Pirates summary on how their various teams have gone so far in the Melbourne Futsal League
Nearing the half way point of the MFL, the Pirates’ teams are having mixed fortunes this year. The Hornets have narrowly lost a game by a goal, well beaten in another and fought hard for a credible draw in the next game. The Phantoms were doing extremely well until they came up against the Joma Jaguars Juggernaut and the Falcons have found their rhythm and are on a winning streak.
The U14B Hornets (Girls) have been beset by injuries, football duties and holidays, which does not help with the consistency of their play. None the less they have soldiered on and have never given up in each of the games they have played.
Coming off a lost to ISE 3-8, their next game was Away to the Geelong Cats. It was played at a frantic pace and with a minute to go it was locked at 6-6, with Pivot Lily O’Brien bagging five of the goals. But the girls could not hold out for the draw and the Cats scored with seconds to go. Next up was a Home tie against the Eagles. The Hornets went into this game without O’Brien who was on a football tour with the South Melbourne Womens team in Arizona, USA. However, the remaining girls stepped up and shot to a 2-0 lead. It took a while for the girls in the black and yellow stripes to get going, but when they applied the pressure they clawed their way back in front to take a first half 3-2 lead. In the second half, the Eagles went 4-2 up and then 5-2. The Knobbs’ twins were having their best game of the season. Maddie was in goal and making some outstanding saves to keep the team in the game. Her sister, Finnie, has a powerful right foot shot and when she hits them, they are pretty hard to stop, as the Eagles Goalkeeper found out. She got the Hornets back into contention with two hard low shots to make in 4-5. By this time, the Eagles were on the ropes and could not hold on for the win, with the Hornets having the last say, making it 5-5 a-piece. It was a thrilling game.
Next up, was an Away encounter against the Joma Jaguars, who are the runner way leaders of this age group. The boys were too big and too good for the depleted Hornets, losing 1-18. One bright point was that the smallest and youngest girl in the team, Greta Jowett-Smith, scored the team’s solitary goal. It was a far post tap in, after receiving a nicely weighted pass from Pivot Litsa Collios and it was scored towards the end of the game, which just goes to show that they never did give up despite the score line!
The U14B Phantoms (Boys U13 team) beat the Eagles girls’ team 5-3 in Round 4. Their next encounter was away to the Cobras girls’ team at Mullauna College. This was always going to be a tough game as the Cobras girls had a number of older State players in their ranks. In the beginning it was business as usual, with the younger boys ever mindful of their defensive duties, they managed to trade goals for goals. They held their own against the more physical and sometimes, petulant, Cobras. Locked at 3-3, the game was becoming frantic and tense as the clock was heading to full time. Then, the Phantoms scored which upped the ante to another level. With 33 seconds to go on the clock, Captain Matthew Baldwin went to block a tackle and slipped. As he lay on the floor one of the Cobras players kicked the ball straight into Baldwin’s face, in an attempt to shoot at goal. Blood was pouring from his face and the Referee had no choice but to stop the clock. After the blood was wiped from the floor, the game resumed. There was nothing that the Cobras could do and the boys hung on for a well deserved victory. Miraculously, Baldwin did not receive any severe facial injuries; however the Doctor said he was very fortunate. Talk about a Captain’s performance!
The next game was a Home tie against the Joma Jaguars. Captain Baldwin was back, but after the previous week’s heroics, the team were so flat, that they got easily steam rolled by the Divisions leaders, 1-10. Coach, Reuben Langerak, himself sporting black eyes after his F League encounter with Parramatta Blues, said he has never seen the team perform so timidly. The only consolation is that the Joma Jaguars have beaten everybody else so far, so the Phantoms are not alone. This seems to be the only anomaly in this age group, with all the other teams being relatively equal.
Round 7 was an Away tie to ISE at Endeavour Hills. The boys were keen to make amends for their previous week’s drubbing. The team was without Vice Captain Jacob Biviano but this did not seem to affect the balance, as they soon got into their stride. One of their goals was purely a team effort with the ball being distributed by Goalkeeper Nicholas Bucello to the flank who quickly zipped it across court to the other flank who in turn passed it to the Pivot for a far post tap in. Beautiful Futsal by the young boys! The Phantoms were on top of their opponents and came away with a 6-3 win.
The U16s Falcons have always started their games well, but due to a lack of numbers in their playing squad, have run out of steam in the second half of their matches. In recent weeks they have been boosted by the return of Wisam Moolawi and William Baldwin and the results have been encouraging. Starting the season off with a Bye, does not help the cause and then three straight losses on the trot is not good form either! But to come away with a credible 4-4 draw against the Cobras “A” Team showed that they boys were starting to gel.
Next up was a Home tie against FTS, a club whose main focus is on football. None the less, they have some very skilful players amongst their ranks and the end score could have been a lot different. The Falcons took their foot off the gas and allowed their opposition to get back into the game, which is a big no no in this sport. The old adage of the game is only over when the Referee blows the whistle is so true. FTS stuck to their task very well and got to within two goals of the Falcons; however, with some cajoling from the Pirates’ Coach, the Falcons got their composure back and ended up 10-6 winners.
Another Away tie saw the Falcons play the Cobras 2 side, who have some big powerful hitters in their ranks. However, the boys in blue stuck to their game plan and after a cagey start, found themselves 2-0 in front. The speedy flank players of Matthew Bucello and Wisam Moolawi were proving quick and lethal in attack. Going into the break the Pirates were 5-0 up. Rotational Pivots, George Collios and Luke Rodaway, and new flanker William Baldwin, were putting in good shifts as well. Daniel Ventura was having a fine game between the sticks, making numerous saves. Captain Anthony Elmer and Alan Lamshed were their usual selves, working tirelessly throughout the match. The Cobras came back in the second half with some powerful flank shots from their big hitters, but the Pirates managed to keep their noses in front and won comfortably 8-4. It was a good all round team effort.