MHS Open Boy's Football Team, 2013




2013 has been a very successful year for the MHS Opens Boy's Football team. Despite fielding a very youthful side in the opens competition, our boys moved further through the knockout draw than our school teams have for many years.

After Casino High's forfeit, our MHS boys moved straight into the second round against Richmond River High. Caretaker-coach Mr Harradine did a wonderful job orchestrating a nail biting 2-1 win with a late score from super-sub Hayden McMahon.

Round 3 saw MHS come up against a much fancied Alstonville side – victors at the same stage two years ago.

MHS started powerfully, frustrating the visitors with relentless defence by a solid Luke South and year 9 student Daemon Power-Cason (playing impressively beyond his years). Sharp counter-attacks from our boys worried the opposition and, within 15 minutes, Luke Hanlon neatly tucked away his first chance after a neat through-ball from the middle. Tireless work from midfielders Evan Lloyd and Nathan Shugg ensured we got the lion's share of possession in the first half. As they gained confidence, our MHS lads started to construct some impressive passing down both flanks. A wonderful cross from Evan Lloyd and a clinical volley from Jayden Power Cason completed some brilliant lead-up play to score a 2-0  lead at the break.

Alstonville came back vigorously in the second-half, but despite scoring a single goal, could not overcome our tenacious MHS team who stayed strong to win the Northern River Zone section of the competition.

Round 4 saw MHS play away against northern champions Byron Bay with the winner guaranteed a home final for the North Coast championship. Byron fielded a much bigger, more experienced side and looked dangerous from the opening whistle, but Luke South worked overtime in central defence to keep them scoreless.

Once again our lads played above their weight, battling for possession and unleashing quick counter attacks. Josh Ackerman got on the end of a through ball to beat the keeper and give us a 1-0 lead. Byron put goalkeeper Alex Moffitt under fire but he stood firm until Byron's second-half equaliser. A nerve racking last 10min saw many narrowly missed opportunities, leaving the scores 1-1 after 70min to force extra time. Two 10min halves of extra time could not separate the sides leaving a penalty shootout to decide a winner. Josh Ackerman, Evan Lloyd and Jayden Power-Cason all tucked away their penalties, as did Byron's first 3. Tied at 3-3, MHS missed their last two chances and Byron won by a single penalty-goal point.  The Byron HS team has since convincingly won the North Coast final 5-0, and then defeated Sydney's Mitchell HS to progress to the final 8 of the state knockout.

A special mention to year 12 students Luke South and Luke Hanlon who played their last games for the school and proved to be two of our best in all matches. Other notable performers were dogged mid-fielders Nathan Shugg and Evan Lloyd, goal-keeper Alex Moffatt and Daemon Power-Cason who has 3 more years to represent our school.

In every game I was tremendously proud of our very young team and I look forward to taking them even further next year. A special thank you to all the parents who, despite demanding lives and work commitments, helped with travel, support and superb role-modelling. We could not compete without your aspirations, efforts and sacrifice.