By JARROD POTTER
HALLAM Senior College played the bridesmaid again in a 12-point School Sports Victoria Premier Football grand final loss to Essendon Keilor College on the MCG.
Squaring off for the third time in a row at the MCG in the final match, Hallam had their chances curtailed by a pair of second quarter injuries to Tristan D’Sylva, a suspected left knee ACL rupture, and Nick McPherson, with a deep corked hamstring, but despite going two rotations down on the biggest football ground in the country, the south-east’s best schoolboys soldiered on.
Fighting down on numbers and outmatched size-wise, the Hallam team pushed Essendon Keilor to the brink with speed and precision kicking. Streaming out of the backline, vice-captain James Harmes, awarded best-on-ground for the runner-up team, was imperative to repelling EKC attacks with Ben Giobbi and Jordan Bastinac also mopping up well across the defensive end.
Also scrapping hard in the trenches were Eastern Ranges midfielder Trent Cody and Jack Soroczynski, setting up a number of forward chances for key targets Clay McCartney and Taylor Joyce.
Two behinds to Taylor Joyce in the swirling conditions didn’t help the cause, but Hallam took a 29-20 advantage into the main break.
Hallam’s third quarter cost them dearly – as four behinds to Essendon Keilor’s three-goals-one put the south-east boys six points down heading into the final term.
An early goal to Nick Battle breathed life into the Hallam cause, but couldn’t halt the march of Essendon Keilor, snaring a pair of goals to take trophy and claim back-to-back SSV championships.
“It’s obviously unfortunate but we had our chances and being up at half time – we lost two boys one really early and another at half time, which doesn’t help playing on such a big ground,” Peresso said.
“We missed our chances – we kicked 5.13 – but so did they.
“I think we overdid the handball a little bit and our handballs just didn’t hit targets – we were quite clean by foot, but our handballs weren’t good enough.”
Peresso was impressed with Harmes – using one of his best midfielders out of position at centre-half back – and Sorocyznski – the captain roving throughout the midfield and wings – but was pleased with all players’ performance.
“James Harmes got the medal at centre-half back and played out of position – should’ve been in the midfield but did his job and did it superbly and was a general back there,” Peresso said.
“Jack Soroczynski, our captain, played his heart out and was really, really good.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the boys as a whole, but we just couldn’t get over the line,” he said.
The effort of his ruckmen Tyson Daniel and Brayden Philpin, toiling all day against taller opposition, also impressed Peresso.
Hallam captain Soroczynski said it was a thrill to walk out to play on the MCG and it will go down as one of his cherished memories.
“It was a hard fought effort by the boys and despite the end result it was an experience to remember,” Soroczynski said. “To play on the MCG with a great bunch of boys and to be coached by Manny Peresso, it’s an experience i will remember for a very long time.”
SSV PREMIER SCOREBOARD
Hallam Senior College
2.2 4.5 4.9 5.13 (43)
Essendon Keilor College
2.3 2.8 5.9 7.13 (55)
Hallam Goals: Clay McCartney, Anthony Sigeti, Jack Wheeler, Jack Soroczynski, Nick Battle. Best: James Harmes, Jack Soroczynski, Trent Cody, Ben Giobbi, Jack Wheeler. Essendon Keilor Goals: Hisham Kerbatieh 2, Brent Ellis 2, Lachlan Ronaldson, Tanner Nilsson, William Krithararis. Best: N/A.