Central Blues Win 2010 OAFL Grand Final

After two weeks of preparation for the biggest game in the clubs' 5 year history, the Blues turned up to Humber Sth for a chance at history. Standing in their way was a very determined Dingo’s outfit who were in the red hot form form having dispatched the Gargoyles, Eagles and Roos in successive weeks to make it to yet another Grand Final in their long and proud history. On the Blues side, there was the comfort for them to know that they had easily accounted for the Dingos in their two regular season encounters in 2010 as well as the fact that they had also dispatched the dominant sides of the last three season in the Eagles and Kangaroos. With the form of both Grand Finalists leading into this game. the spectacle and occasion of Grand Final day, plus the drizzley 12 degree day in front of a big OAFL crowd the scene was set for a close and hard fought game of Australian Football in Toronto.

Arriving to the field early to support the Blues Division 2 side, the senior side seemed relaxed as they watched the game, joked and begun their individual pre-game preparations. Even a technical hitch that prevented the Blues streaming the game live to friends and family all over the globe failed to distract the players and administrators (in trying to look after the club's supporters in Australia who woke up around 4am to watch the game, the club was able to provide a make-shift chatroom commentary). Before too long the Blues squad was dressed and headed over to the back field for a team warm-up. As the two teams lined up for the pre-game Australian and Canadian anthems followed by the coin toss you could feel the excitement building. The Blues quickly broke away for a quick photo then huddled for some last minute words from coach Jaye Macumber. Then… it was game on.

As expected the first five minutes of the grand final were fierce with Blues and Dingos players throwing themselves into every contest with no regards for tomorrow. With Blues skipper, Jacob Sone, again leading in the ruck the Blues onballers finally managed to find some space pinpointing Blues 2010 leading goalkicker Sean "Shorty" Goedheer on the lead. Shorty would go back and put the first major on the board for the Blues to give them first blood. At the other end the Blues defense was as solid as ever. Led by rookie superstars Steve "Snorkel" Rutledge (playing on the Dingos danger man Craig Stewart) and Riley "Vossy" Armstrong, and veteran Dan "D2" Lock, the most miserly backline in the OAFL buckled down in the tough conditions. Those three players in Snorkel, Vossy and D2 were eventually judged joint Blues Top Contributors for their shut down job of the dangerous Dingos forwards. A goal to the Dingos did little to blunt the Blues spirits as they quickly responded with another of their own through big man Matt "Dunney" Dunne marking and kicking truly from the Blues forward pocket. At the first break the Blues had a slim 5 point lead in a game where the Dingos refused to back down. The tight scoreline reflected the tightness of the game a both sides were not allowed by the other to take control of the game. In case the Blues players who had never played in a Grand Final were unsure what they were aboutm they got a taste of it in the first quarter as the experienced Dingos never gave up an easy ball.

The second quarter was one of extremes as the Dingo’s came out firing on all cylinders dominating the first half of the quarter. The entire first half of the quarter was literally played in the Dingo’s forward 50. However, through a combination of inaccurate kicking and utter desperation by the Blues backline and assistance from their midfield the Blues were able to withstand the Dingo assault restricting them to 6 behinds and more importantly no goals. This would end up being one of several defining moments of the game for the Blues. As quickly as the Dingos storm commenced, against the flow of play, the Blues surged forward in the slippery conditions and pacy forward Kyle "KP" Pinto soccered through a goal to swing momentum back in the Blues favor. The Blues midfield then began to get on top through some  efforts from Daniel "Corpy" Corp, Kyle"‘Doc" Docherty and Dan "D-Train" Zimmerman resulted in another mark on the lead to ever-goal hungry Shorty who happily converted their efforts. With the Dingos relentless pressure in the second quarter and who seemingly controlled most of the play, the ability of the Blues to "weather the storm" in keeping the Dingos to 6 behinds for all their hard word, while also responding with two goals of their own gave them a psychological boost and an all important 2 goal lead going into half time. The Blues were slowly growing in confidence knowing that they could absorb arguably the best the Dingos could throw at them and survive unscathed.

With the halftime break seemingly taking an eternity as the Grand Final sprint was run, the Blues opted to keep warm and mobile by lightly jogging and resorting to some more traditional pre-game warmup routines. When the premiership quarter got underway it was clear that both teams saw this as the opportunity to break the game open. Macumber adjusted his forward set up to a line up shorter players with Shorty, Ivan "Milat" Ouellette, Kyle Pinto, and Antonio Muto roaming the Blues scoring zone while the bigger forwards pushed up the ground. As the third quarter kicked off it was the Blues who struck first with a great running goal from Doc to open up a 3 goal lead. The celebrations were short lived though as the Dingo’s coach Mick McFarlane playing in his 50th game kicked a pearler from the boundary to rally his troops. This was closely followed by another Dingos goal to tighten the margin to within a kick. With the game dangerously in the balance and the the Dingos side once again controlling the momentum it was Blues Canadian veteran Jared Postance who stepped up with arguably the most important goal in Blues history. A former rugby player, Postance was in his element in the heavy conditions and as the Blues "scrummed" the ball forward Jared was getting into everything. In a frenzied attempt to spark his teammates Postance laid a brilliant tackle, followed by a bone-jarring bump as he pressured the ball deeper into the Blues attacking zone. As the Dingos defense looked certain to clear the ball, Jared threw himself through the air to effect a brilliant smother and as the ball squirted towards goal had the composure to lead the footrace, slide and toe-poke the ball through the goals only centimeters from the behind post. It proved a spark that unleashed a great celebration and immediate lift to entire team. Some Blues members would call this the TSN turning point as the Blues quickly responded with another goal to Shorty and even with a late goal to the Dingos, the Blues headed into the final break with a important 13 point lead and plenty left in the tank.

With the faint whiff of a historic victory in the air, and knowing that if they could hold the Dingo’s for a mere 20 more minutes, the Blues bounded out in the last quarter determined to complete a remarkable 2010 season in style. Goals to Dunney and Shorty early in the quarter provided a 4 goal buffer that would ultimately prove to be enough. With D-Train and Blues legend Jase Cain dropping behind the ball and the Blues sensing a victory closing in, the game descended into contest after contest of ball ups and throw in with neither team able to maintain any ascendancy. A late goal to the Dingos, the result of a free kick, shortened the margin to 3 goals. In a last minute ditch to build more breathing space the Blues again surged forward as the spectators cheered and counted down the final seconds. As the siren sounded it was elation for the Blues as they capped off a brilliant season with their first ever Conacher Cup (premiership). Commiserations and congratulations to the Dingo’s who after a good year found a rich vein of form when it counted the most. Their run of games over the last month was nothing short of remarkable and while there was disappointment of falling short by just 3 goals, they should be extremely proud of themselves and are sure to be looking forward to a big 2011 season of redemption. They were as tough as ever and the game was played in great spirits in a fitting battle for the biggest game of the year.

For the Blues it was a brilliant team effort with every player playing their role and contributing.  Ewan ‘Obi’ Williams, Denton Levy, Ivan ‘Milat’ Oulette, young gun Victor ‘Ocho’ Cinco are just a few that played exceptional games on the toughest stage. After belting out "We are the Navy Blues" mid pitch the Blues descended on the presentation area to applause and congrats from the hoards of Blues family, friends and supporters who braved the weather. After some words from the Dingo’s and Blues coach, Corpy was awarded the OAFL version of the Norm Smith medal for his superb game. Then one at a time the Blues players were called up and presented with their premiership medallions – something they will all cherish for a very long time. As captain and coach raised the Conacher Cup the players mobbed them in what was only the beginning of a great and very long celebration. Post game the players regrouped at the Blues sponsor pub, Gabby’s, for food and drinks, all dressed in their game jumpers and wearing their premiership medallions with pride.  Amongst the singing, talking and celebrating the Blues partied well into the night and next day – a well-deserved reward for a years hard work.

Finally, the Blues would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the Blues players, sponsors, administrators, and of course the family and friends of the club. This premiership is for everyone.  We especially thank all those who were able to make it out and support on the day in what was a terrible day for spectators.  It was amazing to see so many people out (and kids/babies) in the cold and rain.  This support was a major part of the inspiration for the players to get over the line on the day. Lets hope this is just the beginning of a long run of success for the Central Blues.  Recruiting has already begun for the 2011 premiership defence so keep your eyes open for pre-season training dates early next year.  The Blues are always looking for talent of all ages (juniors, seniors, men and women) so if you are interested in playing for the Blues or even just being a part of this fantastic club then contact us.  Until then, thanks again to everyone and congratulations to the Central Blues – 2010 Division 1 Premiers!

The club would like to especially thank Jaye Macumber and Jason Cain who have both been integral in the development of the club which has won it's first ever OAFL Premiership after 5 years of joining the league. It is only fitting that these two Blues members who have both played and coached the club received this pinnacle of a send off. Both guys will be returning to their native Victoria after prolonged stints in Canada. The club would like to wish these guys and their families all the best in their future endeavours and to thank them for the incredible service that both have contributed in making the Central Blues the club it is today.

2010 Blues Division 1 Premiership Team (Clockwise from back left: B. Parker, A. Booth, A. Martin, N. Pinto, K. Docherty, D. Levy, M. Dunne, D. Lock, R. Chapman, D. Corp, J. Cain, V. Cinco, S. Rutledge, R. Armstrong, D. Zimmerman, I. Ouellette, K. Pinto, S. Goedheer, A. Muto, J. Sone(C), J. Macumber (Coach), K. La (VC), J. Postance, E. Williams, K. Wong)

Central Blues       9      4    58
Toronto Dingos   5    10    40                                                                                                                  
Blues Best:    D. Corp, K. Pinto, S. Goedheer, S. Rutledge, R. Armstrong, J. Sone, K. Docherty, J. Postance
Blues Goals:    S. Goedheer (4), M. Dunne (2), K. Pinto (1), J. Postance (1), K. Docherty (1)
Best on Ground:    Daniel Corp
Top Contributor:    Steven Rutledge, Riley Armstrong & Dan Lock

To view photos of the game CLICK HERE


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