Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : VFL            Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

 

 

WILLIAMSTOWN'S FLAG IN 2003

TONY LIBERATORE WITH NO ANSWERS

 

There was little Tony Liberatore could do to save his Hawks against a rampaging Williamstown. As many of us feared, Williamstown, laden with Collingwood players whose season has yet to formally finish, was simply too talented. By quarter-time the 2003 grand final was virtually over. The game confirmed that Collingwood has recruited wisely in recent years. So too has Williamstown, whose key players - Adrian Fletcher, Troy West, Brad Lloyd, Marcus Baldwin, Sam Cranage and Josh Mahoney - were among the best players on the ground. The Box Hill Hawks couldn't fault their running players. But their talls - David Loats, Robert Campbell, Doug Scott (VFL), Nick Stone and Michael Rix (VFL) - struggled on the wide-open Optus Oval. In the end the game said as much about Collingwood as it did about Williamstown and would have left Hawks coach Peter Schwab with much to think about.

THE CROWD GATHERS FOR THE CUP

 

BRAD GOTCH - A MASTER COACH

Williamstown was the clear favourite on Sunday. It's fifteen AFL players, were better quality than their Hawk counterparts. With Jarrod Molloy, Steve McKee and Dane Swan inside fifty, Liberatore was always going to have his hands full. But Brad Gotch coached his side beautifully. From the first bounce, Williamstown set the patterns and worked the Hawks over. While David King blanketed the match-winner, Stephen Kenna, and Sam Cranage ran out of defense without an opponent, the Seagull midfield reigned supreme. The pace of the Hawks had suddenly been driven from the contest. Under the relentless pressure of the Williamstown onslaught they made mistakes and lost their way. Andrew Pugsley forgot to punch the ball and Michael Rix turned his back on Swan at the Heatley Stand end in the second quarter. Both indiscretions resulted in goals. The Hawks had cracked.

No matter what the configurations of an aligned team, a coach must still get his side over the line. Gotch did that and now has three VFA/VFL premierships to add to his great VFL/AFL career. He's a treasure for both Collingwood and Williamstown.

TROY WEST - BRAD GOTCH AND BRAD LLOYD COLLECT THE CUP

 

BAD LUCK LIBBA

They say you make your own luck. Yes, that's true, but sometimes the score line doesn't tell the whole story. For despite the 26-point loss and a 47-point deficit at half time the Hawks could have won the game. Libba will look back and wonder about what might have been. When the worm began to turn after half time the Hawks had their chance to draw closer than 27 points at three-quarter time. Had they been a couple of goals closer there's no doubt their speed and fitness might have told.

NOW FOR THE RULES

Although we'd have all liked a closer contest, the crowd of 10,500 was treated to some great football. And thankfully the Williamstown listed players were as good as any. Nevertheless the rules for qualification must change. It does VFL football no good when fifteen Collingwood players take up the places of young Williamstown players.

Andrew Williams - whose only 2003 game with the Seagulls was the grand final - could not possibly have experienced the level of joy the premiership would have brought to Cinton Runnalls, Chris Hollow, Tom Hill, Leigh Sheehan, Matt Pierce and Luke Jarrad. Every one of these Williamstown players was worthy of a spot in the grand final. But with a flood of AFL players they had no chance. Nor was there the euphoria after the match one usually sees in the aftermath of a grand final. This is no criticism of the AFL players. They are professionals with bigger fish to fry. And no amount of spin will camouflage this football reality.

The VFL must limit the number of AFL players in a grand final side. If the number was set at twelve, for example, the AFL club could negotiate with its VFL partner as to which AFL players to select. This would result in every potential AFL grand final player being selected in the match. On Saturday night, five Collingwood players - Steve McKee, Jarrod Molloy, Rupert Betheras, Tristen Walker and David King - were told they would be in contention for selection in Collingwood's grand final side.

Common sense tells you that Collingwood would not have been disadvantaged had only twelve players been allowed to play last Sunday. They didn't need to select fifteen players in the Williamstown side. It's time for the VFL to bite the bullet if it's to avoid being seen as a 'reserves' competition.



 

 

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