Under 17 Div 2, Round 2

Canada Bay Cannons v Penshurst

Anzac Day match
25 April 2021

Anzac Day is a significant day with significant meaning. Created to commemorate the 1915 Gallipoli landing, where young men fought hard against the odds, the Anzac spirit has become synonymous with courage, mateship, and never giving up.

On Anzac Day 2021 the Cannons 17/2s travelled far from home to the aptly named Old’s Park to take on Penshurst. The one-minute silence before the game provided an opportunity for the boys to reflect on the sacrifice of our Anzacs.

Perhaps they also were thinking about the daunting task ahead of them on the footy field. Many of the 19 young Cannons are yet to turn 16, but there was no fear in their eyes as they stared down a stronger and more experienced looking opposition.

The young Cannons were under immediate pressure as the well drilled Panthers opened fire on the Cannons goals. Drawing first blood in the very dawn of the game the relentless Panthers reset with another brutal attacking wave allowing them to go “two up” as the Cannons tried to regroup and reassess. The Cannons defence was under constant fire with the machine gun like spray posting 3 goals 3 before the quarter time siren signalled a merciful, albeit temporary, ceasefire.

Coach Mala marshalled his charges. He looked them in the eye and asked for courage and commitment. He spoke calmly asking them to play with intent and to show unquestionable effort. Most importantly he asked them to work together and protect each other.

From here the Cannons regrouped and tried to fight the game on their terms. The defenders dug in, the midfielders ran with intent across the open spaces, and the forwards tried desperately to hit targets. Despite their most heroic efforts, the Cannons were faced with an insurmountable challenge. They were fighting a battle they could not win, and the Panthers were deserving and convincing victors. The final score?  Best we forget!

Although defeated, there were winners around the ground. Despite being outsized and outnumbered Stewy and Broady were courageous and committed. Tommo’s fearless attack on the footy was commendable as was Andrew’s persistence and endurance. Max’s second and third efforts were inspiring, and Riggers battled tirelessly all day with extra efforts to shepherd and protect his mates. Perhaps though it was Damo, who gave everything, repeatedly got up after getting hit, and demonstrated a true “never surrender” attitude.

History will record the game as a heavy loss, but Coach Mala urged his troops to see the game as a turning point. A battle hardening that will help the young team to grow, develop and bond together. A defining and significant first step taken on this important and significant day.


  • Stephen Grech

Under 17s last hurrah v Pennant Hills, Sept 11

Canada Bay Cannons v Pennant Hills

Nothing was going to stop these lads playing their last game for the Cannons.

Dodgy ankles, tweaked hamstrings, broken fingers. Pain was no barrier when it came to properly putting an end to an era.

After starting his footy with the Drummoyne under 6s, Cam was determined to finish off his junior career on the field. So, with a couple of rolls of tape wrapped around his ankle, the co-captain sprinted on to St Luke’s and played his typical physical game, including an obligatory impossible shot for goal from the boundary. He limped off.

Louis joined the Cannons in the under 12s and, after ruling himself out with a hamstring strain on Thursday, ruled himself back in on Friday to close this chapter of a stellar career with two typically team lifting goals. In fact, our only goals for the night.

And, even in his first season with the Cannons, Jordan understood the significance of the occasion and also ruled himself back in hours before the bounce, borrowing what tape was left after Cam was finished with it to protect his busted fingers.

That was the sort of spirit that drove the Cannons this year. And it was that sort of heart that took it up to Pennant Hills on Friday, especially in the second half.

Or perhaps it just was the prospect of playing under coach Harry.

But there were also some fully fit lads who bade farewell to the Cannons last Friday night. Wriggles has come all the way from the Drummoyne under 7s and his 162nd game on Friday would have been among his best as he used his pace and balance to repeatedly outwit Penno.

It was nice to see the boys’ under 7s coach Nick Angelos there on Friday night to bookend their careers.

“I saw their first game, so thought I’d come and watch their last,” Nick said.

And he was very generous in his praise when asked if they’d improved.

“At least they can kick over the man on the mark now,” he enthused.

Anton and Pat have been with us since the under 9s and have both racked up a century of quality games, including plenty this year, and Friday was no exception.

Sadly, we lost the Buck to injury mid-season and sorely missed the reliable rock solid defence he developed in his 84 games since his debut for the Concord under 11s.

Matt and Jake rejoined us this year after a few years out and both made significant contributions all season.

In only his second season of footy, Jacko’s leadership shone so brightly, he was named captain and he again led fearlessly on Friday night, throwing himself into the contest and occasionally a teammate’s knee.

Our newbies were wonderful assets in their one and only seasons with the Cannons, Liam and Ellis have taken to the game like naturals and finished off as they’ve played all year – physical, tough, skilful and crucial cogs in leading the non-stop effort against Pennant Hills. And a couple of cameo appearances from Luca late in the season left us wondering how good he would have been with a full season behind him.

We needed that non-stop effort from everyone on Friday as the interchange gate became an interchange turnstile with each injury. Regardless of the physical toll, we kept them goalless and quiet in the third quarter and had a spirited bunch of wounded warriors finish off the game.

It was probably an appropriate way to end the weird season 2020 – ins and outs during the week kept us guessing, plenty of injuries on the night and a gutsy display from a bunch of good mates and good humans.

  • Paul Mulvey

U17 Div 3 Mongrel Ducks v Miranda, Round 5, Aug 16


The Ducks came oh so close to pulling off one of the great comebacks in footy history with a blistering last quarter against Miranda only to fall one kick short of a thrilling victory.

Trailing by six goals at three quarter time but with a strong breeze at their back in the final term, the Ducks kept Miranda scoreless while piling on goal after goal to bridge the gap and bring victory within sight.

With more than half the team playing their second game for the weekend – Will’s third including his soccer match that morning – the Ducks came flying home. 

Still sore after rucking all night on Friday in Div 2, Liam found his touch in the final quarter and every goal started from either his dominance in the middle, Fin’s rebounding off halfback or Tommo’s and Matt’s brutal tackling.

The surge started immediately after the first bounce of the quarter when Matt attacked the footy and sent it to George who kicked the first of his four goals for the term.

A Tommo and Liam gang tackle earned us a rare free kick and Liam sent the ball long for Brayden to take a strong pack mark.

He set it up for George to mark 20 metres out directly in front of goal and we had already ticked off two of our target of six goals for the term.

Liam won the ensuing bounce, Tommo earned a free kick for going in hard and Cam swooped on the advantage loose ball, ran with it and all of a sudden we had kicked three goals in six minutes to cut a 35 point deficit to 17 points. Three goals needed with 10 minutes left. Game on.

Our momentum was irresistible but we still had to wait a few more minutes for George’s next goal which was set up by Fin’s second and third efforts to keep repelling Miranda’s attacks and eventually get the ball back in our forward line. Two goals to go.

Miranda saw the urgency at hand and picked up their effort and made us fight hard for the next goal when Duck after Duck after Duck in the forward line tackled, smothered and kept the pressure on until the ball spilled loose for George to snap truly.

Five points down with five minutes to go and a thrilling finale was in store.

The nervous crowd rode every bump and swayed with every bounce as the ball rebounded between our forward line and halfback line with a gritty Miranda defence holding us out.

New recruit Luca came close to a miracle debut, but a cruel bounce took the ball over the boundary line as he prepared to swoop in the forward pocket and another chance was dashed.

With seconds left, the moment looked like it had come when the ball spilled loose from a tough contest on the forward flank and Cam marked in front of goal, but the eagle-eyed umpire had spotted a Miranda free kick and called the ball back.

Miranda took the free and their time, kicked long into their forward line and just as we rebounded, the siren blew to put an end to a very gutsy Ducks effort.

While they played brilliant footy in the final quarter and showed plenty of heart, the match also showed that every minute of every quarter counts. A four quarter effort is always better than needing a great comeback in the last.

Thanks to all the boys who doubled up on the weekend – Brayden, Jake, Will, Liam, Tommo, Matt, Fin, Cam and Tom.



MIRANDA 7.7.49


  • Match report by Paul Mulvey





U17 Div 2 v Easts, Round 5, Aug 14


One slog in the slop is good fun, two is a bit annoying. But three in four weeks is a little too much like Melbourne.

The only rain to fall last weekend just happened to be in the few hours while we were playing footy on Friday night. Despite three wet home games in a row we still can’t quite class ourselves as wet weather specialists, going down on Friday to a pretty good Easts side. The post-match pizzas were good, though.

So, too, were quite a few Cannons’ efforts on the night. Alex was exceptional with his clean hands on a dirty night and tried his guts out to keep us in the contest and showed his versatility down back, while Liam rucked unchanged all night against a couple of experienced ruckmen.

Louis continued his great season and Ellis and Cam were hard at the footy all night.

Louis deserved more than a point from his shot at goal in the first quarter after starting a lovely passage of play from the half back line which went down the outer wing through Brayden, Pat and Will. He finished what he started as he followed up to take a strong mark from Will’s pass but his shot with a wet footy just slid to the left of the post.

Matt had better fortune in the second quarter with a mighty long range goal on the run after good, and typically robust, lead up work by Tom R.

Tom’s many touches proved very popular with the socially distanced crowd – whenever he and Brayden went near the footy, the small but vocal Concord High cheer squad on the members’ wing gave plenty of voice, while a wet and unruly mob in the outer let us know Liam was having a good night. 

Buck and Tank sounds like a cartoon duo but is actually a very solid combination on the last line of defence, Buck with his clever reading of the play and Tank with his ferocious attack on the footy. Add Andrew and Jake taking intercept marks and you have a pretty strong backline. 

The intent on the night was good and the boys had a go but were just outclassed in the wet by a skilful Easts.

Our two wins (we were leading when the Kellyville game was stopped, so we’ll take that) were both in the sun, so let’s pray for good weather this weekend.


  • Match report by Paul Mulvey


U17s Div 2 Round 3 v Kellyville

The trip took longer than the game. But at least all those L platers clocked up a few hours.

An awful leg injury to the poor Kellyville lad just before halftime put an end to what was shaping as a terrific contest.

We might have been two points up at the time but we’d let a three goal lead slip as Kellyville lifted their intensity in the second quarter to put the game back on level terms.

Our first quarter though was a potent blend of tough defence and free flowing running footy.

Time and again, the desperate defence led by Mala, Buck and Jacko held Kellyville out and then launched our attacks. 

Paddy was a creative link between defence and attack and won the footy in the clinches as well as outside, while Ellis and Wriggles ran hard through the middle.

We finally broke open the tight contest when Tom uncovered his new Irish manoeuvre as he baffled the opposition, his teammates and even himself when he cunningly faced the wrong way after marking a Kellyville kick in.

With the opposition players all looking in the wrong direction, he quickly pirouetted and lined up for a straight as an arrow booming drop punt to kick the opening goal of the day.

He followed up with a couple of great contests and combined nicely with Manfred who did well in his first game up in Div 2, leading, marking and kicking long.

We started to get well on top and Paddy pulled out his best Dusty fend before his clever kick off the outside of his boot put us two goals up.

That lead quickly became three goals when a Liam handball found Jacko bursting through the middle and the footy ended up with Pat C for a simple shot in the goal square.

Kellyville narrowed the gap late in the first quarter and were close to another goal but were again thwarted by the Cannons defence, this time by repeat efforts from Andrew and Tank.

But they took that momentum into the second quarter and beat us to the footy to kick a couple of goals, while we had several near misses.

With the margin down to a few points, the game was developing into a tight back and forth contest which could have gone either way.

Sadly, the injury struck and a lengthy wait for an ambulance forced us to leave it at that.


CANADA BAY 3.5.23 Goals: Tom, Paddy, Pat



U17s Div 2 Rd 2 v Willoughby/Mosman

Sunshine’s overrated.

Only a waterlogged hard slog in teaming rain, bottomless puddles and a descending gloom can produce a gripping game like that. 

Footy’s a winter sport and every now and then in Sydney we actually get to play in wintry conditions. And they produce, not pretty, but gutsy footy with everybody throwing their bodies into the contest and through the St Luke’s slosh.

It’s easy in those conditions to lose interest but no-one from either side did in an enthralling game that ebbed and flowed with the torrential rain until Willoughby kicked away with some lucky late goals in the dark for a 12 point win.

Mala returned with a bad haircut but great attitude and showed the way from defence as he attacked the footy, putting his head over the ball and into the puddles. 

Covered in mud from the first bounce, Louis and Liam gave us the early edge while Paddy was in and under. Our dominance, however, wasn’t converted on the scoreboard and, after we hit the post and a certain goal to Cam was touched on the line, Willoughby kicked a goal against the run of play to take a lead they never gave up.

But there was never much in it  – Wriggles kicked our opening goal while landing on his backside and Pat converted after good lead up work by Liam and Ellis to keep us in the contest.

And when Jordan slid the first goal of his career home from 50m out early in the third quarter, we were back within three points.

The intensity lifted and we regained the momentum as Jacko and Jake were hard at the footy and Liam kept working in conditions not suited to big men.

But, again, a Willoughby goal against the run of play deflated our hard work and as the rain pelted down and it became harder to see across the field, they got their bodies in front at the contest and skipped away to another handy lead at three quarter time.

With a couple of car headlights and the bright lights of the scoreboard showing the way in the final quarter, we kept slogging away but couldn’t quite match Willoughby’s endeavour despite late goals to Louis and Cam.

Many thanks to our soaked volunteers, especially goal umpire Peter, whose misery of standing in the torrential rain was compounded by his iphone showing him Collingwood getting smacked by West Coast.

Boundary umpire Matt, however, had a far better way of easing his drenched discomfort, with his trusty and well stocked esky sitting on the boundary line waiting for him after the final siren.

CANADA BAY  5.7.37 Goals: Wriggles, Pat, Jordan, Louis, Cam.




u17s Round One v Moore Park, Bat and Ball Oval

It was worth waiting six months for.

Not just a great win, but seeing the boys look after each other and respond when challenged.

And watching new players make such an impression in their first game.

Welcome to footy Liam, Ellis and Jordan.

From the first ruck contest when Liam followed up his own knock and dished it off to Ellis who dashed through the middle, to Jordan’s defensive work, it was clear we had found some lads who would fit in perfectly.

Liam’s dominance in the ruck and Ellis’ dash set us up with several early chances and while we gave up the first goal to Moore Park, we quickly claimed the momentum.

As it was throughout the game, the senior players stood up and got us back in the contest, captain Jacko combining with his deputy Cam and Louis to claim control.

And when it occasionally became feisty, everyone was in to back each other up.

We finally took the lead when Alex converted from a contested mark late in the first quarter and we were never headed again.

We opened brightly in the second term with Paddy’s second and third efforts setting up the second of Alex’s five goals, while Liam and Ellis continued to combine and then Wriggles set the game alight with his blistering pace.

He’d beat defenders with sheer speed but still had enough control to deliver the ball sweetly and set up a couple of third quarter goals for Louis on his raking left foot.

Buck was strong at the back, repeatedly taking intercept marks.

As they always do, Moore Park kept going and after seemingly being in complete control at two goals up, we were only two points ahead at three quarter time.
So we again called on the leaders to lead. And they did.

With no-one on the bench and with a couple of players carrying injuries, there was a danger we could be overrun on a warm day, but the lads showed plenty of character in a high scoring final quarter.

Jacko and Cam were strong in tight and put us on top after the break.

When Louis lined up for a set shot from the wrong boundary for a left footer, Mala on the bench spotted Alex lurking in the shadows and predicted his next move. Steve Johnson would have been proud as Alex demanded the handball off Louis and then delivered as he curled in the goal from wide out to give us some breathing space early in the final term.

His fifth shortly after extended what appeared to be a match winning lead until Moore Park rallied yet again. Anton kicked a much needed settler and then Paddy twisted and turned and kicked a goal over his shoulder to seal the 12 point win.

The boys have built a good bond over their resumed pre-season Sunday sessions and that spirit was obvious during and after the game and augurs well for a positive season.

CANADA BAY 9.7.61 Goals: Alex 5, Louis 2, Anton, Paddy

Round One – u17s Div 3 Mongrel Ducks v Pittwater

A new team takes the field

The Mongrel Ducks stepped into the unknown at Jubilee Oval on Sunday and ended their day knowing that this joint venture will be a success.

Eight Canada Bay boys teamed up with eight from Glebe/Newtown and under the excellent guidance of coaches Matt and Jack, they gelled together instantly, shared the footy with each other and even reunited with old primary school friends.

And they showed a lot of heart. With no-one on the bench against a fully stocked Pittwater outfit, they went into the final term only a couple of goals down but ran out of legs to lose by close to five goals.

The scoreboard was no reflection on their effort and, with more time together, they’ll only get better.

Matt says he was very impressed with the boys’ attitude and ability to work together so quickly.

Manfred will go down in trivia quizzes as the Ducks’ first goalkicker for 2020 when he played as a speedy lead up target in the first half. But he was a lot more than that, going into the ruck in the second half and holding his own against some much bigger opponents. “Manfred showed exceptional leadership, with multiple efforts at the contest,” Matt said.

Will put his hand up to start in the ruck and despite his lack of experience there, won plenty of hitouts against three opponents and then crumbed an excellent goal when shifted forward in the second half.

Matt described Tommo as a “very useful rover who went in for the hard ball in the contest. Excellent option and use of the football under pressure and around the ground. Went forward when needed a breather and remained effective in applying forward pressure.”

Fin worked his way into the game in the second half and took multiple intercept marks, including a typically brave effort going back with the flight of the ball, while his tackling was also rewarded with free kicks. “Fin used the football well and stood up when needed most,” Matt said.
Brayden read the play well on the half back line with a couple of intercept marks and a solid kick to targets down the line, while Matt was impressed with first gamers Luis and Nick.

“Luis found great position throughout the game taking marks when the ball came to him and then kicking to a good spot. And Nick was handy as an outside runner on the wing and off the back flank. Worked well in the back pocket beating his man or applying pressure.”

Another first gamer, Tom Ryan, made an instant impact with his speed, physicality and massive boot. “Thomas has blistering speed which he used to his advantage to get to the contest first,” Matt said. “Very physically imposing on the opposition and make a great effort. Switched the midfield to give others a break, Thomas’ physical presence helped create more stoppages.”

So it was a really encouraging effort first up and if the boys keep at it, they’ll have a good season. Thanks to our friends from Glebe for managing the team and ensuring all went smoothly.


Looking after our juniors

You know we’re in safe hands as a footy code when you have a story like this to pass on about the generosity of our young coaches and his players.

Shout out to Coach Lachie Bennetts from the Canada Bay Cannons U17 team, who has also put up his hand to coach the U17 Representative team this year.

For those that don’t know Lachie, he is a young guy who played as a junior with Drummoyne Power, graduating to senior footy in 2014. He’s played with both Balmain Tigers and Sydney University and has coached for the Cannons for the past few years.

Trials for the U17 rep team were held recently at St Luke’s – at the same time as the regular U11 training session for our junior Club, Concord Giants.

The U17 boys taking part in the trial – some of them Cannons but many from other City clubs – dedicated some of their session to one-on-one skills training with the U11 Giants kids, followed by a short scratch match.

Lachie and squad, you’ll never know how much it meant to those kids! Many of them are new to AFL, and they’ve had a pretty rough start to the season – they’ve got giant hearts and give it their all, but have yet to record a win.

You really lifted their spirits and showed them what to aim for… thanks guys!

AFL veteran Craig Lambert joins Cannons coaching group

What an investment of talent in junior AFL coaching! The Canada Bay Cannons is excited to announce the appointment of Richmond and Brisbane Lions veteran Craig Lambert to the coaching group at the Club.

Lambert, who has joined the U17 coaching team, will be working closely with former on-field opponent Tony Malakellis, who is the coach of the Cannons U15s.

Lambert played 123 games for Richmond between 1988 and 1993 when he went to the Brisbane Bears (49 games) and Brisbane Lions (47 games).

Lambert won the Jack Dyer Medal for Richmond’s Best and Fairest in 1991 and the Bears’ Best and Fairest in 1994. He was named in the All Australian team in 1996. A tough, brave player, he was known for his pinpoint handballing, even under immense pressure from opponents, constantly providing opportunities for teammates.

Malakellis recalls first coming across Lambert on the footy field when the pair were both playing U19s. Lambert was playing for the Tigers, while Malakellis was with Geelong. Malakellis went on to play 14 games for Geelong in the AFL, before moving to the Sydney Swans for a season. He moved to South Australia in 1994 and played 70 games for Port Adelaide, which included back to back premierships in 1994 and 1995. In 1994, he was runner up in South Australia’s Magarey Medal.

Malakellis has coached youth footy with Canada Bay Cannons for the past four years and was previously involved in coaching with one of the Cannons’ junior clubs, Concord Giants.

Before moving to Brisbane, Lambert had three sons associated with either the Cannons or Drummoyne Power, the other Cannons’ junior club. He assisted with coaching duties for the premiership winning U17 side in 2015. His youngest son, Bodey, will play in the U17 side this year.

Cannons Coaching Coordinator Mike Andrews said Lambert will be backed by Lachlan Bennetts-Inkster – a young coach who has come up through the ranks of the junior club – and fitness expert at the Cannons, Matt Parker. The U17 squad will work in close collaboration with Malakallis and his U15 team.

Andrews said the Cannons recognised the importance of quality coaching to on-field performance and player retention and recruitment. Last year, the Cannons took part in an innovative coach mentorship program with the GWS Giants.

“Our Coach the Coach program with GWS, which will continue this year, is a truly unique program that allows our coaches to be trained in coaching techniques by the best in the business.

“We believe that by developing strong ties with GWS Giants and exposing our coaches to coach mentoring at this level, it can’t help but filter through to the on-field performance of the boys and girls who play AFL with the Canada Bay Cannons.

“We’re really excited to welcome Craig and his family back to the fold at the Canada Bay Cannons.

“We are looking to take our quality of coaching to the next level, believing this will impact on the players’ skill and enjoyment of the game,” Andrews said.