On a Saturday when a total of just 10 goals were scored by both sides in more than 110 minutes of footy, it took a stand-out performance from one senior Shark to be the key difference in Doncaster’s 21 point senior win over local rival, Doncaster East, at Schramms Reserve.  Our ‘quiet assassin’, hot Toddy Vander Haar, again showed his remarkable versatility and value to the Sharks by kicking 4 of the game’s 10 goals in a terrific forward display to help Doncaster shrug-off the determined Lions late in the match.

In a game very important to both teams, the Shark’s victory – our third straight – reversed our round 2 loss to the Lions thereby returning the joint Gregory-King Cup to Shark Park.  It also allowed Doncaster to jump over East Donnie, Berwick and Rowville into 7th place on the premiership ladder (at least temporarily).  For the Lions, it leaves them with the difficult task of facing Vermont, Noble, South Croydon and Norwood in the next month to get back on a winning footing.

Saturday’s main game began in even fashion under good conditions.  Neither side gained any real ascendancy although the Shark’s defence carried on its great form of last week to ensure a one-goal-all draw at the first break.

Kicking to the favoured bottom-end in 2Q we had much of the play in this period through the good work of our midfield.  In particular ‘the Maan’, Hendo, the Hayden ‘hyphen’ and ‘Turbo’ Tobie’ all built upon big Jake’s ruckwork out of a rugged battle with opponent Zac Clarke.  And taking advantage of the supply in a super quarter of footy was a hot Vanders whose three goals enabled the Sharks to reach half-time 11 points up – a small but valuable lead considering the low-scoring game (Don 4-4, ED 2-5).

The 3Q was an unproductive scoring period with Doncaster scoreless and the opposition limited to a solitary goal.  The momentum swings in general play failed to achieve much because of good defensive work by both sides.  For the Sharks, the back-6 were again terrific, combining well to limit the aerial and scoring ability of the Lion’s tall forwards.   Young ‘Cogs’ was brilliant, ‘Rambo’ mopped it all up and Benny and Nick held Rowe & Co admirably well.  And they were well-supported by a hard-working midfield who helped clog up the Lions forward line.

With the margin only one point at the last change it was still either side’s game to win or lose.  The opposition turned up the heat in the 4Q and really challenged us in their forward half at a time of being two down on the bench due to leg injuries to ‘Nakkers’ and ‘Pocket-rocket Kyle’.   But their efforts came to little effect.  Our boys are fast developing a steely “inner-resolve” and they weren’t prepared to repeat the Zerbes ending!  So, the Shark defence held firm, the midfield got into ‘slingshot’ mode and we managed to achieve some good counter-attacking footy in the final 15 minutes.   Clever goals to ‘Cool-cat’ Colombo, Tobes and – yes, you guessed it – Mr Versatility secured a very satisfying win.

So, plenty of congrats to the team – a super effort, super result and special mention to our ‘book-ends’:  ‘Hot Toddy’, ‘Mean Mugga’ (keeping Rowe goal-less) plus ‘big Frankie’ who really stood up when counted.

Final scores:  Don 7-9 d. ED 3-12
Shark Goalscorers:  Vanders 4, Colombo, Munks, Ryan
Best Sharkers:  Cogs, Vanders, Mugga, Rambo, Zal  and Frankie

In the Reserves Match, the game was one of contrasting halves for the Sharks.  In the 1H we played some good footy to trail by just 4 points at half-time with Club legend ‘Schimma’ dominating on the ball.  But in 2H, with the leg-injury toll mounting horrendously, the boys were well and truly overwhelmed by the opposition to finally lose by 45 points.  This was a very disappointing result after a good start.  So, let’s look forward positively to WINS in the next two weeks against fellow, winless cellar-dwellers (Balwyn, Nth Ringwood) !!

Final Scores:  ED 8-11 d. Don 2-2
Shark Goalkickers:  D Ioan, P Stathopolous
Best Sharkers:  Schimmelbusch, A Ioan,  McArdle, Delaney, Safi and Stathopolous.

NEXT WEEK – Balwyn at Balwyn Park


Memo:  A classical ‘hot toddy’ is a spirit-based cocktail drink, taken at night or day, to help provide good sleep and an antidote to those suffering ailments such as a cold or chest congestion.  It traditionally consists of a mixture of Scotch Whiskey, hot water, honey and lemon juice/garnish.  Rum, gin or even brandy can be used as a whisky substitute.