2016 Season Summary
This was a new team to both St Michaels FC and the O45s and is made up of two existing St Michaels players, myself and Bob Kenderes, plus a mix of players from other associations & teams. Most of the guys had played together at some time in the past and St Michaels provided a perfect place for the new team to get established. Like all good things there needed to be a catalyst to bring it all together – Declan McEvoy showed great perseverance & persistence plus a huge amount of effort to get all the boys organised. On behalf of the whole team we would like to say a big thanks to Declan for all the time and effort in organising the team and putting together a great bunch of lads. A very special mention and thank you to Cheryl McEvoy who has managed and organised the team. The team has an impressive list of individual players however it plays a great p ossession game, has great character and is well balanced across the park.
The season started with a highly anticipated encounter against the 3-time reigning O45s Div 1A NSFA champions, West Pymble, who had only lost a couple of games in the last 3 years. Within 20 mins we were up 2-0 and the game finished 5 -1, thus setting the tone for the rest of the season. We finished the season with a perfect record of 18 wins, no losses and no draws (75 goals for, 15 against). Playing the game as it should be played, with the ball to feet and always great movement off the ball, resulted in the team averaging 4.2 goals a game for and 0.8 goals against.
There have been some ups (mainly) and a couple of challenges through the season. The highlights – being undefeated! Playing with guys that all respect each other and the sport, finding a way to win some close games and the GOALS. There are many contenders for goal of the season (Pete, Kochie, Deccas, Bobby, Billy) but rather than talk about all the good ones – there has been an ongoing competition for miss of the season with a number worthy of mention – Kochie rounding the St Ives keeper and hitting it wide of the open goal, Pappas heading it over from within a metre of the goal line from a terrific cross from Blakely, Gavin Dennis – the one game wonder – missing on his first touch of the season from inside the 6 yard box, we then haven’t seen Gavin again!
However, all these were topped by Declan McEvoy’s recent miss against Lindfield. In a tight game at 1 -1, Al Wright made a trademark run through from midfield past the Lindfield defence and received a perfectly timed and weighted pass from Grant Lee. Al was through on goal, albeit on an angle at the right hand side of the 18-yard box, the keeper advancing to cut the angle, the sweeper was sliding over. Then, the familiar call from McEvoy, who was now free as a bird in the middle, the ball was squared inside the 6-yard box with the whole goal in front of him only for him to somehow lift it over the crossbar – some would say harder to miss than to score! Fortunately, the game was won with a late goal from Segreto and the miss is one for the highlights reel.
The boys are now off to the NSW Champion of Champions knockout comp over the course of Sept & Oct, which I believe is the first time St Michaels has ever been represented in this competition. Hopefully we will bring back the football geriatrics State Championship. It is then off to Auckland for the World Masters Games in April 2017 where the team will defend their Gold medals from Turin (2013) and Sydney (2009).
We would like to thank St Michaels FC for being so welcoming and accommodating to us as a new team – particularly Hughesie for all he has done to make this happen and to our Reserves for helping us out throughout the season. From all of us it has been a thoroughly enjoyable season and being part of a small community-based club has added to the experience.
Once the club had decided to accept an approach from a new team who were keen to enter O45/1A in 2016, it was clear that the required Reserve side would need to be made up of a number of the players who had endured a difficult season in O35/1R last year. So it was that we put together a squad made up of 11 of those players along with another 8 that included some StM stalwarts (Dom Fitzgerald & Steve Green) plus some welcome new blood (Andy Cormack & Rob Morton).
After 5 games we were bottom on only 4 points, with just 1 win against a weak Lane Cove outfit. Following a 4-1 thumping at West Pymble and much discussion, we all realised that something had to change to prevent our campaign from slipping away. The season turning point came 4 days later at Blackman on a Wed night under lights, when we played a washed-out make-up game against the-then comp leaders Lindfield who to that point had only conceded 2 goals in 5 games. A structural change to 3-5-2 was implemented but when we conceded another soft early goal the signs didn’t seem good. However, an excellent fighting and determined comeback ensued, led in centre midfield by Andy Crothers and assisted it must be said by a couple of the Firsts lads. Undeservedly 1-0 down at half time, a brilliant 5-1 win resulted, which was made all the more enjoyable by the reaction from some of the Lindfield players at the final whistle.
From there the side’s confidence was transformed and we went on to win the next 6 games which took us to the top of a 6 team division in which 5 of the sides could barely be separated in the points column. The wheels came off somewhat in early July with 2 consecutive defeats that made us start to question the season’s outcome but taking out 3 of the last 4 games, whilst our competitors kept drawing with one another, meant that we took the Title out with a game still remaining. Pleasingly, after suffering 3 often somewhat ill-tempered defeats to West Pymble this season, the Premiership was secured with an 87th minute winner by Steph deservedly defeating them at Kingsford Smith.
Considering I don’t think we have been able to field the same team in two consecutive matches this season, the squad has pulled together impressively to get itself out of a troubling early part of the season and then go on to win the league.
I’d like to thank the various players from other squads in the club who have helped us out in weeks when we have been short of players – I think there were 8 or 9 of you this year so too many to list here. You know who you are and you all made valuable contributions.
I think I speak for all of the 45/1R squad when I say it has been a delight to watch the 1A lads play after us. They make this game of ours look easy when the rest of us know it is not! Their cheerful & relentlessly positive attitude has been great to witness and they have never hesitated to assist us when we’ve asked them. A particularly big thank you to those guys who have helped us out the most – Bob Colville, John Koch and Declan McEvoy. We wish the whole 1A squad the best of luck in their Champions of Champions and World Masters adventures to come.
On a personal note I’d like to take this opportunity to thank both Richard Hawtin and Mark Maclean for their assistance this season with 1R team management issues – it has been much appreciated.
M35 Div 5
Matthew Breeze One of several “new” recruits, “Breezy” was one of our best performers this year. With the exception of one or two games where the call of Jaegermeister and snowy skies was answered, Breezy provided all the leadership and structure that is required from a centre-back. As self-appointed (?) Social Director (SD), he was also without peer and survived a mid-season coup attempt from several wannabe SDs.
Chris Caspers The custodian of the team and again a star in defence, pulling off numerous saves from the penalty box, in close quarters and a few from friendly fire. An incredibly cool and calm character on the exterior but a staunchly dedicated goalkeeper on the inside who kept one of the cleanest sheets in the comp.
Is there any position the man cannot play? Whether it be midfield or backs, Marshall continued to be a reliable presence in the team. More notable for his “close” marking in defence, he didn’t mind having the occasional crack at goals with some success along the way.
Another successful year for this seasoned striker who is equally at home in a ruck or maul as on a football pitch. Al showed a natural instinct in front of the net, where he clobbered in some stunning stand-and-deliver goals, usually giving the defence and goal keeper little or no chance to react. 12 goals for the season.
PCJ as he is known as it is slightly less of a mouth full than his full name, provided plenty of speed in the midfield. Although he is also a committed tri-athlete, those in the know see this as primarily a method of improving the quality of his and his teams performances on the football pitch. Still waiting to see if he has what it takes to be an ASD. Terrigal anyone?
It has been said that a cattle dog can outrun any man over the course of a day, but we’re guessing they haven’t seen Fady play football yet! Fady was literally everywhere on the field this year, positions seemed irrelevant as he would follow the football relentlessly and tirelessly. This tenacity also earned him many plaudits as a tagger, wearing down opposition as easily as beating them in attack.
“CG” (Cap’n Gav…. yes very original), was again at the helm when not tearing, breaking or otherwise eroding parts of his ageing frame. At home defending the goals when a shoulder, hip or head was required, he still has dreams of running like Fady or kicking like Al and Ben. Dream on fella!
Team doctor and referee, John’s year was curtailed by a troublesome knee which I’m sure has no bearing at all on his abilities as a GP? When not playing, John was a fantastic supporter of the team through his perceptive commentary on all things medical and high level mathematics.
“Jonno” like his fellow midfielder Fady, provided plenty of speed and endurance but also a keen sense of game tempo, covering every square inch of the paddock when required. Although not scoring many, he set up plenty of goals, whilst keeping our own keepers on their toes when they looked to be slackening off a bit.
Is there any position this guy would not or could not play or any instruction or favour he would not grant with a smile on his face? The indisputable answer to this is no. What might have been lost in this incredible commitment to the team is how good a player he was to boot, running the pants of many of his more favoured opponents.
Another newby (Scottish term?) in the team this year and another fantastic addition to the backline. A little bit scary at times cussing in some sort of gaelic/Scottish/English but we’re sort of positive it was not life threatening. Iain showed some serious skills down the right hand touch line, passing opposition players at whim and linking up with the midfield with ease.
The term “colossus” was used on many occasions in the weekly match reports but it doesn’t really paint the full picture as Marty was also as light on his feet as a ballerina and had a devastating penalty kick to boot. With hammy on or off the bone, Mulder was like Gandalf in whatever that movie was… “You shall not Pass”!
Another well named nickname “DP” was also the ASD (Assistant Social Director) and a member of the Leadership Group (LG). You would think with all these roles he would have not time for footy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Whether cracking goals from any range into the back of the net (12 in total), weaving through opposition backlines or setting up scoring plays with immaculate crosses, DP was a true ARP (All Round Player).
“The Rock” was to the St Michaels O35 5ths what Sir Alex Ferguson was to Man Utd. Even getting us into the competition took all his guile and perseverance and managing the 20-21 (hi Coxy!) squad was as close to alchemy as any mortal man or woman will see. Adding to this, he probably had one of the best years of his football career, putting his ever reliable melon and soft feet to good use.
It wasn’t until late in the season that the “Hurricane” truly blossomed and in particular one unforgettable match @ the Mowbray School that will be etched in our collective memories for ever. In front of a very vocal crowd, the hurricane scored one of the goals of the season, elevating him from a Tropical Depression to the full blown Hurricane we have grown to love.
“Swifty” by name, reasonably swift by nature… as always 110% committed on the field, not taking any crap from nobody. With his tell-tale “whooof”, the Swift man still had a demon of a right boot and never shirked a good race down the right wing.
When not being shot at, attacked by polar bears or hanging out with some seriously heavy rock stars, Andy had a terrific year in his all too few appearances. As with the Hurricane, the Mowbray School would be the venue for one of the highlights of his year with his first non-toe-poke kick producing “my first goal in a decade”!
Plagued by an early injury to his Achilles, Thommo had a tough year on the field. Off the field, Thommo showed that being injured doesn’t stop you being a part of the team as he was on many occasions, geeing up his fellow team mates from the sidelines. Next year mate, just get rid of any tendons, cartilage or any of that meddling ligament stuff that gets in the way of a good back player.
And to think at the beginning of the year, Ben couldn’t find a team to play with! What a recruit, well done Rocky and Iain. To say he was handy around the goal square is an understatement, scoring at crucial times and lifting the spirit of the team when needed, becoming the leading goal scorer for the season with 20 goals.
Whether locking up the left edge in defence or turning defence into attack with his raking left boot, James was as solid as they come. Yes he’s 6 foot eighteen, yes he has size 23 boots but you need the heart and wherewithal to play the type of footy that James does. It still makes us laugh thinking that opposition teams think they can compete in the air with him as well!
W35 Div 1
This year was the team’s third year in division 1 and unfortunately not a great start with a number of injuries and some close games that didn’t go our way. This caused much frustration and the usual endless emails amongst the team. So desperate were we for a win we seriously considered Linda’s suggestion of applying gladwrap to our goal!
As the season progressed the wins started to flow. Highlights were winning against St Ives after being robbed in our first two games against them. The two top teams (North Sydney and Mt Colah) are well-oiled teams and while we never won a game against either, we set ourselves the goal of at least winning a half and that we did, surprising ourselves and our opponents.
While we unfortunately saw the loss of Anne-Maree through injury (at the hands of Mt Colah) we saw the return of fancy footwork Frannie. Newcomers to the team this year were Barb and Kylie, both great additions to the team both on and off the field.
Our most prized possession though is King Coach (Peter). Thanks Peter for taking us on again, your patience and support are greatly appreciated…..even our opponents think we are lucky.
The M45/3A team is made up of a 18 like-minded players, all with a view of playing a beautiful passing game, always with a view of victory but if it does not eventuate we walk off the field in the knowledge that we gave it everything we had.
The team recruited a striker in Toby Wetherill and a midfielder in Rick Fraccaro. Both blended in well and hopefully enjoyed their season with us.
It was a very successful season, with the teams efforts being rewarded as PREMIERS. The team was second on the table for most of the season and it wasn’t until the latter rounds that required us to play all of the top 5 teams in order to pick up the Premiership, which was confirmed on the final day. We scored the most goals of all teams in the competition with 40 goals and conceded 15 goals which represented the 2nd best defensive effort.
All players have been with the St Michaels club for many years and many have played with this team for a considerable period which has created a special bond and friendship.
A great year was certainly had by all.
After winning the 2015 premiership, expectations were high amongst the M45/2R team for a repeat performance in 2016. The pre-season got off to a bumpy start with legendary Goalkeeper Alex Damo retiring after receiving a soft punctured lung at the end of last season. In rode the cavalry in the form of 2 new players, Paul Nash and Max Forrest. Tino stepped up to put the gloves on and things were looking up.
The highlight moment of the year would have to go Ray Mayer – whilst running the line he started vigorously waving his flag. The Referee immediately stopped play to address what was clearly a major problem. And it was…..Ray had been handed a sausage sandwich with NO TOMATO SAUCE !! He was waving to the guys to bring over the sauce bottle. A valid crisis, so there is now a new T-shaped flag formation in the Referees handbook for Tomato sauce requests!
Ray got his sauce and the team pushed on. An interesting mid-year switch of squads from Maurice’s A team to Ed Vincent’s A team enabled the M45/2Rs to get to know a new bunch of great guys, this year’s 45/2A’s, previously with the Gladesville Ravens. The squad concept was new to them and although it took a while for them to work out why a bunch of BBQing/beer-swilling loudmouths were hanging around each week cheering them on, and even filling in when short, we soon gelled.
With the help of Ed’s team, the M45/2R’s were looking good for a top 4 finish and Finals. Come the last game of the season, the week after beating the previously undefeated league leaders Wahroonga, the M45/2R’s only had to beat lowly St Ives to guarantee a Finals berth. Even then, if we lost (yeah right!) then 5th place Lindfield had to beat the 2nd place and in-form Kissing Point to deny us.
No prizes for how this story ends….the M45/2R’s ended the season in 5th.
The opportunity for our team to join St Michaels led to a memorable season for us ex Ravens boys.The round the clock, last minute work by Hughsie and Rick to make the comp entry deadline allowed us to have a new start and a season the boys have enjoyed immensely.Getting to know Rocky and the 35/5 boys early on was great and thanks to them boys helping on and off the field, we settled into our new club easily.
The mid-season comp switch saw us paired up with Darryl, Graeme and the 45/2 R boys and the fun continued. Again with regular help from them, we started to gel as a team in the new Nth/Sth comp. We strung together our best unbeaten run of 6 games for many a year, mid-season.When injuries starting taking their toll, and when our top four aspirations looked almost lost, we battled hard with two wins to make it into the playoffs in 4th place, and set up a semi-final against Nth Sydney.
In the semi under the lights at Cammeray on a Friday night and with the R boys in full voice, we came out firing and led 4-0 just after halftime thanks to some outstanding commitment and finishing by all on the park. Nth Sydney raced back to 4-3 and we started getting the jitters but a snatch and grab from our top scorer Pete McLean completed his hatrick and stunned Nth Sydney, sending them out on their home turf! What a feeling! This victory was our greatest performance in over 6 years of playing with these boys and was well deserved.
A week later in final we weren’t able to back up an went down 0-3 to Proulle who were simply hungrier on the night.We weren’t disappointed thought, far from it. We were rapt to be playing for a great, supportive club who gave a chance to enjoy our football again!
Thanks to all the boys for a great season and to all in in the club……. We love it and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
Bring on 2017.