All posts by jimbob

21 March ‘19 Tight Five and All match report

ATT: CB, DC, CG, JH (MOM), RH
Nannas 4 plays Copa Cobana 3

Time stamp:
Fletcher was officially five months on the day after the game; it had been just under five months since I had played for the Nannas.
Prelude:
Of the Nannas, there were five to take to court, with El taking up a sixth position. It was muted that we get a seventh but six was deemed ample (by those in the know). Yet, the sixth, El, did not end up being the sixth, as he somehow contrived to run into the back of a parked vehicle on the way to the game. Furthermore, for a moment, it did appear that Cocky would not make it either, having to tend to his injured child, but with about five minutes to spare he showed himself.
So, we were five. And what a magnificent vista of manhood we were too. At the back stood Gilla. Resplendent in his keepers kit, huffing it out nicely with his ample chest and sizable thighs. It was obvious, for anyone keen on looking, that getting past him would take some doing. At the other of the court, Cocky took his place. All pace and fury, all movement and magic, the Cock’s intent would be running himself back and forth, making the opposition pay for any look they gave him on goal. Just behind the Cock lurked the Chas. Now let me tell you a thing about the Chas. He might look ungainly, all legs a loping, but in truth they don’t call him the most beautiful Nanna for nothing. At right back was the Captain. With a fresh shave, he was a picture of sculptured sinew and monumental muscle; sleekness, out to cut a swathe through the opponents’ flank. Beside him is where I took up station. From my vantage point the court seemed small, the ball hard, the opposition slight and pink. I felt like we had them.
First half:
The early exchanges were positive. The Nannas took early touches, making favourable forays forward. We had the ball and were going to keep it. Furthermore, it was only a matter of time until we would break them down and score, and so it proved. The ball was delivered to me by Captain (I think) just inside their territory. Cocky could see plenty of space down their right flank and ran to where he hoped the ball would be delivered. I put it in front of him, and he duly slotted home. It was a fine effort given his natural right-footedness and the keeper came to meet him at the near post. 1-zip.
They got one next. It was their only good move for the entire game, opening us up with some fine passing and movement, which the Nannas were hard pressed to counter. 1-1.
Next came our second. I got the ball mid-court on their left with my back to goal. I had one dude to my back, and another loitering to my front. As the dude in front came to challenge, I slipped it passed him and turned the dude to my rear. All I had to do next was finish, which I did, hitting it low and hard, to the keeper’s right. 2-1.
I am pretty sure they got another before half time but can’t remember it.
Half time: 2-2.
At the break the Captain talked to us of pressure and keeping up our previous efforts. His masculinity and silky skin a guide and inspiration for all the Nannas.
Second half:
Chassy took this inspiration to heart, leading the way with those loping legs of his. Early in second stanza he thought he was through but the ball jilted loose, leaving Chassy to run past their goals with nothing to show for it. Yet, as their keeper threw it back in, Chas saw his chance and jumped its intended recipient as the ball rolled toward him. He stole, he turned on goal, he placed it neatly passed their keeper. 3-2.
Their next goal was my fault. The ball came bouncing through. I failed to clear it, only getting a weak touch, which only set them up. 3-3.
This last goal proved a tonic for the Nannas; we knew we were better than these young punks, we knew we could beat them, and we certainly knew we weren’t going to lose. So we pushed forward time and time hitting cross bars, skewing our shots just wide, missing final touches that would have let us in on goal until finally, during one of these attacking raids, the Cock was hauled down just outside their penalty area. He stepped up, sizing up the shot. They put three in the wall, and had one marking Chassy over to on Cocky’s left. That left me unattended, so I wondered over to the right. There I stood all alone, the back of the net beckoning me like David Beckham’s flashing boots. Cocky was given the green light to strike. He pondered his options. He looked at the wall, throwing a cursory glance in my direction. I wondered, will he kick it to me? The moment lingered, until suddenly the ball came my way; the perfect pass, expertly weighted, right in the middle of my stance. All I had to do was lean back and lash into the top right corner, which I did. 4-3.
Then came the last two minutes of the game. We felt in control, we were pushing for a fifth, the killer blow. But somewhere in all that dash and hustle, pushing forward, striving for that final pass, we gave it up, and, in true Nanna fashion, in mid-field too. Well, the opposition saw their chance, could they steal a draw from the clutches of defeat, maybe even get two and take the victory? The Nannas backpedalled, Gilla threw himself this way and that, heaving that huffing chest of his as he repelled shot after shot. Suddenly, all our control and passing deserted us, not being able to even get a touch. Suddenly we were under the pump. But the clock was against them, and we, even though we did panic a little, were resolute.
Final score 4-3.

16 August ‘18—dukes up match report

ATT: CB, DC, EC, CG, JH (MOM), RH, AW

Nannas 9 plays B West 2

Preamble: it was my penultimate day at the Department, and as so often happens in this situation everyone wanted me to do something for them. To shake this off I went visiting Jezza at the Great Northern for a couple of drinks and smokes.

I did think I may have overdone it as I was feeling just a little jaded riding up to Brunswick but once I arrived I seemed to perk up somewhat. I dunno if it was the stadium, the sight of fit young men playing soccer, or just being in the presence of Nannas. Whatever it was, I started to really feel like playing.

The game: the opposition were five; there were a man down but had a ringer. We were seven. Tao had his times all mixed up and had to do the late extraction but El was more than willing to deputise, that is, after he digested his KFC but let us not hold his dietary choices against him. In those first five minutes El was our shining light. While most of the Nannas lumbered across the court, El belied his tender years and flew from confrontation to challenge, from pass to intercept, and then got our first goal. In these early stages in the match, when we went two goals down, he almost single-handedly brought us back into the game.

It was also El, displaying this same exuberance of youth, that led to a major flashpoint. It was about 10 minutes in and El was hustling and bustling this dude for the ball. Chassy was also there trying to wrest it away as well. El challenged, and then he challenged a third, fourth, and fifth time. Eventually the whistle blew and when it did there was the normal disengagement of bodies, but also the need of opponent to detach from opponent, you know, give him the good ol’ chest push. El gave him one, the dude gave him one back. This is where it would usually end with one or two parting words and a couple of dirty looks shot in the other person’s general direction but on this occasion the dude decided that wasn’t enough for him and that the throwing of blows would be a more fitting finale to their small, and seemingly innocuous meeting. He put his dukes up.

Unsurprisingly Nannas were seen hauling arse from everywhere. In fact, it was the quickest most had seen them moved all night. Phil to his credit stepped in, flashed his red card in the face of the dude and his up-pointed dukes and that was that.

The big question on everyone’s lips after this was: would the Nannas be able to make them pay? Would we hold the ball, pass it around, use the extra man to our advantage, or would we throw it away, pass to no one and just generally fuck ourselves? Well, let’s just say that it was a lot of former and a little of the latter. Yes, there were some few shit moments of play where we couldn’t seem to hold onto it, but for the most part our passing was on target, our teamwork was shit hot and we went on to score eight goals, effectively cutting them up.

Of course, their ringer decided at half time that he would desert the sinking ship that was B West, but Joel did come on for them, and so did one of those very crafty and skilful Iranians but we were too good.

I do remember some great goals: by father and son duo Cocky and El; a couple of toe pokes by yours truly; a fine ball from El setting up the right foot volley also by yours truly; but then there was the full length cross-court pass, with a header to finish.

Yes, this was the goal of the game (which probably earned me MOM) but it was a goody. Gilla fed me at the back. One of their players rushed forward to close me down but I could see Cocky in space at the other end of the court, a couple of metres to the left of goal. I pinged it long and hard, figuring that Cocky would pull it down, turn and shoot. He did nothing of the sort. He threw his sizable melon at it, connecting just at the right angle to force the ball into the back of the net. Cocky did mention after the game that their keeper was well out of position but still, it was a great goal.

21 June ‘18 triple MOM match report—part 1

ATT: CB, DC, JH (MOM), RH (MOM), TK, TW (MOM), AW

Nannas 5 plays Green guys 5

This was one of the best games that I can remember the nannas playing for a while. We really should have won but it was one of those things: we went behind, we fought back, they fought back, we weren’t going to let them best us, they kept coming.

Early in the piece it did feel like the Nannas were in for a long night, as we easily gave up possession in mid field and the boys in green strung together about four or five cross-court passes only to find the net at the end of it.

This early goal, however, only seemed to steel the Brown Men to their task. After that we held the ball (the control was huge as compared to the previous week), we passed effectively (hitting our targets time and again), we ran our socks off (Coach would have been proud), and we defended stoutly (about half a dozen times the Green Boys found it hard to find a player).

Then we got our first; I received the ball just outside their area with my back to goal, one-on-one (can’t remember who fed it to me). I turned my man and put in the far corner.

Then the Captain got one. Their keeper was slow clearing his lines, Hinkley could sense it and was on the hunt. He shut him down, the ball spilling to his feet and then he slotted home.

I can’t really recall most of the opposition’s goals but I am pretty sure the pattern was, after those first three goals and we went 2-1 up, they would equalise only for us to pull ahead again.

Anyway, so then it was Tao’s turn to shut down the keeper. Again their shot stopper was slow to clear, and perhaps underestimated the power and fury of his opponent, for as everyone knows Tao can bring both in abundance. Tao got in his face, read the direction he was going to go and when their keeper tried to hoof it downfield and to safety Tao was all over him and from the resulting ricochet the ball found the back of the net.

Next up was the Cock, who I was trying to coerce more movement out of (channelling the Coach). He must have heard me, because, in the very next moment, as I turned to my head following the ball, he had slipped under the radar to position himself perfectly in front of goal. When the ball was duly delivered, he, very stylishly, back heeled it for our fourth.

Cocky also laid on our fifth, with a perfectly weighted ball down the right. I was actually running to the middle and had to change direction and for a minute thought I wouldn’t get there but the pass was millimetre perfect: it drew the keeper out but at the same time allowed me enough time to slip it past him and into the bottom right corner.

Notes:

Note to Chassy: not sure why no one voted for you, you played okay, but probably best not to give me a big hug so close to kick off, you almost had me in tears.

Note to Kondo: some great distribution and fine shot stopping (as per usual); we just have to work on you drawing the man.

Note to Wal: keep making those backdoor runs, it’s always a delight to see you convert from that position.

Note to Hinkley: make those headers count; that’s the second you’ve missed recently.

Note to Cocky: stop looking so hang-dog, it really doesn’t suit you.

Note to Tao: thanks for some great post-match hosting of the Socceroos game, and just thanks for everything.

14 June ‘18 in memory of Pat Hannan match report

ATT: JH, TH, TK, AW, the two Jameses (the Headmaster and Mr Mercer)

Nannas 4 plays RMIT 12

At the end of work, I must admit I was thinking of going home. I was feeling pretty shit. Then I left work and it was a crappy outside too. It was dark, well windy, and it had that feeling that it might piss down at any moment (more on that later).

But, I dragged myself up to see Jezza. The last couple of weeks, he’d been a bit down himself with his broken leg and all but tonight he was somewhat better and it was good to see him. We went through our usually pre-game ritual; things started to turn around.

For a start, the ride from the Great Northern over to the game was ah-fucking-mazing. It was downhill most of the way, I had the wind coming over my right shoulder, and I was h!gh as a k!te sailing through Princes Park, down past the Juvenile detention centre and then up near the Coach’s old house.

I arrived at the end of the first half of the game before ours and one of the Dynamo Tehran boys asked if I either Andy or I would come on, as one of their players had gone down injured. After my ride, it was exactly what I needed; to get out and keep moving, and get rid of some of the pent up sadness that had been accumulating over the previous week.

I hit three goals for them. Issy on the sideline kept telling me to save it for the Nanna game but the ball kept rolling my way and I kept shooting. That first game ended up 8-4 in our favour.

Then the Nanna game started. I was feeling similarly into it but unlike the previous game we didn’t have as much control, and, crucially, the opposition was somewhat better. On about six or seven occasions we gave away the ball in mid court/our back half and they gratefully accepted the invitation to score.

One gets the feeling that if we weren’t so sloppy in possession we would have been a lot more competitive.

Afterward, we went back to the Great Northern to watch footy (Port versus Dogs). As per usual, I had to leave prematurely to catch my train home. Tommy came out with me, as he had put my bike on the roof of his car, and as we walked to where he had parked the heavens opened.

I was in a quandary: I couldn’t not go, but in that downpour I was going to be soaked within a minute or two, so I asked Tommy if he would give me a lift. Tommy did hesitate, mainly because him, Gilla and I had just visited the funk hole outside only minutes before, and I think he was a bit unsure of how he would handle driving in his state in a torrential rain storm.

He wasn’t the wrong. The windscreen wipers were on full tilt but were only half getting the job done. There were little rivers running over the road, making the lines almost impossible to see. And Tommy was playing some melodic, brain messing Stinky Jim tunes, which were making things only more confusing. But then there was the Nissan Micra of Safety. Oh thank fuck for that little white car that drove slowly just in front of us, leading us all the way down Rathdown and into the city, by which time the water falling from the sky had lessened. And thank fuck for the Coach too.

In loving memory of ‘Pat’ Patrick Francis Hannan: 25-12-1943 to 6-6-2018.

31 May 18 Goalie point-of-view match report

ATT: CB, DC, EC, JH, RH, TW

Nannas 3 plays New Team 5

Yes, I was selected to play in goalie on this evening, given that I put my hand up to do it.

We were pitted against the New Team. They were dressed in white.

The Nannas were six: five regulars, with the reliable Ides filling the now customary vacant sixth spot (I’m sorry if that seems like a negative statement; it’s not meant to be).

The game was decided in the first ten minutes; the New Team swiftly scoring four goals. This was mainly the result of marking leaving our fourth string, and somewhat clumsy, keeper exposed.

After this initial flurry we did tighten up our defence significantly but the damage was done.

The new team only got one more goal, which was the last one, sealing the result.

We got three but were largely ineffectual in attack.

As keeper, I had an interesting view of the game. Here are some of my thoughts:
• The Nannas need to belie their name and collective age, especially early in the game and especially in defence. In those first five to ten minutes, there were some Nannas in defence that seemed to get lost on court, almost to the point of not knowing why they were there in the first place: he wanders here, he looks there, he wonders about the meaning of life, he scratches his stubble, he tries to look focused and like he knows what he’s doing but don’t let it fool you.
I tried to wake these bewildered souls up with some judicious and very loud yelling (a quick point here about my shouting: I accept that I need to tone it down and will try to do so in the future but contrary to what was said post game [that I was screaming at people in the heat of the moment and that made some confused], I would postulate that a lot of Nannas were already very perplexed and my yelling was after the fact, trying to warm these muddled souls to the simple task of picking up a man), which seemed to work after a fashion.
• Never let it be said that the Nannas will let anything get in the way of a good chin wag: before the game, during the game, after the game, at the pub, there is always something to chat about. And you’d have to say that we have this same vacuity on court, albeit in something of a different fashion. There is a collective silence when defending, so much so that the Captain actually didn’t believe me three times (check your Bible) when I said that I had told a certain Nanna to pick someone up. Then he told me to be shut it when I tried to get up someone after about three of the opposition broke free in attack. Curious. This same code of silence applies to our attack too. There is no ‘time’, ‘have a shot’, ‘bring it back’, ‘clear it’. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating here a little but I do think it’s true that the Nannas need to be a lot more verbal on court.
• There was no penetration. The Nannas have never lacked for virility, so says Chris Gill, but maybe he wasn’t talking about our probing ability, on court that is. On this evening, the percentage of completed passes from the goalie to outfield Nannas was high, something in the order of 90% (I would estimate). Yet, even though we had lots of ball, and a lot of the time this ball was in advantageous situations, we couldn’t do much with it. There are various things going on here:
-We do lose the ball a lot. This tends to be either as a result of over-eager attacking play where we try something too ambitious for our limited foot skills, or we think we have to move it on quickly and then kick to no one, or a combination of the two. We also lose it because there isn’t a Nanna who can stop and control play, knowing when to go forward, when to retreat, when to stop.
-We do not move. This was very evident in the second half (although I do remember the Captain making a number of industrious runs down the right). Coach has been on at us for ages about his, and, while Tom can be statuesque in his own play, he is right. Watch any good basketball team and the one thing you notice is that they constantly try to get their opposition out of position through continual movement. Sure, some Nannas hardly manage a trot at times but any such effort should be at the service of getting free of your marker.
-There is still a lack of cohesion about the Nannas. I know what you’re thinking: are you fucking serious? Yes I am. Even though we have played together for 15+ years we still are a bit disjointed in attack/defence/general play.

Post game eating. The Captain took us to some very reasonably priced but extremely tasty Vietnamese, where we asked Ides boring questions about his final two years of school. He was much enthused.

Third person match report: 22 Feb 2018

Someone 6 plays Nannas 0

Att: CB, DC, JH, RH, TH, TK, TW

Introductory comments:
The Nannas were looking to bounce back after a particularly terrible performance the week prior. It wasn’t just the score that looked miserable in hindsight but the way we went about it. Once the Nannas went behind, all our bad habits started to re-emerge: Gilla and Tao had a fight over who was take a free kick, and then carried that into the half time talk, and I had to stand between them to try to get them to focus on more constructive matters; speaking of halftime, we had three people, Gilla, Coach and Captain, all vying to try to give the pep talk (I really hate saying this but if you’ve said something the week before, and the week before that, and the week before that, and what you’ve said is not really that strategic/tactical, maybe it’s time to focus on something else, or just shut up already! I am so sorry); and then Coach and Cocky started arguing about something in the second half (I didn’t catch what they were on about but it did seem a little puerile and a lot pathetic).

So, on the day of this game, Jim wrote a long post on the flurry, and curiously he was only banished for a few minutes. Obviously, he wasn’t trying to be a smart arse, which he often finds hard to resist; instead he was honest in his suggestions that the Nannas should wake up to themselves and stop with the taking themselves so seriously and the grumpy old man routine. It had only been a month or so prior that they had been accused of being bullies, so after seeing this performance he felt compelled to say something.

The game:
Before kick off the Captain pulled everyone close and repeated Jim’s very wise words, telling all Nannas that they needed to look deep within themselves to rediscover their inner child and an Espirit de Nanna, which had been so sorely lacking on a number of occasions over the last months.

The game itself should have gone better for the Nannas. The first two goals against us were entirely preventable; our marking in front of goal from set pieces is at present wholeheartedly shit. Essentially, as happened the week before, we got behind our opposite number, leaving our keeper stranded one-on-one at point-blank range. The Nannas who let these goals in, and they know who they are, who had similar lapses last week, need to sharpen the FUCK up. It might seem obvious to say but if you are not as fast as your direct opponent, it’s probably a good idea to give that player a yard or two.

We probably should have pulled one back during this time. The ball fell most fortuitously to Jim who was standing just outside their defensive perimeter for a corner. He hit it pretty sweet with his big toe. It beat everyone, especially their keeper but cannoned off the back post.

Jim would do this twice more before the end of the game. Once when he was one on one with one of their defenders with the keeper still to beat. He thought about trying to go around the defender but once more unleashed his big toe. Like in the previous instance he beat the keeper but not the crossbar. On a third occasion, he was over to the left. He had found space. Tao picked him out. This time, he used his instep, but much to everyone’s bemusement, while the ball a third time eluded everyone, it seemed only destined to ricochet off metalwork and away from goal. The only other real chance we had was Coach trying to chest home from a corner. While he got his chest in good position, he never really found the angle or a sweet spot from his left nipple; he probably should have gone with the right but it’s a hard shot and Coach would have produced a miracle if he had of pulled it off.

Discussion
One could make the argument that had Jim (and Coach, and maybe Cocky too) converted, the Nannas might have been more competitive and I find this case compelling. It would have given us hope and would have encouraged us to pass more, as we were finding space and did have time on the ball, especially in the first half. What’s more, their third and fourth goals did come from the bounce of the ball going their way but they were able to finish these, unlike Jim.

Moreover, the further we found ourselves behind, the more we exposed ourselves trying the long or miracle ball but most of the time we only succeeded in giving the ball away, which effectively led to their last two goals.

Post match
We went to the Union and talked about Takeshi’s wedding and bucks.

18-01-18 Finals Match report (part 1)

Att: JH, RH, TH, AW (Coach)

Nannas 0 plays Bens Babes 25 +

My day was spent at work, publishing web pages, dealing with staff and trying to walk back the Nannas from their rage over perceived poor treatment by Joel. It was an interesting conversation. According to some, the Nannas had been wronged, and the only course open to them was their continued anger and hatred toward their persecutor.
Note: those who felt most aggrieved felt themselves most justified in their position.

Before that we had spent the best part of the week trying to get subs, ring ins, pinch hitters, deputies, old friends, new friends, our kids, players from the opposing team but no one would come to our aid. And so it came to pass that for the first time in the history of the Nannas were a paltry three for a final. Of those we did have not all of us were of sound constitution—the Captain having contracted a virus of the intestinal variety in Vietnam.
Note: the Breaking of Nanna by-law #56 was almost as bad as the now infamous Chasm incident.

It was hot, damn hot. The mercury was well in excess of 40 degree c. The stadium had exhaust fans in full operation but that only brought down the temp to something in the 35–40 range.

We were able to draft in the ref to play in goals for us but he knew as we all did that we were a shadow of our former selves and nothing would prevent the pounding we were about to endure. And so it proved. The opposition had a good seven players, of which they made full made of, and of which they used to excellent effect. They had the ball, they had control, and from a couple of minutes in they had put at least five past us.
Note: the ref stopped tallying the goals only a few minutes into the game, so it is impossible to tell how many they got.

At around the mid-point of the first half, Tom’s mate, Pat, decided, in his mercy, to join our team. It did give us parity in terms of our numbers but it didn’t really help. Pat ran with us, he tried to pass to us, he occasionally took the ball off an opponent and while all of this did help, it really wasn’t ever going to affect the final result.

As the match wore on, and they put more goals past us, they become more and more confident, and we drained our energy and sweat until we had nothing left. Whereas in the first half, we put the occasional pass together, and had a shot or two on goal, in the second stanza all we could do was try not to lose the ball, but when we did the result was the back of our net bulging again and again.
Note: it’s hard to run when you’re hot, out of breath and the opposition is giving you a towelling; it can be even harder when, like the Captain, you’re recovering from severe gastro-intestinal upheaval.

In the end, it was a killing but an honourable one. We brave three were thanked by the opposition for turning up, even though we only had slightly better than half a team.
Note: according to the Coach, Bens Babes hate our guts, and want to do us harm, but on this evening it could be said that we gained their (grudging) respect.

After, we went to the Retreat, and Captain immediately began the rehydration process with pint after of pint of sugar laden drinks, water and the odd beer.
Note: the Captain did look particularly unwell mid-point through the second half.

We did return to the subject of Joel, well, I did. It was pointed out to me that Joel should have more attentive in his referring. I did try to say that this point should have been made calmly but firmly to Joel in the aftermath of the game, and if it wasn’t heeded it should be raised with his supervisor.
Note: the Nannas never really thought of this, which is somewhat surprising.

I then informed the Nannas that in the aftermath of that game they were now considered bullies, and their behaviour had caused anxiety and mental unrest.
Note: beware the GRUMPY NANNA.

Match Report: 22 June 2017

Attendees: JH (MOM), AW (MOM), TW (MOM), Headmaster James (HJ), Joel

Nannas 5 plays Alberto Melasani FC 5

Two days before my birthday (f#ck you all) and the Nannas all decided that this would be a good week to not play. This happens sometimes when everyone has something on and we are left scrambling to find ringers (to be noted: a couple of Nannas disappeared off the face of the earth after signalling their non-playing intentions; this surprised some Nannas, Tao especially).
So, we thought we had a team with Chas and Guido saying they could join the fray but Chassy did the classic I’m out, no, I’m in, no, I’m out, move (the legend of the enigmatic Chassy continues to grow), while Guido rang me about two hours prior the game saying he had to fly to Brazil the next day and wasn’t going to make it.
So I texted Phil, who said he could come but then didn’t show up. Luckily Joel could deputise but when we got on court he didn’t really play that much. He said it wouldn’t be fair if he played to his full ability (or some shit like that), so he hung out on court, didn’t man up and was more a link man than anything else. To be reasonable, he did pull out a move or two and scored a goal so I can’t diss him too much but we would have creamed them if he had tried (so probably best not to get him again).
I was in goals for the first three quarters of the match and this is what I clearly recollect from that time:
1. There was some very sweet passing and movement, and Tao hit almost the perfect goal after essentially the ideal lead up. I threw it to him standing just on the other side of half way. He laid it off to Andy, who drew in a defender and then passed it back to Tao. Tao had space so he hit it with the outside of the toe. It swerved wickedly from left to right. The keeper had no chance.
2. While we were effervescent in attack, our defence was close to the opposite. There were at least a dozen times when they streamed forward with not a brown player between them and me (I know how Gilla feels). Surprisingly, I did save quite a lot after getting a few early shots hit straight at me (which made me mad but also gave me confidence) but couldn’t get everything.
Then I came out of goals and HJ went in. HJ was as good in goals as he was on court (which was in every way noble and upstanding, befitting a man of his stature and employ); I am pretty sure he didn’t let any in and if it were up to me he would be first choice sub (even though when he wasn’t in goals he missed two or three sitters from directly in front in true Jim Hannan style).
Anyway, I thought we were in front 5-4 when I came out of goals, and not long after, after a bit of a goal-mouth scrap, I put one away. Obviously I didn’t look at the scoreboard but it was 5-5, instead of 6-4 (like I thought).
Anyway, that’s how it ended up, except for one punk talking shit about Gilla after the bell. These guys could be our new arch enemies, and what’s more we can beat them easily (if we were to pull a full-strength team together).
Afterward, we went to our new clubhouse and talked of babies, absent Nannas, flying overseas and trips to the snow (and obviously, I was the tallest one there).

First five Match report 23-02-17

Attendees: CG, JH 2 (MOM), RH, TK, AW

Result: Nannas 4 plays Ruud Boys 1

From now on, there’s a first five. If available, first on the court are: Gilla, Jim, Rhian, Takesh and Andy.

It’s the best team the Nannas have.

Last Thursday proved it, and it wasn’t just because we won, it was in the manner that we did it. It was a full team performance. From back to front every Nanna played his role.

Gilla was rock solid in goals, as always, and saved us a few blushes as the clock wound down and the Nannas tired. But his vastly improving distribution is starting to set the tone for the Nannas (he’s starting to know when to go himself [when we’re tired] and when to pass) and last night wasn’t the first time we scored at least one goals from one of his long passes.

Takesh too had a blinder. I think the main feature of his game over the last weeks has been his defense and his willingness to chase and chase and chase some more. Like a rabid sheep dog, he repeatedly got the better of most of his opposite number, stealing the ball from behind or gut running to make sure he was in the way if one of their team got loose. And then, to put the icing on the cake, he set up Hinkley for our opening goal.

Talking of Hinkley, well, it took a moment of magic to get the Nannas going last week, and his strike from what seemed like an impossible angle was pure gold. Before that we huffed and puffed, and were not putting it together but after, we knew we had ‘em. It takes true leadership to get a team up and going.

And then there’s Andy, everyone’s favourite Nanna, the Nanna everyone wants to be, or shack up with, depending on how we are feeling. Andy too, did a mountain of defensive work, time and again running back to protect our lead or just getting his hands dirty by going the hack. But the enduring vision from this match was Andy striding forward to sweetly lash home, from a corner kick. Many Nannas try this move but most get the balance all wrong, leaning back and usually shoot over the target. Not Andy, from the moment I saw him go forward, I knew it was in the back of the net.

And then there’s me. Well, I wasn’t high this week, which was a disappointment but after Hinkley’s goal and after seeing all the great defensive work by my brother Nannas I felt we couldn’t lose and I put the icing on the cake. Gilla threw a long one, and I got my head to it, not really knowing what I was doing but I hit it perfect and it looped over the keep and into the top right of the goal. Then for my next act, I bent one low into their left corner. That was pretty special, I must admit.

Nanna extreme? I reckon we shouldn’t do the two minute subs anymore, just get the solid tight five going, and Cocky, Chas and Tao can come on if there’s an injury or as a tactical substitution.

Match report 12–01–2017: The Battle of Dawson Street

Nannas 2 plays Unathletico Madrid 1
Attendees: Caesar, Dave, Gilla, Guido, Jim, Jerry (team MOM)

I am not quite sure what it is about this team that fires up the Nannas. Maybe it’s the little Asian dude, who’s forever grabbing at you, pushing you and purposely getting all up in your shit, but the moment you do it back to him, he gets more indignant than Donald Trump at a press conference. Then there’s their keeper and his on-field bunkum. This pecker puller, who can’t help himself but remark on nearly every play of the game, was the same guy that when we played them ages ago threw the ball away from Chassy when they were five or six goals up with a about thirty seconds on the clock. Or is it the guy with the angry eyes. Mr A-Eyes, after I had inadvertently kicked into him and then tried to apologise, went into this transfixed, primeval state with his mate all like ‘ooooh, don’t touch him, ooooooooooh don’t even go near him’ like he was so close to the edge that one more little push was going to see him inflict some sort of berserker rage.

Sure, in the first half, I got into them worse than a bad case of the Clap but it wasn’t like they were blameless in all this, and it wasn’t like we weren’t in a competitive environment where getting your opponent worked up is a good way to put them off their game (these are the same guys we beat in the semi last season).

You will be pleased to know that I did resolve to settle it down a bit after a couple of words from Dave at half time. The only problem was Caesar didn’t get this same advice, or if he did he didn’t heed it. He and Mr A-Eyes had a bit of a set too in the second half, which almost came to blows.

You will also be happy to hear that we were playing some good football. We were holding the ball and passing the ball, Caesar kept running through them, and Dave and I were cleaning up at the back. The first half ended at a goal apiece, and in the second, Caesar got another early on.
As the clock wound down they came at us again and again. They are fast and young, and in those last ten minutes it seemed like we must concede.
Yet they were also way angry and sulky. And like a spoilt child that always gets its way, they expected that the goals would come (but sometimes, like on this evening, this can work against you).

Gilla did pull off some amazing saves (as he always does) but the real turning point was when Jerry arrived with about eight minutes to go (just when some of the older Nannas were starting to tire). It was like the Calvary appearing out of the last afternoon mist after much blood shed and sure enough it tipped the battle in our favour.

As you probably have guessed, we held on.

Afterwards, most of them didn’t shake our hands and they were mutterings like, ‘let’s take it to the carpark’, but all they did out there was cry to the ref and Joel about how dirty we were and how the officiating should have done much, much more to stop this.

What a bunch of babies.

Grand final match report 8-12-2016

Nannas 1 plays Dery 5
Att: ANDY, GILLA, GUIDO, JIM, KONDO, RHIAN, TAO

Another season done and another very Nanna way of completing a finals series. Yes, we made the granny but it wouldn’t be a Nanna granny without just a little controversy. And coming out of this minor storm upper management will need to answer two key questions before the new season:

1. What’s up with Chassy, or (put another way), is Chassy out of his fucking mind? Now don’t get me wrong, on the one hand I did very much enjoy the flurry that Chassy’s texts created. It was at times hilarious and one of the best flurries that the Nannas have generated in years. But on the other hand, and it’s a big but, there is a time and place for such conversations and given how divergent the Nannas can be on almost every given topic, he must of know that raising such a subject would create 

alarm

anarchy
anxiety

agitation

bedlam
a brouhaha

chaos

clashes

conflict

confusion

destruction

disorder

disarray

dismay

disquiet

a free-for-all

a furore
foreboding

hysteria

havoc

a hubbub

mayhem
madness

a mess

a mobocracy

panic
pandemonium

a racket

a rumpus

turmoil

tumult

a struggle

an uproar

unease 

within the brown ranks. So starting this conversation only hours before the game, and not letting it go like he did, was, as they say in corporate land, a complete and utter dick move. Sure, we all love Cocky, and as much as we all wanted him to play and we all felt for him that he couldn’t, the conversation about this should have happened way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way earlier. The question I keep coming back to is what was Chassy thinking? Was he trying to undermine us? Was he jealous that we were in the finals? Did he not want us to win? Was he just fucking with us (although this didn’t seem the case given the tenor of his later texts)? Why was it so important that Cocky played, and what did Cocky think about this? And why couldn’t he keep it in his pants and see that he was doing damage to the morale and stability of the Nannas so close to the season decider?

2. What is a Nanna? This is a question that was brought up during the pre-game discussion and it’s one that does need serious attention. Is it someone who’s been in and around the team all 15-16 years or it is someone that is in the team on any particular week? Will there ever be such a thing as an on court, playing Nanna, and an off-court or BeachBox Nanna? And where do ringers fit into the wider scheme of things, especially now that there are one or two Nannas that aren’t playing as much as they used to? Is it fair that we ask ring-ins to fill in and be an integral member of a team for five or six weeks as we go all the way to the finals but then, when we make the granny, we suddenly decide that the ringer be is not good enough and expect them not to play because a Nanna becomes available? Should there a minimum number of games you have to play a season to be a Nanna? Or can you always demand a walk up start for any game, let alone a final, regardless of when you played last? And if you’re not playing do you have the right to try to influence on court matters? What rights do you have if you are not a Nanna original? Would the Nannas ever be picked on form and/or commitment? What is the point of the Nannas? Are we a team or just a bunch of part-timers who pick and choose when we want to play and expect there to be a space ready for us to fill, even if it’s at the expense of the wider team? Do we want to win or are we just happy to turn up, week on week, and take what’s coming to us?
So many questions and as Tao said this will need to be resolved in the Nanna constitution before the next round of finals.

And so to the game. We did okay. It was a totally scrappy and uncontrolled affair, and it was always going to be won by the team who took their chances. They did, we didn’t: end of story. We had a couple of moments of good play, like the five or six minute spell leading up to half time when we started to string a few passes together and Guido buried one from close to half way (but just before the break they got one and got back to 2-1).
The second half was pretty much the same but their striker kept getting goal side and Gilla couldn’t stop him. It’s true we were a bit too fired up and there was no fluidity to how we played, and less passing. Far too often we kicked the ball away or went solo when someone else was open and had a better position than us.
The other team were good though. They hustled us; pretty much did what we did to those young punks last week. They never let us settle and were physical.
It was a bit disappointing. It was a bit frustrating. It was a bit sad.
Afterward, we went to Howler and discussed selling cars, treehouses, weddings, and then I left.

Match report 28-07-16

Attendees: CG, JH 2 (MOM), RH, TH, AW, TW

Result: Nannas 2 plays Dery 1

Another week, another victory for the mighty Nannas.

The Nannas are definitely on a roll. We haven’t won every game over the last four weeks but we haven’t lost one either.

And so it was this week too. We put six on court, in spite of Chassy being off somewhere (seeing something that is best left unsaid; when I was in boarding school there were these two guys who were really into this band, I think they were called the Cure, I never really got what the big deal was, especially seeing that these two guys were into them, which is what I think about anyone who listens to this band now) and Cocky and Kondo having prior engagements.

The Nannas weren’t worried about team-mates missing. They stepped up, they ran, they fucked ‘em hard, and they came out on top.

There was Tao, all purple-faced, running here, running there, screaming his head off, getting some good shots in, giving the opposition what for.

Then the Captain, oh the mighty Captain, what strength, what pace, what fire, what a set of legs. He hasn’t lost it, especially when viewed from behind.

And let’s not forget about Wal, the MAN who all men look up to. The supreme backdoor specialist, and these days one of the Nanna’s best in defence.

The Coach, well, what can you say about him, except that he has the heart of a lion, the balls of a stallion, and the toe of Ronaldo.

And last but by no means least there is the Gilla. Oh Gilla, still the finest keeper in the whole of the APISC, and the worst distributor but slowly but surely working out when to play the percentages or pepper the opposition’s back wall.

These brave Nannas took the lead with an early strike by yours truly. They weren’t really marking up, and I came lumbering up the centre on a corner. Coach rolled one into my path and all I had to do was hit the target.

We almost had another by exactly the same method a few minutes later but Tao didn’t quite make out my immense figure flying through on goal until it was too late, and I snatched at it.

From then, it was end to end stuff, with both teams trying to make inroads but not quite hitting the scoreboard.
They did pull one back after a mis-kick from one of their players that put off Gilla, robbing him of a clean sheet.

I then, duly, stepped up and finished them off. Rhian got the ball just in their half on the left, he whacked it over to me. It came off my elbow, not my hand but, in any case, my arms were by my side. Everyone thought it handball except me and little ref, who said play on. And so I did. From the resultant ricochet off my appendage, it fell to my left, and I was able to steady and bury it.

Then we went to Howler to mix with some very young people and talk about the impending Beach Box.

Birthday Match report 23-06-16

Attendees: DC 1, JH 2 (MOM), RH, TK, AW, Guido

Result: Nannas 4 plays Kent Brockman 10

Well, the Nannas are still having trouble putting a full team on the court. At the start of the week, we were a good seven brave Nannas willing to do battle. But by Thursday, first Tao went down (with flu), Tommy became unavailable because of
his beloved, and Cocky was 50/50 because of his lower leg.

So we brought in some cover in the form of Guido, our Brazilian super sub, who was only too keen to fill in for us.

Our opposition didn’t care for our troubled team line up. In the first five minutes of the game they must have put four passed us in quick succession. It has to be said that this is becoming all too familiar for the Nannas, mainly because we are continually coming up against some very quick, very skilful and very young opponents.

At this point I saw another familiar sight for the Nannas; the look of resignation. Yes, the Nannas over the last year or so have had to put up with being a bit outgunned and playing in the knowledge that we will be on the end of another loss. And tonight it looked like it was going to be a slaughter.

I do think this has had an effect on us, and has affected our form.

And so it was on this night, they put those first four passed us, our heads dropped and we had nothing to look forward to except another massacre. But then something happened. Guido came on, with his first two touches he went round two of their players and then buried his shot in the bottom left corner.

The fightback had begun. Guido was playing link man in the middle (apart from having a lot of pings himself) and laid on the second goal for me. Guido had the ball about ten out with his back to goal. I went passed him on his left and slid the ball to me. The angle was acute but I didn’t have anyone in the middle to pass to so I just tried to bang it into the top of the net. Well, the keeper just seemed to fade as the ball went above him and bulged the top of the goal.

We got two more goals, Guido one and me one too. I don’t remember Guido’s but mine was another good one too. I got the ball in mid court, went passed one of their players and the toe poke slid in at the far post.

There were a couple of moments when I was almost out on my feet but we ran and ran and competed and competed and won the second half two, one. Looking forward to the next game. We just need to start a little better.

The back in the fold Match Report 16 June 2016

Nannas 5 plays Sore Losers (Occasionally United) 4

DC, JH, TW, Guido, Phil

Okay, so only a few weeks after our AGM, where it was discussed that the Nannas need to pull their collective fingers out and turn up more, again we only had three brave brown men turning out.

One of those, me, was at the start still a bit unsure of if he wanted to play. I kinda got the feeling post-match that the Nannas thought my sadness a few weeks back was due to off-court issues (that is, the ex) but it wasn’t (more on that later): I didn’t like someone running up behind me, and screaming in my ear (well, that’s what it felt like) for putting the ball out of play, or being told I was shit when someone got in front of me to get the ball. This sort of thing does affect one’s confidence in the overall team spirit and brotherly love we like to think is the Nannas (which I why I said on the Flurry I thought we were kidding ourselves).

Anyhow, we were five, with Guido and Phil in, the latter in goals.

The opposing team. Well, they weren’t too bad. They were younger than us (not unusual) and had one dude who could play. But the Nannas weren’t too bad either. Cocky couldn’t quite run (he had cramps in his calf); Tao, who played okay, insisted on yelling at him every time he got out of position (I got a couple of blasts too but I did lose my man but the ones at Cocky were a bit much); Guido was in fine fettle, well his big toe was; and Phil was solid at the back and did some fine explorations up field with ball at foot.

The game was pretty tight but we were always in front with Guido and that big toe of his slotting some very fine goals. The best was laid on for him by Cocky, who slid through a glorious diagonal ball that got Guido’s man all out of position, effectively putting our gifted Brazilian through on goal to do what he does best.

The post match was pretty entertaining as the opposition got the shits with Phil, saying that they should have won the match on forfeit or at least got a goal because he (Phil) was playing on our side. Phil told them they should go jump and I added (as delicately as I could) that if we had our ‘proper’ team on the park we would have smashed them (their goalie’s reaction to this was priceless).

It was good to win.

Anyway, to the ex. So Tao dropped the news (after the game) that the ex is seeing someone (which is something I didn’t know up until that point but I must admit I did have my suspicions, mainly because Gilla was always talking about it). Now, to be truthful, this news did rock me for a little while (probably some of Friday) but on reflection I think the Nannas need to get over it. I feel like I am having that conversation with my parents all over again (the one where I have to explain why me and her aren’t getting back together). As much as Justine and I were a fixture for a long time, and in spite of the fact that the kids are still coming to terms with the separation, what has happened is for the best. I am not going to dis the ex, or reiterate all the reasons why I broke it off with her, or why she broke up with me but I will say that if we would have stayed together it would have been bad, like crossing the streams bad. And this is not to say that you shouldn’t be friends with Justine (I will never begrudge you this), or that some part of me still doesn’t have feelings for her but I look at the way I am now and the way I was when I was with her and, as Cocky would say, it’s truly terrifying. Put it like this (as my counsellor often does), if we had stayed together I would have ended up a shell of a human being, hollowed out, eaten up by extreme frustration and misery, waiting and hoping for some happy ending that was never going to arrive.

So, with all love and respect Nannas, do me a favour and let this topic alone, especially when I’m around: I really don’t wanna know and for all intents and purposes I am really trying not to care; a lot harder said than done. I don’t want to have to death blow you like I did my Dad. He’s still getting over it.

Match report 12-11-15

Attendees: DC 1, JH 1 pen. (MOM), RH, TK, TW

Result: Nannas 2 plays Cussi Buttaes 10

Preamble
Five brave little Nannas showed up on this evening: one was feeling particularly pleased with himself; another was very poorly; two others seemed stuck on the status quo of talking tech; and the last, well, he still has balls of steel.

First half
A couple of their team were late, and the Nannas were feeling pretty good about themselves. This team is young, fast and skilful but we were holding them. In fact, we were doing much better than that; we had the better of the early exchanges and should have been ahead were it not for the two very soft goals we gifted them (by which I mean, one of the Nannas went and placed the ball in front of the opposition who was standing in a one-on-one situation with our keeper).
Cocky scored probably the solo goal of the season. He had three to beat: he went passed one, then another, and then a third, who was initially marking me but then had to deal with the Cock-threat. But Cocky was not to be denied, penetrating their goals with a strike of pure precision.
Yes, their goalie was again proving hard to beat (which makes Cock-wad’s goal just that much the better). As the Captain pointed out after the game, their shot stopper has a way of closing you down, making you try for something special to beat him. However, he did make one mistake by stepping outside his area to field a ball, which gave us spot kick. I duly buried it (even though I totally mis-kicked it).

Second half
So by this time, the opposition had their full complement, at least nine, one of whom was extremely gifted and extremely fast. I took to giving him at least a couple of metres space, which worked for a while until he started to find his range with his passing. It was about this time that the Nannas started to run out of legs. Of course, we did give them another one or two soft goals but they were just younger, faster and had a lot more subs, so a lot more fresh too (it should be mentioned here that Tao was playing on about half a body, due to illness in his family).
We toiled hard but couldn’t hold them and they scored about five or six goals in succession in as many minutes.

Special mentions
Kondo: a lot of great saves and fine distribution. Massive balls of steel.
Cocky: solo goal of the season (see above) and some fine defensive work.
Captain: stepped up with true leadership and some fine control in mid-field.
Tao: great stamina and endurance given his health and mostly encouraged the Nannas, which was a welcome change.
Jimbob: a great penalty, even if my foot wasn’t really sure where it was kicking the ball.

The cook
The cook is back. On this evening we went for impromptu Laksa and discussed the relative merits of sex with new people after being in a long-term relationship. I think the Captain and Cocky were a bit scared but Gilla would have loved it.

The search your feelings match report 29-10-15

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Attendees: DC, CG (MOM), JH (MOM), RH, TK, AW, TW

Result: Nannas 4 plays Dunno 2

My sincere apologies: this match report contains profuse negativity.

I don’t really know what was going on with the Nannas on this evening but they did seem a bit off. Maybe it was because I had just played another game with far friendlier and more capable teammates or our opposition had forfeited and we were playing a scratch match but whatever it was the Nannas were seriously shit and extremely lucky to win the contest.
Maybe this comes as a surprise but search your feelings Nannas and you will know it to be true.
Negatives:
• There is a little bit too much yelling going on. Yes, I know, I am as guilty of this as the next Browner but JESUS FUCKING CHRIST NANNAS, STOP FUCKING YELLING AT EACH OTHER YOU DICKLESS, SHIT FOR BRAINS, TURD SUCKING FUCK-HEADS. FUCKING GROW UP WILL YOU! FUCK!
• There is a bit too much shit play going on. Again, I know I can’t say that I am immune from the odd shit pass or attempted move that is way above my skill level but there are a lot of instances where we just do really, really shit things and for no particular reason either.
• Also, if you get the ball and you’re the last Nanna, and then lose the ball, don’t turn around and start gesticulating at everyone like someone should have been behind you, saving your arse.

However, it was not all total shit; the Nannas, once again, did get over the line.
Positives
• Seven Nannas did again turn out for the game, which does seem the magic number for the Nannas to win.
• There were some truly majestic goals for the Nannas on this evening. Gilla is hitting the target a lot more these days—he just needs to work out which ones he is going to kick into the back wall (or the roof) and then reconsider shooting in these instances and pass the thing instead. The Captain is also on form, after a longer hiatus in front of goal than Wayne Rooney.
• If sometimes our attack and control of the ball is shit, then our defence is saving us. We are very tight at the back and our marking is pretty good.

Hat-trick MOM Match report 27-8-15

Attendees: CG, JH (hat-trick MOM), TK (1), RH, TW

Result: Nannas 4 plays Dunno 5

And so to another season. God knows how many we have contested now but this one didn’t start out that well if we are going by commitment: Chassy still has a shit knee; Cock Wad arrived late and without any gear, so he Arse Coached; Coach was babysitting; and Andy was dating (or so he said but isn’t he married and shouldn’t any single Nannas get first dibs?). So it was a tight five, with the true Nanna A but I think these days we always need at least six or seven; we have a much better chance that way.

Random thoughts on the game:
• Goal of the season? All I remember was Tao had the ball on the right hand side of the court and I was running down the left. I yelled at Tao, who delivered the perfect ball (I never broke stride). Phil was slightly out of position and if I hit it first time I had a chance. I really don’t remember the contact at all; I just remember seeing the ball flying into the top left hand corner and thinking holy shit that was good goal. Kinda makes up for all those ones that went sailing over the bar.
• Are the Nannas starting to leave a sour taste in the mouth? The Nannas might want to consider how we are starting to look to others. Are we the fun loving dudes we used to be, or just a bunch of old, sore losers who go on with things for far too long (like after the game)? Now, I don’t want to point any fingers but even though Phil did handle outside the box and he was their last man and it should have been a penalty and the little ref missed it there is a time to let it go and say fair dues; you can’t live in the past, you need to snap to.
• Speaking of the little ref, does he hate us real bad? I am starting to think the answer is not real bad but bad enough. You would have to say that a lot of calls go against us, and if something’s fifty-fifty he usually gives the opposition the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this is just paranoia but I do reckon we have hung a bit too much shit on him (see previous point) and he just sees us as a bunch of old, bad sports that deserve to get to get decisions go against them.
• Did Phil let a few in? I had a sneaking suspicion that either Phil was off his game or he let in a few goals in on purpose. It’s hard to tell but I reckon one of mine and one of Takeshi’s may have been a bit soft (sorry Takeshi).
• Nanna aggression is back. Well, I am not sure it ever went away (maybe it was dormant because Tao had been sick) but we did see a few squabbles on court on Thursday and one yellow card if I remember correctly (to them, not us). It’s good to see that the aging Nannas still know how to rise to a challenge and can put a young punk back in his place.
• Cocky sets a new precedent. Yes, Cocky turned up for the game (a little late mind you), he was fit and healthy, and had no excuses. He sat on the sideline and cheered us on. Now, I for one gave him a vote because I thought, good effort, he loves his Nanna brethren, and will see us even if he can’t play. But what was his excuse for not taking to the court I hear you ask? Well, he was going skiing the next week and didn’t want to hurt himself. I am not sure how others read this but I wanted my vote back. And this from Cocky too, the standard bearer for openness and transparency within the Nannas. How the mighty have fallen.

Match report 2-7-15

Nannas 4 plays Dynamo Tehran 4

Attendees: CG, JH (hat-trick MOM), TH, RH, AW

This was the classic game of two halves, the first of which was dominated by the Nannas. In spite our age, our creaking bodies, our lack of numbers (which is all Cocky’s fault), and the fact that some of us thought that we were getting way too old for this caper, the Nannas have found something this season. The Nannas truly are on fire, and this first half was no exception. We were passing well, running into space, making the most of our opposition’s shit touches, and their shit attempts at attack. I really only remember once when the opposition opened us up, but the shot was way off target, so it didn’t come to anything and they came up empty handed.
The Nannas, by contrast, probably should have had four or five. We got two. The first was from Gilla who, left unmarked, ran his full measure out of his goals to unleash his left foot. Their keeper got in a tangle and could not stop it, earning a typical Gilla, goalie goal salute. The second was the patented Nanna sucker punch. Gilla threw long, I got my head to it and in it went. Gilla decided sometime after that just because he threw it, it was his goal but it did touch my head, and as I understand it, the goal belongs to the person who gets the last touch (so there Gilla). And that’s how it stayed until half time. 2-zip.
The second half started somewhat like the first with the Nannas again applying pressure, and we went further in front after we got a penalty just outside their D, and Rhian fed the resulting free kick to me to poke home. It hurt like hell on my busted toe but it felt good to get that kind of goal all the same. 3-0.
At this point, one of two things happened, and I am not sure which. It was either we took our foot of the gas because we were in front with about 12 to go, and we thought had the game sewn up, or it was because Cocky didn’t show up (because of some lame, whopping cock excuse), which meant that we didn’t have a sub, which meant we slowed up a bit. I personally like to think it’s all Cocky’s fault (which it probably was) but it could have been a mix of the two. But then again, Gilla did give them about three or four one-on-one shots after some particularly shit throw/kick ins (he saved all of these except one), and I did the same one time too (but he didn’t save the one off my shit kick in. Typical).
Anyway, whatever it was, once they got those couple of cheap goals, they got a sniff and really started to come at us. They got that one where I thought the ball was well out (because it was going well over my head) and that dude with the killer left foot headed it from right on our goal line somehow getting it over Gilla’s head and into the net from an impossible angle. Three apiece. From there they pushed and pushed and pushed, and finally got a fourth and all of a sudden we were behind 4-3.
It was here, with about four to go, there was another very slight momentum shift, when the Nannas decided to pull their fingers out. Somehow we didn’t concede again (which would have put the game out of reach) but with about two minutes to go, I think it was Tom or Andy that won the ball in midfield, releasing Hinkley into their backcourt. He only had the keeper to beat but he heard my call and fed the ball back to me with an open goal. I only had to tap home, which I did to make it 4-4. And that’s how it ended. The Nannas got out of Dodge.

Match report 14-5-15

Attendees: CG, JH (MOM), TH, RH, TW (MOM)

Result: Nannas 2 plays someone 3

So with the aid of hindsight, if I have bad news again, I will probably deliver it after the game. In some ways I don’t think it affected our performance that much but by the same token I do think it was a bit of a downer to start the night off on. I think when something like this happens it invariably brings up many questions and unexpected emotions. At the moment, given that this has been going for the last nine, ten months, I think I have gone through most of these emotions already, and now I am in the process of moving on. It is a hard time, and takes some getting used to but I think it’s going to be okay.
So it was in this environment that the Nannas took to the field. And it has to be said that we gave a good account of ourselves. After the first half we were ahead, with a nice goal to Tao. We did a lot of defending in that first stanza as they came at us again and again but we were good enough to repel them. They weren’t too bad, but the main thing they had against was youth, being a good ten years younger than us.
The second half was very much like the first, with the Nannas going further ahead courtesy of a fine move involving Tao and the Captain, which was nicely finished by Jim with a very sweet toe poke to the bottom right corner.
But from there, it all went downhill for the Nannas. We let in two very soft goals, the latter from very poor defending, and after that they were awarded a penalty, which on the face of it was very harsh. There was no question a foul was committed after Captain put one of his legs through an opponents from behind but the controversy centred around if the offence was committed inside the box or not. From this correspondent’s view it was the latter but the referee didn’t see it that way, and one of them duly stepped and put the score at 3–2.
And that’s how it stayed until full time. In short, we should have got them, and we will next time.
It has to be said that Gilla was somewhat unlucky not to get MOM. He really was in fine form, pulling out some very fine saves, throwing himself across his goals like a teenager. I think Tao deserved his MOM; I remember at one stage of the match thinking he was playing especially well. Tom and the Captain, well what can you say: they were pretty good, except Captain needs to work on his giving penalties away. And me, I think I just got the mercy fuck because of the big news (but I’ll take it).
Afterward, we went for Korean, a few more questions about the aforementioned news, and then gelati and pool.
It was a somewhat difficult evening but the Nannas really stepped up to show what true brothers they are.

Inaugural Nanna Golf Classic

IMG_2663

Attendees: CG (scratch), JH (scratch), RH (9)

Result: CG: 92-16, JH: 85-21, RH: 110-11. Jim takes it.

Format: Stableford

Venue
Keilor Public Golf Course. The course is okay, but probably below what the Nannas usually expect from their golfing facilities, being very flat, very straight and the greens not quite up to snuff. It looks to be in the middle of a major overhaul as three quarters of the holes have been upgraded, with bunkers lining fairways and a lot of landscaping being completed, however, the run from 7 to 9 feels very much like playing in Junee.

Handicaps
Gilla and Jim played off scratch, and Rhian got nine shots. The handicapper got it pretty much spot on for Gilla and Jim, however there is still a question mark over what Rhian should be playing off. He was given shots on half the holes on account that he had previously beaten Gilla (no mean feat), however, he probably should sit somewhere around 12 to 14.

Front nine
After the first couple of holes, which were a bit of a mixed bag for all involved, Jim quietly started to establish a slim lead. He hit the green in two on the par 5 third then got nearest the pin on the par 3 6th, with a majestic pitching wedge, and was generally playing solid, getting off the tee nicely and hitting the ball straight if not particularly sweetly with his irons. The one area he wasn’t particularly doing so well at, though, was with his flat stick. He couldn’t buy a putt.
Gilla was hot on his heals. After his abject failure at the 6th, he started to come at Jim, matching him off the tea and generally going stroke for stroke with Jim until the nine, the first hole he won. Gilla’s driver was key, and his chipping, when he missed green, was really making Jim work hard. It seemed like he was settling into groove and was going to streak away from the field.
Rhian meanwhile, was struggling. He repeatedly sliced his driver, which often left him in the tea trees and nothing to work with for his all important approaches. The one thing that Rhian did have going for him was his putting. Mid way through the front nine, he found his range and started banging them in from all over the place.

Back nine
After Gilla’s run culminating in him winning the 9th his back nine got off to a bad start. On the par 5 10th, his tee shot went straight left, not making twenty metres and not getting passed the women’s tea (he owes us all a round), and then he started playing army golf (left, right; left, right). From there he did still play some good golf but was always behind and trying to make it up. It was his work off the tee that was hurting him. The par 3 13th was a classic example. His tee shot he duffed, barely hitting it 30 metres, but stepping up to his second shot, he put it on the dance floor and then holed out for a par.
Rhian, on the other hand, started to pick up. His swing found a bit more rhythm and his putting remained a factor. Mid way the back nine, it looked like he would overtake Gilla, only for him to bomb out on the last three holes. Again his driver let him down, finding the trees right, just when it looked like Gilla was in trouble.
Jim meanwhile, was in the groove. He messed up the par 3 11th, hitting his seven over the green but apart from that he played solid par/bogey golf. He bought a new three wood over Christmas, and coming into the last four to five holes it really started to pay off. He didn’t hit fairway every time but he put the ball way down the fairway, and most times gave himself a short iron to the green. It has to be said if he had been putting better, he would have shot a much lower score, but the greens were a bit of mystery to him.

In the finish
In the finish it was a pretty good day. Apparently the Nannas will be heading out on a monthly basis to do battle again, so we will probably have to look into some better courses. Yarra Bend will come into it (even though this correspondent thinks it’s a bit over-rated, especially after its last facelift), Gisborne will be an option too (if Gilla can get over his nightmares from his last visit there), and Trentham could also be an option (even if it does give Jim a significant advantage).

First match report of the year 22-1-15

Attendees: DC, JH (MOM), TH (MOM), TK (MOM), RH, TW
Result: Nannas 2 plays Lieutenants 12

Well shit, this was a pretty crappy way to start the new year. Yes it was a thumping, and yes the Nannas did get pretty tired pretty quickly, trying to rescue a lost cause in stifling conditions. Tao, pre-match, was talking up his pre-2000 lungs but I think he got his numbers mixed up somewhere, for he like the rest of us did struggle to keep up with our direct opponents, especially in defence.
In attack, we didn’t look too bad, our passing was pretty good, we had movement and when Tommy slotted in an early one from a fine move it looked like we might get a couple.
But then reality struck. While our defence was pretty solid from restarts, when we gave away the ball away they hurt us, and like a jilted wife they hit us where it hurts. Time and again, we would lose the ball in mid-field and before we could say, ‘get the fuck back you fat, bloated, slovenly brown pieces of shit’ they would be up the other end putting the ball in the back of Kondo’s net. The classic example was when we were deep in their half looking likely, when a pass went astray. They picked it up, streaming forward three on one. They had no trouble getting past our last defender, isolating Kondo and sliding one home.
It was a pretty shit night for our number two keeper, who must have been thinking to himself, ‘don’t give it away, don’t give it away, oh shit, they’ve given it away again, oh shit, here are those four angry looking men running at me again with not a Nanna in sight, oh shit, I just hope they don’t pass it to that guy with the massive, exocet missile boot on him again. OH SHIT!!!!!!!’ I know I would have been shitting my dacks but Kondo like the man of massive cast-iron balls that he is kept fronting up, kept trying to save our bacon.
Anyhow, after we went down about half a dozen in the first half we were beaten and never really looked like pulling it back. We did get a late goal, or, more accurately, they scored an own goal off a Tao corner but that was it.
Maybe this is wishful thinking but I do feel like we could be competitive with those guys if we held on to the ball more and put a few more men back in defence. Or maybe they are just deceptively good, lulling you into a false sense of security until all of a sudden you are down about ten without feeling you have played that badly. It’s probably the latter.

Five key questions for the Nannas: (the old) match report 4-9-14

Attendees: CG, JH (MOM), TK, TW,

Result: Nannas 4 plays Dynamo Tehran 6

Will the Nannas ever learn?
A great sports coach once said that you cannot play without the ball. In almost fourteen years of play, the Nannas still haven’t heard this, understood it or brought this basic of soccer into their game. It’s simple: if you keep giving the ball to the opposition, and you do not have it yourself, you can never be competitive.
Thursday night was another classic example. Whether it was our goalie constantly kicking it away, or one of our mid-fielders passing it to no one, again and again we gave the ball on a silver platter to the opposition and invited them with open arms to come at us, which they gleefully did.
On the face of it, the score line for tonight’s game does suggest that the Nannas were in the match but you would be wrong: we never had the ball; they were always in control. It was theirs to lose, never ours to win.

Where is the run going to come from?
There are one or two brown men (okay, most of us) that can hardly muster a trot these days let alone run at top pace, or do that for a full thirty-six minutes. Yes, as much as it hurts to say, the Nannas were consistently a good metre or so behind their direct opponents for most of this evening. They just couldn’t keep up.
And when we were in attack, well, let’s just say that there wasn’t much running around opponents or making darting runs from deep on goal.
I know the Nannas have done a lot of sprint work in the off-season but it really hasn’t helped and the truth has to be faced: the Nannas are getting old and slow.

Will the core of the side ever return?
The Nannas seem like a broken up band that reform only sporadically only to go their separate ways again straight after the gig. Yes once upon a time, there was a core side of Nannas that turned out every week. They were brave and true and lived for Thursday nights.
But the years have changed us. As they have rolled by the excuses have mounted, artistic pretension and work have gotten in the way, one moved far from the city and another overseas, and others, well, their bodies just fell apart.
Do you remember the full team sub, or the sub sheet?

When does a man know to quit?
Steven Waugh was once the greatest cricketer on earth. He brought the Windies back to earth, he flogged the Poms and then flogged them again, and he just loved to grind the Kiwis into the dirt. His ability was natural, his hunger for the game unsurpassed, his fight legendary. But then one day he found that he couldn’t do it anymore. It was like the bat had somehow become different in his hands and he couldn’t wield it like he once used to: he was getting old. Bowlers that he used to flay began to get the better of him. Crowds started hoping instead of expecting. Where once he was feared, respected and hated, suddenly he had become someone to shuffle along, to let a younger, quicker man take his place. The parallels with the Nannas are eerie.
Of course, most of us don’t really want to acknowledge it and we still think we are competitive mainly because of our supremely gifted keeper (keepers can keep playing until they’re fifty, mainly because they hardly ever run), who usually keeps opposition tallies to under ten (when most of the time they should be in the teens or twenties) but we never win anymore, or if we do it’s not like we ever string two, or three together. And the finals, when was the last time we made those? Was it three years ago, or four?
It’s a hard thing when a man doesn’t know it’s time to quit. Steve Waugh knew it, but didn’t want to admit it and he spent those last few years battling demons, his body as well as the quicks that bounced balls around his forehead and an ever impatient public. I say again, the parallels with the Nannas are eerie.

Does Brown always equal futsal?
The question has been asked before and it will be asked again: for the Nannas to remain the Nannas does futsal always have to play a part? Or put another way, will the Nannas still be the Nannas if we aren’t in a structured competition and called the Nannas by another team?
And what does happen when we can’t play soccer anymore, or if only one or two us can still play? Does one, two or three really constitute a full brown team? And let’s not fool ourselves; we are not far off this now.
The Nannas (apparently) have an upper management but if they were really managers (like real managers) surely there would be a succession plan in place. The business case would have been written already: the SWOT analysis would have been done, the case for and against argued and settled, the restructure taken to HR, the stakeholders consulted, the finances found.
Maybe it’s happening already, and it’s the calm before the storm, and they are just waiting for the right time to announce. I for one hope it’s sooner rather than later. I know the impacts will be great, and the shock will be felt far and wide, but it’s long over due and Upper Management knows it, well, they should.

(The all balls) match report 29-5-14

Attendees: JH (MOM), RH, AW, TW, DAVE
Result: Nannas 5 plays Here for Beer 9

So the two teams that played each other only last week, turned out to do battle once again on the hallowed halls of Dawson Street. Except episode two of Nannas versus Here for Beer saw significant changes to both sides. Apparently, or so I was told before the game, the Nannas were fielding a much stronger side, albeit not in our goalkeeping department. The opposition, I was told after the game, had a much-improved line up. One individual in particular, who was not on their team sheet last time out, was here this week, and he was far above anything the Nannas could bring to bear.

As it turned out, these changes in personnel were to have a significant impact on the game, which leads me to goal keeping. So, as the first Nanna goalkeeper selected, I was feeling confident. I thought, if Gilla can do it, then surely I can too. But then in the warm up as Tao started pinging balls past me I started to think, shit, Gilla might be better than me at something (because he will never beat me at golf or table tennis), and so it went in that first half as four went in, which I hardly got a gloveless hand to. Admittedly I was left one on one with the opposition on two occasions after errant back passes but they did score off a re-start (which is a goal keeping cardinal sin); I thought I had it, I thought I had it, but then it hit my hands and went through them.

The other feature about that first half was the Nanna impotency in attack. Maybe it was just hard to see from the keeper’s box but the Nanns in the first half did seem to have trouble holding the ball or, for that matter, penetrating with it. You could say that they were like men without balls: somewhat cowered, almost totally emasculated and with no outlet for any type of release (not that there seemed anything to release). Tao did get one late in those first eighteen minutes saving the Nanna manhood but we took it to the break 4-1.

At the interval, the Captain asked Izzy (the future hope of the Nannas) if he had any words of wisdom for us (which, at the time, was an interesting choice. Was the Captain making a comment on his own Captaincy, or on the Nannas in general?) But maybe the Captain is onto something because Izzy just shrugged his shoulders, and all the Nannas seemed to understand.

The Captain, though, did make one change at half time, switching goalkeepers. This had a positive effect, in that the Nannas’ balls seemed to drop, and we started to get back into the game. I started things off with my first touch, getting the ball just inside their half, going past two, and then slotting home from close range.

Then I got another; Dave fed a sweet pass to me just at the top of their keepers box, and all I had to do was bang it into what appeared to be a gaping hole in their box, which I duly did. Most satisfying. Then Dave and Tao got two more, both from long-range.

It could be said that we were starting to have our way with the opposition and in attack we were. Yet in defence we were still pretty shit, as they kept scoring. After Tao got his goal it was 7-5 and we had hit four in quick time, but they had got three. It was their man, that didn’t play last week. He was doing to the Captain what he did to me in the first half: pinging them in from all over the place and generally ruining his confidence in ever playing goalie again.

So Andy, seeing that we might need a self-assured fifth-choice keeper sometime in the future, took over from him. Also at this time we were trying to get that elusive sixth goal and mounted attack after attack but to no avail. I had the ball deep in their half down the right hand side. I remember trying to turn my opponent, which didn’t work, so then I tried to pass but only gave up possession, and their man scored again. They got one more after this, effectively killing off the contest: we had shot our load and couldn’t come back.

The final act of the game was Andy saving a shot with his nuts (which was all balls of him [no pun intended]) and very symbolic of the Nanna’s night: he gave his all to the Browns (he really did) only to end up prostrate on the ground writhing in agony, his legs in the air, his testis retreating somewhere deep within his stomach.

He did get up again and hopefully his nuts came back down too.

Match report 15-5-14 (PART 1)

Attendees: CB, DC, JH (MOM), RH, TH, TW (MOM)

Result: Nannas 4 versus someone 2

This was a slow evening for the Nannas. We were slow, very slow. Slow in our passing, slow in our movement, slow in our thought processes, slow in our everything really. I do think there were one or two Nannas who were slower than the rest (Cocky) but we did look a little worn around the edges, and this only got worse as the game went on (I am pretty sure it had something to do with the weekend’s activities, which most of us were probably still struggling to get over).

Surprising, and somewhat unexpectedly, the opposition were slower than us. For some reason we were led to believe that we were playing the top-of-the-table side. I think this may have been a ruse on the Captain’s part to keep us on our toes and for the first five or ten minutes I kept expecting them to flick a switch and do something special. But special really wasn’t in their makeup and I think from the very beginning, we knew we could (should) beat them.

I started the scoring. We were attacking their goal and we had a shot that was deflected by their keeper out to our left, where I was standing. I could see the keeper was off his line, so I slid the ball in behind him and into the net. The next two goals I am bit fuzzy on but I do remember one where there was some fine interplay, and we had about four or five passes before we tapped in (but I am not sure who did the tapping). This goal though was indicative of the first half: we seemed to have a lot of the ball, a lot of control and all the shots, and they had nothing. We went to the break three zip up.

For the opening of the second half, I think I put the mocker on the Nannas by saying that we could not let them score in the first few minutes because that’s exactly what they did, pretty much straight after the resumption of play. It was a soft goal and I remember distinctly many Nanna heads held in shame after that one.

They got the next one too (it was 3-2) and again it seemed soft but if the truth be told we really should have put the game out their reach by then. We had our fair share of opportunities but the final pass kept going missing or our shot was off target (an effort from the Captain was a notable example here; on one occasion mid way through the second half he only had the keeper to beat and he went for power from about five metres out but he only managed to hit side netting). This is where the aforementioned Nanna slowness really came into effect. The space we had in the first half, the passes that were sticking, the reading of the game, the shots that were on target, all went missing.

So, there was about five minutes to go and it was getting a little desperate. Sure, we were in front (by a goal) but they were coming and we were slowing and then slowing some more, and there was a feeling like they would get the better of us. Then Tao intervened with the goal of the game. Coach passed him the ball on the left hand touchline just inside his own half. A member of the opposition was on his six so Tao kicked it once, up in the air, to control it. Then he kicked it again in the air, but backward this this time and over the head of the guy who was marking him. From there it was two on one. Tao drew their last man in defence passing to Hinkley, who only had to beat the keeper, which he did (this time). 4-2. The Nannas were home. Everyone went home and slept soundly.

Match report 5-12-13

Nannas 7 plays 3

Attendance: CB, CG, JH (MOM), RH, TH, TW

So it had been a bad week. In fact, it had been a bad month, a shit month in fact. And I am sure it had something to do with the fact that I hadn’t played for the Nannas in all that time.

But before I was able to let a month of frustrations out on the court, Hinkley and I went to the pub and things started to turn around. Even though I had to pay for the big man’s beer, it is amazing how much I missed him. It was great to discuss my horrible working arrangements, golf, and other most interesting stuff, and then we turned our attention to the game. We were playing the bottom placed side, and, as Hinkley said, it would be a good test of where we were at in the competition.

Well, the other team weren’t bad. A few of their number had some nice moves and one shot on goal from one of them was particularly impressive (beating Gilla at the near post). Having said all that, they hardly ever broke us down. The Nanna defence was tight and what’s more, we were holding onto the ball very well. To be sure, this was a strong team that the Nannas put out on this evening. Yes, Coach was sick (with what I don’t know), Chassy only had on one knee to run his two legs, Tao was in a fighting mood, and I was grumpier than a young bull during mating season, but we held it together pretty damn well.

I don’t really remember the goals in the first half. I am pretty sure Gilly got a couple of long range efforts, and there was talk of one by Chassy from a Tao pass, or was it the other way around.

Anyway, I think we were in front at half time, 3-2.

The second half is all about me. I know I am being a little self-indulgent here but I think I am sort of justified. I remember thinking as we ran on to the field after the break that I might not have the legs to run out the second half (after so long away from the game) but then I forgot about that and got busy scoring goals. The first was a long-range effort after I picked up the ball in midfield and was given a bit of space. I tried the toe poke, and it came off perfectly. I caught it just on the outside of my foot and I got that sweet that it curved inside out and into the top left corner of the goal. I got a big congratulation from one of the opposition for that one.

Next, I got the ball close to their goal but with my back turned. I heard various cries from my brother Nannas to pass it but I thought fuck it, and pushed the ball out to my left and had a crack. I am not really sure how it went in but I think it got a deflection or two. No matter; now we were 5-2.

After that, Gilla threw a long one, which he made bounce up for my left to follow through on and guide past their keeper and into goal. That one was particularly satisfying it has to be said.

Afterwards, we went for burgers at some place, somewhere north side (the city really does confuse me these days). Gilla brought out the blonde (I think) and from there the night got particularly hazy. It has to be said though, I did have one of the nicest rides (to the train station). The bike path from East Brunswick, through Carlton past Princess Park, Royal Park Golf course, and the Zoo is terribly agreeable at around 9 pm on a balmy night after blonde, burgers and beer. It is very smooth, mostly downhill, although somewhat dark and ominous in places. I almost fell off only once.

Apparently the other Nannas went for blonde later too. I think there might have been ice cream involved. Hard to say.

Match report 5-12-13

Nannas 9 plays Men in Black 6

Attendance: CB (1), GF, CG (1), JH (MOM, 2), RH (3), TW (2)

The night started with beer. Guy Fraser is going away (in case you don’t know), so him and me went to some little bar in the city to meet other RMIT-ers to talk about Web Services and some of the other people he had to work with. The discussion was lively, and many a regret was shared that Guy was leaving RMIT and Melbourne.

Anyhow, then we trained it to the Preston and got there just in time to find the gate locked. While trying to figure out how to get in we sized up the opposition.  They seemed one part old, too parts fat and the last part way too young. But first appearances are often deceiving and so it was on this occasion. The old dude, even though he did have a ciggy just before he came on court, had some moves and a shot on him. The two young fat guys were pretty good also (why is it that dudes who are top heavy always seem to have a low centre of gravity?). And the young guy? He didn’t play.

Anyway, so we got into it. They got a couple in that first stanza but the Nannas were always on top. Gilla got possibly the goal of the match, with a long shot that had more dip on it than a cracker at a early evening boozy BBQ. I slotted two, one from a Captainly pass and another from a long ball again from that man our keeper. I think Chassy got the fourth to round out the half, and we took it to the sheds with a 4-2 lead (Gill and Chassy had a little tete a tete at half time, which although I didn’t see, I did hear about post match. Apparently offence was taken after one teammate told another to play the percentages. On the face of it, this doesn’t seem an unreasonable request [especially since the guilty party is a bit trigger happy in his low percentage play] but obviously the aggrieved party took it in the wrong spirit. I feel for him).

Then to the second half, and as so often happens they came at us early in that interval. If the truth be told we gave them every opportunity, as we coughed up the ball time and again. Sure we did get an early goal (I think I miss kicked it to the Captain who was on hand for the simplest of tap ins) but they got a couple and were just about to get a third when Guy Fraser, four beers in him and all, stepped up and put his mark on the game.

It was a pivotal moment. If they had of scored, it would have been five all, and they would have had all the momentum going into those last ten to twelve minutes. This is how it went down. Gilla was off his line. The ball got past him and was heading for the back of the net. Tao was on hand but couldn’t quite manage to clear it: he was falling, he was trying to coordinate his body to get a foot to it to boof it clear. And then from no-where, like Maverick coming out of the sun going head to head with a commy to save Ice Man’s pearly white arse, Fraser came to the rescue of the Nannas. No one knows where he came from, how he read the play to get himself into that position to make such a stunning goal line clearance, but there he was with those size 13s doing the business.

From there we steadied, scoring four more before the final whistle. The Captain’s header (patented Nanna sucker punch) was the most memorable of these (or the one that I remember). They got two very late but by then the game was over. The only other thing to mention is the Captain’s shoulder charge, which almost caused a fight on court. Sure it was an accident and not really his fault, but you can see why the opposition were a bit upset about it: he really did smash the guy.

After that, we went to Guy’s for bad pizza and possibly the best choice for a Nanna movie ever. If you weren’t there, all I can say is you missed out: never has the rapture been so well represented on the big screen.

Match report 18/10/13

Nannas 8 play Coconut soldiers 8

Attendance: CB 1, GF 3, JH 5, RH, TH (keeper)

MOM: JH

We almost had ‘em Nannas. We were close, very close. Had one or two things gone our way, or one or two things gone against them (especially in those last minutes), victory would have been ours and ours alone.

Yet, a draw wasn’t a bad result given how well they started. Within a couple of minutes they had scored twice, and then soon after that they put in a couple more. Tommy did get caught in goals once, but they were quick, and if you gave them half a chance (which I did for their first) they were good at putting them away.

But there was a sense that we weren’t out of it. Even though they went four up within about ten minutes, we were in the game. We were getting heaps of ball and they were letting us have heaps of time and space on it. There were three or four times in that opening stanza when we were running at them and they kept backing off, almost inviting us to shoot, which we did, but couldn’t make it count.

Then we got one. Tommy threw the long ball, which I got my head to and the deflection snuck under their keeper. Then we got another, as the Captain got the ball from a quick side kick in (after the ref penalised them for a slow re-start, which he would do a few more times throughout the match). The Captain and I only had the keeper to beat, which we did (even though I almost fucked it, getting the ball caught under my feet). Half time 4-2.

The second half was much more open. They kept coming at us but we came at them too, and for the most part they came off second best (most of their goals in that second half came from long throws).

The tight five was really working for us on this evening. Maybe because it was the A team. Special mention goes first to Chassy. Yes, he was playing on no knees, hobbling around the court like an old man, he usual speed and verve visibly reduced but he still managed to play the anchor role, cutting off passes in the middle of the park and distributing nicely up the court. Fraser also gets a mention, not only for his committed running but for his positional play up front. The big man has now worked out where to put himself to make the most of his hulking frame and as a result the goals are coming. The Captain too deserves mention. He planted himself in the middle of the park and was integral to most of what the Nannas did. It’s strange with the Captain because I only remember bit and pieces of his involvement or him playing at all (maybe that’s why he go so few MOM votes) but from what I do remember he played well.  Last but not least is Tommy. He again proved that his case to be our number one is very strong, not just for his stopping ability but also his distribution. We were getting heaps of ball and it was all quality.

So, pretty soon the goals were coming thick and fast, and pretty soon after that we had parity, with seven a piece. And then, with about a three or four minutes left on the clock I was loitering in front of their goal on a side kick in and then I stepped out to the left. No one picked me up. Chassy, who saw the opening, fed me the ball; the keeper, sensing the danger, came at me; I, with only one thing on my mind, slotted it under him. 8-7, we were in front for the first time in the game.

After that they came at us and came at us again. We repelled most of their assaults but then they got a corner. They played it in to the middle and the ball bobbled around a bit. Chassy and Ghee were on hand but couldn’t quite get close to it, as the enemy repeatedly pinged at goal and after about four goes, they finally managed to put it away. 8-8.

There was about forty seconds remaining when we kicked off again and somehow the Captain and I found ourselves down the left hand side. Captain got tackled and the ball spilled to me. I lined up, I shot but it went across the face just as the hooter went. 8-8.

Now, there is a little matter of how many goals we scored. I am very sure I got five, Ghee is totally sure he got three and Chassy is claiming the one. There were a couple of times in the match when the ref did get the score mixed up, awarding goals to the wrong team. Did we get shafted?

Match report 10/10/13

Nannas 2 play One hit wonders 5

Attendance: GF, CG (yellow card), JH, TK, TW, Arnaud

MOM: CG, JH

It’s tough being a Nanna these days. It’s true we are not the force we once were. It’s also true that we can hardly scrape together a team. The word was put out on the Flurry that this could be the last season we play indoor, and while there a couple of people who were emphatic in shouting this down, there was also an eerie silence from those who used to like to call themselves upper management.

No one knows why the Coach didn’t play but he did turn up immediately after the game to go see a movie with his Brown brothers (at least that’s something). Cocky was in Adelaide and Andy omitted himself due to family commitments (he can be excused after his heroics of the previous weeks). But what of Captain and Chassy? There has been a rumour going around that Chassy is in the permanently injured camp (something about cartilage and knees), while the Captain it was said was out to a play (really?).

However, given all that, the Nannas were okay on this evening. Sure we got beat but it wasn’t all bad. We got out to an early lead courtesy of two goalie long throws: one their keeper turned into his own goal; the other, I slammed home after their keeper again made a mess of it.

From there it looked like we might go on and rack up a score but that only lasted for a minute or so. We lived off scraps: we didn’t hold the ball all that well when we had it, and we never had it all that often.

Our opponents were pretty good, it has to be said. They held the ball well, they shut us down well, they shot well (although Gilla did save well) and well, they were just better than us.

After our early lead, they put five past us, although one was a gift from Gilla who got trapped with the ball close to his own goal.

I thought our ring in was going to provide us with more (after seeing him warm up), but he did say after the game that he hasn’t played in almost a year, after suffering a stroke just before that.

I also thought Tao might slot home a few, after his form from a couple of weeks back, but he really didn’t see that much ball. Guy Fraser was also keen to get on the scoresheet after he told his woman he would get one for her but even he couldn’t manage it.

And then there was the small matter of Gilla getting up the ref. Some people think he’s good but I’m sorry, I am not one of them. He misses a lot (not to mention a goal, which Gilla did score). Having said that, it is not a good idea to berate him, as it only makes him hate you.

19 Sept 2013: The greatest ever Nanna loss

Nannas 6 play FD United 7
Attendees: DC, GF (2), CG (2), JH (2), DAVE
MOM: CG, JH

So here I was, a little bit high, a little bit out of breath, a little bit what the fuck do we do now? Cocky, in going for a run up the middle, got his fucked foot stomped on. He was straight off with a, ‘Sorry Nannas, I am out.’

At the time, I thought was a fucking soft cock (after the game it did look pretty bad) and started doing permutations in my head: our four players, they had six; there were still thirty-odd minutes on the clock; they were one goal up; Ghee and I were super high; Dave and Gilla are good but not that good.

The opposition weren’t great. Sure, they had some nice foot skills and they were up for it: being more pushy and aggressive than America in the eighties. Yet, they had a bad habit of shooting from range, instead of taking us on or passing through us. They shot and they shot and they shot some more, but it was all from outside our defensive ring, and Gilla swallowed them up every time. And their one big failing was their keeper, because in that first half we kept scoring against him. Gilla forced a couple of long ones, I got one on the turn, and Ghee tapped home from close range from a side kick in. These last two goals were things of beauty, even if I do say so myself. We went 4-1 up early in the first half.

I think they go one back before half time (my recollection is fuzzy on this, it could have been two). I do remember Gilla on the ground entangled with one of the opposition fighting over the ball in the goal mouth. I thought Gilla had won the fight but in the end he lost and the ref (who, in my opinion at least, was favouring the other side) gave the goal, when it really should have been a foul.

Anyway, we stepped on court for the second half to Ghee saying something like, ‘if we win this we will be heroes.’ He meant it as a pep talk but Dave and I promptly told him to shut up (sorry Gheezer).

The second half was different to the first in that we didn’t get as much ball and the novelty of playing four on five had worn off. What’s more, we were starting to tire, and Gilla was throwing more and more of the ball away. He did tell us at half time that our only hope was to hit them with the sucker punch. I couldn’t quite work out if he was defending his long ball tactics, or if he was forewarning us of what he was going to do in the second half but it mattered little: I was too addled to argue.

For most of that half, we defended, defended, and then defended some more. It was working pretty well. We weren’t marking up but more marking the space, putting our number of three between them and goal. They did get through us a couple of times and I mis-kicked a corner that went straight to one of them, who only had Gilla to beat, but for the most part we frustrated them. It went to 6-4.

And then, just as it looked like we were go to go down, Gilla’s long throw strategy gave birth to a goal, and I forced another from their culpable keeper from a side kick in. He really was shit. So here we were, five minutes to go at 6-6. We were feeling pretty confident: our defence was working, another goal was on the cards, and if we won this thing or least drew it, which looked likely, we truly would be heroes.

Then with thirty seconds they got a corner. They passed to the little guy with the moves. He got through Dave and Ghee. I confronted him, and he went to my left but I couldn’t get close enough to him. He shot. Gilla got his hands to it but couldn’t turn it aside. The final whistle blew. 7-6.

After, on the car ride back to dinner, we discussed the crumbling of the Nannas, how long we would last (about a month most said) and what happened to the commitment to the Brown cause. It was widely agreed that the Nannas were now something we did only if we didn’t have anything else on. And then Cocky cried, and we all cried with him.

Match report 15 November 2012

DC (MOM), JH (MOM), TH, RH, AW

Nannas 1 play Hampton FC 3

We lost this one in the first thirty seconds. Tommy our keeper hadn’t arrived (so obviously it’s all his fault). I was going to deputise, warming up by getting people to kick balls at me. But then Phil noticed we were a man down and stepped up to do the honours. So, we lined up as five but we weren’t really five, not in spirit anyway. We were more dazed, casual bystanders, watching as our opponents put two very quick and easy goals passed us. I remember feeling at the time that this is how the Nannas will play for evermore: slow, limp, non-moving, non-competitive, almost not there. I remember also apologising to Phil like, shit sorry man, we are really crap.

But then Tommy showed up and for some reason we awoke. I am not sure if it was his presence (if he had been there from the beginning things could have been so different; it’s so all his fault), or if it was us going behind to those two early goals.

So, we started to play and for the rest of match we were good. Our passing and movement seemed to benefit from our limited number. Or maybe it was those who were playing (a new Nanna A perhaps), or maybe it was being on court all match that gave us cohesion and momentum. The only sticking point was their goalie: he was hard to beat. The Captain (he truly is a beautiful man) did it once but no one else could. I remember being one on one with their shot stopper about four or five times and each time he beat away my shot or shut me down before I got a chance to shoot. I also remember another three or four that I pinged from outside three-point range, only for him to again beat them away.

Talking about goalies, Tommy had a very good night in goals (he shoulda been there from the beginning, things could have been so different). He was pulling out saves from everywhere (he surely would have stopped those two early ones).  It was like having Gilla in goals but without the hair and funk (and Tommy is better looking too). But then I fucked him (Tommy, that is). Their keeper was coming out of his goals, taking pot shots at our goal from halfway and beyond. From one of these shots, I kinda felt like an opponent was behind me, and that it would be a good idea to stick out a foot to try to deflect it. As I said to Tommy after, it was only half a thought, which are the worst kind, because I only succeeded in deflecting the ball past Tommy and into our goals (this was my fault and I take full responsibility). This was very bad for us (and I was post match very surprised when I was named MOM, given this transgression), for only minutes before the Captain got his goal, and we were looking likely to overrun them.

Everyone hates losing to the Annual.

Match report 18 October 2012

DC 3, GF, JH (mercy fuck MOM), RH, AW, TW

Nannas 4 play St Kilda 10

T’was a chastening night for the Nannas. We met a somewhat recent foe, but one we had had success against not so long ago, not least in the granny at the end of last year. On that occasion we held their attack in check and got quite a few goals our self (with Chassy playing out of his skin).

This time out, while our attack was serviceable if not brilliant, we had no Chas and we did not hold them in any way shape or form at the back.

The first half was predicable. We were strong and true, letting in a couple (at least one by the keeper was very soft, who completely misjudged the strength of a shot) and got a few of our own.

Cocky had a better night of it, as compared with last week. He snared a couple from pure persistence, dispossessing opponents deep in their half and making them pay each time.

Tao too got on the scoresheet in the first half, running from deep around most of their team to pop up in front of goals and slot home: the goal of the match, from this correspondent’s point of view.

Half time score, 4-3 (I think).

Second half

Then the second half happened and with it about three or four early goals to the opposition. The Nannas need to concentrate on their second half starts, as this is not the first time we have been competitive leading in to the break but out the other side, very quickly letting the game slip from our grasp.

Captain pointed out after the game that most of their team can run, pass, dribble and generally play soccer. An interesting comment. Obviously the point being that some/most Nannas can’t, or the opposition can do all these things better than us. Probably a fair point but for most of the first half we definitely held our own. What was more evident though, was that the Nannas did start to drop their intensity in the second half. There were couple of times when Nannas could be see standing around watching the play instead of being an active participant in it. This is where the Nannas have become less competitive this year, as teams usually find they can run over the top of us in the second half as the Nanns start to flag, or generally become disinterested in the contest.

Upper management recommendation #1
All Nannas take part in conditioning and competiveness training pre-season.

 Goalie’s point of view.

First, it should be said that about three or four goals the goalie let in were particularly soft. He does need to have some time having people kick soccer balls at him at pace, from up close, from range, from all different angles, from crosses, from volleys, from everywhere if he is going to be a regular stand in for other Nanna keepers.

On the flip side, it was interesting to see the difference this keeper made in terms of distribution. Usually the Nannas live off scraps, a lot of long balls trying to pull off the Nanna Sucker Punch™, or see the opposition’s goal or the wall above their goal peppered (this is especially true when our first-choice keeper plays). But when the Nannas get a bit more regular and consistent ball, and if they run to space and their efforts are rewarded with a pass, they do start to get interested in playing, trying to string passes together, link and run; they do start to get some confidence in their foot skills and their play does become somewhat less haphazard and more controlled.

Upper management recommendation #2
All keepers go through distribution training, which will involve classes on: taking the best option; controlling the pace of the game; being an option at the back; limited but strategic use of the Nanna Sucker Punch™; throwing to a Nannas’ chest, head or feet and knowing when and how to accomplish these; knowing when to put the ball at a Nannas’ feet or out in front of him, that is, identifying when a team mate is moving and then choosing the appropriate way to pass to him; the look away; the feint; the cut out; the loop; the weighted drop; the all out throw; the worm burner; the head hunter; the chest tickler; the curve ball; the leg and off break; the off the opposition’s goalies goal; the Garry Owen; and last but not least, when the goalie should come out of his area.

Match report 11 October 2012

DC, GF, JH 3 (MOM), TH 1, RH, TK

Nannas 4 play ??? 6

 

Five things we learned about the Nannas

  1. GHBG may be dead
    Chas has been going on about the Nans playing clean for years now, and from last night’s evidence he may have a point. The two main standard bearers for the unclean approach, Jim and Ghee, abstained pre-game, as a control. Well, Jim hit three fairly good goals and Ghee, although he didn’t get on the scoresheet, was a tower of strength in defence.
    Of course the third standard bearer for GHBG, Cocky, was a shadow of himself, playing a particularly shit game. So there may be evidence for some Nans to GHBG and some to not.  Further testing will be conducted.
  2. The Nannas are in a funk
    Maybe it because we were up against four at the start of last night’s game (which always lures us in to a false sense of security), maybe it was the earliness of the fixture, maybe it was because Cocky is working on a very big and complex project at the moment, or that RMIT really has gotten to Ghee and Jim, or that the Coach and Captain have been pulling too many late nighters due to their respective birthdays. Whatever it was the Nannas were awful last night, especially in the first half. We were slow, we stood around for half the game waiting for the ball to come to us. There was no passion, no enthusiasm, little in the way of that special Nanna hunger and anger that usually makes us competitive.
  3. Don’t get on the wrong side of the coach
    Well, the Coach was angry. First he was seen arguing with the ref, and then he began yelling at the Nannas. But after that he soon found a place to really vent his fury, which was at a member of the opposition. His first entanglement with him, early in the second half, saw Coach trip his prey over and then land on top of him. But that wasn’t enough for the Coach, for after a penalty was given he did pretty much the same thing on the way back to stand on the mark, again using the object of his hatred to break his fall.
    That was only an entrée. He really went for this guy and not content to use him as a crash mat like he did twice before, he employed the now patented ball palm move and for good measure drove the dude’s head in to the hard floor of Wesley. The lesson: don’t get on the wrong of the Coach. He will tell you something different, but don’t be fooled, if you get him mad, he hurt you and hurt you, and hurt you again.
  4.  The Nanna Achilles heal strikes again
    The Captain and Coach have work to do. The Nannas lost again last night due to our inability to hold on to the ball. Not only that, we gave away at least four very soft goals after passing to a direct opponent. At least two of these four goals, an opponent got the ball with only the keeper to beat, and there was one where the opponent didn’t even have to do that, all he had to do was shoot into an open goal.
    Usually kicking the ball away is something that our #1 keeper is guilty of (we have tried to implement the one in three rule but they don’t call him a small business owner for nothing), but last night striker felt it would be a good idea to kick the ball away. Of course Kondo gave one again too but after last night’s performance Cocky will struggle to hold his place next week.
  5. The Nannas are losing games they should win
    Yes, they did have Phil in their team, who made a big difference. Yes, they did score one particularly good goal that I remember. Yes the Nannas started off real slow. Yes, we could have and probably should have put a couple past them in the first couple of minutes of the game when they were only four. But no, the Nannas aren’t playing that badly. We did pick it up in the second half, and put some moves together, got some goals, and for the most part held firm at the back. I know it smacks of coulda, woulda, shoulda, but we should have won this one. 

Match report 13092012

Nannas (5) plays Hampton FC (3)

CB (1), DC (2), GF, CG, JH (1), RH, TH,  TW

MOM: JH

Well, we pulled out a big win against an old foe. At the start of the game it didn’t seem probable. Even though it was an early one, 6 pm, we were gaping at eight, and they call it gaping for a reason. What’s more, Tao and I weren’t talking after a mid-week tiff. And the first words that came out of Chas’s mouth when he saw me were, ‘the last time I spoke to you, I called you a dick.’

Yes, there were fractures in the Nanna outfit but these were definitely off-field fractures. As we lined up for the first whistle five men shaped themselves into a team, a brown hue descended over the hallowed halls of Wesley, and the Nanna cheer squad started its shrill sound track.

The Nanns got off to a strong start with Cocky slotting home after a triangle of passing starting at back. 1 zip. Then they pulled one back when the ball dropped fortuitously for their striker to steady and shoot. 1-1. Then they got another as there was some slack marking at the back: one Nanna trailed his direct opponent in front of goal. The ball came in, the opponent scored and the said Nanna could be seen hanging his head all the way back to the start line. 2-1.

Then came our second, which the Captain got. I vaguely remember him being one on one with the keeper and slotting home. But that’s all I remember. Because it is the Captain, I am more than sure that the lead up involved him taking down a couple of the opposition and putting some moves on the rest on his way to goal. 2 apiece.

Then came our third, which was somewhat controversial. The lead up went like this. Chas took the ball from the back. I was to his left in acres of space. I demanded the ball, I pleaded for it, I begged. But Chassy went looking for something else, not finding it. Then, on our very next play, Chas again took the ball from the back. This time I wasn’t in acres of space but the Captain was, not only that, the Captain was in a perfect position to attack the goal. Again Chassy took another option, slamming home a shot from about half way. It is true that I chastised Chassy for his options, saying something like ‘it’s a good thing you scored Chassy,’ bumping him with my shoulder. Chassy, on a high after such a classy goal, was understandably aggrieved. And it befalls me to again apologise to Chassy. He did score a corker taking us to a half time lead of 3-2 (all’s well that ends well).

The second half started with the Nannas going further in front. The keeper, I can’t really remember what he was trying to achieve, came out of his goals and tried with a long pass to find a teammate. I got in the way of that pass and seeing that he was out of his goal, endeavoured to pop it over his head on the way to the back of his net. The ball did bounce up nicely for me, and even though I was facing askew, which at the time seemed to increase the level of difficulty, from the moment I hit it I knew it was home.  4-2.

At this stage of the game a couple of things started to happen. The Nannas became slow on defence, more standing around than taking an active interest in running back with their opponents. And the enemy started to come at us. These two things brought on a number of notable events. First there was Gilla, all on his own against two of them, sliding out of his area, saving an almost certain goal, but giving away a penalty in the process. In a lot of ways I am not surprised their striker couldn’t find the target from the ensuing penalty. Gilla is big if anything in goals, with a special ability of being able to thrown his body horizontal in a split second. He also has a way of applying pressure without even trying. If you have ever played golf with him, you will know what I mean.

Second, Gilla was called on to defend another penalty, again not his fault. The Captain passed it back to me, and two of the enemy ran at me. I got caught in the headlights, I froze, and all I could do was turn my back on the advancing hoards, succeeding only in coughing up possession. Gill did his best from the scuffle that followed but he was outnumbered and on the back foot, fouling both of them who came at him. Then he lined up for another penalty: he got his hands to it, he took a lot of pace of it, he almost deflected it outside the goals. Almost. 4-3.

Up until this point in the second half we were like old king lion trying to have an afternoon snooze in the sun, and they, like an annoying insect, kept buzzing around us, trying to bite us. They came again, again and again. But (for the most part) old king lion kept them at arms length with his massive paw, patiently waiting for his moment to rise and strike out at his annoyer. That moment came as they buzzed at us one last time but lost the ball mid-court. It fell to me. I had a Nanna on each side of me as I strode forward, and only the keeper in front. As their goal stop came at me, I slid a pass left to Cocky who put it away. 5-3.

Apart from a mild skirmish, initiated by me, that’s the way it ended.

Then we went for Vietnamese soup noodle and beer. I went home well satisfied.

Special mention goes to Fraser. He still stands too much on his heels, especially when the ball is coming at him, but there were very deft touches from the big man. His foot skills are definitely improving.

Special mention to Tao and Chas. I will try to lighten up on the (good natured) abuse in flurry land (not that you don’t deserve it).

(The truly ugly) match report 24 May 2012

I am very sorry Nannas but it has come to this.

Score
Nannas 1 play … 2

Attendance:
CB, GF, CG, JH (1), RH, TK, AW, TW

MOM
JH

Possession
Nannas: 51%
Opposition: 49%

Time in opposition half
20 minutes.

Passing (including restarts)
CB: 15
GF: 5
CG: 25
JH: 15
RH: 15
TK: 10
AW: 10
TW: 15

Passes completed
40%

Multiple passes completed
10%

Shots
Nannas: 8
Opposition: 6

Shots on target
Nannas: 4
Opposition: 5

Corners
Nannas: 5
Opposition: 6

Free kicks
Nannas: 4
Opposition: 3

A quick snapshot of the game this week, and for the last few weeks
This is usually how the game goes: we dick around before the game (a few of us too cool to take it seriously); as the ref blows his whistle for kick off we scramble to get five on court; we start slowly almost surprised that we are actually in a competitive contest; the opposition take advantage of our confusion, usually getting a couple of goals; the Nannas get in to a bit of a we are going to get beat again funk; Gilla starts pinging from range; a few decisions start to go against us; Tao gets angry and starts lashing out; Chas and Captain start trying moves that even Lionel Messi wouldn’t contemplate; I yell at Tao to shut up, and get angry with Chas and Captain and Gilla for that matter for continually kicking the ball away; by this time the opposition has got about three or four, while we have wasted any ball, momentum or good will we ever had toward each other; Guy will give one of those the Nannas are fucking crazy/we have lost again/what’s the point? looks; at half time everyone wants to be captain, while the Captain struggles to give us a pep talk; by the time the second half rolls around we are playing better but there is no composure or control, so while we might be doing better in defence we are never going to crack them open in attack, not consistently anyway.

Plusses (well sort of)
There is still fire in the belly
If all the shouting, yelling, pushing and shoving are anything to go by, the Nannas still have the desire to play the game and the fire in the belly for battle. If only we could harness that aggression and anger and direct as a combined force against our enemy.
Or maybe some Nannas have come to the conclusion that they will never win again, and their only option is getting all bent out of shape at the opposition and the ref. One Nanna comes to mind here.

Defence is not the problem
This week we played against a team that had a lot more cohesion in terms of their passing and movement. Yet they only scored two goals. You can put probably two very fine saves from Gilla as the main reason it did not go to four against us but as a team we did hold them pretty well.

Issues
‘We are now the old and angry men.’
This quote comes to us from the Captain, and while it is arguable that he should do more to quell the rampant Nanna fury on court, he is right. The Nannas are indeed turning into a rabble, lashing out at everything and everybody, but mostly each other.
Composure, as Chassy says, is something that all the Nannas need to come to grips with. There were two main offenders on this evening (no names Tao or Gilla), and a third if his comment yelled at Chassy is to be taken into account (yes, that was me).

The stats do not lie.
We get plenty of ball. We just really suck at using it: our passing is truly shit; the options we take are worse (something that Gilla has to get his head around). It burns us every time.
The new Nanna creed: hold on to the ball or kick it to a teammate; don’t kick it to no one, or to the opposition.

The self put down
It was just under six months ago that the Nannas put out an under-strength team but still managed to take the title, beating all comers with guts, skill and teamwork. But all you hear after every game these days is, ‘they were really young, and really fast.’ Or the old chestnut, ‘Gee, they had some pretty sweet moves,’ said like some pimply teenager admiring his older brother who has just got himself a girlfriend.
Think about this bitches: we really aren’t that old and most times the opposition aren’t really that young or fast or skilful, and none of us have any serious injuries that we have sustained that are really starting to take their toll, crippling us now. But more to the point: if you think you are too old and slow and not up to it, then don’t play.

Match report 8-03-2012

Result: ??? 7 plays Nannas 3
Attendees: CB, DC, JH, TH, TK
Goals: CB 2, JH 1
MOM: JH

Pre-game

  • Ghee and I visited the Coach’s kid. She’s a cutie. Lots of dark hair. Great bowel movements. A bit grisly on this occasion though.

The match

  • It was a tight five configuration. Gilla, Tao, Andy and Captain made themselves unavailable. Coach was back but Ghee got off at Redfern, with a serious little toe injury.
  • The first five minutes. Both teams were in slow motion.
  • The next10 minutes. We went behind 4 nil. They got two from headers. Cocky gave them a gift (a telegraphed pass right in front of our goal), which they gratefully accepted. Jim gave them a present too (a very soft pass on our side of halfway). They had to work a bit harder to convert that one.
  • We got one back. Chas to Tommy, Tommy to Jim, Jim on his preferred side in space. Jim slots it past the keeper.
  • Half time 4 to 1. We were playing better than them. We seemed to have more of the ball and lots of half chances, which we didn’t convert. They had more luck in front of goal.
  • The second half. Very similar to the first. We seemed to playing better than them but on the scoreboard their tally progressed at a greater rate than ours. We got two to their three. Chas slammed one at their goalmouth from a side restart forcing an error and a goal. Chas slotted home for a second time after the ref gave us a break (probably because Gilla wasn’t there). They got theirs on the break, one of which was another header.
  • It always felt like we would better them until a couple of minutes from the end. We had a number of clear-cut chances that on any other night we would have taken. Chas missed from point blank range, trying to recover a ball from very high in the air in a sort of scissor kick manoeuvre. Jim was one on one with the goalie only for the ball to bobble just as he was going to hit it. Cocky should have had a couple.

Analysis

  • The Nannas put out a very strong team. Kondo made some fine saves. Tommy had a fine return performance post baby birth. Chas was strong and true. Cocky played without luck in front of goals but still threatened for most of the match.
  • The tight five was gold. We played with cohesion, holding the ball nicely and for the most part finding people with our passes. Towards the end, we did slow a bit.
  • Our defence was shit. We could not stop bleeding goals. But it has to be said that a least half of their goals were from headers, which are hard to defend against. Gilla needs to go watch their keeper, who could teach him a thing or two about when and how to throw the long ball.
  • Ghee, as coach, apparently was giving us encouragement and direction from the sideline but I really didn’t hear him. Post match it was said that he had removed his shoes and socks mid-game to inspect his seriously injured toe. Interesting.

Afterward

  • We went for plates upon plates of fried chicken and, to wash it down, a keg of beer. We drank it all.

Verdict

  • If only we had of won it would have been one of the better nights of my life.

 

Match report 09-02-2012

Nannas 3 versus Hampton FC 5
Nannas: CB, DC, GF, CG, JH, RH, TH
Goals: CB 2, JH 1
MOM: JH

1. A quick breakdown of the match

First five minutes
We started strong: Chassy got the first for the match, slotting a right footer from a delicate angle. We seemed like we were going to get on top.

Next ten minutes
They scored four. They hit us repeatedly with some very well taken half chances that even Gilla had trouble getting his hands on.

The goals resulted from a Nanna not marking close enough, a Nanna being a bit too slow to get to their man in front of goal, or the ball dropping luckily for them and a Nanna unable to respond quickly enough.

Half time score: 4-1

First ten minutes of the second half
The Nannas got back in it. We held firm at the back and got a couple to bring it back to 4-3. The first was a bit lucky. From a side kick in Chassy whacked it toward me in goal and I got a touch as it went in to the back of the net; the second was similar but this time Chassy slammed it home after I tried a back heal to no effect and a goal mouth scramble.

Last minutes
We pressed and pressed and pressed but couldn’t come up with an equaliser. Then they got one, a good one (again our marking was a bit slack), to put them two in front with about minute on the clock.

2. Analysis of our current slump

Are we suffering the classic post glory hangover?
Possibly. We did play very well in the finals series late last year and it was always going to be hard to maintain that sort of standard week in week out. What’s more a lot of Nannas, if my festive season was anything to go by, overindulged over Christmas a lot more than they should have.

Is it the unsettled lineup?
The early new year always poses problems for the Nannas. Cocky and Chas like to get a bit camp. Andy likes to cultivate a beard. Guy and Jim are solely focused on Orientation. And Tao has been in and out (of the team) more than a teenager on his first visit to a brothel. It doesn’t help.

Do we kick it away too much?
We did last week, and one game earlier in the season when Gilla went on of a bit of a I’m-going-to-pepper-the-back-wall-above-the-opposition’s-goal rampage. But for the most part and especially last night we have been getting a lot better in our general play.

Do we need to train?
It would help but this is very unrealistic. As any Nanna knows organising anything Brown always comes with the possibility of death by a thousand emails.

Is it all about Chassy’s injuries?
It has been said that we cannot win without the Chasm. While the fool that said this needs a good slap over around head, it is true Chas does bring a lot to our team. However, we have won without Chassy before and as shown last week Chassy shouldn’t play if his groin muscle is inflamed from over use.

Does Cocky need to score more goals?
Yes and no. Yes because he hasn’t been hitting the back of the net that much lately and when he’s on form his goals usually come in batches. No because there are other Nanna goalscorers, namely Tao and Chassy, who regularly get on the scoresheet. And, with the Captain, Coach, Gill and Jim chipping in from time to time, we usually get enough.

Were the Nannas holding their collective breath at the impending birth of the coach’s first?
Maybe. Hard to say. Coach seemed pretty relaxed about it all, although he did want a piece of that little nancy-boy punk, who whinges and cries every time someone even looks sideways at him. I guess we will see this week if the birth of a new Nanna will inspire us to new heights.

Do we need to play positions?
Definitely. In attack Jim, Coach and Chas need to start at the back and push forward. Cocky, Tao and Captain need to start in midfield pushing forward. Guy and Kondo need to start deep forward and then push back toward our own goal.

In defence, we just to mark the fuck up and stay the fuck with our man.

Are we getting too old?
Never. The Nannas will never be too old.

Is it all Ghee’s fault?
Secretly in everyone’s heart of hearts we all know everything’s Ghee fault. What’s more, it makes perfect sense to blame him for everything. It just does.