Match report by Alan Clark
MELBOURNE 6 January 2002 - DESPITE EDO'S RECORD-BREAKING winning run coming to an end last night, narrowly going down to high-flying Va Stu Catsu 1-5, EDO's march into Finals action was unimpeded.
"We were sure we'd missed out on playing in the Finals this year, so it was a nice surprise when we were told we were still in," said EDO supremo Graham Loosmore to a packed after-match media conference. "Our players, supporters, and corporate backers had all planned on departing on our end of season trip straight away, but we've hastily rearranged things," he said.
"We're elated to still be in the comp, and have consoled ourselves that despite our much-awaited end of season trip having been delayed, we'll still be able to enjoy the facilities of our resort in Bacchus Marsh after the Finals."
Following a mention on a football television program on Monday night, organisers at the venue had prepared for a big crowd, and arranged the seating accordingly.
But the attendance remained at normal levels. "When we'd heard that EDO had been mentioned on the high-rating Channel 31 "Sexy Football" program, we thought that would bring them out," said an Albert Park spokesperson. "We were puzzled why it was that the mention didn't bring the people here, until we realised that the program won't be broadcast until 9:00pm on Thursday night."
Playmaker Paul Holland, returning to the starting five after missing his connection from Adelaide last game, was delighted to be back in action, and scored all of EDO's goals in the match. "The ball came over to me and - whack! - I hit it, and it went into the net," he said describing the best of them.
Luis Rojas was unavailable this week after suffering an ankle injury fulfilling domestic duties. "If that Leeds bloke can do his knee watching television, I don't see what's so remarkable about me doing it mowing the lawns," he said from his hospital bed after following the game on the internet. "But I'll be getting into the hyperbarbaric chamber to make sure I'm fit for next week, and I've told my missus I'm not doing the lawnmowing again during the season - it's just not worth it."
Rico donned the gloves again, and more than held his own during the game.
"I know I'll be a better keeper once I stop holding my own during a game, but it can be quite scary out there," he said.
Matt Curtis put some sparkling footwork into effect, twisting and turning to bedazzle Va Stu Catsu. "I've been working on it for a few weeks now," he said. "Shortly, I hope to be able to do it with the ball."
Wes Black retained his position after his sparkling return to EDO following his overseas adventure, and brought his international experience to the contest.
"Over there, it's more a 1-2-2 formation with an overlapping central twist and a three-line hook delayed, with often a deep-lying right-sided cross-over impact reverse every fourth or fifth possession if the opposition is in a W-phase possession power-play rotation," he said. "But equally, I find it useful just to hit the ball when it comes near."
Defensive hack Alan Clark was delighted to be involved in Finals action, but was disappointed at the end to EDO's winning run. "It was a game of two halves," he said. "Unfortunately, we lost them both."
Played at University High gymnasium, Tuesday 5 February 2002, 7:20pm.
Line-up: Rico, Loosmore, W. Black, Holland, Curtis, Clark.
EDO 1776 FC: 1 (Holland)
Va Stu Catsu: 5
Conditions: Dry, still.