JONTY: So this week we’re doing something different for Let’s Talk Sport. We’re each creating a box of favourites based on our favourite plays of the last 12 months. When we talk about a play, we talk about a player executing a skill on the field which you enjoy watching. It has to be more specific than just naming a player themselves and it can’t be action without a player accompaniment. I’ll throw to you first Marcus – there’s nine types of chocolate in a box of favourites, what’s the first that is going in?
DAVE: What’s the first chocolate you boys grab out of a box of favourites?
JONTY: Twirl for me; they replaced flakes in the Box in May.
MARCUS: I’m a Cherry Ripe man.
DAVE: I’m definitely a Moro.
JONTY: I don’t understand why Moro is in favourites.
DAVE: I like a chewy chocolate with a bit of caramel in the middle.
MARCUS: It’s got real Aldi Mars bar vibes.
DAVE: Yeah, but I like the Moro.
JONTY: I’ve always said it shouldn’t be in a Favourites Box because no-one has them other than when they’re in a Favourites Box, so how can that possibly qualify them as a favourite chocolate?
MARCUS: Yeah, can you actually buy a Moro individually?
JONTY: I don’t think so…anyway, like the AFL, we’re spending a lot of time building this draft up, Marcus, let’s finally get to your pick one.
MARCUS: It’s still living in my memory from a few weeks ago when he hit a beautiful hundred against Berwick; Jordy Wyatt’s straight drive for six. It’s just such a clean swing of the back, it’s a shot every cricketer would want in their kit-bag, particularly at Alex Nelson Reserve, his ability to hit to the short straight boundaries there is a thing of beauty. And given his Bloods wear red, it fits the cherry ripe comparison to a tee.
DAVE: Alright, my Moro is a bloke who probably played on a Moro (Ryan Morrison) years ago, Nathan Gardiner from Cora Lynn. The goal he kicked was about 35 metres out which was his 100th for the season, which is a best action moment in itself, but it was a quality mark. He went up and took it then slotted it from a 70-degree angle. So the mark and goal.
JONTY: OK. Very specific, I like that. Nick Suppree’s power and confidence through the onside at Coomoora Reserve. It’s a flat wicket, like glass, and he’s spent so much time there and he backs himself.
DAVE: A specific shot?
JONTY: Yeah, a hoik through midwicket.
DAVE: Boys, one of you two used the word ‘hoik’ in a story last week: how do you spell it?
JONTY: Me. H-O-I-K. It’s definitely a word. Alright, onto round 2.
MARCUS: This is probably my Turkish Delight. Aaron Mullett in the finals was coming off a 10-week hamstring injury. His ability to gather a ground ball on the half-volley at speed, spin and goal was amazing. He did that three or four times in the finals series alone and for a guy coming off soft tissue injuries, it was extraordinary.
DAVE: Very good. After a Moro, I would go with a stock-standard dairy milk chocolate. A very underrated piece of favouritism. My dairy milk chocolate is Brad Butler who plays for Tooradin. I talk about him all the time boys. He bowls quicker than anyone else, he jumps higher than anyone else, he runs faster than anyone else in footy and cricket. He’s an explosive machine. I watched him pick the ball up at Warragul Industrials one day, take four bounces, and then kick a check-side goal at full tilt from about 30. How do you do that?
JONTY: Yep, excellent. Triyan De Silva bowls probably 10 kilometres quicker than anyone else in Turf 2, I absolutely love going side-on and watching him because it’s just so obvious how much quicker he is and it catches batters short sometimes. He opens the bowling and his first five or six over spell is really fiery and sets the tone for HSD.
MARCUS: I kind of liken wicket-keepers to the flake. The flake is the backbone of the favourites box.
JONTY: Flakes are no longer in the favourites box….
MARCUS: Oh well scrap that then… Springvale South’s Paul Hill executed a sleek leg-side stumping in a semi-final last season against Hallam Kalora Park standing up to the stumps to Jackson Sketcher’s medium pace. It took so much skill and he did it so cleanly and photographer Gary Sissons nailed the moment.
DAVE: My number three, and he does it with a little ‘Twirl’ of the bat, is Chris Bright from Kooweerup. An opening batter who goes at a strike rate of roughly 120 in one day and two day cricket in the last two years. He made 64 off a heap of deliveries to guide his team home in the grand final. That innings was spectacular in a different sense to what we’re used to from him. Man of the match in the premiership.
JONTY: My number three would be Nathan Carver getting double-manned inside 50 for Hampton Park, if not triple-manned. I particularly think back to the Redbacks game on a small ground at Caulfield. He’s the only player who has any height and despite everyone targeting him, he’d still find a way to take a contested mark.
MARCUS: Do they still have popping candy?
MARCUS: Well this analogy will fall flat a little bit but I still want it included. The crack off Mahela Udawatte’s bat and the thump into the tin shed at Hallam when he cracked a pull shot for six sounded like having popping candy in your mouth.
DAVE: The cherry ripe, we have a girl who plays footy for Pakenham called Steph Grentell. She copped a ball to the face from two metres away on a wet day, and had blood streaming from her face. She goes ‘Kenny, wipe the blood off, I’m going back on’. For pure courage, Steph is my cherry ripe.
JONTY: This exercise has taught me how partial I am to rucks, I could just about have included every team’s rucks. I’ve gone Sean Van Velsen, the premiership winner from Endeavour Hills. I only watched him once this season, in the grand final, and he could easily have been best on ground. He doesn’t just get hitouts, he gets hitouts to advantage and that was clear throughout grand final day and through the season his praises were sung.
MARCUS: My next pick is the Pat Bruzzese’s left foot dart, purely because I wanted Jonty to have to spell Bruzzese. But also, you know when you bite into a ‘Caramello’ and the caramel oozes out? The oozing of the caramel resembles the oozing of class that Bruzzese has.
DAVE: Very good. My next one is going to give us a pat on the back, and the other member of the team who has since departed, Tyler Lewis. Back in March, the ‘Dream’ was when I had the pleasure of going up and collecting three trophies on behalf of the boys at the AFL Victoria Media awards. We were the only organisation to get three trophies that day so I give you boys a round of applause for that one.
JONTY: We got to walk around Marvel Stadium as well. Absolutely. My next piece of action would be Zak Roscoe powering away from a centre stoppage and hitting someone up inside 50. The explosiveness and precision to hit his target.
MARCUS: Dave, you’ve pipped me with the ‘Dream’ but I’m still going to follow it because it’s a good analogy. Tom Miller came off a syndesmosis injury and worked himself into the ground to get back into the Narre Warren team for the second semi against Wandin, and he kicked the match-winner in a dream return.
DAVE: I don’t know if the name Hams has a Turkish connection or not but if it does, the goal that Will Hams kicked in the last quarter of the West Gippsland grand final would be a ‘Turkish Delight’ because it reeked of class. On a difficult day, he picked it up and allowed for the breeze perfectly. All class. And earlier in the season he kicked a 70-metre barrel, so he has the deft touch and power.
JONTY: Kaine Bundy. Doveton CC. Ramp. Not many players in local cricket play the ramp with as much flamboyance as what he does and not many would have the consistency of execution as what he does. He won Doveton the quarterfinal of the T20 competition last season with a ramp shot and this season when Doveton has been struggling, he’s still been playing it so he can do it under pressure.
MARCUS: There’s nothing quite like the vibrations rippling through your jaw when you bite into a ‘Crunchie’. Jared Derksen in the first quarter of the Outer East Division 1 grand final playing for Emerald, he’s a big fella and cleaned up a Berwick Springs defender, all above board. It led to a ‘Joe the Goose’ for Lachie Hoye and that really encapsulated the difference in physicality between the sides and set the tone for the remainder of the game.
DAVE: My seventh selection relates to the Chris Bright innings. Michael Giles has been a legend at Kooweerup for a long time. He had a falling out with the club then left for a long time, came back after a five-year hiatus and captain-coached them to a premiership. The emotion after the game and watching him hold the cup up was one of the best moments of the year. A ‘flake’ moment for no particular reason.
JONTY: I’ll continue the finals theme and say Nick Darbyshire’s run on the RSEA Park wing in September. He would’ve played six games at the ground since I’ve been at the paper and I reckon he’s had an influence on just about every one. He rises for the big games.
MARCUS: I haven’t picked a ‘Twirl’ yet so I probably should. If anyone saw Kai Maas take a hanger against Officer in the last round of the home and away season for Berwick Springs. He sort of spins in the air, a little bit like the famous Gary Ablett Sr. ‘mark’ over Gary Pert and his descent somewhat resembled a twirl.
DAVE: My eighth selection takes us to the netball courts of West Gippsland. Meaghan Winter, a Pakenham premiership player now at Nar Nar Goon. I had the pleasure of sitting court-side one game, Meaghan is a goal attack/wing attack. She had the wing attack bib on and threw this pass to the goal shooter that I couldn’t see. It went through two girls to get to the goal shooter. The peripheral vision and class to pull it off, Meaghan winter gets a shout…the ‘Caramello’ of passes.
JONTY: Himesh Galhenage Don teeing off from ball one. He got a century from 29 balls in local cricket and basically is the sort of player suited to white ball. He can be hit and miss but when he gets going for Lyndale, it’s sensational to watch. His straight drive is all class.
MARCUS: We spoke earlier about the mystery of the Moro. You only get the Moro in the Favourites Box, it’s one of a kind. Do you know what else is one-of-a-kind? Watching Chris Gayle hit 95 at Shepley Oval last season, then jump into the mosh pit with Shoaib Malik during DJ Havana Brown’s live performance. It’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen.
DAVE: An Emerald cricketer called Amith Eranda made 307 in CCCA District cricket which included 20 sixes and 27 fours. A triple century in local cricket has to go in, he’s my Crunchie.
JONTY: I talked about my love of rucks before. Elli Symonds, Dandenong Stingrays, she’ll do it four or five times a game and can then take a bounce and hit someone up at full speed. She did it on a Friday night against Oakleigh earlier in the year and all the recruiters in the stands looked around – it was a breakout game of sorts – with the impression that she’s a fine player. So that’s our favourites boxes from the local areas. Thanks boys.
DAVE: Very tasty.