By Dan Edey
Last weekend brought the annual Queensland Medical School Tournament (QMST), a prestigious event held each year at the luscious grounds situated next to the student marina at Bond University at the Gold Coast. This year brought a strong showing from both Griffith University med school and Bond, with both schools arriving strong, fit and ready to fight for this very impressive title of ‘best medical school soccer team in Queensland’. Wanting to keep their line-ups a secret, neither team had attended the catered function hosted by the Herston Hatchets at Q1 apartments the night before. This meant the boys from UQ had extra libations with which to carb load in preparation for the long day ahead and they were sure to hydrate with gusto.
The morning started slow for the Herston Hatchets outfit, after some quality logistics by the organisers saw the UQ team having a bye for the first game of the day. Utility player Michael Gibney and goalkeeper Alex Graves roused the team early for their second serve of sauerkraut over the weekend. Winger Adam’s attempt to protest this strange pre-game ritual was quashed after being told “Sauerkraut before a game will make you play better”. After the ever-superstitious Hatchets players finished with their morning rituals they arrived at the beautiful Bond University fields where Griffith med and Bond med were battling out the first match of the game.
Hatchet’s manager, Simon Bennet, refereed the first meeting of the day, a hard fought battle between these two hot-contenders for the Queensland medical soccer title. The end of the first half saw the match at a nil-all tie, however with Mr. Bennet deciding Bond may have been the weaker team, he allowed them to score 3 quick goals in the second half to ensure the Hatchets would face them in the final. The first match of the day had been decided, 3-0 to Bond over Griffith.
As the sun rose slowly behind a threatening cloud front gliding over Surfers Paradise on that fateful Sunday, the Hatchets men, clad in matching and very spiffy red war-attire, manned the field to perform the second-last warm up of their very successful 2016. Having gotten their blood-alcohol levels to reasonable levels, the men from UQ med looked poised for a big performance at the tournament and they did not fail to deliver.
The Hatchets were to face off against Bond first and having just played a hard match, Bond faltered early. Within the first 3 minutes a determined shot by Adam Irelandes from 18 yards bounced off the keeper, only to be surprisingly slotted into the corner by defender and total-football enthusiast, Sir Jors Plugge. The impressive vision and positioning by the Hatchets defender was a surprise to all the players on the field, most of all the Bond striker who was until that very moment being sledged by the Dutch Hatchets regular. Plugge tried his luck again on the next Hatchets corner, when his header was deflected back into the box, only to be put into the net by a well-composed Rockie Kang. Going into the second half the Hatchets were looking in control and, running into the strong south-easterly winds, Bond were unable to put together any form of a comeback. Hatchets highlighted why they conceded the lowest number of goals during the official season with their tight defence, exemplified by the strong performance of Tom Knowlman who I must say looked fabulous in his 2017-summer collection salmon soccer shorts, which are now available to buy from the http://www.herstonhatchets.com official club shop for only $29.95 a pair. Not to be defeated by injury, striker Nick Rigby showed he was still fit even with only half a hamstring and slotted a left-footer past the keeper with 10 minutes to go, stopping to stretch in celebration. After this final goal, the Hatchets closed out the first game over Bond, 3-0.
After a ten-minute break the third game of the day was to take place. With the sun sitting high in the sky, the Hatchets faced off against a determined Griffith. Griffith went hard early, only just being held out by the experienced Hatchets defence. The game was held to a tie until late in the first half, when the Hatchets star and newly-inducted drinks captain Michael Gibney decided it was time to score, ‘nutmegged’ two Griffith defenders and put a left-footer in to the top-left corner, bringing the first half to a close one-nil. Not to be underestimated, the drinks captain started the second half strong, taking a total of 15 shots from a cumulative distance of 8 miles out from goal. It wasn’t until a nifty through ball from Hatchets midfielder Justin Chow, that Gibney was able to get in close range of the goal and slot a second one away for himself and the Herston Hatchets. After this impressive individual performance, the Griffith players became desperate. A slew of bad tackles on the edge of their own box resulted in Hatchets All-American midfielder Logan Rosenberg being fouled enough times at once for a free kick to be given, 20 yards from goal. Given his good form, Gibney stepped up to the box to try out his left-foot. Due to poor screening, Gibney’s shot deflected off the crossbar, however Logan was position to meet the rebound and put a volley straight past a very confused Griffith keeper. This would be the final nail in the coffin for Griffith and the Hatchets had won their second game, again 3-0.
With the winless Griffith University heading home defeated, a final was to be fought out between Bond University and Herston Hatchets. As both teams were given an hour to prepare, the Hatchets men got in a quick meal and discussed strategy. Ten minutes before the scheduled start time for the final a team arrived claiming they were the Bond med team, despite only having one player from the original 11. Nonplussed, the Hatchets agreed to Bonds change to the rules, who had simply stated “keep it above the belt”, and the final started.
The first half of the final was scrappy, as the Hatchets were tired after the previous two games and the Bond team was just meeting for the first time. Fortunately for Jack Gilpin, a drone was filming him in super-close up as Nick Rigby slotted a cross into the box and Jack put it away neatly, putting the Hatchets at 1-0 until half time. We are awaiting the drone footage for Mr. Gilpin. Manager and Captain for the day, Simon Bennet, had a few words to say at half time, most along the lines of “do we really need to play a second half?” and “I should not have had that fifth fuzzy navel last night”.
Obviously the new Bond captain had more aggressive words with his team, as Bond came out swinging in the second half. Taking full liberty of the slide-tackle rules, Bond shut down the Hatchets offense and made several good attacks, culminating in several shots on target in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Taking the aggression on fatigued legs, the Hatchets started to come a little undone. Though with resilience earnt through experience the Hatchets kept Bond out and started making some touches on the ball. A perfectly executed foot-stomp against Rockie Kang (claimed to be a ‘professional foul’ by the retired UFC fighter that subbed on for Bond) gave Herston a free kick that resulted in Gibney receiving the ball behind Bonds defensive line. Rather than taking the one-on-one shot inside the box, Hatchets German ambassador, Michael Gibney, cleverly chose to be slide tackled in the back directly in front of the goal, giving the Hatchets a one-on-one penalty. Having a 100% penalty kick record, manager, coach, captain and MVP Simon Bennet (Editor’s note: you can stop sucking up now Dan, the season’s over) deposited the ball in the back of the net in a clinical matter, assuring a 2-0 lead for UQ. This all but wrapped up the game for the Hatchets, with the team locking down their defence until the final whistle, taking back the Queensland Medical School Tournament trophy from Bond with several dominating performances.
A post-game interview with long-time Hatchets fan and first-time Hatchets player Dan Edey was apt, “We had good logistics this weekend and with some quality screening by the boys, the win was inevitable.” The Herston Hatchets are now in heavy training looking forward to the Brisbane Hospital Tournament on 30 October, where they will look to do some irreversible damage to their professional reputations by humiliating some of Brisbane’s most eminent doctors.
Dan Edey and the boys will be looking to nab a second helping of sauerkrat this Saturday night at the 2016 Presentation Night. Tickets are still available (no, really).