IN YEARS to come, no one will remember who won the game between Dalyston and Garfield at Dalyston on Saturday, May 11, 2019.
But what they will remember is the gesture by the Garfield players to donate their player payments to the Go Fund Me appeal for Lucas Ion and his family.
So far the appeal has raised an incredible $64,000.
Yes, Garfield won the match on an emotion-charged day by two just points and yes, it would have been great if Dalyston could have snatched it.
But, in the end, it wasn’t about the result. The story of the day was the camaraderie between teams, the support Garfield and the rest of the teams in the league showed for Dalyston dealing with the tragedy of the previous weekend when 16-year-old footballer Campbell Ion lost his life on the way to the footy.
Buoyed by a stirring win by the Dalyston Reserves, both Seconds and Seniors, together with netballers lined up in front of the flag, still flying at half-mast from the weekend before. Dalyston club official Frank Angarane said a few words and then it was on with the games.
Earlier, there had been a minute’s silence with teams lined at the half-mast flag prior to each game.
The day commenced with Campbell’s own U16 teammates honouring him again with their brave commitment only to be outclassed by a well-drilled Garfield combination.
Equally the U18s showed great resolve to be contenders up until the last term when they were also overrun by the Stars’ seven-goal surge.
The Daly reserves made it back-to-back wins by less than a kick in an absorbing contest. However, the scoreboard difference was inconsequential as the Garfield boys took the extraordinary step of joining the Magpie team post game in their rooms to link arms and join in the club song.
In the main game, Dalyston fans were anticipating a competitive performance with the inclusions of Daniel Beyer, Corey Wakefield alongside three-time club B&F and premiership player Brad Fisher.
Garfield entered the match without ruckman Corie Intveen but boosted by their win over rivals Nar Nar Goon the previous week.
In a closely contested, low-scoring match, there wasn’t a lot between the teams.
It was eight points the difference at three quarter time but for the first 10 minutes of the last quarter the teams nullified each other, and the ball spent most of the time way out on the boundary in no man’s land or in multi-player scrums.
Finally, in a positive passage of play Ryan Silver got the ball to Brad Fisher and then on to Blake Carew who appeared to have slotted it through from about 35 metres out. The Dalyston boys went up for the goal, but the goal umpire finally signalled a point.
A few minutes later however Dalyston was deep in attack when Brad Fisher was ploughed into the ground, earning a free. He kicked a goal still with 10 minutes to go and Dalyston trailing by a measly two points.
But the fairy tale finish was not to be.
Garfield was definitely slowing down the play, kicking sideways and milking the clock as is their right and ultimately time ebbed away without any realistic chances for Dalyston to goal except in the last few moments when they were deep into attack but kept at bay by the determined star’s defence.
At the end of the day though, it wasn’t really about winning or losing.
Garfield gesture wins the day at Dalyston