Spirit of Masters Carnival | June 29

Spirit of Masters Carnival
Mooroopna, June 29, 2019
By Daron Jacks
Footy is a winter sport and the deluge that began pouring down the night before the Spirit of Masters Carnival on Saturday well and truly washed away any advantage the fair-weather running players had.
The drive to Mooroopna saw the black clouds chucking down rain and flooding roads. Of course in true Macedon Ranges style, once we had crossed the divide things began to dry.
And with 19 of Woodend’s finest on hand, including newcomer Matt for his first game, we arrived at the grounds at Mooroopna, near Shepparton, to find them in reasonable nick. Of course once we had put our kit on ready for our first game against Kerang-Swan Hill the heavens opened.
With a boggy centre the game of 12-minute quarters ensured there was plenty of mud and to chase the bar of soap around in.
With Mango and Mike taking turns in the ruck, the Hawks did a great job clearing the ball. Unfortunately it kept getting into the hands of Jobe who set about racking up his daily score of 1.8.
Chewy was just warming up in front of goals and nailed our first for the day, Jacks followed soon after. Bushy set about his own path for kicking behinds for the day... for a few teams actually.
The second quarter saw Razor’s comeback from his injury in Round 1 and a wobbly kick into the forward line landed in his hands and in the slow-motion style we’ve come to love, Razor snapped a sausage and kept his dodgy hammy intact.
Jobe began to shoot to the vicinity of the goals to eventually kick his only one, then to miss the lot from a 25m set shot, then to have one touched on the line. Other than that he was racking up possessions.
It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Rams could snap a goal, such was the pressure in the midfield. With a few handy Echuca players in their line-up to help fill numbers, the still couldn’t break the lines into their forward line.
Woody, who was given a spell at full forward, showed rare attacking prowess when he kicked the ball off the deck through for a goal. He duly celebrated. That’s why he’s off to Europe this week to represent Australia.
Showbags was clocking up some mileage with Raccs as the deadly duo carved up and down the wing to set up some excellent linking up from the backline. All that running and passing at training has paid off.
Hodor bobbed up with a cracker in the last quarter to kick a ripper goal from about 40m out close to the boundary, and burn Rossco for glory. A pattern was set.
With minutes to spare Mango decided to mix things up and don a Rams jumper and take us on. So anyone who had moments earlier delivered or received a pass with his name on it was left scratching their head.
Without a scoreboard we reckon the scores were 8 goals to 1 with a fair spread of six-pointers to Koliba, Jacks, Hodor, Jobe, Rossco, Woodcock, Razor and Chewy. And a shitload of behinds to Jobe.
The Spirit of Masters Carnival is all about what the league stands for - footy for fun. So a few of our guys then chipped in to help fill the Murray Crays side, while the rest of thawed out and fuelled up for the next hit out against Melton.
Of course, nothing says old bloke than cooling down for an hour before trying to run again. It wasn’t just our lads, but across the carnival blokes were slowing down to a limp before getting back out on the field and showing they’re not past it yet.
Credit to the Melton guys, having entered 1.5 teams many had played three games by the time they faced us. But let’s not let that minor detail get in the way of our glory.
Again we set the tone with Mango and Mike killing it in the ruck. The ball kept being driven forward to our forward line and on a few occasions, Mike unselfishly passed to Rossco when he could’ve kicked a sausage.
Here’s a tip, Mike: it’s Masters footy, so be selfish and chase glory. It helps us to hang shit on you if you miss.
Rossco continued his challenge for Tool of the Year with his determination and attack on the ball. The Gaelic footballer in our Irish import continues to see him enthusiastically try to break lines and kick. So when Rossco took a solid mark 20m out from goal it only seemed natural to play on… even though he had two opponents hanging off him.
The whistle sounded and he was nailed for holding the ball, and sewn up the Tool of the Week award. Not to be outdone, after Showbags put on a show with some hard running to snap for goal, Rossco again bobbed up to burn him and kick the ball through for his own glory (taking notes, Mike?).
But the game belonged to Chewy, who had earlier strained his knee and was limping like he had gout (he moved very fast later on out of the showers to grab a few cold cans though!). The big fella was like Plugger as he steamed out of the goal square to be hit up easily by our midfield to end the match with four goals, and five for the day.
Jobe, intent on showing Mike how to do it, took a mark near the boundary about 20m out from goals. With Bushy making a lot of noise and gesticulating wildly, Jobe burnt him and snapped a banana that, had it gone through, would’ve been talked about for the rest of the year. It didn’t. It missed everything and went out on the full, much to everyone’s amusement with howls of laughter around him. (Still taking notes, Mike?)
Melton was unable to kick a major until the dying minutes, which only occurred after a wayward kick to the boundary looked like it was going over only to stop just before the line. The ensuing run to the get the pill looked as fast as pensioners on pay day heading to the pokies as yours truly left his man to beat their bloke to the line.
A quick snap off the boot back to my man, who was wide open and all alone, saw him put it through for a goal. I reckon the spare bloke was Koliba’s, who had a solid night the evening before taking photos with stuffed giraffes.
The siren sounded with the Hawks convincing winners. Again without a scoreboard we believe the final score was 7 goals to 1, with goals to Chewy 4, Rossco, Lacey and Kohney.
We were lucky our game finished before the cyclonic conditions ripped through. We were in the hot showers and missed seeing our village idiot and president Bushy opting to run around the ground on his own after the next game was called off.
In a shock to our players, we were crowned the “Champion Team of the Spirit of Masters Carnival” with a total score of 103 points.
The fact that we don’t play with a scoreboard, and often share players to fill sides, means the essence of Masters footy is adhered to: footy for fun.
All of us on the paddock can’t thank our trainer Dean Frank enough for driving out and strapping us up or burning us with his special cream as he loosened tight hammies and calves.
The community spirit of the league was on show later that night with players from clubs openly discussing their experiences and struggles with depression and anxiety. Speeches by Bushy and Razor were not only courageous, but enlightening as to how important physical and mental health is to men our age.
It was overwhelmingly agreed that playing footy every couple of weeks has helped, and continues to help, many of us for the rest of the week.
Our hosts, the Goulburn Valley Suns, and the team at the Vic Country Masters league should be proud of the efforts at the carnival. It was a huge success and is proving to be something all teams look forward to each year.
Our next game is at home on July 20 against the Murray Crays. Bring a mate to training and let’s get ready for another fun day out.
Thanks for a cracking day, fellas. It was great fun.


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