After witnessing one of the best TAC Cup matches of all time, many fans at Visy Park hoped that the next qualifying final could be just as exciting. It was, for about a half.
The Calder Cannons have been the dominant team all season, finishing minor premiers after leap-frogging the Oakleigh Chargers. They have a strong midfield, a dangerous forward line and receive good rebound from half back. They are also incredibly tall which gives them a bonus.
The North Ballarat Rebels jumped into fourth after a good final round, but many didn’t think they’d be able to get near the Cannons given the superiority the tall forwards would provide the minor premiers. Within 15 minutes, the crowd was left speechless as Jesse Palmer and the Rebels hung the Cannons out to dry in an impressive spell of football.
The score read 5.0.30 to 0.1.1 and nobody in the stands, arguably not even the Rebels staff and players, had expected to race away to that kind of lead. Jesse Palmer had four goals in 15 minutes and looked like he was going to break all sorts of records, as well the Rebels. Unfortunately for them, they kicked just four more goals for the rest of the match and just one more after half time.
Calder coach Andrew Jago was furious with his chargers after the first quarter and gave them a spray that had immediate effects. They returned the six-goal-to-two opening quarter with one of their own to lead by four points at the half time break. The scoreboard had forgotten to include a behind for the Rebels, which made the third quarter even worse because the 4th-placed country side didn’t score. In fact, the next goal the Rebels scored after half time was a late consolation goal to Jesse Palmer for his sixth late in the final quarter.
In that time, the Cannons piled on 17 goals and looked like they were raffling it to see who could kick the most goals. Jayden Foster won the door prize with six goals, Damien Cavka kicked five, three of which were in the last quarter, Josh Cauchi kicked four and Paul Ahern kicked three.
If those statistics didn’t make the domination clear, five players outscored the Rebels in the second half. The margin was made worse by the fact that the Cannons couldn’t seem to miss, kicking 10.0.60 in the final quarter and once they’d tasted blood, they didn’t stop.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, it was completely disheartening. Many before the game expected them to put up a fight till half time and simply be out classed. If this was deemed as a class difference, then it would be akin to the Queen challenging Geoff Shaw to an equestrian match.
Once it became abundantly clear the match was one-sided, everyone pleaded for the siren except the Calder timekeepers who arguably might have shed a tear when they had to finally put the game out of its misery.
Damien Cavka won the Bound For Glory News Man of the Match with his casual 30 disposals (22 effective), 13 marks, six tackles and five goals with Jayden Foster, Matthew Goodyear, Josh Cauchi and Mark Kovacevic all amongst the best. For the Rebels, there was Jesse Palmer and Oscar McDonald. Apparently there were over 20 other players, but they seemed to go home at half time.
Jesse Palmer should be recognised for his 16 disposals, eight marks and six goals in what was a tough day in the office for anyone in the forward half for the Rebels. Oscar McDonald kept Peter Wright to just 8 disposals which considering the amount of ball that entered the forward 50, McDonald should be nominated for Australian of the Year.
In the end it was an ugly 99-point margin with the Cannons earning a week off to face the winner of the Falcons and Stingrays while the Rebels must address a number of issues this week before taking on the Dragons next week.