The Coota Blues before the preliminary final at Gungahlin Enclosed Ground.

By Pat Kerin

 

The Coota Blues put in sterling effort on Saturday; however, they were beaten by 10 pts by the Woden Blues.

 

The AFL Canberra Division three preliminary final was played in tough and icy conditions [the mercury reached 9 degrees and felt like 6] at Gungahlin Enclosed Ground [brilliant facility- one of the best in Canberra]; the margin was close all day.

The Woden Blues led by six pts at the first change, 12 at the long break, nine at the last change. When the Coota Blues booted the first two goals of the last quarter, Cootamundra had hit the front for the first time in the match.

However, Woden soon rebounded booting three of the last four goals to prevail by 10 pts.

Final score: Woden Blues 7-7-49 defeated the Coota Blues 6-3-39.

In a season that was supposed to start March 28, but then Covid set in. Take two saw the season, rebooted and commenced on July 18.

Overall, the Blues could be very pleased with themselves.

Previously playing in a higher division in 2016 and 2018, the club finished seventh on both occasions.

To finish two kicks short of the decider, is a great effort.

Also considering the Blues had three big outs in this match, – captain Phil Bird and former coach Luke Webb – both players having won league best and fairest, plus the late withdrawal of Andrew Saddler who was best on ground for The Rock Yerong Creek against East Wagga in the Farrer League grand final in 2015, the Blues effort to get so close was fantastic.

Including two finals, the Blues played eight matches, which is a lot more football when a heap of other competitions across Australia, did not play at all.

In the final match of the season, a number of players stood out, Will Reinhold has been a revelation since coming into the Blues line mid-season. What great silky skills.

Blues captain for the last three matches,  Joel Pearson played his best game of the season.  At full back, with his strong marking and long racking kicks, he continually drove the Blues into attack.    

Aaron Basham easily played his best match of the season, his attack on the ball was relentless.  A much-improved player.

Best: Will Reinhold, Joel Pearson, Aaron Basham, Dylan McDermott, Sam Baldock and Blake Basham.

Goals: Brenton Roberts, 4 Sandy Maskell Knight and Joe Scott.

A special mention to Joe Scott in his first stint as a coach in a difficult season. Joe was ably assisted by the  Zac Oliver and Jacob Tiernan. Well done to the three coaches who constantly shared the-work load.

A big thank you to the 31 players who represented the Blues in the shortened season. 10 players played every match, while some missed a couple of matches, others filled in when required.

Well done to the hard working president Todd Basham, secretary Lee Loiterton and a man who filled many roles, Zeke Loiterton.

Well done to the off field coaching staff who assisted Coach Joe Scott on match day. All Blues premiership players in Don Oliver, Andrew Scott and Sean Tiernan.

The Blues wind up their season with their presentation night to be held at the Country Club on Saturday 17 October. Watch for details on Facebook

The last social event of the season is the 27th Blues 100 Club, which will be conducted at the Family Hotel on Saturday 24 October commencing at 7.30pm, which coincides, with the AFL grand final at the Gabba. Tickets are available at $120. First prize is a $3000 Hello World travel voucher and 10 draws of $120.  Tickets are limited to two per ticket. Anyone wishing a to buy a ticket should contact Pat Kerin.      

Editor’s Note:

A special thanks from the Coota Times to  Lee Loiterton, Belinda Holt, Joel Pearson and Pat Kerin for taking photos and writing stories this season.