back over the goal umpires hat to establish a very nice 26 point margin at half time. 8.6 – 4.4.

Despite our nice lead, what happened in the 3rd quarter is the sort of footy that brings Norwood supporters to the game each week. We piled on 8 goals to 2 for the quarter, playing the sort of footy the faithful had become accustomed to in recent years. In the first minute, Buceto, playing a nice game at half-back, repelled a Blackburn attack and went aggressively in-board where Leroy, starting in the ruck, marked imperiously, again accentuating our aerial dominance on the day. He dished to Fingers who stormed through the middle and found Trent, who made no mistake from 45m.  6 minutes in the signs were all good for Norwood as a kick from 45m from Leroy dropped short and, when Blackburn could not kill it, Rej, ever the opportunist, grasped it and slammed home from close range. A couple of minutes later Skave, with yet another big grab, unselfishly found Jordan Gysberts 30m out on a 45 degree angle and his drop punt threaded the middle delightfully as the Norwood crowd began to enjoy the day, flushing a frustrating season away in a sea of Norwood goals.  Leroy finally got on the scoreboard with his 1st and our 12th, drifting forward from his ruck role to grab a loose ball and snap truly on his left.  Moments later he was the beneficiary of a gentle free at CHF, perhaps payback for a general scragging hed been receiving all day from the opp. fullback.  His drop punt from 45m unerring. At the 19m mark he made it 3 on the trot when he outmuscled the fullback and kicked one out of midair as the Norwood crowd went into hysterics. Blackburn kicked two in a row to briefly quell the celebrations but it mattered not as we finished the quarter with 2 more of our own, Gys with his 2nd from 45m after a nice releasing handball from Zak Carroll then his 3rd after a clever pass from Lochie 35m out.  At ¾ time we led 16.8 – 6.8.

Early in the last Krousser popped through his first after a nice spot up from Gys.  After a Blackburn goal Gys completed a fine game, slotting his 4th from 45m, then at the 14m mark Brayden Mead got himself front and square and snapped his first senior goal and our 19th, then was mobbed by then majority of the team for good measure.  We couldn’t score again but it scarcely mattered as we ended up with our most comprehensive win of the year.

Final Scores: Norwood 19.8.122(Gysberts 4, Leroy 3, Rej 2, Skave 2, Carroll, Shinners, Krousser, Buceto, Mead, Dickson, Aver, Hudson) def Blackburn 9.10.64

Skave was a unanimous BOG for his Superman-like performance, on any other day Jordan Gysberts classy midfield game with 4 goals (incorrectly reported on the official website as just 3 goals) might have earnt him the honours, his ball use, poise and balance a real boost for the club since his return.  Matt Aver did a superb job on dangerous forward Hammond, Shinners and Leroy also excelled as part of the 3-man ruck/forward setup and Fingers and Dicko were good all day too. Special mention to Ben Trend, who played by far his best game in a Norwood jumper including an eye-catching hanger in the last quarter. Youngster Brayden Mead would have been satisfied with his debut senior game which included several clever efforts and a goal and Josh Buceto continues to grow in his role as a dashing halfback.

Enjoy the break, back in 2 weeks

Go Wooders