Just like every other year, the end of footy season means the end of Turbo’s Friday Preview for another year. But also like every other year, you get one more week of quality reading (well, reading anyway) with Turbo’s Season Review.
With the appointment of Laurie Zarafa, who has had success at every club he’s coached, hopes were high that this was going to be a good year for Box Hill North. With a strong preseason including the recruitment of a number of players who had played quality footy at a higher level, finals footy was on the agenda at Box Hill North for the first time for a few years. After a couple of early season wins we were up with the pack and looking OK, but then it all went wrong. With a paper thin squad numbers wise we could ill afford to have many injuries, but unfortunately that is exactly what happened. Among these were identical knee injuries to Des and Wilbur and a season-ending shoulder injury to Kane Penn, who was aiming to become the first one in his family to play a full season without getting injured.
A horrible run of losses followed, and all of a sudden we were sitting second last after 13 rounds with two wins and 11 losses. Things were looking grim but a stunning reversal of form saw us win three and draw one of our last five, including two that we had never done before since joining the VAFA in 2002. The round 14 win at Mt Lilydale was our first ever against them and saw the club song sung with gusto never before seen or heard. Not to be outdone, the very next week saw us go one step further and beat Manningham at Koonung, again for the first time ever and in very convincing fashion to the tune of 59 points. This was followed by two great efforts against final-bound teams, drawing against Point Cook and losing to Eley Park by less than a kick. Finally, despite Triple M pronouncing Chadstone as certain winners in round 18, we finished off the season with another win after a bit of a scare against a team that has won just one game in four years.
In what will hopefully prove to be a predictor of next year’s fortunes, the last five weeks saw the game plan that has been implemented since the start of the year finally appear to have sunk in, and turned what could have been yet another wasted season into one with plenty of promise for the years to come.
There were many funny moments in 2012, however there is one which surpasses all others, possibly even if you put the rest of them together. Before the reserves game against Point Cook, I observed Morph put his footy shorts on over his compression shorts. Nothing unusual about that. However about 15 minutes later I saw him putting the same compression shorts on over his footy shorts. I figured he must have been doing it for a reason so I thought nothing more of it. When we ran out for the warmup he was still dressed like this, and it became apparent that he had not done it on purpose. I’m not sure what was ticking over in his brain during this time however it provided my favourite moment of 2012, and was probably enough for the redneck award to be permanently re-named the Morph award.
After five years, this may possibly be Turbo’s last preview or review (for a while at least), as I am taking a sabbatical and spending most of 2013 on the other side of the world. Maybe someone will step up and try to fill the large shoes I will be leaving behind…
Until next time, this is Turbo saying “haven’t we had this conversation before?”
So apparently this week is all about Chadstone. Their four-year winless streak, which received citywide publicity thanks to Triple M’s Rush Hour programme, was supposed to end with a win at home over Box Hill North in round 18. Mt Lilydale spoiled the party somewhat by prematurely ending that streak two weeks prior, giving Chadstone their first win after 68 consecutive losses. Even still, this match is being touted in the media, both on Triple M and in Josh Gabelich’s weekly Division 4 writeup in the Amateur Footballer publication, as Chadstone’s second win in three weeks. Steering the conversation away from this game briefly, I will be surprised if we have the same scribe next year, as journalism usually requires research and this lad has shown regularly throughout the season that he does the bare minimum if any at all. Anyway, back to the game. With their confidence up (despite being brought back to earth by South Mornington last week to the tune of 90 points), Chadstone are a much improved side and will put up a better fight than they did way back in round one when Box Hill North came out of the game 95 points to the good. That said, the last few weeks have seen some much improved form by our boys too, a thrilling draw against finals-bound Point Cook two weeks ago being followed up by a heartbreaking four-point loss to another team that will see September action in Eley Park. Having reached a low with an 81-point loss to West Brunswick in round 12, Box Hill North have been on the up since, and with two wins and a draw in the last five games we are one of the form teams outside the top four. If this form can continue for one more game, Chadstone will be stuck on that solitary win for 2012.
After a month of good footy the Box Hill North reserves were brought back to earth with a thud last week by a very good Eley Park side, going goalless for the first time since round 13 2004 to lose by 114 points. Normally this would not bode well for the next week, but when you consider Chadstone scored just one behind in a 208-point loss to South Mornington it doesn’t seem so bad. Unlike their senior counterparts Chadstone reserves have not won a game this year, their winless streak currently sitting at 57 games. One of those was the previous meeting between these two sides at Elgar Park in round one, where Box Hill North slammed home 31 goals to win by 192 points. We kicked a combined total of 15 goals and 18 behinds in the four games which followed that one (and haven’t passed 100 points in a game since then), so it would be fair to say we haven’t been able to match that performance in the 16 games since. The boys have gotten a taste for singing the club song over the last few weeks (even though not everyone knows all the words just yet), so they will be keen to finish the season on a high with another win. Of course Chadstone reserves want the same feeling that their senior clubmates had a couple of weeks ago so they will be doing their utmost to snap their losing streak. Added incentive for Box Hill North this week comes in the form of another milestone, this time Westy who lines up for his 150th game. It has taken him 20 seasons (with a few breaks in between) to reach the milestone, and considering his body is about as resilient as Bruce Reid’s I can’t see him making it to 200 so I for one want to celebrate this one in the best way possible.
Until next week (year?), this is Turbo saying “I like to get the Daily News”.
After last week getting as close as possible to being the first team outside the top four to beat a team inside it, Box Hill North has an another crack at it this week when we host Point Cook’s likely elimination final opponent Eley Park. Although just one ladder position separates the Sharks and the Bulldogs, this week will be a much tougher proposition against a team that thrives in the kind of conditions we saw last week and will probably prevail again this week. Not only have Eley Park won three more games, they are still a mathematical chance for second spot on the ladder and the double chance, albeit needing Swinburne to slip up majorly in the remaining two games. Point Cook coach Daniel Fraser was quoted in their local rag during the week as saying that Box Hill North showed his side “how to play a disciplined brand of football over four quarters”, something that has been a critical element of our improved form over the last few weeks and will no doubt need to be prevalent again this week if we are to cause an upset (which last week was just an unpaid mark to Cam Liston deep in the forward line away from being realised). Eley Park have historically struggled at Elgar Park, winning just once in seven attempts at the ground with more than one of those games being decided by a Dan Penny kick after the siren. The Sharks won by 79 points when these teams met at Whitehorse Reserve in round nine, but have only won one game by more than 26 points since then, including a 2-point nailbiter over North Brunswick last week, so signs point to the margin being smaller this time around. Runner-up in last year’s Best and Fairest Greg Tiley notches up his 50th game for Box Hill North this week, a great achievement considering he didn’t take up the game until he was 25 and had to undergo a knee reconstruction after just his fourth game. Congratulations to the Human Blanket.
With three wins in the last four (including the last two on the trot, a feat not achieved by this team since 2008), Box Hill North reserves have got that winning feeling at the moment and are keen for it continue. Much like the senior team however this week’s encounter with Eley Park will be more challenging than the last few games, with the Sharks reserves also looking to obtain the double chance by finishing second. A win here will allow them to if they can also defeat West Brunswick (who are currently sitting second) in the final round, so there’s no doubt they will come out firing in this one, aiming to at least match the 61-point defeat they inflicted on us earlier in the season. Last week’s reserves win over Point Cook was the fifth for the season (not to mention a great way to celebrate Coxy’s 50th), which may not sound like much seeing as we are 16 games into the season but when you consider we won just seven combined in the previous three years, it shows that the club is moving in the right direction. Much of the improvement can be put down to the work of first year coach (and I’m sure he is secretly hoping last year coach after taking on the job when no other candidates came forward) Mick Penny, although after work commitments prevented him being there for last week’s win fill-in coach Big Country was heard to remark “who needs Biff”? The man in the moon boot once again can’t be there this week, so we will soon find out whether last week was a fluke.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “the only thing between us and him is a thin layer of gabardine”.
Two on the trot will hopefully become three as Box Hill North are back at Elgar Park this week to host Julia Gillard’s second favourite team in Point Cook (third favourite if there is an annual Labor v Liberal footy match that I’m not aware of) after a couple of successful weeks on the road. A win here will be a tough ask, and will require a reversal of the 107-point win that the Bulldogs enjoyed earlier in the season. Point Cook managed to kick 33 goals that day, a stat well-remembered by the coaching staff who are hopeful that we won’t concede quite so many goals this time around. Box Hill North have destroyed a couple of well-documented hoodoos in the last two weeks: beating Manningham at Koonung Reserve; and beating Mt Lilydale anywhere. Unbelievably there is yet another hoodoo which could be broken this week, although in contrast to the previous two weeks it is actually our opposition looking to get a monkey off the back. Point Cook have never won at Elgar Park, although to be fair they have only played at the ground once (for a 49-point loss) so there is less significance in this particular hoodoo (as an aside, has the word ‘hoodoo’ ever appeared so many times in a piece of writing?). Nevertheless, they will be keen to break it even though the result of this game won’t affect their finals aspirations – they are guaranteed to finish either 3rd of 4th and play in an elimination final in the first week of the postseason. Aside from wanting to come into September with form, probably the key reason for Point Cook wanting to win this game is to not be the first team from the top four to lose to a team outside the top four in 2012. We almost saw it last week with North Brunswick going down to South Mornington by a solitary point, so maybe this is the week for it to happen?
Putting the ball through the big sticks rather than between a big one and a small one will be the order for the day for Box Hill North reserves this week, as two weeks of poor kicking for goal saw what should have been two relatively comfortable wins become a tight loss and a win last week against Manningham that was tighter than it should have been. Another inaccurate game this week will go more severely punished than the previous two, with Point Cook not quite matching their senior counterparts in terms of wins or ladder position but having a very good season nonetheless with nine wins to sit fifth on the ladder. The previous encounter between these sides was an odd one, with an eight goal to one first quarter seemingly setting Point Cook up for a big victory, however Box Hill North managed to win the last three quarters but found the quarter time gap too big to make up, eventually going down by 24 points in a free-flowing contest. Langers toyed with the Point Cook defence that day and will be looking to do so again, in the process sealing the reserves goalkicking award despite playing the majority of the season in the seniors. The Bulldogs still have a mathematical chance of making the finals, which a loss here would snuff out, so they will be playing as though their lives depend on it. That intensity will need to be matched if the home side is to come home with the gold in this game.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “she had man-hands”.
With the amount of Olympics I’ve been watching this week and the extent to which it has destroyed my body clock, this week’s edition of Turbo’s Friday Preview will likely lean more towards rambling than coherent. But here goes. After throwing one monkey off the back by defeating Mt Lilydale in senior football for the first time last week, this week’s game against Manningham presents an opportunity to remove another primate – the venue for this game, Koonung Reserve, has not been a happy hunting ground for Box Hill North with zero victories in nine attempts. Last year’s game here was a comfortable 71-point win to Manningham, although the Cobras team of 2012 bears but a faint resemblance to the 2011 version so that match is probably not a reliable guide for how this game will pan out. Of all the losses at Koonung, perhaps the most heartbreaking was the match in 2009 when a goal nanoseconds before the siren turned a 33-point Box Hill North lead early in the last quarter into a 2-point Manningham victory. That day we certainly knew how James ‘The Misfiring Missile’ Magnussen felt when he led late in the 100 metre Olympic freestyle before being mown down to lose by 0.01 seconds. Laurie Zarafa was the mastermind of the Cobras’ victory on that occasion and this week’s game marks the first occasion he has been back to his old home ground as senior coach of the opposition. Will his knowledge of how to play this ground rub off on the players this week and result in the second hoodoo-busting win in a row? I for one certainly hope so.
If not for some errant kicking at goal Box Hill North reserves could have made it two from two for the day last week, however we had to settle for a ten-point loss despite registering 13 scoring shots to eight for the game which resulted in being relegated to second last on the ladder. Despite the disappointment of the loss there were some positives to take out the game and into this week’s clash against Manningham, who are also coming into this game off a loss, a 134-point drubbing at the hands of South Mornington which was was their second 100-point defeat in a row after going down to West Brunswick by 108 the week before. Despite the magnitude of that loss they still managed to kick more goals than us last week, although at two goals to one neither side would have been happy with their offensive output. Even though Koonung Reserve is easily one of the bigger grounds in Division 4 both teams should find it easier to score this week seeing as last week’s locations aren’t known for holding up well when wet weather (world record for consecutive words starting with ‘W’, is that an Olympic sport?) sets in. The boys who run out this week will be keen atone for the 30-point loss inflicted by the Cobras last time these teams met, but regardless of the result I’m sure they are just as keen to get back down to Elgar Park tomorrow night for the much-anticipated Box Hill North Olympics where eight of our finest will battle it out in a variety (both in number and type of activity) of events to see who will take out the gold.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “I’m speechless. I have no speech”.
Surely it’s time. Box Hill North enters Ram country this week as we trek out to the paddocks at Mt Lilydale hoping to taste victory against them for the first time in 14 attempts. The thirteenth attempt proved unlucky for the Demons as we suffered a couple of serious knee injuries to key players in a game which was there for the taking until halfway through the last quarter, when Mt Lilydale went on a scoring spree in the closing stages to blow the margin out to 48 points. Rather embarrassingly, that margin was the second smallest in matches between these two sides. Mt Lilydale have had an indifferent return to Division 4, winning four of their 13 games thus far to be eighth on the ladder, ahead of just Box Hill North and Chadstone. Their recent form is marginally ahead of ours, having won just one of their last seven, that being a 73-point triumph over Chadstone in round nine. Still, that is more impressive than the nine consecutive losses we have chalked up since that famous victory against West Brunswick in round four. Both teams are obviously keen to get back onto the winner’s list and salvage something from a season that has so far been below expectations. Both teams also have reason to be optimistic coming into this week: Mt Lilydale always go into these clashes knowing they have never lost to Box Hill North, and that quite probably gives them a mental edge from the start. For Box Hill North, injuries have dried up a touch in the last few weeks meaning we are probably fielding as close to our strongest side as we’ve had since before the Queen’s Birthday break. By 5pm tomorrow we will know whether it is same old same old, or the streak is finally over.
If you were to say a couple of weeks ago that both teams in this week’s reserves game would be coming off a win the previous week, you probably would have been committed to Arkham Asylum (or whatever Melbourne’s version is). Prior to last week, Box Hill North and Mt Lilydale had won three games between them in the reserves competition. Chadstone had been the Rams’ only conquest, while Box Hill North had also only beaten Chadstone as well as narrowly winning the round six meeting between these sides by five points in a nailbiter at Elgar Park. Last week however both sides pulled off awe-inspiring upsets against sides a few places above them on the ladder. Box Hill North held off a fast finishing Swinburne side which had belted them by 116 points earlier in the season, while Mt Lilydale managed to beat North Brunswick at Allard Park which is no mean feat. These results will have both sides brimming with confidence coming into this game, and there is every chance that the standard of play will defy what the ladder says; that being that these two sides are the second and third worst teams in the VAFA (excluding Club XVIII and underage grades). A stat for the trivia buffs out there: Box Hill North reserves have not finished outside of the bottom two since 2008. Seventh spot is there for the taking for the winner of this game if, as expected, Manningham (with a percentage of 36) lose to South Mornington (with a percentage of 367). If that isn’t motivation enough for a second consecutive win for either team then I don’t know what is.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “the jerk store called; they’re running out of you”.
Having played the top 4 sides away in the first half of the season we will host a number of quality sides at Elgar Park in the last few weeks, one of those being this week’s opponent Swinburne. The Razorbacks are shaping as the team most likely to join South Mornington in Division 3 next season, currently sitting a game clear of Eley Park in second. They survived a big scare last week, trailing North Brunswick by two goals at three quarter time before booting five goals to nil in the last to escape a surprise defeat in a season which thus far has seen the top four teams only lose to each other. Despite that scare Swinburne will be confident of a win this week, and when you consider the fact that since Box Hill North defeated West Brunswick in round 4 (a result West Brunswick reversed to the tune of 80 points last week) we have lost our last eight by an average margin of 75 points, that confidence is justified. It was pleasing to see at training last night that Elgar Park has remained in fairly good nick despite some average weather in the last couple of weeks, a stark contrast to the heavy track at McAllister Oval last week which was reminiscent of Mt Lilydale’s home ground. This will probably please Swinburne, whose run and spread is a feature of their game and something that Box Hill North will need to curb to avoid another large defeat. In a season with few highlights, one of the feelgood stories of the year is that of Xenon ‘the fifth element’ Ellis, who having joined the club midway through the season will make his senior debut in the just fifth game of footy he has played. Ever. If the exuberance with which he plays the game rubs off of the other 21 players this week, then look out Swinburne!
400 games; 8000-odd signatures; approximately 1600 instances of escorting the umpires safely around without judgement of their performance (something many of us would struggle with); countless searches for reserves players to run water for the seniors. While these are all quantifiable examples of a team manager’s work, the impact that Tony Leonard (who as you might have guessed chalks up 400 games as team manager this week) has on the club is immeasurable. He goes about his business with less than a minimum of fuss, if that is indeed possible, and ensures that our Saturdays run a whole lot smoother than they would if he wasn’t around. I’m not sure he would be too comfortable with the attention but if you get the chance to give him a pat on the back and thank him for what he does, you should definitely do so! Anyway, let’s talk about this week’s reserves game. Swinburne did it easy the last time these teams met, coming out on top by 116 points in a very one-sided affair. An unexpected loss against North Brunswick makes them somewhat vulnerable in terms of holding a top four spot with West Brunswick having overtaken them and Point Cook snapping at their heels, so they will be focused on bouncing back here. Being the only team to have beaten South Mornington in either seniors or reserves this year, Swinburne are obviously capable of playing some great footy so much the like the senior game it will be vital to restrict the run and spread they have become well known for. For the first time in a couple of weeks we have nobody doubling up in the seniors so there should be some semblance of a rotation system off the bench, a luxury Box Hill North reserves haven’t often been afforded in 2012. Fingers crossed this will contribute to an improved performance compared to last week.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “I'm sorry the answer we were looking for was ‘Moops.’”
After a disappointing fadeout last week against North Brunswick win number three for 2012 is still on the agenda for Box Hill North this week as we meet the last team we beat, West Brunswick, at their home ground McAlister Oval (or Ransford Oval depending on your information source). West Brunswick would have been hoping for a better return to Division 4 than they have had, last week’s big win over Chadstone being just the fourth time this year they have tasted victory. This is a stark contrast to their brief stay in this Division in 2008, where they lost just twice on their way to the premiership and automatic promotion to Division 3. That year was the only time these teams have met at this venue, and on that occasion West Brunswick came out on top by 69 points. When put into context this was probably not a bad performance from Box Hill North considering West Brunswick won eight games by over 100 points that year. That seems like an age ago now, and a club with a history of success like West Brunswick would be displeased with how 2012 has panned out thus far. With finals now probably out of reach they will be aiming to be the best of the rest, and with games against the four probable finalists awaiting in the last four rounds they will have identified the next few weeks, this one especially, as their best chances for wins. Weather is likely to play a factor in this contest, and with the conditions the bureau expects us to be greeted with this weekend perhaps Tuesday’s pool session was the ideal preparation (although whether the Tito Puente-style soundtrack which accompanied it has any influence remains to be seen).
A strange thing happened in last week’s reserves game: Box Hill North was in front at half time, an all too rare occurrence in the last few years. Unfortunately the lead could not be sustained and another loss eventually ensued, but there were some encouraging signs which the coaching staff will be hoping flow into what will no doubt be a tough encounter this week. The performance of the West Brunswick reserves has well exceeded that of their senior counterparts, and they currently find themselves sitting fourth on the ladder with a percentage of 315. When they win they win big, and with winning margins of 138 and 214 in their last two games (albeit against the bottom two sides in Mt Lilydale and Chadstone) they are in a rich vein of form that they will be keen to continue. When these teams met at Elgar Park in round 4, West Brunswick were victorious to the tune of 64 points. I’m not sure how the makeup of their side has changed since that game, but the Box Hill North side which runs out tomorrow will look very different to the one that took the field in that game so we probably can’t use that result as a reliable guide of how this one will pan out. The previously mentioned weather forecast may have a bigger bearing on this game, if not the winner then the level of scoring at the very least. Footy history is littered with unexpected results in wet games, so despite my usual dislike for inclement weather I will reluctantly welcome as much rain as mother nature is willing to throw at us tomorrow.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “that is one magic loogie”.
The second of consecutive home games takes place this week as Box Hill North hosts North Brunswick at Elgar Park, hoping for a more favourable result than the 106-point defeat suffered at the hands of South Mornington last week. A similar outcome eventuated in North Brunswick’s game last week, although they (predictably) came out on top against Chadstone to the tune of 115 points. That will give them plenty of confidence going into this week, as will the 95-point drubbing they handed out at Allard Park when these teams last met in round two. If Box Hill North are to be any chance in this game a repeat of last week’s second quarter, where South Mornington kicked 13 goals to nil (their most goals in a quarter this season), will need to be avoided,. This was one of a couple of lessons doled out in the lower divisions of the VAFA in the last seven days. The other occurred off the field where Division 3 team Hawthorn will, pending a decision by the VAFA board, be automatically relegated to Division 4 next year after being found guilty of lying to the VAFA tribunal about the identity of a reported player. No doubt that with such a hefty penalty the Hawks will learn from the experience and refrain from doing the same in the future. The hope is that Box Hill North will also learn from last week’s experience where one quarter of awful football overshadowed the other three, in which we scored a respectable nine goals to their 13. The third quarter was in particular encouraging, where South Mornington lost a quarter for just the third time this year. If those three quarters can be replicated over four quarters this week, an all too rare Box Hill North victory could well be on the cards.
Many four-year-old boys dream of becoming a fireman. As the years progress and they realise that the profession doesn’t just consist of sliding down poles and rescuing kittens, those dreams fall by the wayside. It takes a particular determination to follow that dream in adulthood, and not everyone has what it takes to do so. One of those who does is Mick Penny, who has had serious ambitions to join the Fire Brigade ever since being inspired by the ‘Backdraft’ attraction at Universal Studios in Osaka (may not be true). Having passed a grueling application and training process in which he has had to restrict his football involvement thus far this year to the position of reserves coach, the man affectionately or otherwise known as Biff will play his first game for the year this week. He will be hoping to be part of a team which scores more than the solitary goal we scored last week off the boot of yours truly, a lovely crumbing goal which Laurie must not have seen otherwise it would have surely been mentioned at training this week. The most recent encounter between these two sides saw a six-goal to nil second quarter by North Brunswick, probably the equivalent of a 13-goal quarter in the seniors, which proved to be the difference in a game where the remaining three quarters yielded four goals apiece. Those quarter length lapses have really hurt both the seniors and reserves this year, and has been a great source of frustration for the coaching staff. Much like the seniors this is a winnable game if such a lapse can be avoided this time around, but it will require the boys who take the field this week to show the same effort and fortitude the man whose new mode of transport somewhat matches the colour of his hair has shown in getting where he has.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “Bosco”.
Box Hill North is back at Elgar Park this week, hosting the undefeated South Mornington in what will be one of the more difficult fixtures in the second half of the season. The gap between teams at the top end of the ladder and those at the bottom was demonstrated in our game last week against Eley Park, where the endeavour couldn’t be faulted but the result still ended in the Sharks’ favour to the tune of 79 points. The Tigers have been in ominous form all year, with last week’s 44-point win over fellow premiership fancy Swinburne being their lowest winning margin so far in 2012 and by some distance. With the weather that preceded last week’s round of games and the usual condition of their home ground after similar weather events, you would assume that the margin would have been much higher if the game had been played on a firm track. Given South Mornington’s recent history against Box Hill North they will go into this game confident of extending their gap against the challengers even further having won the last three with each winning margin higher than the last, culminating in a 101-point win in round three of this year. With the season now half over and with everyone having played each other once, we can start to see a picture forming of how this season will pan out in Division 4. South Mornington leads a group of four teams that have opened up a significant gap on the rest of the competition, and unless one of the other teams has a dramatic change in form in the home stretch these four teams will be playing finals football. Occasionally when a team is assured of finals action they start focusing on the teams they will play in the postseason. Are South Mornington already looking ahead to their clash against Point Cook in two weeks? If so, this could be the best chance for a highly unfancied result in this week’s contest.
With just four reserves players (and not many more senior players) present when the team was read out last night, it was a relief to see 19 names on the teamsheet. I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing but that is actually more players than we had last time these two teams met, where 18 Box Hill North players (17 after an injury to a member of the famously injury-prone Penhalluriack family) took it up to the Tigers for three quarters before fading in the last to go down by 114 points. The positive to come out of that game was that if an 18-strong Box Hill North reserves outfit of the past came up against an undefeated team with a percentage exceeding 300, well I don’t even want to think what the margin would have been. There is one thing you say about the twos this year, and that is while we are usually outclassed and outnumbered we always have a crack. That will need to continue this week as South Mornington reserves face the unfamiliar task of trying to bounce back from a loss after surprisingly going down to Swinburne at home last week. With Eley Park’s win against us last week, the top two are now equal on wins with very similar percentages. The Sharks face Manningham this week and should win comfortably after keeping them scoreless last time around, so South Mornington may need a big win here to retain top spot. While footy always comes first tomorrow night sees our second social event for the year, the theme of which I won’t publish for public viewing. Pulling off the unexpected here and beating South Mornington reserves for the first time since 2008 would be the perfect lead in to what is hopefully a big night.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you’ve selected”
Winter is definitely here, and wintry conditions will greet us this weekend as we take a short drive down the road to Whitehorse Reserve to take on local rivals Eley Park. The form of the two combatants couldn’t be any more different: Box Hill North haven’t won a game since round 4, whereas the Sharks are undefeated in their last three in convincing fashion after an ill-fated trip to South Mornington in round five (although they weren’t the first and they won’t be the last team belted down there in 2012). There is a gap forming between the top four and the rest of the competition, with two games separating fourth and fifth. Those top four teams, Eley Park being one of them, have also not lost to a team outside the four with the Sharks’ two losses in 2012 coming against South Mornington and Swinburne. With just 4.7km separating Elgar Park and Whitehorse Reserve this is the second shortest road trip in Division 4, just pipped by the 4.4km between West Brunswick’s Ransford Oval and North Brunswick’s Allard Park. You would think that with such a short distance separating the two grounds that it would hardly feel like an away game, however our recent results at Whitehorse Reserve don’t reflect this. The last two games between these sides have seen the Sharks victorious by over 100 points, a 101-point margin in 2010 being backed up with a 128-point margin last year. Based on those stats some would suggest a miracle could be needed for Box Hill North to take out a win here. Considering Jesus (in water-walking mode) would have been in his element at training last night, perhaps the footy gods are in the mood to hand out such a miracle? Of course being the realists we are, we know that only going in with the right mindset and playing a style of game appropriate for the conditions can create the improbable result in this game.
The reserves face a similarly tough ask this week, with the level of depth Eley Park are blessed with this season (enough players to field a Club VXIII side, imagine that!) showing through in the results of their twos. With just one loss in 2012 and a percentage exceeding 300, this is the best Sharks reserves team we have since their return to the main VAFA competition in 2006. The ability to score heavily with multiple avenues to goal is perhaps their best asset – they are the highest scoring team in Division 4 reserve and have three players to have kicked 20 or more goals for the season, with another two in double figures. To put that in context, those top five goalkickers have kicked 110 goals between them in 2012 compared to the 81 the whole Box Hill North reserves team has scored in the same timeframe. They are coming off a 204-point win against Chadstone last week, and while this may be considered clutching at straws they did give up Chadstone’s highest score of the season (six goals) so the Sharks are potentially vulnerable on the rebound. It doesn’t appear that they turn the ball over that much though considering their performances thus far, so it would foolish of us to wait for them to give the ball up. Eley Park will be keen for a repeat of last year’s clash at this ground, which saw them put in a dominant display resulting in a final margin of 170 points. The makeup of the Box Hill North side that day saw Turbo spend the majority of the game on the ball, a predicament we don’t find ourselves in this time around. In closing, a happy birthday to evergreen reserves full forward and bar manager George 'Big G' Cavallo, who celebrates turning an age (I won’t say which one) today.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying "look away, I’m hideous".
It was nice to have a week off, but it’s nice to be back again with another edition of Turbo’s Friday Preview. A big game greets us for the 11-game stretch to end the season as Box Hill North takes on traditional rival Manningham Cobras at Elgar Park. Box Hill North hasn’t added to the win column since knocking off West Brunswick in round 4, and while the game two weeks ago was just the third time this year we have scored 100 points, it also happened to be our largest loss for the year after letting Point Cook kick 33 goals in running out 108-point winners. This has been the continuation of a concerning trend, where in the six games since beating Chadstone in round one we have conceded an average of 145 points. Only Chadstone has conceded more points than Box Hill North this season and the next closest, this week’s opponents, are giving up a whole five goals less per game than we are. After a poor start to the season in which they lost their first four games the Cobras have found some form of late, winning the last three to find themselves fifth on the ladder and the best performed team outside the top 4. A key to stopping them could lie in restricting their two leading goalkickers in McPherson and Moughanie, who while being 38 and 34 respectively, have not let age weary them by managing to score nearly 60% of Manningham’s goals (51 of 88) so far this season between them. An interesting aspect of this game is that Laurie will be coaching against his old team for the first time since being appointed coach of Box Hill North. I stand to be corrected on this but it could be the first time ever that he has coached against a team he has previously coached for premiership points. Time will tell what role, if any, that all plays in this week’s result.
A four quarter effort will be on the agenda for Box Hill North reserves this week as we try to win our third game for the season. After conceding eight goals to one in the first quarter against Point Cook last start, the remaining three quarters each saw Box Hill North outscore the opposition to go down by 24 points. Like their senior counterparts, the Manningham reserves have recovered from a horror start to record some improved results in the last few weeks. After losing by an average of 174 points in their first four games the last three have seen the Cobras record a win and a draw, although between these results was a 168-point loss to West Brunswick so the trend of losing big when they lose hasn’t abated. That draw came against Mt Lilydale, the week after we overcame the same opponent by a slim margin, so there’s every chance that another 170-point margin won’t be on the cards this week. Manningham comfortably won both encounters last year so they will be reasonably confident of a positive result here. With the precarious position we find ourselves in from week to week with regards to numbers, it was a risky decision to have a team dinner at Sofia’s the Thursday night before the Queen’s Birthday weekend as an alternative to training. Fortunately none of those in attendance were afflicted by food poisoning and all who weren’t previously injured are available for selection this week, meaning we actually have a bench in the reserves this week and nobody will need to double up (although I’m sure Langers would gladly spend eight quarters per week in the forward arc, as long he got a week’s break every time).
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “who does not want to wear the ribbon?”
In this, the fifth year of Turbo’s Friday Preview, my opening sentences must be getting predictable as the boys pretty much nailed this week’s opener after training last night. Not that sentence, but this one: it’s time for the annual trip across the West Gate Bridge as we travel along the freeway to take on the inconveniently located Point Cook (was that OK boys?). After grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory last week (don’t let the final score fool you, the game was there for the taking) this week becomes a must win for Box Hill North if we want to keep pace with the competition. If the last time these teams met here in round 13 last year is anything to go by that will be a tough proposition, as Point Cook ran away comfortable 135-point winners while racking up 51 scoring shots to 11. The Bulldogs, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, went down to Eley Park last week so they will be keen to bounce back and re-affirm themselves as a premiership fancy. You’d imagine they will be confident in their ability to do so after that result from last year, however those who can remember back to when Stifler was playing will remember that the first game between these two sides in 2011 saw Box Hill North come out on top, thanks to five goals from that man who has mysteriously disappeared. One of those who wrote my opening (well, second) line this week, Corey “Corker” Riscalla (Corku for those who made the most recent Japan trip) will represent Box Hill North for the 150th time this week. He has been a great servant of the club for over a decade and the least he deserves is for 100% effort from each of his teammates in his milestone game.
After holding on for an exciting five-point victory over Mt Lilydale last week, Box Hill North reserves have the chance to win two in a row for the first time since 2008 With a couple more serious injuries to come out of last week we are once again hard up for numbers so it will take a monumental effort if we are to achieve that second consecutive victory. Point Cook reserves currently have a 4-2 win-loss record with a very healthy percentage of 179.2, although that is skewed somewhat by a couple of 200+ margins in wins over Chadstone and Manningham. Their recent form hasn’t been so convincing, losing to Eley Park by 12 goals last week, however that was preceded by a 43-point win over the same Mt Lilydale side we just got over the line against last week so the Dogs will still go into this game as hot favourites. Recent history between the two sides mirrors that of their senior counterparts, with Point Cook coming out convincing winners in round 13 last year after Box Hill North grabbed the win earlier in the season. This couldn’t be anything but a co-incidence but the last time Box Hill North played Point Cook Collingwood played against AFL newcomers Gold Coast, and those very same combatants happen to be facing off this week. How is that relevant? Consider this: the Magpies were apparently gone after round 3, and suffered their fourth ACL (all first 22 players) for the year last week. Yet they still find themselves top 4 after winning six on the trot, and have been re-installed as premiership favourites. Now of course Box Hill North isn’t as talented as Collingwood (the 17 other AFL sides aren’t either, but that’s neither here nor there), but the point is that injuries can be overcome if those who remain lift their standard to fill the gap. Who will be our Sidebottom and Beams?
Until next time, this is Turbo saying “but I don’t wanna be a pirate!”
58, 85, 103, 124, 65, 55, 59, 88, 30, 81, 83, 54. If you were a cricketer and those were your scores you’d be pretty happy. That set of numbers would also please those associated with this week’s opponent Mt Lilydale, as that is a list of their winning margins over Box Hill North each time the two sides have met – in 12 encounters Mt Lilydale has registered 12 wins with an average winning margin of 73 points, with all bar one game seeing the final margin under 50. To say Mt Lilydale have the wood on Box Hill North would be a huge understatement, and the ease with which they have done it on each occasion would give them plenty of confidence going into this game. They haven’t done it easy since returning from a brief stint in Division 3, sitting in 7th place on the ladder with two wins from five games. Their form as a whole isn’t all that bad though, two poor losses against South Mornington and Eley Park aside. Last week saw a 20-point loss at home against pre-season fancies Point Cook, while Box Hill North’s performance against another premiership chance in Swinburne wasn’t quite so encouraging. We seem to be a much different side at home though, so a return to Elgar Park will be most welcome. The makeup of the Mt Lilydale side has changed somewhat since their last appearance in this division, with a couple of their stars from previous years pursuing other interests or suiting up for other clubs. Apart from those absences most of the side which narrowly lost the Division 4 grand final 2010 remains. Couple this with the apparent mental edge they have in these contests, and they will come into this one expecting a win. For Box Hill North a win here would maintain the unbeaten record at home, and keep pace with the lower reaches of the top four.
Driving to work this morning I heard something on the radio which wasn’t exactly music to my ears. The words “the bureau is expecting a month’s worth of rain over the next two days” have been reverberating in my head for the last three hours and suggests that tomorrow’s reserves game could be similar to that of the last time these sides met, when Mt Lilydale’s score of 3 goals 9 behinds was amazingly enough for a 10-point win (we managed 1 goal 11 behinds for those interested). Scoring is something Box Hill North have been struggling with since the round one demolition of Chadstone, the 31 goals we scored that day being followed up by a combined total of just 15 across the last four games. Mt Lilydale’s reserves form hasn’t been any better, yet to register a win and with a percentage of 26. Their loss to Point Cook last week was probably their best result for the year though so perhaps they are heading in the right direction. Regardless, the coaching staff from both sides will see this game as the game to get back on the winners list so while the skills on show might not reach any great heights (especially if the weather keeps doing what it is currently doing), you can rest assured both will be going hell for leather and there will be some sore bodies coming out the other side. Often in Division 4 reserve playing stocks can be a bit thin, so it helps to have non-regulars you can call on to help out when need be. The barometer of our depth from week to week appears to be whether Roy plays. He is playing this week, so take from that what you will. Fingers crossed the cramping isn’t an issue this week.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “not that there’s anything wrong with that”.
After knocking off a relegated team for the first time since beating Powerhouse in 2006 Box Hill North faces another tough challenge this week in the form of Swinburne at their home ground, St James Park in Hawthorn (which as far as I’m aware hasn’t been renamed Sports Direct Arena). The Razorbacks will be looking to bounce back after a loss last week against Point Cook, which perhaps came as something of a surprise after three impressive wins in the first three rounds. Just four games have passed since these two teams last met (well, seven for Swinburne seeing as they played three finals last year), with the clash in the final home and away round of 2011 seeing Swinburne come away as comfortable 80-point winners. The previous encounter at this week’s venue was also a one-sided affair with the Razorbacks triumphing by 12 goals, which could have been more if not for the gluepot conditions in the middle (had to feel sorry for Kotsa washing those clash jumpers). Hopefully for Pete’s sake, as well as that of the quality of the game, the ground will be in better nick this time around. Either way Swinburne will like their chances of taking the points here, and they will need to do so if they wish to consolidate their current second position on the ladder. The key for Box Hill North will be to build on last week’s result and use it as a springboard to bigger and better things, which the coaching staff have been emphasizing during the week . A similar win over Eley Park in round three last year was followed by a string of 12 games where the only wins came against Chadstone, something we obviously are keen to avoid repeating. An interesting stat for those who didn’t already work it out: that win against Powerhouse in 2006 also co-incided with the last (and only) year Box Hill North has played senior finals footy since joining the VAFA.
This week’s early game sees both sides on the rebound having lost their previous game, although Swinburne’s loss to Point Cook was by a slim three-point margin as opposed to Box Hill North’s 64-point loss the West Brunswick. Final margin aside, the coaching staff saw some positives from the performance but concede that it is now time to put transfer that hard work into results on the scoreboard. The Razorbacks will take confidence from round three, where they defeated North Brunswick by a very similar margin to that of the week prior when that same North Brunswick outfit did the job against Box Hill North. We all know that those kind of triangular footy results don’t always follow logic when the third game takes place, so the result here isn’t a foregone conclusion. When these two teams last met Swinburne came out victors, but only by 10 points and the result could have easily gone either way. Despite the presence of Roy Adams, the average age of this week’s team is decidedly lower than it was in that game, absences this time around including Stampy and Fats (retired), Westy (pushing a wheelbarrow, albeit for a very good cause in BeyondBlue) and Koops (recently returned from a trip to Nashville, however now waiting by the phone to find out if he has scored a recording contract). Hopefully the result this week will more closely resemble that result than that of the last time at St James, a 73-point win to Swinburne in a game which saw Box Hill North’s team depleted to the point that Turbo (aka “Cheap Stats” – thanks Walrus) spent most of the game in the centre. Fortunately the midfield depth this week is much better and we are unlikely to see a repeat of that scenario.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “the mug is round, the jar is round – they should call it roundtine”.
After a couple of weeks away from home (for some pretty average results) it’s nice to be back at Elgar Park, the scene of Box Hill North’s only victory thus far in 2012, for this week’s clash against West Brunswick. There isn’t really any recent history to speak of between the two sides, given that since winning the D4 premiership in 2008 this is West Brunswick’s first trip back down to the VAFA’s lowest grade. They would consider themselves unlucky to have been relegated, having won five games in 2011 in what was a very even season in Division 3. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the Magpies so far this year with just one win on the board so far, coming in round two against Chadstone. This was bookended by surprise losses to Eley Park and Mount Lilydale, so they will be keen to start hitting their straps soon and will see this week as a prime opportunity to do so. Their chances for success have been boosted by the return Bill Irving, who has found his way back to West Brunswick after a stint at Port Melbourne (yeah, the VFL side) followed by some time at Old Melburnians. In his last stint in D4 he romped to the league best and fairest award, his second such award after taking out the D3 version in 2006. He dusted off the cobwebs last week so expect him to hold the key to West Brunswick’s chances here. Likewise, stopping him will go some way towards maintaining our unbeaten home record for 2012. That said, West Brunswick is chock full of experienced and quality footballers so it would be folly to focus solely on one. For the first time this year we have had virtually a full squad to choose from, so competition for spots has been fierce. Hopefully the 22 that got the nod this week are able to get what will be a difficult job done.
It may be hard to believe, but the last time Box Hill North and West Brunswick played each other in the reserves, Box Hill North actually came out on top. This came during the famous run to the 2008 reserves preliminary final and considering the opposition (who ended up emulating their senior counterparts in winning the flag that year) was perhaps the finest victory the reserves have recorded in my time at the club. West Brunswick reserves have had a slightly better start to 2012 than their senior counterparts, recovering from a first-round loss with two strong wins. A lack of numbers has somewhat hampered our ability to build on the huge round one win against Chadstone, but it appears that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Last week’s effort against South Mornington, despite the final margin, was very encouraging. With just 18 players, including three borrowed from the Supers, we frustrated the opposition for three quarters before fatigue set in and the margin blew out somewhat in the fourth quarter. The story regarding playing stock is different this week, with 22 players selected for the first time this year. We have a bench! The previously mentioned competition for spots saw a couple of unlucky victims from the senior team who will be lining up in the early game including Mannoz, who is putting money on himself for first goal (obviously AFL betting rules haven’t yet filtered down to Division 4 reserves), and Harro, who will be playing his 50th game for the club this week. While disappointed for him that he won’t be running through the banner in the seniors, the selfish part of me appreciates the opportunity to share his milestone with him and with any luck make it a successful one.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “I can't drink coffee late at night, it keeps me up”.
After a strong win over Chadstone in round one it was back to reality last week as a well-drilled North Brunswick side toppled Box Hill North by a similar margin. It doesn’t get any easier this week as we travel down Eastlink, the Nepean Highway or Western Port Highway (depending on where you live, a long way regardless of which direction you are coming from) to take on the form side of Division 4 in South Mornington. The Tigers have surely stamped themselves as early premiership favourites, having notched up impressive wins against Point Cook, a team many have tipped to start their seemingly inevitable climb up the grades in 2012, and the recently relegated Mount Lilydale. These were pretty easy wins too, with the winning margin in both games exceeding 90 points. Going by last week’s result, where Mount Lilydale was held to just two goals, Citation Oval will be something of a fortress this year where opposition sides will struggle to score. Scoring could be hard to come by for both teams tomorrow, as this ground does not traditionally hold up well when faced with weather conditions the likes we have seen in the last few days. Wearing the long stops would be a good idea, although of course I haven’t driven the 52.2km that Google Maps is telling me I would need to drive to check out the condition of the ground so it may very well be in perfect nick. I would be very pleasantly surprised if that was the case though. An energetic performance will be required if we are to pull off an upset here, so perhaps Barrie could share around the Sustagen he was awarded with after training last night.
South Mornington’s reserves team won last year’s Division 4 reserves premiership, and they have continued on their merry way in the early stages of 2012 with results just as impressive as their senior counterparts. Last week’s scoreline against Mount Lilydale was eerily similar to the seniors, with the final result being 115-23 as opposed to 115-20 in the later game. Their confidence will be sky high going into this game, with the last Box Hill North reserves win over South Mornington coming in 2008. To put a positive spin on that, the win came at Citation Oval so we have tasted success here before! Last week’s effort against North Brunswick, despite ending in a 48-point loss, had some good things to take out of it. After conceding six goals in the second quarter whilst not troubling the scorers ourselves, it would not have been surprising to see North Brunswick run away with the game and record another big win. The boys stuck it out though managed three goals to their four in the second half. That kind of endeavour will need to repeated in this game, especially as the Demons will again be undermanned compared to the opposition, once more having to call on the Supers for some assistance. Despite their advancing years they have as big a crack as anyone, so it is certainly no shame having them in the side. Ideally we would be able to fill two sides without needing their help, but injuries/absences/bereavements have prevented this from happening. With players to return in the coming weeks competition for spots that doesn’t currently exist will be created, so those who run out in this week’s game will not only be aiming to bounce back from last week but also stake a claim for a spot in the team once numbers inevitably improve.
Until next week, this is Turbo saying “the sea was angry that day my friends”.
It’s the battle of the slightly modified guernseys this week as Box Hill North travel out to Allard Park to take on North Brunswick, who have apparently adopted the nickname ‘The Bulls’ and as a result have added one to the front of their playing uniform. Both teams would have been encouraged by their performances in round one – Box Hill North came out of the blocks quickly to lead an improved Chadstone by 84 points at half time before running out 95-point winners, while North Brunswick had a tough first-up task against the newly-demoted Mt Lilydale, leading at half time before going down by 22 points. The Bulls will be keen to get onto the winners list in 2012 and, having won the last two games between these two sides at this venue, will see their first home game for the year as the ideal way to kick start their season. After belting Chadstone early in the season last year, reality set in for Box Hill North as we lost our next five, only a second meeting with Chadstone breaking the drought. Lesson learnt, the boys will know that not being able to back up with another win here will undo much of last week’s good work. The last meeting between these teams was a win for Box Hill North by 37 points in wet, greasy conditions at Elgar Park. I’m not sure how Allard Park coped with the steady rain of the last few days, but Elgar held up pretty well so we should still see good conditions for football, and certainly not as warm as last week. All signs point to this being a cracker of a game.
Undefeated with a percentage exceeding 1000. Is Mick Penny the greatest coach of all time? If I was him I would retire before tomorrow, as even a second win for the season in the early game this week would surely see a massive chunk taken out of that magnificent percentage. North Brunswick reserves are always a tough opponent, and their much-vaunted depth appears to have been retained into 2012 after notching up a handy away win last week. BHN has a poor record in these encounters of late, having lost the last