As some of you may have realised by now I’m English and as such winning the League Championship is the “BIG” one. Yes it’s always nice to win the Grand Final but that’s only based on a 2 or 3 game knockout system. Whereas, to be true Champions you have to play every team twice both home and away in all sorts of weather, on various types of pitch, under different officials and with a changed line up every week. Stretched out over the whole season there’s no harder competition to win, you may be lucky in a cup game but you can’t fluke the title.
That’s why I am so very proud of these little Cobras for winning their Division unbeaten and with two games still to go. They have always tried to play the game the right way and have put on a wonderful exhibition of “pass & move” for the supporters and their Coach to enjoy. They are an unassuming and humble bunch of kids. Even at the end of the game when they were crowned Champions they still appeared overwhelmed by their achievement. Various players excel in certain roles and a moment of individual brilliance can win a game but it takes a great “TEAM” to win a Championship.
Now for the match report. Respect to Figtree, they knew they were in contention for the play offs and could have just parked the bus but instead they came, played with three forwards and produced an open game. Midfield maestro Harrison Benn scored a fantastic opening goal for Russell Vale and throughout the game displayed his full repertoire of passing. He was ably supported in midfield by Bailey Baade Mortimer and Halley Waller. It was the latter who cleverly set up Riley Hanlon’s goal on the stroke of half time, although it took a deflection the referee agreed to award it to him anyway. However it wasn’t all Russell Vale, Figtree managed to break out of their half several times. Twice Ethan Johnson had to be quick off his line and once Brody Armour made a last ditch tackle to ensure that the home team went in at the break with a 2-0 lead.
Russell Vale took a firm grip of the game in the second half but amazingly it took until the final two minutes before the score line took on a fairer reflection of the balance of play. During the course of the second half a volley from Jordan Errington and close range efforts from both of the Baade Mortimer twins failed to find the target. Probably the best effort of the game came from little Tom Curran on one of his runs down the line, his rocket of a shot flew into the top corner of the net but unfortunately the wrong side of the post. With only a couple of minutes left on the clock it took a clinical finish from Harrison Benn to make it 3-0 to Russell Vale. As the clock run down Halley Waller once again turned Figtree’s defence inside out and her cross into the box found Jordan Errington who in turn unselfishly set up Riley Hanlon to slip the ball past the keeper for his second of the game and Russell Vale’s fourth.
I realise it’s only Division III but if ever a team deserved to be crowned “Champions” it’s these guys. I’m confident that if they continue to learn and develop like they have done over the past two years then this will be the first of many titles they will win during their Junior football career.