Thursday, 19 May 2022
Thursday, 12 May 2022
Sincere apologies for another short and late post. I'd blame work, but work actually pays for things, whereas following South only tends to cost me. Better to learn this later rather than never, perhaps.
I didn't venture out to Endeavour Hills for this match, and I was so much the better for making that decision. Hiking out to the middle of nowhere, standing in the pouring rain, eating another chevapi roll. It's been done.
Instead I decided to go and visit an old South supporting friend who hasn't been able to go to games as of late. Watching the live stream with someone else sure as hell beats watching it by yourself. And no problems getting a gin and tonic.
Nevertheless, even in good company, a stream is not as good as the real thing. That's especially true when the stream doesn't even work. And waiting to see when or even if the stream will start, isn't all that fun. Cue a photo of said "stream will resume shortly" making its way to social media, only for the commentary to focus on the shocking state of my friend's cable management, with people thinking that it was my room and my TV and my cables!
Also, I didn't realise how much people cared for cable tidiness.
Sitting on my mate's couch, waiting for something to happen on the TV, and then seeing that on the phone app, the stream and the match had started, and the just waiting for the TV stream to catch up the minute or so it was behind some version of reality.
We got there in the end, though as the match went through its ebb and flow, you couldn't always tell who was the ladder leading team, and the team that very much nearer the other end of the table. Post-game people bitched and moaned about this, and I suppose I can't really get too crestfallen about that, because I've done it, too.
But last week I was just, do you even remember where we were not that long ago? Farcical, flukey, or otherwise, it's still just nice that we're in a good place ladder wise, even if people think were not that hood, or the competition's even worse, or that it'll all fall apart sooner or later. That could just be more contrarianism from me though.
Yet, really, so what if Dandy City stuffed up several chances, and that we had to rely on former South championship player Shaun Timmins putting the ball in the back of his own net, or if some of our players were arguing among themselves post-match. Take the last as evidence that they care, if not about South, than at least about playing the game, which is something to latch onto in these apathetic times.
A 2021-2022 six pointer against Avondalet at Lakeside on Friday. Maybe with a sea of green and white, the likes of which we have not seen since the Bohemians visited in 2014, but probably not. Not even sure I'll be able to make it. Hope that I can, of course.
I'd make an observation about some conditional changes recently made to the operation of the no. 12 tram when the footy's on, but I'm the only South fan on that tram most times, so forget it.
Thursday, 5 May 2022
Friday, 29 April 2022
Those include holding, pulling or pushing, not playing the ball, serious foul play, violent conduct or deliberate handball in order to deny a goalscoring opportunity.
None of which Oldfield got near to achieving. So, when you hear more guff at a ground about "last man" and why someone isn't being sent off for a foul in the box, educate them! The worst thing that could happen is a punch in the face.
- corner vs Heidelberg
- corner vs Bentleigh
- penalty vs Bentleigh
- long throw vs Knights
- corner vs St Albans
- penalty vs St Albans
- long throw vs Hume
- penalty vs Gully
- long throw vs Gully
- free kick into box vs Thunder
- corner vs Magic
Friday, 22 April 2022
Friday, 15 April 2022
|There's been an adjustment made to our Lakeside lease, but I don't|
know what it is or what it means. It's probably not that important.
Wednesday, 6 April 2022
Though long since mentally broken by this club, I was still surprisingly in no mood to watch this game. I even contemplated going to the footy instead, but seeing all my friends swayed me to Lakeside. Besides, South still needs it more than Collingwood ever will.
One of the handful of people who still reads this guff wanted it made clear that not everyone agrees with my take on the Avondale/Australia Cup calamity. Fair enough, his objection is noted. Another reader suggested that my report was written as if I'd actually been there. A mighty compliment, but I defer to the South forum, from which I pieced together several items into a seemingly coherent and tangible whole.
Quite a few of the few who were there, seemed already to have moved on from the shambles of our cup exit. Maybe they are genuinely that open minded and forgiving of those things that they cannot control. Maybe they are even more screwed up than people like me who are going to hold on to this and several other grudges until the end of time.
But as much as "get over it" seemed to be the catch cry of the night, I could not get over it. You can't make me feel things that I don't want to feel, or some such assertive psychobabble. So I watched this match in a state of emotional distance, which is quite something for someone who gets animated while watching pre-season matches of little consequence.
I've joked over the past few Esteban Quintas led seasons that we try to win 0-0. Well, I might not have liked the style, and it might not have been very effective, but despite the aesthetic atrocity that was the lowest scoring South team since about 1986, I never thought that we were trying to lose games. This year seemed different, too, because we were doing well enough to keep picking up wins, often doing so by scoring multiple goals.
And then last Wednesday happened and... it's going to take time for me to trust the collective brains trust managing the senior men's wing again. I spent most of the time chatting with a fellow ex-academic about my exit from the academic world in early 2019, and to be honest, it was just nice to chat. I mean, I've told that story too many times, and it's three years and a still ongoing pandemic ago, but we were 3-0 up after half an hour or some such, and it just didn't seem to matter.
The performance didn't validate the decision, by whoever was responsible, to effectively tank against Avondale. Maybe if we lost to Eastern Lions, or had only a narrow victory it might have been able to read something different into the week, but Lions were so, so poor. Not allowed the freedom of previous recent encounters to start attacks from well up the field, they didn't fire a shot. Their man getting sent off at 3-0 for no good reason would have summed things up perfectly, except for former South goalkeeper Keegan Coulter getting benched at 4-0 down and five minutes to play summing things up even more perfectlier.
Meanwhile we could have probably scored twice as many as we did, but that would have perhaps been greedy. Post-match most people seemed to be in a good mood, especially those celebrating Thunder's upset win over Avondale which saw us go six points clear at the top. I'm sure I'll join everyone else in that good mood place eventually.
Sawyer's four goal haul saw him become the tenth (known) senior men's South Melbourne Hellas player to score four goals in a league match. He joins the following players in achieving that feat:
- Ernie Ackerley, vs Melbourne Hungaria, VSL Round 8, 1966
- Tom Clarke, vs Box Hill, VSL Round 16, 1971
- Charlie Egan, vs Newcastle Rosebud United, NSL Round 17, 1984
- Kimon Taliadoros, vs West Adelaide, NSL Round 7, 1991-1992
- Ivan Kelic, vs Wollongong Wolves, NSL Round 16, 1995-1996
- Con Boutsianis, vs Northern Spirit, NSL Round 30, 2000-2001
- Michael Curcija, vs Kingz FC, NSL Round 11, 2003-2004
- Goran Zoric, vs Preston Lions, VPL Round 3, 2009
- Gianni De Nittis, vs Hume City, VPL Round 8, 2010
Now there's probably a good chance that one more South players achieved (or surpassed) this feat during the 1960 season, but good luck scrounging up the specifics on that.
Away to Dandenong Thunder on Saturday night. Please be aware that kickoff for the senior match has been pushed back from 7:00PM to 7:45PM, one assumes to better accommodate the Ramadan/iftar observances of many of Thunder's supporters and volunteers.
Our upcoming round 9 fixture has also had a change. We were supposed to host Oakleigh on Saturday April 16th, but the fixture has been reversed, and the game will be played at Jack Edwards Reserve on April 18th, Easter Monday. This is apparently because relevant grand prix infrastructure will not have been packed away quickly enough.
The NPLW match scheduled for April 16th, against Alamein - and which was meant to be the curtain raiser to the NPL match - at this stage still looks like it will proceed as scheduled.
Speaking of the senior women, I caught a chunk of the second half of their season opener against Bulleen on the screens in the social club, and it seemed like an improvement on whatever happened in the first half to see them 3-0 down at the break. Now it's always a bit of a wonky affair across the board while waiting for A-League Women players to have a rest from the close of that season before they jump into state league duties, but... what's this I hear about perhaps not so many W-League players coming back to Lakeside?
Some chat going around last Saturday that Gabrielle Giuliano, the board's driving force behind the club's women's component, will be scaling back her involvement with the club. Likely related to that, there was also vague mention made of a change in direction for the women's program, whatever that means.
Someone made a tweet - since deleted - making an interesting assertion about what that change in direction might mean. But that could have also been a huge fever dream on my part.
The club really has to sort out its multiple booze problems. No booze outside last week, and no one able to find the gin inside.
Friday, 1 April 2022
Tuesday, 29 March 2022
- Green Gully genuinely wanted to take a major fixture of theirs on the road to regional Victoria, hosting it in an otherwise underused soccer specific stadium. If it went well, it might be the start of more such adventures to regional Victoria.
- The Green Gully Reserve pitch was getting a necessary touch-up, and while Gully had requested that we swap our fixtures around - with us playing this match at Lakeside, and reversing the later fixture - South Melbourne, remembering Gully's refusal to accommodate us in a similar request in 2019, told them to stick it.
Tuesday, 22 March 2022
Wednesday, 16 March 2022
Churchill Reserve being probably the second closest NPL venue to my house, I decided to get there super early on Sunday. I even drove there, because that would only take about 15 minutes, whereas the equivalent public transport trip would take close to an hour, which does not seem ideal for a seven kilometre trip. Plus if you get there early enough, there's a nice parking spot in the shade on Fox Street. Then again, if the price of petrol keeps going up, I might as well walk to games like this.
I got to the ground in time for the under 21s, and parking myself in between the two benches, I must say that I was left asking myself a lot of questions. First, whose bright idea was it to have our away kit look like a Carlton SC away kit? Frankly, it was a little sickening, and having to see that for the rest of the year isn't going to be easy.
But more questions, this time related to junior development. Now granted that on any given topic, there's always someone who knows less than you do, I'm still somewhere near the bottom of the knowledge pyramid when it comes to junior or youth soccer. But there's always a chance to learn more, even if that attempt at gaining knowledge is limited to a couple of games a year.
Do we place enough emphasis on the difference between being robotic and being automatic? I ask this, because I have come across complaints about youth players under various methods (often attributed to this or that "curriculum"), and the tendency to create robotic players who are unable to adapt to unfamiliar or especially to dynamic situations.
And the micromanagement of the players by the coaches! I understand that they are youth players, and that they need instruction, but at what point should players in this age group (under 21s, so say about 16-18 year olds) no longer need to be constantly told where to stand, where to run, and what pass to make? At what point do not only the individual players themselves take charge of their own positioning and decision making, but also certain players adopt leadership roles to help implement whatever game plan the coach has them playing under?
I won't make much if any comment on things like the quality of first touches, or when's the right time to play back to the keeper, or decision making as it relates to playing on a small ground that has more ups and downs than a vinyl oval from the Test Match board game that's been gathering dust in a cupboard for the past 25 years.
One thing I do know, though, is that it's never a wise idea for match officials to get involved with banter with the hoi polloi standing behind the fence. I mean, you can usually answer a rudimentary question about something that just happened without too much harm, and maybe at a more social level the whole experience is a bit more relaxed. But that young man running the line would have done better to not take the bait of arguing with a mouthy St Albans fan (and self-declared NPL player), because nothing good will come of it.
An attempt at a well-thought out post on the senior match held last Sunday is pointless if you were standing on the outer side of Churchill Reserve. That ground has to have some of the worst sight-lines in Victorian soccer, with only the social club wing affording anything approaching near unimpeded views. And of course I didn't stand on that side of the ground, but instead on the Fox Street wing, where my view was blocked by fencing, media scaffolding, poles, metal benches, and lots of people. Imagine a finals match played there, with say, double the crowd of Sunday's match?
But let me first digress a little further. If you did not attend because you are slack, not only did you miss on another great victory for Hellas, but you also missed out on one of the worst attempts at mowing a lawn you've ever seen. While our view of the game was poor, South of the Border had a first class seat to watch a shambles of an attempt at mowing a nature strip. Not sure why the bloke living across the street decided that kickoff was the right time to start mowing a lawn, but each to their own I suppose.
Initially I thought the rumble in the background was the generator being used to keep the batteries running on the camera for the live stream, but a quick look behind us saw our man in his hat, hi-viz, and gloves wielding his machine like he was trying to stab the grass. Now I'm no lawn mowing expert, but I'm pretty sure the general idea is to just mow one lane of grass, and then go back the other way slightly to the left (or right) of whatever line you just mowed?
This bloke looked like he was a devil of a time, though he did get one bit right, when he tossed a small branch onto his neighbour's nature strip. We've all done that, because you know it will come back to your side eventually, and there's nothing malicious in the act. It's the kind of entertainment you wouldn't get in a national second division loaded with proper grounds.
The senior match seemed to go the way most of our games have gone so far this season. Fair start, messy middle, reasonable finish. That whole messy middle bit is an ongoing concern, especially when we come up against better teams. Again, there were signs of panic and an inability to wrest the initiative when under sustained pressure. The small ground however meant that in this case, flailing long balls to Harry Sawyer were automatically more dangerous than they would be on a larger ground.
Improved set piece taking - and decision making - has been a boon so far this season, and so it proved again on Sunday, with corners and such helping bail us out when we needed it most. Credit to Pat Langlois and his surely unsustainable run of headed goals. Credit also to Max Mikkola, Jai Ingham, and sub for this week Alun Webb for at least showing that we'll be a consistent counter attacking threat this season. In 2021, we scored just 19 goals in 18 leagues matches. We're already up to 12 from 4 games in 2022.
Once we get Sawyer not trying to jump too high to connect with crosses he could really just walk to, we might be even stronger. Sometimes I'm not sure that he realises how tall he actually is.
The real hardcore cynics out there, in an attempt to outdo themselves, are still stuck in a 2018-2021 mindset, counting down the points needed to reach 30 in order to claim safety from relegation. Half-joke it may be, but I think this season's personnel make relegation extremely unlikely. If this team doesn't make finals, it'd be an astonishing failure.
There are defensive issues, issues with tactics, issues with giving up initiative for long periods of time, and of course the possibility that we haven't exactly come up against the strongest opponents as of yet. But for the most part the 2022 team has not been a side cobbling together undeserved points, but rather one that has deserved, clearly, to win at least three of its four games so far. It might not yet be time to believe that good things will inevitably happen, but it might soon be time to start things that bad things inevitably will.
Hume City at home on Friday night. This is an ordinary match, for an ordinary three points. How dull.
In case you were wondering
That's four from four from our eight twenty-twenty-one six pointers for twenty-twenty-two.
Here at South of the Border we're going to track this novelty as it relates to us, though good luck to anyone trying to keep tabs on how the entirety of the bespoke solution is going. Our revised 2021 points tally is now 37 points, well clear of the hypothetical relegation placings; and with Port Melbourne being docked 18 points for 2021, we're also in with a real shot at a hypothetical finals place.
For the record, we have four more bespoke six point matches to go:
- Round 9, at home against Oakleigh
- Round 13, at home against Avondale
- Round 15, away to Eastern Lions
- Round 25, at home against Dandenong City
Australia Cup news
The Australia Cup fourth round draw was conducted last week, and we were drawn against away to Avondale. Oh well, we had a good run. Just for the record, Victoria has been granted five spots in this year's national stage of the cup. Because there was no national NPL championship last season - of which the winner would receive a place in the Australia Cup as a reward - Victoria was granted that extra spot because the state's superior performances in FFA Cup tournaments past.
NPL TV app updates
The other week on the steps outside the social club, a fellow Hellatzi noted that the Cluch app on his Android phone wasn't working - furthermore, it was asking for an update which didn't seem to exist in the Google Play Store. Whatever the issue seemed to be, it had not yet caught up to my ancient Nokia - but South of the Border eventually reached that point on Saturday while trying to catch up with some of the overnight goals.
An uninstall/reinstall maneuver only managed to turn my phone's Cluch app into the soccer-less, and largely pointless version of the app that's been available on Google Home devices. Not ideal. A search for NPL TV in the Play Store did unearth an NPL TV specific app however; so if you came across the same problem of your Cluch app carking it, it seems like we are being migrated across to a new app.
Now, it does seem like that there are incremental improvements being made to the product, like the ability to go back and forth in ten second increments, as well as rewind in some games, but I haven't really had the chance to check it out fully. I'm not even sure if they've added the ability to pause matches. Still, what we wait for most is a smart TV app so we're no longer casting from PCs.
But I'm told it's still a much better product than whatever Paramount+ is offering for its A-League coverage, so apparently I shouldn't complain so much.
Oh boy, those Dinamo kids behind the goal with those firecrackers. Someone could blown a finger off, or an ear drum out, or... well, since no security or marshals cared on the day, I probably shouldn't either.
Thursday, 10 March 2022
South Melbourne Hellas members are now well used to AGMs being delayed for unorthodox reasons, but the pandemic is the unimpeachable get out clause for everything these days. Attendance from committee members was poor, but that of the members was worse. A lot of regular faces at these things did not show up. Why, I do not know. Indifference? Covid? Inconvenient time-slot? Heaven help us if the senior men's preferred match day discussion ever gets combined with this topic.
And goodness knows where the armada of junior parents now eligible to attend such meetings was - thanks to Football Victoria constitutional changes some years back - because they weren't there, and have seldom ever attended since they have bee able to. Well, maybe they were at junior games. Still the meeting went ahead, and some useful information was parlayed to the small audience.
As per usual, this is not a complete account of the AGM, because I did not take such detailed notes; nor should everything be made known to people who did not attend the meeting, or so I'm told. Then again, some people don't like any AGM details making their way into the public domain, but that ship sailed a long time ago.
There were two key presenters on the day, treasurer Mario Vinaccia, and president Nick Maikousis. At times the meeting resembled a conversation rather than a one-way information session, with the odd spiky exchange. But we get but one formal opportunity per year (on average) to grill our representatives, and one would be wise to take it.
Insofar as the treasurer's report went, there was generally good news in regards to the club's financial position as it ended at June 2021. The club made a profit of about $160,000, a good result considering the difficulties created by the pandemic with regards to sponsorship and match day revenue. The club is also on target to clear its external debts by June 2022.
The club's business structure was once again explained. Essentially, the South Melbourne Hellas Club acts as the umbrella for a set of subsidiary organisations. Half of these are for profit businesses (the Bar & Grill, the Futsal Court, etc), and the other half are the various teams and clubs we operate (NPL and NPLW teams, miniroos, state league women's teams).
The assertion was made by the board that contrary to popular wisdom, it is the finances of the senior men's team which fills in the budgetary gaps (if and where they exist, though most teams break even) in other parts of the football business. How one gets that message out to a soccer public which takes as gospel that junior money funds senior wages (across many clubs, not just ours) is a difficult task. Because much more of the 2021 season was played compared to the 2020 season, there was less damage done in terms of refunds of fees to junior players due to the cancellation of the season.
The Bar & Grill more or less breaks even on match days, but does much better on special events. Of course, club hosted special events and the hiring of the function room by the general public have been hindered by the pandemic, but one hopes that will change as things open up again. The club's leasing of the futsal space to the Combat Institute of Australia for use as its National Performance Centre, which became official in January 2022, will see the club receive an annual six figure sum in rental fees. I think most of us will be glad that that space is finally earning its keep, albeit in an unorthodox manner.
On the question of why no Sunday matches, it was made reiterated that much of the cost savings achieved by the club in recent times have been due to avoiding hosting Sunday matches, and especially the staff penalty rates that make Sunday games unappealing from a financial point of view. The four senior men's Friday night matches in 2022 are also being used as part of the attempt to garner and maintain sponsor networks.
Sponsorship is in a strong position, with the number of principle partners increasing substantially, as the club continues to leverage the business links of the current board. What might happen to that generosity should those members of the board - especially in the financial services sector, which we seem to have a focus on - depart, is a question left to the future. This approach is a variant of the construction industry funded teams in our league. Realistically, there would be few clubs in Victoria who can get by predominantly on gate takings, and in that sense we are not an outlier.
In short, gate takings and membership dues play second fiddle to sponsorship and other business ventures. While the club made a reasonable sum on the 2022 Melbourne City FFA Cup game given the circumstances, restrictive pandemic related trading circumstances diminished what could have been a higher taking. Still, it's nice to know that the club has a not insignificant item for its next financial report. Also to be taken into account for next year, is the already improved takings from merchandise sales.
Though hampered by Lakeside Stadium being under the control of the state government rather than a local council, the club has improved its accessing of government grants. Most of these grants are relatively small, but collectively they help offset costs across our various football departments.
The president's report had some crossover with the treasurer's report, but also included other matters as you would expect. The relationship with the regular, match day staff of the Trust is currently good. However, the high turnover of bureaucrats at the Trust continues to make the management of that part of the relationship more difficult.
There was some discussion about further cementing our presence at some of our other locations, and the hope that there would be funding made available for the relaying of the synthetic pitches at Middle Park, among other improvements to our amenities.
With regards to Lakeside being used as a training venue for the 2023 Women's World Cup, there was little concrete news as of yet. There is the possibility of minor improvements being made to player amenities. It is also possible that the venue may be unavailable for several weeks, but otherwise there is scant detail on what the 2023 Women's World Cup will mean for us in an operational sense. That's something to keep an eye on for next year.
There was also discussion on the prospects of a National Soccer Division, but precious little of certainty to latch on to. There remain many open-ended questions about whether the NSD would be held during a winter or summer season; how long inaugural NSD clubs would be given to settle in, without the threat of being relegated themselves; how quickly full-time professionalism would be introduced; and of course, about how many clubs could realistically be expected to participate.
There was an acknowledgment that there would be need to be significant increases to membership, sponsorship, and attendance in order to the transition to an NSD work, with the club needing a large increase in turnover from its current position. The board however asserted confidence in its ability to make a successful transition to an NSD. In addition, the board was confident that the club could participate successfully in an NSD regardless of the ultimate format of the NSD,
Those members in attendance, while sharing the club's ingrained ambition to play at the highest level possible, generally had a more a wary disposition on the matter. Having said that, there are a wide range of opinions within the South community about the merits of an NSD, and the course of action the club should take. Thus it was disappointing not to have a greater attendance to have the range of those views considered. One hopes that the next AGM, which will hopefully see more concrete details released on the actual NSD format, will attract more interest from members.
A full-time sponsorship person has been hired.
The membership database issue is still an ongoing matter.
Medium term, if the circumstances allow, the board is interested in re-aligning AGM dates and financial reporting to match the senior men's season, rather than going by the financial year.
At the end of the meeting, it was announced that Mario Vinaccia would be stepping down as treasurer, due to increased family commitments. The change will happen as soon as a suitable successor for the treasurer position is found. The membership thanked Mario for his efforts not only in cleaning up the club's books, but also for his efforts in changing the club's culture around transparency on these matters.
Monday, 7 March 2022
Another week, another six points, and that's all you can really ask for if you have low expectations combined with a sense of the absurd. Football Victoria's bespoke solution rolls on, but good luck trying to find an amended and in-progress 2021 table keeping tabs. It's not much easier finding a commentator on the match streams willing to bring it up as well, though I have come across it once.
Somehow no one at a South game seems quite sick of this nonsense arrangement yet, but what else is there to talk about? The National Second Division? Still not quite worth the digital paper its been pixelated on. The social club trying to stuff loose souvlaki-like meat into a Turkish panini instead of an ordinary, but nevertheless structurally sound bread roll? The lack of Knights fans who turned up?
On that last point, I think everyone noticed it. Maybe they were there and didn't make a sound, but if so, that doesn't say much good about their enthusiasm for all of this at the moment. It's hard enough getting any away supporters to Lakeside, so seeing another formerly half-enthusiastic visiting cohort become further diminished lessens the appeal of these so called derbies.
It's not like we haven't done the same in recent seasons, but that's usually been when we've been poor, we're away from home in the middle of winter, and not usually where this so-called derby is concerned. Maybe the Knights fans have adopted the styling of a middle-aged homebody, which is their prerogative I suppose. Maybe it's all about the near inevitable cup match ups these days, which probably makes sense on a whole range of levels, not least Knights having been largely rubbish in league competition for the better part of the last 25 years.
The game itself provided few great moments. A Marcus Schroen free kick looked good, but was saved in no small part because it was hit where the keeper should have had it covered anyway, but otherwise he'd have been more useful on patrol with the coppers trying to prevent non-existent trouble. Harrison Sawyer was reliving the worst moments of the past two seasons, when in one of our now standard phases of playing without a midfield, he was trying his best to do it all himself. He got some help in the second half, and helped set up a goal. Andy Brennan was sent chasing long diagonal ball after long diagonal ball, being reduced to the role of a dog let loose at an off-leash park. After his customary hour of doing that he was done, but credit to him for putting in some good corners.
Alun Webb didn't have a great one, and while I liked things that Max Mikkola did, getting pinged for a dive wasn't one his better moments. Still, you keep him on because he does nice things, and he can throw the ball a long way, which came in handy on Friday when Patrick Langlois headed one of those long throws from the edge of the box, had the ball bounce, and sneak in at the back post. It was an absurd goal, it won't ever happen again, but it was nice to get, especially if you're not going to be scoring more goals.
This giving up of momentum, combined with an inability to retrieve the initiative within a match until the opposition has been gifted several opportunities, doesn't fill me with much confidence about the other 23 league matches to come. We should have been punished harder last week, and this time around too, but the Knights were gun-shy to the extreme, even when staring the gift-horse in the mouth - and those were just the moments when your defense and your goalkeeper can't figure out who's meant to cover what angle. When your otherwise competent goalkeeper tries his second failed superman impersonation in as many weeks.
Nevertheless, if the opposition doesn't want to score, that's on them. We managed to get up to the other end of the ground and Jai Ingham - one of five substitutes, because that's how we still roll in pandemic times - found himself with a half-time warm-up caliber opportunity on the edge of the box. Give him credit on two fronts - first, that he got the ball on target, and second, that he hit the ball hard.
Two-nil still didn't feel quite secure, but Knights could only manage a disallowed for offside goal. Unless their enthusiasm was tempered by seeing the assistant referee's flag go up before the ball went in, even that bit of action failed to raise a stymied response from their fans. Meanwhile over in Clarendon Corner, it was chants for more throw ins, and top of the league (for now), and six points.
At least someone was enjoying themselves - even better that it was us.
St Albans away at Churchill Reserve on Sunday, in a top of the table clash. Get your head around that.
During the week Port Melbourne was docked 18 points for the 2021 minor premiership race, for reasons only a select few know. You can't even call it a retrospective decision, because that title race is still going.