On Friday July 25, the 12.4 bottom-age Venom boys were out for revenge against their top-age 12.3 Venom training partners and rivals. After a barnstorming finish to just fall short in their previous encounter, this game promised everything and it delivered it in spades!
Andrew's 12.4 boys came into the game on the back of some good form over the past 3 weeks, despite not being able to register a win. This included a harrowing draw to Melbourne 4 last week after leading by 12 at the main break. David's 12.3's entered the contest on the back of some mixed form since the school holiday break. after a 3 game losing streak, the boys halted the slide with two straight wins against Melbourne 4 and Kilsyth 4.
Unlike in their last stoush, the 12.4's started stronger through dedicated team play and hard-nosed defence. Despite his best efforts to draw out the best of from his team, Gibbo's boys were being outplayed by a more hungry and determined unit as they turned into the main break 8-points down.
The 12.4's once again were heading into the second half with a solid lead, and were focused on keeping it. The younger team were looking good and were set to record an upset win over their second-placed rivals. However a never-say-die approach from the older Venom team meant they continued to hang around. With minutes remaining the 12.3 boys got within striking distance.
In a frantic last few minutes, with all the parents on the edge of their seats, the 12.3's hit the lead for the first time all game. They held on in the dying moments to record a thrilling 1-point win and maintain second place on the ladder. As for the 12.4's, whilst they were gallant in defeat, they were extremely unlucky to lose, with shots not falling throughout the second half that would have sealed the win. Argbaly they were the best team on the night, but found themselves 1-point behind when the final siren sounded.
Venom's 12.1 boys faced third-placed local rivals Doncaster away from home and believed they had the game plan to upset their more highly ranked opponents. Despite playing solid basketball early, the Venom trailed 0-11 before David finally connected on a long overdue field goal. The scoreline at the time didn't reflect the game in what was a very even contest. A strong closing to the first quarter saw the Venom trail by just 7.
Turnovers and missed baskets were costing the Venom, and Doncaster took advantage to get ahead by 10 points yet again. The Venom's defence remain rock solid though, and it began to spark the offence into action. At half time the margin was just 6, and the Venom were looking more ominous.
Warrandyte's big men were dominating inside the paint, and forcing Doncaster into tough contested shots. However the Venom just couldn't capitalise on their dominance, failing to make the shots that needed to drop. A burst by Doncaster late in the third had them up by 12 at the last break.
The last quarter belonged to Warrandyte. Max coverted his scoring chances from the low block, and the Venom defence smothered the Panthers on each possession. With just over a minute remaining, the Venom closed to within 4 points and hance a golden chnce to get within 2. A blown layup followed by a subsequent second chance shot in the paint went begging, and with it the Venom's chances. Doncaster converted on the next possession to edge 6 ahead and keep the lead for good, running out winners by 7 points.
It was the Venom's best effort in months and the first time the team had played consecutive games with a full team since round 3. The coach was proud of the boys efforts and teamwork during the game, yet was left wondering about another one that got away. Hawthorn at home this week promises to be another great game, with the Venom every chance of winning should they replicate their good recent form.
After a number of thrilling wins over recent week's, Coach Daniel's 12.2 boys finally found themselves on the wong side of the scoreline, falling 1-point short of fourth placed Craigieburn away from home. Still more than one game clear in 5th place, the boys faced ladder leader Blackburn 2 at home this week in what is sure to be another stiff test. A win could all but secure them a finals position and keep them in touch for a shot at a double-chance, a loss could find themselves vulnerable to 6th place Collingwood, a team that they face in the last round.