Blog boys, the blog is back for 2019 and we begin with a supersized edition recapping the summer social seasons and pre-season pub crawl!
When the season commences on May 4 you can expect the blog coming to your inbox hot off the press every Monday for some mid morning bathroom reading material - yours faithfully, Editor-in-Chief, Charlie Baker.
Monday A Grade at Mars (with Mike Hill)
The Monday A grade team has been the most successful social basketball team over the last decade. At one point there was a Monday night A grade shield that got engraved with the winning side each season, and they took it down because it was just this team with different names each season on the shield (deceptively looking like it had multiple victors).
I joined the team back in 2008 in my first year out of Glenunga International (not an old red), because of the lovely friendship I had with Guy (Flair) Collins who was one of the other guys that hung around that stadium too often. The only players still in the team from that time are Myself and Tom Lunn(y), though many other players from that era are now floating around in other teams, (Jazzy) Jeff Rengai and Kerwin Penn. Due to there being both a summer and winter season, I’m familiar with the last 21 seasons of Monday Mars, and can gladly say we have won 14 of them.
We do our best to keep things casual on Monday’s enforcing certain rules:
1. No talking about the game during time outs or half time
2. No calling time outs
3. First 5 at the stadium are the first 5 on the court
4. “Rookie Rule” – If someone is recruited, the first time you play with them you must shoot the ball immediately if possible until they start to question it.
5. If Jazzy Jeff hits a 3, James Davey has to dance until the next basket.
6. If you’re over 40 you’re allowed to make up your own rules
7. Over 40’s can call time outs
8. Over 40’s can elect not to start on the court
9. Mike has to order pizza during the grand final game (no Pineapple, Lunny’s rule)
10. Mike can opt to give people “homework” which often turns into, “design your favourite pizza topping and name it.”
11. We change name every season to reflect on of the players in the squad.
This season “The Credible Palks,” suited up 9 players as many of us were going on sporadic holidays during the season. Staples from last season were Myself, Tom Lunn, Brendon Francesca, Lachlan Cotton, Ben Palk, Dario Strebl and recruited Phil Farrer, Ngor Daniel and Madit Daniel. We only lost one game all season and it was my first game back from a 10 week holiday and we played the team we would later face in the grand final. We often played well below our own standard during the season, but things started to come together as the fresh meat embraced the culture of the Monday Squad.
In Finals we came out and played Man-to-Man for both semis and the GF. Apart from being a beast, Dario’s ability to shut down active big guys is something not to be understated, hands down winning the MVP for the GF. We had some huge tempo plays by the Daniel’s brothers as we can see them catch light for short periods, and Lunny scared off a 20 year old athletic gun in the semi, and a guy 5 inches taller in the GF through sheer intimidation. Big Phil started to make their defence look like Stephen Ottenelli’s attempt at baby food race on pub crawl, which is to say simply not prepared at all. Common contributor on the court, Lachlan Cotton as probably the most efficient players to have suited up in red, with every touch being an assist, score, steal, block or rebound. Brendon as our designated fast break offence or volume shooter would have left him often as our top scorer. Ben Palk ocasionally hit 6 of 7 3’s and torched teams himself, or did very little, then came to the bench during time outs and broke rules by talking about the game, instead of another of Michael’s tales of the weekend past.
Mike, where do you fit in to all of this? Great question. They don’t keep an assist stat unfortunately or a turnover stat luckily, but effectively I’m the one that sends out the texts and organises the ragamuffin crew. I occasionally score, occasionally get a block, and people politely let me dribble up the court, but this team isn’t about me. In fact, the beauty of this team is that it’s not about any one individual. It’s about us collectively playing for each other and in turn, winning for each other. It’s what has always made our club significantly better on court than we are on paper.
Monday MARS B’s by Grand Final MVP Charlie Baker
A strong returning core of myself, Kara, Will Jang, Jono Self, Garbo Gus Crawford, Fancy Krantz and Burg was bolstered by the prized free agent signing of Jon Foo, and the rare cameo appearance of his younger *even crafter* brother Dan.
The team finished with a 11-9 record on the season - a fair reflection of the varying quality of oppositions at MARS on a Monday night and the difficulty of getting anyone to turn up to a 6pm or 10:30pm game. If I hasten a guess we bolstered an impressive record in prime time when team ‘elders’ Krantz and JFoo played.
We finished the season with the prized 1st seed in the distinguished Monday A GradeDivision 2* finals, comfortably dispatching So-Jos in the semi-final with a trademark bully ball performance by Jon Self in the second half.
We approached the grand final with a similar flippant attitude to that of the season, no Gus or Jon Self, Jon Foo a game time decision with work commitments and Will and I arriving late. Affectionally named “Bake the Snake” on a Monday evening, I opened the teams account early scoring 16 of our first 24 to everyone in the stadium’s bewilderment and chorus of hisses - we took a 3-point lead going into half time.
We held them off in a low scoring physical second half as Kara kept them at arm lengths with big buckets down the stretch and tough contested finishes over the defence. With under a minute left and the Reds down two Jon Foo caught three defenders in his trademarked spin cycle and was fouled and sent to the line … for three shots after a lengthy argument and dummy spit from the opposition saw them T’d up and waste a timeout. Foo nailed three clutch three throws to ice the game.
Season highlight: When Kara-moose turned Kara-magic and hit 7 threes* (he was robbed 1 by the scorers) against EASTSIDE BALLERZ, including right corner bombs on the first possessions of both halves, and 5 in the second half.
Season lowlight: Anytime we lost to Mike and whoever he managed to stack his team with that week. Self routinely rocking up at the 16:00 mark of the first half every game. Burg missing a game because he locked himself out of his house!
Offseason news: The Foo brothers are retiring from Monday nights for more time to scheme up ways to torment SAABL B Grade defences. They have been replaced by another brother duo, the Pritchard’s, with James returning and Cam debuting for the club.
Cheers to various blokes who filled in, the winter season kicks off tonight with an Old Reds derby vs. Brend-It Like Brendon!
Wednesday MARS A’s by MAX Power
After playing on Thursday nights for many years the team made a decision to switch to the A grade league at MARS on Wednesday nights, in search of new opponents and greater competition.
The regular team consisted of Brendon, Jono, Cam, Morgan, Paul Cookson, Jimmy and Max. Ollie also played the first half of the season until he was sidelined with knee issues. Thanks also to our occasional fill-ins Phil Farer and Mike Hill.
We had an enjoyable season playing many fiercely contested games. One of the highlights was a go ahead 3 point buzzer beater by Brendon back in January. Other highlights were the impromptu post game beers in the car park! In the end we won more games than we lost and finished 5th out of 10 teams.
In the Div 2 semi-finals we had a close win over the 50sixers which set us up for a grand final matchup against a talented Twisters team. The first 10 minutes of the grand final was very evenly matched with teams going basket for basket. From there we locked down defensively on their perimeter shooters to create a number of stops. At the other end of the floor we were shooting efficiently from inside and outside the three point line. In the end we won 59-41, with Jono contributing 20 points and Brendon adding 16 points. At the presentation ceremony Brendon was selected by competition officials as the grand final MVP.
The team will continue into the MARS winter season. Any other club members who are interested in joining the team should contact Mark Powell, as the need for additional players arises from time to time.
Preseason Pub Crawl by Brandon 'Know Yourself' Reynolds
The preseason PAOCBC Pub Crawl is one of the highlights on the calendar and this year did not disappointment. Personally, this was my third crawl in as many years at the club but for a lot of members it was their first, and what an introduction to the club it was. Even though the boys left early as their slowly but surely addiction to gambling develops, they fit right into the ethos of the club. We cannot wait for them to start their season and fully understand what this big family is all about.
Though the primary organiser and one of the leaders of the club Lachie Campbell openly admitted to selecting pubs near his house for his own convenience, both the organisation and quality of the pubs we went to were second to none. For reference, the location of the crawl was conveniently right next to where Mike and Lachie live, if you dispute these locations in the future the 2020 AGM is in early Feb, good luck xx.
We started at the Little Brewing Co in Stepney for some craft beers and some grub. I arrived only to be greeted with a Shane Warne gnome that couldn’t leave my sight until the next member arrived. A rule was also introduced, if I did not drink on one foot, I would have to sink my beer. At this point, I knew this was going to be a very naughty crawl. As we moved towards The Maid, more people started to arrive, and I had noticed that there were a lot of members with the same terrible tattoo as I. To be completely honest, I know how bad the tattoo is, so I almost took comfort knowing that everyone would proudly wear my tattoo, so I wasn’t singled out (this was definitely not true and everyone was taking the absolute piss, but that’s what I like to tell myself).
The beers started to flow, and everyone started to have fun, hell I even joined in and drew my tattoo on others arms. We made it to The Alma and I speak for myself here, but I think most of us were pretty sent by this stage. The peg came out and so did all the people who were overly aware and patting themselves down from head to toe every couple minutes, looking like a bell-end in the process (this was very much me). The few of you who did get caught with the peg did sink your beer so coudos to you, everyone except for Charlie Baker, who ended up sinking one too many and speaking absolute garbage by the end of the night.
After The Alma came Finn Macools. I had mistakenly gone to get to a couple carpark vodka cruisers from Dan Murphy’s beforehand only to be greeted with a PSA from Mike. As many of us know, one of our very treasured members Big A is expecting a baby quite soon, and so for the celebration some of the biggest baby’s in the club were to indulge in two jars of Apple Cinnamon baby food, courtesy of Mike. One went to Jon Self…and you guessed it, one of them went to me. Jon had refused to eat his and at this point I’ve got to say I wasn’t terribly keen either. I did however acknowledge that I did whinge a bit (particularly in my 1st year at the club) and that the baby food was justified. I simply said to myself, “Brandon you’ve got to cop this, don’t be a b*tch”. The drinks kept on going and we made it to the Lost Barrell. This stop was my favourite stop. This was probably because it was one of the few stops where I didn’t cop sh*t, but it was also a time where I was able to get a lot of wisdom and suggestions from the veteran members. I’ve gained a lot of valuable advice from both a life and basketball perspective over my 3 years at the club and it has honestly changed me for the better, and every time I speak to guys who know a lot more than I do, it’s always a humbling experience. By the end of this stop, Charlie had been slurring every second word and had been put on a drinking ban. It was also the last stop for one of PAOCBC’s favourite sons, Ben Palk. Palky is moving into the next phase of his life and making a new start in Melbourne. The time and effort he has put into making the club what it is today is commendable and he should be proud of the legacy he has left behind. Did I mention he’s also the club’s all-time leading scorer? He’s also the club’s all-time leading scorer.
***Palky gets awarded a DIV 5 runners up trophy. Gets a photo. Then throws it with force against the ground. “Palky doesn’t play for runners up!”***
The Bath was the final stop on the crawl, and I was completely sent by this stage. Beers were flowing everywhere, and we found a nice spot outside where the remaining guys and gals settled in and relaxed a bit. I learned Charlie had tried to take a jug of beer from behind the bar and was kicked out, who knows what happened to him afterwards, anyway, moving on. It had been a pretty big day for some of us and it was a pretty nice end to the evening. A small group of us ended up at Mike’s afterward where final beers were consumed and where my crawl came to an end. Safe to say I was destroyed and needed my bed. This was honestly one of the best pub crawls I’ve personally been on and I’m sure a lot of others would say the same. A massive thank you to Lachie, Mike and the rest of the committee team for their help in organising what was an awesome day. I look forward to the oncoming year for the club and wish everyone the best of luck in their teams this year. Go you red men.
Best, Brandon (MVP of the Pub Crawl 2019).
SAABL season launch – May 4th
SACBA season launch – May 4th
Players Player - August 24th
Club Lunch - October 12th