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Most of us remember our first car.  Regardless of the dents, scratches, oil leaks and other imperfections, it always worked for us.  It always got us from A to B, and was about as reliable as a car could be.  Welcome to the Old Paradians Grand Final Team of 2018.

The first ¾ of the year went as well as you could ask, but then we started to get a few dents and a few oil leaks, and spluttered a little into second spot.  The first two finals were played as only we know how.  Hard, tough, working class.  We got to the Grand Final but needed everything to go right for us to get over the line.

Uni High use the ball as good as any team I’ve seen in the last few years.  The only way you get it off them is if you can pressure the ball carrier enough to make a blue.  Early in the first quarter we did just that.  We gave them very little easy footy, and despite the ball being in their area quite a bit, everything seemed rushed.  They kicked a few points, and then courtesy of the men in yellow, they kicked two goals.  Our goals don’t come like that.  First one was Andy D’Souza doing what he just always does.  Stood in the way of oncoming traffic, well oncoming traffic from behind, and duly slotted a major.  This was followed by Jimmy Kandalakis kicking one of the goals of the day from near the boundary, not for the first time set up by some tough defense up the other end.  Only four points down at ¼ time. 

Uni got the better of us in the second quarter.  Things were starting to go awry.  Will Gilmore was in the ruck on account of Jake Plunkett’s bung knee and his ankle started to give way.  He continued to give his all though.  Four goals to two saw us trail by 18 points at the half.  Not the end of the world, but was it slipping away ? 

If the start of the third quarter was any indication, then no way.  We kicked a few goals and all of a sudden we were a couple of points down.  James Kappos slotted one, so did Matt Mahony.  Hang on, had we found Uni’s measure ?  If not for missing a couple of very kickable goals, we should have been leading about halfway through the third term.  Unfortunately that’s where our reliable car started to leak a bit more oil and splutter a bit.  Robbie Valente went down with a serious knee.  Uni got their mojo back and by ¾ they actually led by more.  20 points now.

The last quarter we battled and battled but they ran all over the top of us.  Matt Mahony broke a bone in his hand.  Nothing seemed to be going right.  Five goals to them and only two points to us saw Uni High run out victors and premiers by 55 points. 

Did the scoreline reflect the game ?  Well it certainly didn’t reflect the effort.  We can’t have asked anymore of this team in 2018.  As supporters, we want to win everything.  Quarters, games, flags.  But above all else we just ask for effort.  As supporters we got what we asked for. 

Congratulations to the coaches and players for what they have achieved.  As a Committee we set our sights on promotion to D1, and that was achieved.  Unfortunately the players couldn’t get their individual or team reward, but their time will come.  If anyone deserves it, they do.

If you would like to see some images of the day, head to the photos page, or go straight HERE

Damian Hannam


Old Paradians Amateur Football Club

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