A 40-metre torpedo with 40 seconds left gave ladder-leader Williamstown victory over North Ballarat in the first of the Daniel Oakley Memorial Games on Sunday 13 July.
The FIDA Round 8 at Williamstown games were played in honour of 24 year old reserves ruckman Daniel Oakley, who died unexpectedly on Sunday 6 July. Only a week earlier he had been Williamstown’s best player in its game against Wyndham.
Players and supporters formed guards of honour before both games, with Williamstown coach Rob Klemm speaking of Daniel’s popularity, love of footy and dedication to the club’s values of loyalty, integrity and respect.
He also spoke of the need to “grab chances while you can, because you never know what may happen. That’s why we say: ‘Go long with the wind’.”
The senior game was a tight tussle all day. The home team was staring at its second loss to North Ballarat this season until it peppered the goals in the last few minutes. Then burly mid-fielder Michael Roach sent a torpedo straight through the goals from centre-half-forward with less than a minute to play.
“It was a fantastic game,” said North Ballarat coach Terry Firth, “and a fitting way to remember Daniel Oakley.”
Daniel’s parents tossed the coin for the reserves game, a scratch-match between Williamstown and Sandown, who were topped up with some North Ballarat players. The visitors proved too good but the home team never stopped trying and continues to improve with every game.
Williamstown 2.1 4.2 4.4 6.8 (38)
North Ballarat 2.0 3.2 4.3 5.4 (34)
Williamstown goals: Yaser Shubeilat 1, Ray “Burger” Warren 1, Josh Synot 1, Travis Barrett 1, Michael Roach 1.
Williamstown best: David Henderson , Luke Barker , Adrian Hays , Ibby Nasser , Kelvin O’Connor
North Ballarat best: Shaun Rogers, Michael Davies, Evan Reeves
Williamstown 0.0 1.2 1.2 2.2 (14)
Sandown 1.1 2.3 5.4 6.13 (49)
Williamstown goals: Andrew Villiers 1, Laurie Pollard 1.
Williamstown best: Team effort for Daniel.
In the other FIDA Division 1 game, second-placed Kananook were too strong, too big and too fast for Wyndham, winning both games easily.
With two rounds to go all four Division 1 teams will be looking to hit peak form for the finals.
Round 9 is on Sunday 27 July.
FIDA (fida.org.au) is a league for footballers with intellectual disabilities.