On Tuesday, 14 March, a squad of University of Adelaide students, made up of footballers from South Australian clubs as diverse as Kybybolite and Bridgewater, travelled to Melbourne to take on Melbourne University in the first match of the 2017 edition of the Intervarsity AFL Go8 competition.
The excitement was palpable pre-game. Over half of the team that represented AU in the corresponding 2016 fixture against MU had changed due to graduation, unavailability and a heightened student interest in IV football, leaving a sense of the unknown going in to this year’s showdown.
The squad from AU was treated pre-game to a warm-up session on MU’s famed, picket-fenced, University Oval. This was followed by a short bus-ride out to the game’s venue, Arden Street Oval, where a few members of the team were left star struck by a brief encounter with North Melbourne Kangaroos legend, Brent ‘Boomer’ Harvey.
Pre-game formalities over, five minutes into the first quarter, after an enormous, eyes on the ball, back with the flight collision between Vice-Captain Jackson Dearing and star Aiden Offe, it was clear that AU was committed to achieving a win. Kicking against the wind in the opening stanza, AU was able to stay level with MU, before kicking away to a two goal lead going in to halftime courtesy of some crunch pack marking by full forward Patrick Baker.
The second half followed a very similar pattern to the first – AU held off several MU attacks going forward (only conceding one goal) before punishing some missed MU opportunities with majors at the other end. Midfielders Nathan Stark, Cam McPherson and Matt Langridge were instrumental in holding back the tide, whilst centre-half back Nick Cottrell floated around taking contested marks with ease. In the last quarter, kicking with the wind, an opportunistic goal by Ryan Agnew sealed the result, AU running out 23 point winners on a beautiful, balmy 32 degree Melbourne day.
University of Adelaide 7.5.47 defeated University of Melbourne 3.6.24
Goal Kickers: P. Baker 2, E. Dadds 2, R. Agnew 1, T. Vickery 1, N. Stark 1.
Best Players: Nathan Stark, Cameron McPherson, Eddie Dadds, Aidan Offe, Nick Cottrell, Matt Langridge, Ryan Agnew
Written by: Eddie Dadds