Four on the trot for the Bloods

Bloods Leave Ground Satisfied After 69-Point Win. PICTURE: TREVOR CURRIE

By Frank Seal

Coming off three straight wins, Olinda’s seniors had a week off to ponder their next battle against a struggling Officer side. It was a sunny yet windy day at Officer and on a large, variable surface, the Bloods were faced with unusual conditions – large areas of dry even ground with patches of quagmire – making for a scrappy contest.

At the business end of the season and with a huge challenge against ladder leaders Narre Warren in the following round, there was an emphasis on the here and now and the Bloods were determined to focus on the match at hand.

Kicking against the wind in the first quarter, Olinda struggled to establish an early lead despite clearly winning the territory battle. Officer was effective entering inside 50 and put up a good defensive fight. Isaac Tonkin was dynamic out of defensive 50 with his ball use and Matt Scharenberg’s efforts were crucial both in the air and on the ground, allowing clean defensive exits. Midfielders Kelsey Currie and Tyler Belloni were hard and strong as usual, gaining significant metres and providing opportunities for Lachy Taylor and Matt Rosier to capitalise. The game was tied at 4-1-25 at the first break.

While the wind was favourable, Olinda looked to establish a decent lead in the second quarter. With some quick run and dash through the middle of the field, the Bloods were getting numerous inside 50s. Nick Keegan began influencing the game with his fast-paced play and handball receives, feeding the key forwards with deep entries and adding a goal himself. Noah Desta was playing with flair in front of goal, wrong-footing the opposition with some ankle-breaking moves and adding a goal as well. The midfielders were getting on top at stoppages, and the backs were holding up brilliantly, conceding no score for the quarter. The Bloods led 44-25 at half-time.

Still mindful of the conditions, Olinda focused on maintaining their scoreboard advantage into the third quarter wind. Officer’s midfielders scrapped hard, winning the clearance battle to open the half and putting Olinda’s backs under pressure. Dale Rohrmann was getting on top of his matchup, spoiling most contests, and disposing the ball efficiently. The conditions were impacting the ball use of both teams, and some costly defensive 50 errors for Olinda, resulted in two Officer goals for the quarter. Senior debutants Oscar Sarafian and Chris Darling were cool under pressure, playing their roles well given the conditions. With attacking intent, the Bloods moved the ball inside forward 50, where the goal-kickers outscored the opposition for the quarter and established a four goal ¾ time lead.

With the game poised for a strong Olinda finish, the Bloods unleashed an avalanche in the fourth quarter, kicking eight goals to one. The backs aggressively pushed high up the ground. James Belli displayed quality ball use inside 50. Pete Lucas and Kelsey Currie worked well defensively to win as many contests as possible. Nick Keegan repeatedly burst through the midfield sending the ball forward where Lachy Taylor (clunking strong marks) and Matt Rosier (winning hard ground ball) capitalised on the delivery, booting seven goals between them for the quarter. At the final siren, Olinda had claimed a big (116-47) victory to go one game clear in the top 4 and set up the rest of their season.