Football Diary – Part 6

2017 – A Year in the Life…. (cont…)


Thursday 17 August

So, on Monday night he was told by the physio that they would make a decision on whether he would play this weekend, on Thursday night.

He rocked up to training tonight, and before he’d even stepped out on the ground, one of the coaches told him he’d be rested for another week.

Seriously, the crap that has gone on this year….

To be fair, he reckons his calf is still probably only about 90%.

But really, the stuff that’s been said that they’re going to do, compared to what they actually then go and do, is just unbelievable.

And it’s not just him; there’s a few others that have been led up that garden path.

When’s cricket start…..?????


Wednesday 23 August

Back on the 29 July there was an article in the Herald Sun about a former Oakleigh Chargers kid who was drafted to Adelaide.  It was Jake Kelly, son of former Collingwood player Craig Kelly.

Because of the Oakleigh connection, as well as a few knockbacks that he’d received along the way, I cut it out and left it for him to read.

It sat on the coffee table, assumed by me to be untouched / unread (mainly because it was quite a long article, and from experience, if it’s long or unable to be watched on his phone, then he never really seems to be interested in that type of thing…) until it was put out in the papers a few days ago.

Well, he returned home from training last night and asked who ‘that’ article was about.

I said I couldn’t remember the name, (seeing as it was over 3 weeks ago) to which he replied, “I probably should have read it, because I think he sent me a text tonight”.


Turns out, apparently, that the Oakleigh coach had passed Riley’s number onto Jake to see if he could give him a call to talk about how things are going.  Kind of a motivational thing I suspect, along the lines of how hard Jake had to work to achieve his dream.  A bit of a ‘rev up’, perhaps?

A few things with this….

One, that was one of the reasons I left the article for him.

Two, with only two games left, now they start to ‘pump’ him up!?

After seemingly doing very little; read ‘nothing’; all year, now they’re getting ‘involved’?


And three, was it actually the coach?

Craig Kelly is Riley’s manager’s boss.

Jake Kelly is Craig Kelly’s son.

Think they’re starting think they’ve backed the wrong horse?

Yeah, I know, I can be a little cynical….

Anyway, he’s going to phone Jake this afternoon.

Will be interesting….


Thursday 24 August

Well, it wasn’t terribly interesting.

It might have been, but trying to find out what was discussed, well, it would have been easier to get him to tidy his room.

It frustrates me, and it annoys me.  It’s like he thinks it’s none of my business, and I just don’t need to know.

Yep, even though I was the one that drove him to wherever he needed to be for the last three years, or however long it’s been.

And without that, he wouldn’t have been sitting on the couch last night mumbling about the phone call while showing more interest in Facebook, than what he was telling me.

Well, he probably would have been doing that, it’s just that he wouldn’t have spoken to an AFL player that day…..

Anyway, I’m annoyed.

I’m also not sure getting drafted is going to be good for him.  I think it would all be too easy for him, and I think living in that ‘bubble’ could cause issues down the track.

You know, rather than living in the real world, and all that.

Perhaps a way out, if he were to get drafted, would be if he went interstate.

It could be good for him; make him grow up a bit, and give him more responsibility.

Appreciate a bit more what’s done for him, and what’s involved in being an adult.

And in all honesty, at the moment, if he does get drafted, I think I’d prefer it if he did go interstate.

I think he needs it.


26 August Round 17, Bendigo at Warrawee

Well, six weeks after ‘that’ game at Ballarat, he was finally ready to play footy again.

So, no real surprises on Thursday night.  Picked, as expected, and named in the backline.

Same old, same old….

One slightly interesting decision, however, was the omission of one of their bigger defenders; a more key position player.

Interesting, due to the fact that Bendigo has a key position forward who is likely to go top ten in the draft.

The same player that Riley played on in the Vic Metro v Allies game a couple of months ago.

The same player that kicked a few goals on him, and, quite frankly, beat him.

So while Riley was told on Thursday that a decision hadn’t yet been made on who he would be playing on, I knew damn well he would be given the job.

Been done no favours all year, why would I expect that to change now….

Oh well, the one positive is that he has nothing to lose.  The pressure is well and truly off.

So, how’d he go?

He go good!

Best game for the year?


Took it on a bit more, and even gave the ball off a couple of times and then followed it up by receiving it again.

He rarely does that; which annoys the crap out of me; so that was really good to see.

And his opponent?

Had absolutely no impact on the game, whatsoever.

While Bendigo are struggling, the Oakleigh boys were good.  And at halftime, with the score 14 goals to 2, the game was effectively over.

A chance to mix things up a little?  Move him up forward, or into the middle?

Pffft, not a hope….

So yeah, finished off the game well.  Well, he did, until one of Bendigo’s heroes collected him in the neck with an elbow or forearm, early in the last quarter.

It finished his game.

Anyway, apart from that, he did exactly as he needed to.  It was nice to see.

One game left, and then finals.

Hope his confidence, and preparedness to take it on, continues.


2 September Round 18, Eastern Ranges at Ballarat

So, last game.  Getting there….

A fairly tight game that was again impacted by a fairly significant wind.  Pretty close for three quarters, before Oakleigh kicked away in the last to kick seven goals to one.  The 45 point win was enough to give them top spot.  Not that it means that much, seeing as the finals are all knock out games.

And him?

Tore it up in the first quarter, and could have had 10 to 12 touches.

Then went missing for much of the rest of the game.  Came in occasionally to do something nice, but really; and I may just be being really critical here; just seemed to mope around and do the bare minimum.

Yep, might be overly harsh, but that’s my opinion on it.

So yeah, not an ideal game so close to the end of the season.

He did get sling tackled just before quarter time, which resulted in him hitting his head on the ground.  He took his kick but then went straight off.

Apparently he ended up with a headache but didn’t tell the doctor, which was probably a good thing.

It may have had a bit of an impact on him for the rest of the game, but that may also just be looking for excuses.

So, from now on, the next game they play could be their last for the year.

Happy days, hey?


Monday 4 September

He headed off to training on Monday night, only to return around 6.00pm.

He has a cold, and they sent him home.

They also didn’t want him there on Tuesday.

I’ll call it early; it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t play him on Saturday.

And if that’s the case, how, I’ll use the word ‘funny’, would it be if they lost.

Yep, just……., ummm,…….hilarious.


9 September Elimination Final, Northern Knights at Victoria Park

Ok, I don’t normally update this until a day or two after the game.  This week, I’m doing it two hours after we got home.

Want to do now so I remember exactly how I feel.

First off, he got over his cold enough for them to pick him.

Picked in the backline, again.  No surprises there.

So, the game.

Or more, the details.

It was a little breezy.

Northern are terrible.

The fact that it was a little windy, actually helped Northern.

Five goals up at halftime; if it was a still day, Oakleigh would have been ten goals up.

Three quarter time, they were nine or ten up.  It didn’t matter, game was over.

And the boy?  How did he go?

How do you reckon he went?

Sitting in the goal square at full back, while his team dominated each and every contest.

Yep, opportunities aplenty…..

And then he didn’t come back on after three quarter time.

Tight quad, apparently.

There’s two and a half hours I’ll never get back.

Can’t wait till next week….


17 September Preliminary Final, Sandringham at Kadinia Park

He played well.

That was good.

He got injured with 10 minutes to go and didn’t return.

That wasn’t good.

They lost.

That was really good.

It’s done.  It’s finished.

Thank f%$& for that!

So, what happened?

Before the game I thought they were probably 50 – 50, at best, of winning.

It was an interesting game, with plenty of mistakes from both sides.  But it always felt that Oakleigh were playing catch up.  They had plenty of it, but Sandringham always seemed to be in control.

Three goals down at halftime, but they were still well and truly in it.

The boy had been playing down back, as expected, and had done a really good job.  Had had quite a few possessions, as well, and had been efficient with them.

Yep, at halftime I was enjoying what I was seeing.

Came out to start the third quarter, and bugger me, he’s been moved to full forward!

Possibly the last game of the year, and they’ve moved him.

Yep, bugger me!

Sandy then went and kicked the first goal of the quarter, and the thought that the game could be over before three quarter time crossed my mind.

Oakleigh then went and kicked the next four.

Well, bugger me, again!

Could have been five in a row, had someone actually looked up to see Riley streaming out of the forward line clear of his opponent.  Instead, it was decided to kick it over his head.

Which resulted in a turnover.  Which then resulted in them kicking a goal.

So, while he only had limited opportunities, he did alright.

Sandy settled after that, and at the last break, they were back in front by a couple of goals.

The boys tried hard in the last, but the whole thing was just a bit beyond them.  One man down since early in the game, along with an injury concern or two, and then Riley off with a knee injury for the last 10 minutes; yep, all just a bit too much to overcome.

So yeah, all done and dusted from a playing perspective.

Yep, not unhappy about that at all.

One thing I am unhappy about though, is the kid that played on Riley for most of the day.

A kid that Riley has known for quite some time having played Vic Metro with him over the years.  Including a couple of months ago.

Riley shook his hand and wished him luck just before the game started.

This kid reciprocated, and then shoved him hard to the chest.

Totally unexpected, and totally uncalled for.

Yep, a flog.

And the knee?

Had an MRI on Monday afternoon.  Hopefully find out the diagnosis tomorrow, and while I don’t think it’s terribly serious, I’m not sure it’s going to be great news.

Probably another reason why the loss, purely from a selfish, personal reason, wasn’t a bad thing.

There’s no way he’d be playing next week.

In fact, I think there’s very little hope of him doing any testing at the State Combine in three weeks.

That, actually, may not be a bad thing.


To be continued…

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