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Googs' Gabble – Adam Guglielmana column April 24

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 2:35 PM
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THE reason I play football is the first few hours after a good win, or even a bad win, if there is such a thing!

You get an opportunity to sit around with your best mates knowing you’ve all worked hard and achieved a common goal. The supporters, coaching staff and players are always much happier after a win, and you don’t feel so bad having a few beers to 'reward' yourself. It’s safe to say there hasn’t been much 'rewarding' going on this year as we currently sit 0-5, but a good win is just around the corner and there’s no better time to start than an ANZAC Day derby.

Somewhat ironically this week I’m writing about the five best wins we’ve had since I started playing senior footy for the club in 2008. To be honest I had a hard time picking my five favourite wins, not because of the sheer number of wins I’ve accumulated in my paltry 58 game career, but because only a few really stick in my memory. The ones that I have included tend to have a common theme, they were against the odds and none of them were easy or massive wins. I can’t remember if I played well in any of them, which probably reflects the great team efforts they were, or maybe I’ve played so badly I’ve suppressed the memories of them.  Anyway, if you’re still reading, in no particular order here are my five most memorable wins at the South Fremantle Football Club.

ROUND 16 2009 V EAST PERTH

This game was on a wet and cold Friday night under lights at Fremantle in winter. We lost a couple players to injury before half-time, at which point we led by 15 points. I remember coming in at half-time being absolutely exhausted due to the physical nature of the game and the fact we had lost a couple of players early. This game could have gone either way at half-time, but this was during a streak of wins against East Perth that had started in 2004 and didn’t end until 2012.

We really thought East Perth could not beat us and we had some great wins in this time. It was also Ray Smithers' 150th game and John Dimmer made it pretty clear at half-time that we could not lose for a guy of Ray’s standing. The second half was a slog but Kyle Hams played as if it was a dry day finishing with 41 touches from half-back. At one stage in the last quarter I have an everlasting memory of East Perth bombing it out of defence the ball landing in Kyle’s arms once again and he just torpedoed it back into our forward 50 as if to say "get this thing away from me, I’m stuffed”.  We ended up winning by 47 points which really showed how much we wanted to honour a guy like Ray on the day he became a life member of the club. 2009 was a special year for the club and this was the catalyst for a great run of form for the league side.

ROUND 1 2010 V EAST PERTH

This was easily the hardest game I’ve ever played in from a physical perspective. Once again it was a slippery and humid Friday night game against East Perth to kick off the season. We lost four players to injury before half-time including important players Toby McGrath and Jaymie Graham. We had a young side in after losing a lot of the previous year’s premiership players to retirement and Joel Palumbo, Anthony Collica and Mitch Carter were all debuting in the Round 1 clash. Once again at half-time John let us know that although we were against the odds he would not accept anything less than a win, and if we won he would put a sign up in the change rooms saying 'Home of the Brave'.

We managed to hold on despite a dramatic last term in which East Perth reduced our lead to only four points with minutes remaining. When the final siren sounded all I felt was relief as we had secured the four points when it looked like we would be over run. No player got a break on the bench in the second half and it really was a phenomenal win considering that especially when you saw plenty of us go down with cramp. We were always chock full of confidence playing East Perth during this run and this was probably the pinnacle of any of the wins we had. John was also true to his half-time words and put a huge sign up in the rooms saying 'Home of the Brave' and it always reminded me of that win.

ROUND 1 2012 V PERTH DEMONS

Going into any season, supporters and players alike carry some expectation and hope that their club is going to have a successful year. In the week leading into the first game and the first in charge for our new coach Paul Hasleby, we watched a few video clips based on the theme 'Never give up' and it proved to be quite prophetic.

I was coming back from a knee reconstruction and had to sit in the stands for this game. It was three quarters of footy that was hard to watch as a south supporter and the home crowd were getting restless. I was sitting with a few ex-players and they voiced their doubts about our fitness and skill level as we trailed at three quarter-time by 50 points. We kicked the first three of the final term as it looked like the boys would at least return a bit of respectability to the scoreboard, but Perth’s Paul Bevan kicked his fourth to seemingly snuff out any chance of victory. Somebody forgot to tell the players that though, as they pegged back the deficit goal by goal until Paul 'Gumby' Mugambwa put us in front at the 28th minute mark of the last quarter with a Ben Saunders goal on the siren extending the winning margin to eight points in one of the best WAFL comebacks of all time.

GRAND FINAL DAY 2009

2009 was an amazing year for the footy club and this day is still the greatest day I’ve had playing football. Unfortunately I had been dropped after the last regular season game of the year and had accepted the fact that if I was to play in a grand final it was to be with the reserves. Luckily enough both the reserves and league side made it to Grand Final day in 2009 and we had an opportunity to win both grades for the first time in many years at South Fremantle. The reserves side was stacked full of talent with guys like Toby Bairstow and Hayden North missing out on selection despite playing league football for the majority of the year. We were never really in doubt and ended up winning the reserves flag by 21 points. The boys were jubilant and excited but we knew that unless the league side won, the spirits around the club would be severely dampened, so we got changed quickly and headed up into the stands.

As it turned out the league boys had an unassailable lead about midway through the third quarter, about the same time the victory drinks really started to affect some of the reserves team. There was a lot of chanting and song singing right up until the end when we stormed the ground after the siren had blown on an 18-point victory. The buzz back at the club that night was unbelievable and I remember trying to sneak off with Ashton Hams (or 'Simpson Medal winner' as he was calling himself at the time) for some shut eye at about 4am but we were sprung by Craig White who was fresh after playing about 10 minutes of the game before breaking his collarbone. Whitey made it pretty clear that the celebrations weren’t over and we had to push through until the end of 'Mad Monday'. It was an unbelievable time to be involved with the footy club and despite it being only my second year in the seniors I could see how much it meant to guys like Kris Miller and Andrew Siegert when I received a text message from the two of them having a beer at 10am at the Cottesloe Beach Hotel, five days after the game.

ROUND 21 2012 V EAST FREMANTLE

Being derby week I thought it would only be fitting if my final choice was a derby win and the best and freshest in my memory is in fact the last derby we played in Round 21 of last year.

After training the night before the game coach Paul Hasleby introduced retiring CEO Brian Ciccotosto to share a few of his thoughts on our opposition East Fremantle. It’s fair to say Cicco’s hatred of East Fremantle ran pretty deep, he spoke with passion about what it meant to represent South Fremantle and about why he disliked East Fremantle so much. He said he had received an invite to attend a lunch in his honour at the ground the following day but he was unsure if he would go as he hadn’t been to Moss St for something like 20 years.

One story Cicco told was that of the 1997 Derby Grand Final that South Fremantle won, he said we should take note of the way that team never gave up, even when they were playing so badly that at three quarter-time the East Fremantle powers that be supposedly sent someone to pipe 'Grand Final winners 1997' on the cake.

The game was a tight one but we could never seem to gain any momentum until halfway through the last quarter, almost exactly like the 1997 grand final as Cicco had explained to us. East Fremantle kicked the first three in the last quarter extending their lead to over 25 points with no more than 15 minutes remaining. Suddenly we got on a roll and were within striking distance reducing the margin to two points with five minutes remaining. All of a sudden Benny Saunders marked about 55m out wheeled around and goaled. Giving us a four point lead we held until the siren.

Hopefully this week the boys can add another win to this list as the supporters and coaches, as well as the players really deserve it. We realise it’s a hard time for the supporters, but please stick with us as we are working hard to turn a bad start to the season into something very special. The group is a really young one, and as long as we stay positive and work hard we can still make the finals, and in a final four format anything can happen.

By Adam Guglielmana