This Sunday 29th July will see the Herston Hatchets take on Griffith Med in a friendly at UQ field 9 – 12pm. Before this highly anticipated game read up on the winning ways of the Hatchets below
This isn’t the world cup. This isn’t EPL. This isn’t even diamond league. This is South East Queensland Football. This is the league where the rules are written in sand and the referees are trained by the UFC. This is the league where slide tackling is illegal – unless it’s a really good one. In this league, it’s destroy or be destroyed, and this is what the Hatchets do.
Friday night, 20th July, saw the second round of the SEQ Football top teams round-robin continue with the Herston Hatchets facing off against the Brisbane Youth FC: a team that drew with the Hatchets in the first round of the year after coming back 3-0 to tie 3-3. Only this time the Hatchets knew the stakes.
On a large green oval in Logan, with camerawoman Tammy Do standing by, a strong, winning Hatchets side took to the pitch. With expectations high after their 5-2 win the week before, the referee blew the whistle for time on.
Brisbane Youth FC are brilliant on paper. A young, fast, highly skilled team, they fell into the common trap that good teams make against Herston. Aiming for control of the ball in the back line, Youth FC began the game playing a high possession football while trying to find long balls past the Herston back line.
Immediately Herston responded by compacting their 10 men around the half-way line, providing no avenues for attacks from Youth and beating them to the ball in the air. On top of this, Herston looked dangerous early – launching counter-attack after counter-attack off the failed long balls. The Med XI looked promising.
With inspiring fitness, Sam Grace for the Hatchets dominated the right side of the pitch – winning the ball repeatedly off multiple Youth midfielders – and pushed ball after ball to forwards Dan Edey and Josh Baker. This dominance was not fruitful for the first 20 minutes, highlighted by a penalty denial after Moonraj Singh was fouled in the opposition box.
However, Singh would have his revenge. With the titular Josh Baker moving forward with the ball he found Singh in line with the Youth defence line. A perfect pass cutting the back line would find Moonie meeting with the ball inside the opposition 22, with the keeper being caught in no-man’s land. Clinical, focused, fit, wealthy and healthful, Moonie made no mistakes. A gentle nudge to the bottom right beat the keeper and put the Hatchets up at 20 minutes. 1-0.
The second breakthrough came when Edey was ‘fouled’ 40 yards from the opposition goal on an attempted breakthrough. Kenny Hunt, who had a blistering game placing free-kicks and crosses onto the penalty spot without fail, pushed the ball to the far side of the box, clearing defender’s and attackers’ heads. Fortunately for the Hatchets, Austin happened to be ordering an Uber while standing at the far side of the box. Being hit clean in the head, the ball deflected into the goals and put the Hatchets up 2-0.
Watching this fluke occur from the bench, it wouldn’t be long before Darius Kay was substituted on the pitch to display some actual talent. Being brought in after this foul, Darius dominated quickly, stealing the ball from the defence and quickly distributing like a carjacker at Sunnybank. Just 5 minutes after coming on, at the 25-minute mark, Darius would score. A deflection off a Hatchet’s corner bounced up at the edge of the 22 yard-line to a height of about two metres. Being the human giant, Darius managed to swing his gargantuan lower limb approximately three miles before striking the ball at waist height – a perfect volley into the far-left corner of the goal. 3-0.
Celebrations from this third goal died quickly as the ball was restarted.
“Get me off the pitch guys! I gotta go!” yelled Moonie, running for the sideline.
A Brisbane Youth player was on the ground. He was not well. No one saw exactly what had happened but Moonie, as if acting out of instinct, began running towards Tasmania before being pulled back by player manager Tej Sidhu. The referee stood – stunned, confused, a little more unsure about how his life had lead him to this moment given that just moments earlier he was greatly enjoying his Chicken Chow Mein at a local restaurant – with a yellow card raised overhead. It was thus that he blew the half time whistle, three-nil to the Herston Hatchets
Moonie still will not talk about what had happened in that contact. It was the first of many in this game however. After a ten-minute solstice with the endearing support of their girlfriends – who were watching on with love, expectations and, mostly, boredom – the players returned to the pitch.
It would then be twenty-minutes of standard ticky-tack play, with the Hatchets refusing to relent a goal and Youth FC scrapping desperately to get field position without success. That’s when it started.
Austin Jabbour was the first target. With a cracking noise and a yelp, Austin was brought to the ground clutching at his ankle. Confused and enraged, a nearby Youth FC player appealed to the referee.
“I didn’t do anything sir!! He’s just weak sir I didn’t touch him!” He said. It was the first of the unknown assailant’s attacks.
Just moments later he struck again. In a rabble of a contest Hatchet’s resident dad Matthew Youssef was brought down clutching at his leg. Again, a nearby player was blamed, however this time the player responded to the perplexed referee with a middle finger. It was the first red card of the game.
The next target would be a Youth FC player. Contesting for the ball Hatchet’s number 6 Moonie ran headlong into an opposition player, clearing the ball in the process. Unacceptable. The opposition player had clearly been struck from another direction and was incapacitated. It would be Singh’s second yellow for the game – red card two.
By this point the game was all but over. Casualties were piling up; actual soccer was diminishing and swears in a multitude of languages were surfacing. The team’s psych and tactician Bjorne took the opportunity with both hands. Finding an opposition player who had already been awarded a yellow card, he entered a contest with the player before having a tactical cramp. By now the referee was done. He awarded everyone on the field a red card.
Fortunately, the referee was reminded by another official that this is generally considered unsporting and so he simply awarded a red to the Youth FC player who had breathed on Bjorne. Three red cards.
With just two minutes remaining the match was in shambles. There were 19 players on the pitch, an unknown assailant attacking ankles and more cards than a cheap Vegas casino. It would be the perfect opportunity for the Hatchet’s piranha Jason Zouki to strike. Completely out of position, Zouki somehow obtained the ball in a one-on-one position with the opposition keeper.
“Hey what position am I playing? Am I striker? Hey which way are we going?” asked Zouki. Clearly lost, Zouki assumedly thought it would be best to pass the ball to the goal keeper. Only the goal keeper wasn’t his own and was obviously not paying attention. With a dynamite goal that took everyone by surprise, Zouki put the Hatchets to 4-0. With this, the final whistle blew and the Hatchets secured their spot at the top of the ladder.