2014 Kanga Testimonials
Mixed MishMash 2.12.15 (105) defeated Pink Ring-ins 2.9.16 (88)
Supergoals – Mixed: Caro 2 Pinks: Annie 2
Goals – Mixed: Reevesy 4, Alex 3, Mick 3, Elvis 1, JC 1
Pinks: Tim 3, Horse 3, Trent 2, Gareth 1
Best – Mixed: Jase, Reevesy, Mattie
Pinks: Tim, Gareth, Eve
The Patrons of Clapham Common were treated to a rare sight on October 11th when the Kanga Footy crew assembled out-of-season for a rare 80 minute testimonial match to honour and farewell our fearless leader, Mattie, who has now packed up his family and made the huge trek back to Melbourne.
The weather Gods appeared to be opposed to the idea of Kanga Footy in October, with a downpour ensuing in the hours before the match… But unlike this season’s Spring Grand Final, bugger me if the clouds didn’t disappear right on cue! Players were methodically and strategically split into two perfectly even 10 player teams (using the time-proven primary school 1-2-1-2 team selection method) – The Pinks vs The, ummm… Mixed; with Mattie taking on the unusual role of playing umpire.
Sadly you won’t be reading about too many sensational skills in this match report. Some blamed it on the muddy conditions; some on the alcohol consumed the night (or over the 3 months) prior; and others on the ball itself… But it certainly made for an intriguing end-to-end match with turnovers making all run far harder back and forth than anyone had probably anticipated.
Scores were hard to come by in the first quarter with both backlines getting well on top early and the midfielders trying to come to grips with the lack of space to run into and kick in to 3 forward targets (with 3 defenders) rather than the usual two. Russ and new recruit Eve had an excellent start down back for the Pinks, whilst Jase and Olivia had strong starts for the Mixeds. Horse was dangerous up forward for the Pinks; whilst JC was the most prominent forward at the other end helping his side to a slender lead heading into the quarter time break.
The second quarter started to look a bit more fluent with forwards from both sides finding more space. Mixed started to pull away on the scoreboard with Adz winning some important clearances, Chris running into plenty of space, and Reevesy & Elvis showing great strength to mark everything that came their way down forward. With the margin out to almost 5 goals the Pinks needed a lift, and they found it just before halftime with some great movement through the middle from Horse & Gareth setting up Trent and Annie Mac for a couple of crucial late goals to bring the margin back to 16 at half time – which could easily have been closer had it not been for the Dustin Fletcher-esque defence of Jase for Mixed, throwing anything and everything at the ball in a brilliant first half display.
Halftime saw both teams throwing the fluoro vests around, changing things up a bit in the knowledge of the 40 hectic minutes to come. With Mixed Captain Olivia having to return to baby-sitting duties under the tree early in the second quarter, her replacement, reigning leading goal-kicker Mick, had looked noticeably uncomfortable through the midfield, so was moved forward in hopes of blasting the Pinks away with his bucket hands and accurate set shot kicking. However it was Caro that proved a key focal point up forward with 2 super goals and Alex with 3 goals for the quarter in a rare cameo up forward that kept Mixed’s lead intact. Mick suffered more apparently career ending injuries in the quarter than he kicked goals, with Russ doing a brilliant job on the spearhead and new recruit Simon chipping in consistently showing great awareness and courage to drift back for Pinks and take some timely intercept marks. Tommy and Dave worked hard in the Pink’s engine room to supply their forwards enough to keep within reach of a famous come from behind victory – trailing by just 22 points at the final break.
Despite fitness waning, the intensity of the match stepped up a notch in the final quarter with both teams desperate to have a hard earned victory to talk about afterwards at The Windmill. Man of the moment, Mattie, had juggled umpiring duties to lead his team well from the midfield (despite paying some curious free kicks against himself), and it was time for Kanga Footy’s all-time leading goal scorer to head forward and win the match off his own boot. At the very first bounce Alex streamed out of the congestion to deliver the ball on a silver platter to Mattie… But the fairytale wasn’t to be, as he spilled one of the easiest chest-marks he’s had in his 11 years of Kanga Footy! The whole quarter was a see-sawing affair, with the Pinks kicking consecutive goals to really threaten, only for Mixed to respond each time with a couple of their own. Tim had been running rampant all day for the Pinks and an inspired move up forward saw him capitalise on the great work of Trent, Gareth, Dave and Tommy through the middle to take some great contested marks and kick 3 for the quarter; whilst Annie kicked a timely Captains goal that briefly got them back within 7 points. But the experience and determination of Mattie, Chris, Adz & Alex through the middle saw the Mixed forwards get just enough supply to keep responding, and Mick overcame his third quarter woes to kick 3 pivotal final quarter goals, including the sealer with a classic Stevie J checkside to delight the fans.
Fittingly, the match finished with Mattie cheekily sucking an opponent into a no look handball to him, then running away from him gloating and showing him the footy, just out of his reach, as the mighty Mixed ran away victors by 17 points.
“We started a bit slowly and just couldn’t quite get close enough in the end. I was proud of how determined the team were to keep fighting it out to the end, especially the new guys in the team,” Lamented Pink Captain Annie Mac.
Converse Mixed captain Olivia declared “we thought we were running away with the match in that second quarter, but were certainly worried at times later when they kept coming at us. We weren’t going to relinquish that lead though… We were always going to win for Mattie!”