Monash Blues play 1000th Senior Game
On Saturday 20 June 2015, the Monash Blues senior team took to the field for the 1000th time in the VAFA. Fittingly, the game was against Old Haileyburians, our opponents in the grand final in our debut season, 1962.
A luncheon was held during the reserves game and was attended by 100 past players (including some from the inaugural season), supporters and sponsors. While many stories of past glory were told, it is not believed that any of them involved any level of embellishment (despite some suspicion, no claim of exaggeration could be conclusively proven on the day).
The major pre-luncheon activity was past players attempting to locate their name on the banner listing the 3060 players who have pulled on the Turquoise and Silver Monash jumper since 1962. The generation gap was apparent post game with the current playing group preferring to take "selfies" in front of the banner.
Club President Julian Smith's speech paid tribute to Doug Ellis, Keith Frearson (and their modern day equivalents) for creating and maintaining a Club culture that is inclusive of players from a broad range of backgrounds and abilities.
The Club statistician prepared for the day by preparing a combined list of B&F votes across the history of the Club. With three of the top five Monash Players (George Smyth, Andrew McGregor, Andrew Hickey, Jamie Sturgess and Greg Hipwell) also having won a league medal, VAFA umpires can maintain confidence in their ability to award B&F votes.
Given the tendency of modern players to be more likely to play beyond their years as a student, a list of the average number of votes per game was developed to enable a comparison of players across the years.
Two time Club B&F winner Sam McGee was the leader with an impressive average of 8.6 votes per game (just under half the 18 vote maximum able to be awarded to a single player). Peter Robinson was found to be the supreme player from the 60s, with Ant Quin and Jamie Sturgess being stars of the 80s.
Following the function, the assembly moved to the hill adjacent to the Frearson Oval, to watch the milestone Senior game.
An even first quarter had some Monash supporters concerned that Haileybury could be about to spoil the post game celebrations (and avenge their loss in the 1962 E-grade grand final).
Thankfully Paul Groves' quarter time address inspired the Monash backline (led by Joe Cosgriff at centre half back) who got on top and provide a basis for Nick Petering, Damien Hatch and Sam Le Lievre to claim the glory up forward and see the Ashes record a strong 91 point win over a fellow finals contender.
Monash seniors are second on the Premier C ladder in the VAFA, and if they can maintain their momentum are well placed to play finals for the third consecutive year. Additionally, the Club's Reserves, Thirds and Under 19s are all currently in the top 4 teams and enjoying fantastic seasons.
By John Monash