Cannons Make It 5 From 9!!!
Dandenong Stingrays 3.4 9.7 10.11 14.14 (98)
Calder Cannons 7.0 13.2 15.7 17.10 (112)
Goal Kickers: M. Pitt 3, R. Kerr 2, A. Treloar, R. Bastinac, J. Cottrell, C. Millard, A. McInnes, J. Amalfi, W. Petropoulos, M. Shaw, M. Hallahan
Best Players: R. Bastinac, C. Millard, M. Gent, W. Petropoulos, M. Hallahan, R. Kerr
Goal Kickers: S. Temel 5, L. Mitchell 3, J. Thompson 3, J. Carlisle, R. Hicks, T. Hunter, B. Fewster, S. McCallum, M. Wallis
Best Players: J. Melksham, S. Temel, T. Liberatore, T. Hunter, T. Lucin, M. Watson
They say Premierships are won on hard work and determination, played mainly above the shoulders. The Cannons of 2009 showed that fighting spirit and intelligence to overcome a strong Dandenong Stingrays. From the opening bounce at Etihad, Calder were in the groove, posting the first goal at the one minute mark of the first term, ably put through by Brendan Fewster. The second one sailed through when Temel took his first mark of the night and this trend was to continue, with 12 goals being posted before a point was scored. It did beg the question, where had that been all year? The inaccuracy of the home and away season faded into oblivion and if the Cannons got it right, then it was the perfect stage to do so. Luke Mitchell, after the previous games of 6 points in a row from his boot also teamed to boot a superb boundary line goal as the Cannons army began to roll. Whether the Stingrays allowed the two big forwards too much space or just the fact that stepping onto the big stage saw Mitchell and Temel take the game on, it was a pleasure to watch them, Temel, now affectionately known as the ‘Turkish Delight’ by coach Marty Allison, ended a wonderful final series with 21 goals all up and a grand final medal.
Jacob Thompson, captain and small forward should not be forgotten, his smart football brain saw him front and center of the big guys down forward, ever the opportunist to swoop on the loose ball, he too contributed 3 goals and played an important role in making this team the close knit group it is.
The presence of Andy Duhau, Robbie Hicks off the bench, added to the strength of the midfield, albeit a young one with Wallis and Liberatore but a lethal one, the fact that all are smart players who take on the game and make their opposition work that little bit harder, the effectiveness of teamwork and coach Marty Allison’s faith in this band of young men cannot be underestimated. Duhau has a cool head on his shoulders and many times intercepted balls to run strongly through the center and present the ball to a hungry Calder forward line who duly capitalized. Robbie Hicks showed his unending talent with a wonderful back heeled goal that put Beckham to shame. When the tide turns in your favor in a grand final, it makes things difficult for the opposition to stem the tide. To Dandenongs credit they never allowed the Cannons a chance to feel comfortable, right to the end of the game, the Stingrays were still breathing down their necks, making it one of the better TAC finals played in recent years.
Cool clear heads are needed in big games, enter one Jake Melksham, ‘Jake the Snake’ looked as nervous as anyone before the game, preferring his iPod and quiet time alone, but once that bounce occurred, Melksham showed he was there to play some serious football, his center clearances in the first quarter were outstanding and his time and clear head allowed his team mates to feed off him. It was no surprise to hear his name read out as the worthy winner of the TAC Player of the Grand Final. An accolade he duly deserved on the night but one he acknowledged his team with as being an award you cannot win without the help of the entire playing group. The quiet achievers of Watson and Taylor Hine went about their business in methodical fashion. Hine gathers plenty of the ball with his defensive techniques outstanding and his ability to play on taller opponents a plus. He is a balanced footballer who as he grows is taking the game on, on his own terms and coming out a winner. Watson is a quiet defender who showed courage in taking marks in the last quarter to stop a Dandenong effort to wrest the game away from Calder. Watson doesn’t panic, he just does his job. Long also must be praised for after receiving a heavy knock he returned to the field and also took a game saving mark in the backline.
What more can be said about the dynamic duo of Mitch Wallis and Tom Liberatore, again they found the ball and each other with all the ease of more experienced players, Libba with over 25+ possessions along with Mitch, they showed an ability far beyond their young years. Calm and full of running they fed the others in the midfield time and again. Libba is the go get it player, always underneath the packs and his tackling was thrilling to behold. Wallis is calm and cool under pressure and just knows where to be, his run through the centre of the ground was vital. They are ably supported by Tom Lucin and Dion Prestia. Lucin takes the game on and weaves paths where no one should be yet makes it look easier than most. Dion is the tank of the side, a bottom age player who has a bright future. His courage shown to run through packs and make plays is a credit to this young man’s work ethic. One the Cannons look forward to again next year.
Special mention to Steve McCallum, who rolled his ankle in the preliminary, after Mitch Farmer had taken the number 22 jumper to great heights in ’07, Macca took the number and despite a few hiccups over the journey has come through as an outstanding example of what hard work and determination can achieve. His dogged work rate and junkyard dog mentality make him a hard player to curtail for any length of time. He is terrier like at the packs and his opponents always know when Steve is around. He earned his respect at Calder for his courage and will to make things happen. He did the jumper number proud and at the aftermatch celebrations it was a nice touch to see both players in Farmer and McCallum together celebrating the Calder victory.
There is so much more that goes into a Grand Final, the coaching staff were smiling, the regional manager was smiling and so too all staff and parents. Calder has always been a family, more so than just a football club. One that most other clubs envy, and one that all who are responsible for feel and do more than what is necessary to keep Calder at the forefront of the TAC. The Cannons now hold the record for the most grand final wins in the TAC, beating the Northern Knights record of 4 premierships.
So to all players, staff, family and friends, thank you for a wonderful season at the Calder Cannons. As James Lawton put it in the change rooms after the presentation of the cup.
‘This is what it’s all about! It doesn’t get much better than this’
Jimbo’s words were spot on. Cannons 2009 TAC Premiers. Has a nice ring doesn’t it?
By Cheryl Harvey