On Division 1 Grand Final Day (8 September), the Ormond Amateur Football Club secured the Reserves premiership and then followed up with the Seniors premiership, in what can only be described as a ‘day out’ for the Monders’ faithful.
In both matches, the Monders had to withstand gallant comebacks from their Hampton Rovers opponents to ultimately win the day in gripping circumstances.
Ormond lifted when it mattered to beat Hampton Rovers by six points in an epic VAFA Division 1 Grand Final at Trevor Barker Oval.
The Monders took a 17-point advantage into the last quarter but lost the lead as a surging Hampton Rovers made a bold bid for glory by opening up an 11 point lead. And then with only 5 minutes on the clock, 17-year-old gun, Max Kennedy, snapped truly with his left foot to claw the deficit back to 5 points, only to pounce on a loose ball in the grandstand pocket a minute later to slot an eye-popping banana goal from the boundary (see post-goal celebrations below). Somehow the Monders were in front by 1 point with 2 minutes on the clock.
A rushed behind for Hampton Rovers to level the score was followed by two crucial clearances by midfielder, Jake Lever, to give Ormond some much needed momentum. A match-winning move by the Ormond bench to throw defender, Blair Atkins, forward worked, as he easily outmarked a lone Hampton Rovers player and kicked truly from 30 metres to give the Monders a 1 goal lead with less than 1 minute on the clock.
Ormond won the centre clearance and captain courageous, Tom Buckley, marked truly from 25 metres out on a slight angle with the opportunity to ice the match for Ormond. But the drama continued as Buckley missed everything, only to hand the ball back to Hampton Rovers after kicking it out on the full – the door was left slightly ajar for the Rovers to level the scores.
Thankfully, by the time the ball got to the wing the siren sounded, much to the relief and tears of the Ormond players and supporters. Ormond had secured the premiership, 11.9 (75) to 9.15 (69).
Kennedy finished with five goals in a best-on-ground performance. It followed his best-afield display in the second semi-final win with a 37-possession effort.
Ormond Coach Ash Lever praised his players for fighting back after losing the lead late in the game. “They got themselves into a bit of a situation and worked their way out of it,’’ he said. “We spoke about how good sides find a way and they found a way. It wasn’t the prettiest win but they found a way to make it happen.’’
Lever said Kennedy’s last goal was “unbelievable’’. “He was right on the boundary and he’s check-sided the goal – unbelievable. Everyone in the whole joint just erupted,’’ he said. “For a kid who’s 17 years of age, geez, he showed some poise and talent.’’
Ormond midfielder Chris Coghlan was pivotal in the first half with his clearance work and strength over ball, while Atkins did a lot of good things, Lever stood up when required, and 18-year-old Tonn Steele’s forward pressure was terrific. Matt Hine and Tim Blackburn were also in the best players.
Ormond won its last six games of the season to win the flag – its last three all against Hampton Rovers.
Ormond’s Reserves went into the Grand Final a slight favourite having beaten Hampton Rovers comfortably three times in the past 4 weeks. A perfect day for football, no wind, no clouds, and a fast deck that would suit both teams and showcase their skills.
From the first bounce, it was clear Hampton Rovers had targeted some of the prime movers for Ormond: Ollie Milner was crashed to the ground, which resulted in him missing most of the first quarter after the heavy hit. Early in the match it became obvious that Ormond’s champion forward, Rob Chisholm (see below), was going to play a big part in deciding the match, as he marked and kicked truly for 2 goals, and slotted the first goal of the second quarter. Ormond had control for the early part of the second quarter. For the last 15 mins of the quarter Hampton Rovers had all the running, but just couldn’t kick straight due the Ormond backline pressure.
Ormond were clearly the dominant team in the first half but couldn’t shake a determined Hampton Rovers, as injuries began to become a factor for Ormond. Gun midfielder, Jarrod Kangisser, incurred a knee injury, champion backman, Matthew Hunt suffered an AC shoulder strain, and ruckman, Thomas McCrabb went down with a leg injury.
At half-time the Monders held the advantage by 16 points, but Coach Andrew Kahofer, had plenty of work to do to establish a ‘Plan B’ in the second half with depleted stocks. Despite a quick early goal by Zac Leiser-Moore, it was Hampton Rovers who worked their way back into the contest to be trailing Ormond by only 7 points at three quarter-time, and with momentum.
In what can only be described as incredible determination against the odds, the Monders sapped every ounce of energy from their tiring bodies to eventually run away with the contest in the final quarter. Two goals from Chizzy for a match return of 7 goals proved a decisive factor, as did the persistent work of Matty Martinov called to fill the ruck void, and the speed and stamina of on-ballers, Lucas Hemming and Jesse Selby-Hele.
Another who played a herculean role on the day was Sam Stait; most of his season was cut by injury but managed the minimum four matches to qualify to play finals. He was next best on the ground behind Chiz and his physical presence was telling in the third quarter when he fairly bumped the big Hampton ruckman out of the game.
Jack Meeking kicked two clutch goals in the last, as well as relieving in the ruck. One of his goals on the run from outside 50m wrestled the momentum back to the Monders.
The win heralded back-to-back premierships for the Ormond Reserves and Coach, Andrew Kahofer – Ormond 15.10 (100) to 10.13 (73).
Kahofer reflected on a successful season post-match, “The hard work the Club put in to again refresh the playing list and bring in more youth was a testament to the program. We played 64 players in the Reserves during the season, and only seven players from the 2017 Premiership team lined up in the 2018 Grand Final team. So, our turnover of players was significant, and we have found a new batch on Monders that will challenge for senior selection in 2019.”
“All in all, the determination to win on Saturday was the most pleasing aspect for me. It was filled with relief and joy, and to see so many young faces with massive smiles can surely only help to drive the group to improve on their output for 2019″, said Kahofer.
Rob Chisholm’s performance was telling, said Kahofer, “He seized the day with skill and leadership. Chiz can win the ball on the ground as well as in the air, but his craft at kicking for goal is rewarded due to the work he puts into it during training each week. They say nothing is given out for free, so the reward for Chiz was delivered with a Best on Ground medal and a winning Premiership team, which he and all his teammates will never forget.’’
Following the double premiership on Saturday, the Club’s overall premiership tally grows.
14 Senior premierships
22 Reserves premierships
11 U19 premierships