Macedon jubilation

Cats' U19.5 come off the ground victorious. Photo: Bill West

At Tony Clarke Reserve on Saturday, Macedon Football Netball Club had one of those unforgettable days that should have revitalised the Cats’ aspirations for season 2024.

Firstly, the Macedon U19.5 footballers – premiers last season – inflicted the first defeat of the season on close rivals Gisborne Giants. The same outcome as in the 2023 grand final.

Secondly, Macedon A-grade netballers coached by Katie Clarke kept their finals hopes alive by edging out Melton Centrals by a solitary goal (49-48).

Thirdly, the Cats’ senior footballers thrashed Centrals by 94 points with dynamo captain Jason Cooke dominating with eight goals in an inspirational individual display which lifted the whole side.

Finally, in the evening, Macedon’s women footballers methodically blitzed reigning premiers Kyneton with a superb 8.11 (59) to 0.3 performance. The two sides had played a draw at Kyneton Showgrounds earlier in the season.

Some Cats’ supporters were almost lost for words at the end of the day, with so much to celebrate and a bye coming up this weekend.

Cooke, one of the true stars of the Riddell League with a Bowen Medal, goalkicking award and a premiership behind him, also coaches the Cats’ U19.5s.

He was full of praise for the way the young side had managed to overcome the Giants in a low scoring encounter, and saw the victory as a good omen for the matches leading up to the finals.

In lead-up comments to the senior football match, RDFNL media manager Grace Bibby suggested that at some stage Cooke “is going to kick a bag”, querying if this occasion would be when the brilliant forward “gets off the chain”.

Macedon coach Al Meldrum labelled the game against Centrals a “must win” one, pointing out the competition was very even and sides cannot afford to lose too many close games.

Meldrum need not have worried, as the Cats outclassed a Centrals side with classy forward Dylan Jobson.

With winners on every line, the Cats kicked 9.1 to two points in the first quarter in a confidence-boosting opening.

After an even second term, the Cats surged further ahead in the second half, ending up with a 18.9 (117) to 3.5 (23) victory.

Importantly, Macedon’s percentage improved from 104.11 to 126.70 as they leapfrogged Kyneton into fifth place.

In addition to Cooke, Jacob Gough, Tom Hildrebrand, Xavier Morgan, Toby Sims and Brodie Hoyne were in the best list’ in what was a close to perfect team performance.

Cooke’s eight goals leaves him just behind Riddell’s Dean Galea on the goalkicking ladder.

As far as the women’s football game was concerned, most were tipping a close contest. It never happened.

The Cats were too quick and methodical and made full use of the space on their home ground.

Kyneton Tigers tried hard but could not trouble the scorer in the second half. The Tigers can be expected to bounce back from this out of character performance.

A few kilometres away, Woodend-Hesket women unveiled a new star as they demolished a battling Romsey 24.17 to 2.0.
In the remaining match, Melton 5.4 defeated Lancefield 1.3.

Macedon ended Saturday with four football wins, and three out of four netball wins, the 19&Under side finding Centrals too strong.

That winning feeling: Cats’ U19.5 midfielder Leo Webb with pleased coach Jason Cooke, who starred later in the senior match.