SFNL MATCH REPORT by Will Hunter
Port Melbourne Colts 7.10 (52) def St Kilda City 6.8 (44)
There are some matches that mean a whole lot more to football clubs than just the four premiership points on offer. Last Saturday was one of those for the Port Melbourne Colts, as they renewed a fierce local rivalry with St Kilda City at JL Murphy Reserve.
The Colts not only unfurled their Division 2 Senior and Reserve premiership flag before a massive home crowd, but also stood for a minute silence as a Remembrance Round tribute to former player Marcel ‘Bird’ Bouchard, who tragically lost his battle with brain cancer last month.
The two sides played off for the inaugural Bird Cup, so named in honour of the former Colt, and the home side played like a team possessed in the frantic final term to secure an emotion-charged eight-point victory.
It was a tight, congested arm-wrestle in the narrow confines of their home fortress for most of the afternoon, with neither side able to land a knockout blow. But as the torrential rain and lightning lashed Melbourne during the last stanza, the Colts rose to the occasion.
Port booted two final term goals to reclaim the lead, before they held on for dear life as City made their charge. The Saints pumped the ball inside forward 50 time and again in the final 10 minutes, but the home side showed tremendous heart and commitment to thwart each and every attacking manoeuvre. Jake Knox was simply brilliant rebounding out of defence with poise and vigour, earning himself best on ground honours, but Stacey Massis and Jake Wood were also influential in the trenches. The mercurial Mitch Clarke was also conspicuous with three telling goals, including the match-winner. St Kilda City remarkably unveiled more than a dozen debutants on Saturday, with recruits Jaydon Styles, Thomas Motlop and Troy Kelm among their contributors.