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WEEK 2: Warriors hold on against Buccs, Barbarians struggle in their opener

Week 2 saw the Warriors & Barbarians both travel to Bendigo for a double header against the Geelong Buccaneers & Bendigo Dragons.

The Warriors took on the Buccaneers first up and started off slow allowing the Buccs to hit the scoreboard first with their running attack which has worked well for them over the past 5 years.

The Warriors were then able to hit right back and take the lead 8-6 which is where the game remained at the half.

QB Dominic Dearman entered the game in the second half and took the game on showing why he is the best at the QB Sneak with a 20 yard run and later finished a 8 yard gain by running over a Buccaneers defender.

The Warriors were able to find TE Alex Glover in the corner for a touchdown to extend the lead 16-6 before the Buccaneers hit back before the end of the 3rd Quarter with a 1 Yard Touchdown run.

Mark Tsui was a star for the Warriors Defense recording an interception and making multiple tackle towards a game MVP performance.

DB Mark Tsui was everywhere against the Buccaneers (Photo courtesy of Geelong Buccaneers)

DB Mark Tsui was everywhere against the Buccaneers (Photo courtesy of Geelong Buccaneers)

 

A long connection to Glover again by Dearman seemed to have stopped the Buccaneers momentum and with the lead extended to 22-12.

The Buccaneers as they always do kept fighting and with less than two minutes to play entered the redzone. Whilst they were not in hurry up mode, they made some nice runs and eventually scored bringing the game to 22-20 and requiring the ball back from the kick off in order to try and at least score by field goal or a touchdown. The ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Warriors and they were able to kneel the game out.

The Barbarians fresh with a lot of new rookies and some junior players were keen to finally be able to play their first game of the season, although they knew it was going to be a difficult task in Bendigo against a team that plays so well at home with the addition of local players available for their home games.

The Barbs started slowly and never looked to gain any positive momentum against the Dragons who shut them down defensively and were able to offensively run the ball with relative ease.

The Barbarians eventually lost 44-0 and would soon focus on fixing simple mistakes and hope to change things around against Melton in week 3.

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WEEK 1: Warriors defeat Royals in sloppy Conditions

Week 1 of the 2016 finally arrived over the weekend and the Warriors faced the up and coming Melbourne Uni Royals at Croydon.

With the weather being a bit wet of late, the Croydon pitch was muddy and also contained some pools of water but neither team cared as the football season had finally arrived!

The Warriors took the ball first and in Dom Dearman’s hands, moved down the field and scored thanks to the nice running of RB Luke ‘Whitey’ Jackson.

The Royals almost as easily as the Warriors returned fire and punched in a score of their own to former Warrior Prince Coleman.

On the ensuing kick return the Warriors fumbled allowing the Royals to pounce on the ball and regain possession just outside of their redzone. With the Warriors Defense unable to talk and adjust from the previous series, the Royals hit the lead early in the 1st with a 14-8 score.

The experience of the Warriors then kicked in and they were able to punch in a few scores and defense stepped up to hold the Royals from scoring at will. The score at the half was 30-20 the Warriors way.

The halftime score sore adjustments made and changes in personnel. The most significant change was that at the quarterback position with Joe Thompson coming in to show different formations and different plays to catch the defense off guard. The change seemed to work with Thompson keeping the ball himself for a touchdown and later throwing a screen play to RB Luke Jackson for a 35 yard touchdown. Thompson would then injur his ankle attempting to run in the 2PT conversion bringing club hero Dominic Dearman back for some more minutes.

In sloppy conditions and a penalty riddled game, the Warriors come out victorious 50-28 victors to open up the season.

 

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The PERFECT end to a PERFECT SEASON

Written by Coach Callum Marini

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The final game of the junior Warriors 2016 season saw them in the Vicbowl with a matchup against the Melbourne Uni Lions. For the Warriors a victory would mean a fairytale finish to the perfect season, for the Lions it would mean history with a 3-Peat which had never been done at Junior level.

The two teams previously played in week 2 in a hard fought but mistake filled game in which the warriors were just able to hold on to win 12-6. Jonathan Keusgen was named the game day captain for the Vicbowl as a reward for his hard work, consistency and excellent performance, both on and off the field during the 2016 season and he delivered well with a combined Pre-game speech with Max Abrahams that fired all the boys up and got everyone ready to go.

Warriors players united prior to facing the Silverbacks (Photo courtesy of barendphotos.com)

Warriors players united (Photo courtesy of barendphotos.com)

 

The game started off as expected, with both teams a little nervy on offense, with bad snaps, missed blocks and uncharacteristic fumbles that led to both teams having early three and outs on their first drives. However on their second drive of the game our high powered offense showed why they have been the highest rated offense of the year, driving the ball down the field with big runs by both RB Anton Maksoutov and QB Nick Whitehead. This placed us in the red zone and after a few plays we punched in the first score with a brilliant scramble from QB Nick Whitehead to bring up a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

The defense again was stout against the run giving very little to the Lions offense, and when the Lions faked a punt on 4th and 5, Jono Keusgen stepped up and made a key tackle three yards short of the first down marker, giving the ball back to the offense. We wasted little time running a WR reverse to offensive weapon Ben McGaw, who proceeded to take it 50 yards basically untouched to the end zone. DL/FB Josh Deakin punched in the 2 pt Conversion to give the warriors a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter began and this saw both teams struggle offensively with very few yards gained by either team. With less than 1 minute 30 in the half the lions decided they were content with a scoreless quarter for both teams and began to run the ball deep in their own territory. However our defense had other plans when deep in the middle of a big pile all of a sudden the ball popped out and CB Jed Melican scooped it up and ran it to the house for a momentum gaining play that put the warriors up 20-0.

Jed Melican scoops up a fumble forced from a strip within the pile. (Photo courtesy of Bruce Rachon)

Jed Melican scoops up a fumble forced from a strip within the pile. (Photo courtesy of Bruce Rachon)

 

On the ensuing Kick Off, the Lions failed to gain possession of the ball due to a bad bounce that allowed WR Majny “Magic” Majing to make a “Crunch Award winning” massive hit to the legs of the lions player attempting to pick up the ball, forcing the ball to bounce away and be recovered by us. This gave us the ball at the Lions 40 yard line with 26 seconds left in the half. Unfortunately the Lions defense were able to make some key stops and the end of the first half saw the us leading 20-0

At the halftime break as coaches we couldn’t have been more proud of the team with the defense having played the best half of football they had seen all season and although the offense faltered in the 2nd quarter, they had started really well and had shown they could move the ball against what was considered by outsiders, the best defense in the league (of course we believed our defense was the best in the league).

The Warriors were committed to fighting for every inch towards victory (Photo courtesy of barendphotos.com)

The Warriors were committed to fighting for every inch towards victory (Photo courtesy of barendphotos.com)

 

After a quick break the 3rd quarter began and our defense continued their dominance forcing a quick 3 and out and giving the ball back to the offense. After a quick consultation with assistants Kieren Marini and Matt Morgan, we decided that we wanted to absolutely sink the hopes of the Lions early in the 2nd half, so on the first play of offense we ran a WR reverse Pass with WR and Backup QB Jordan “JVB” Van Buuren throwing a deep bomb to receiver Ben McGaw. Unfortunately the ball was misjudged by Ben and fell incomplete. After that unsuccessful attempt we went back to basics with some power running by RB Anton Maksoutov and FB Henry Malouf, and we marched the ball down the field to the 1 yard line. After a few plays and a few lost yards we eventually extended the lead with a play action pass from QB Nick Whitehead to WR Ben McGaw on the edge of the end zone. The Warriors again punched in the 2 pt. conversion with a short pass to Anton Maksoutov extending their lead to 28-0.

FB Henry Malouf can't be stopped on a 2Pt Conversion (Photo courtesy of barendphotos.com)

FB Henry Malouf can’t be stopped on a 2Pt Conversion (Photo courtesy of barendphotos.com)

 

The scores remained unchanged until midway through the 4th quarter when the Melbourne Uni Lions QB connected on a deep pass to the slot receiver who made an outstanding one handed catch and outran the rest of the defense on his way to the end zone to put the lions in the board 28-6.

On the next drive QB Nick Whitehead was suffering in his own words from, “the worst cramps of his life”, and had to come off the field. This put Backup QB Jordan in and he continued where Nick left off, driving the ball down the field and connecting on a TD pass to TE Vish Sivakumar, who had been a constant presence in the end zone all year. Since I had promised him I would, I allowed DL Josh Deakin who was in his final year of juniors to go in at QB and run a QB sneak into the end zone to convert to 2 pt attempt and extend the lead to 36-6.

With less than 2 minutes to play the Lions had run out of options and in attempting to pass deep down the field were intercepted by LB Dmitri Maksoutov who returned it to the house to put the icing on the cake of our Vicbowl win and extend the lead to the eventual winning margin of 42-6.

The Lions tried to make something out of nothing with a lateral on the ensuing Kickoff which was fumbled and recovered by the Warriors special teams unit which had been outstanding all year long. This allowed me to get all the top age players onto the field for one last time together. So with DL Jomo Kigotho and Ben McGaw at WR, DL Josh Deakin and G Edmond Jin at Guard, WR Jackson Crook at RB and Vish Sivakumar at TE we entered victory formation and knelt the ball to end the game.

Huge celebrations began with the excitement of winning our first junior Vicbowl in 7 years, with WR Ben McGaw and QB Nick Whitehead absolutely covering me in Gatorade.

Coach Marini receives the traditional Gatorade bath after the game was put beyond doubt

Coach Marini receives the traditional Gatorade bath after the game was put beyond doubt

 

After the game all the coaches decided that although there were many standout players, in a game in which the defense dominated the game MVP was awarded to LB Dmitri Maksoutov, as he had an amazing game all day with an estimated 20+ tackles and the pick six that sealed the game. WR Ben McGaw won the official award for Vicbowl MVP for his efforts on the day with over 100 all-purpose yards, and multiple big punt returns.

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The undefeated season was capped off with a massive victory in the Vicbowl in what will go down as one of the best seasons the Junior Warriors have had up to date. We couldn’t be prouder of the team’s performance all year and we hope to see all eligible players return to defend the title next year as well as all the top age players stepping up to seniors and having instant impacts at the senior level in both Barbarians and Warriors.Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.21.50 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.22.40 PM

 

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Warrior Adam Gotsis – Second Round selection by Denver Broncos in 2016 NFL Draft

From Melbourne to the Mile High City, Adam Gotsis’s path to the NFL has been an exciting one for our Gridiron Club.

 

Adam Gotsis wins a Junior Vic Bowl with the Monash Warriors in 2009

Adam Gotsis (54) wins a Junior Vic Bowl with the Monash Warriors in 2009

 

Adam played 4 years in our Junior program where he developed under coaches Dan Levin and Heather Buzza and one season for the Senior team under Head Coach Ralph Maggio. Whilst also dominating the local Gridiron Victoria competition, Adam also represented Victoria at both Junior and Senior level and represented Australia in the 2011 IFAF World Cup.

Adam Gotsis (23) playing for the Monash Warriors Seniors in the 2010 Vic Bowl

Adam Gotsis (23) playing for the Monash Warriors Seniors in the 2010 Vic Bowl

 

Adam was selected with the 63rd pick in the second round by the 2016 Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.

The capital of Colorado and Population of 649,495, Denver is nicknamed the Mile High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile (5,280 ft or 1,610 m) above sea level, making it one of the highest major cities in the United States..

Adam will now have the chance to play for a Super Bowl winning team coached by Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips and will no doubt develop with mentors Von Miller and Derek Wolfe.

The Warriors are extremely proud of how Adam has conducted himself and the hard work he has put in to develop into the player he is today.

Once the Draft has settled down and Adam has settled into his new home in Denver, Wariorsgridiron.com will have an exclusive write up of the path to the draft with Adam Gotsis.

Well Done Adam!

With Pride

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Warriors, GV Community mourn the loss of Jon Johnston

 

It is hard to find someone in life that is as competitive as Jon along with being a kind hearted, loveable family man with a positive attitude to everything in life.

Jon Johnston has played many years against the Warriors and whilst the battles had been either way most of the years, 2016 he was set to be a Warrior.

Jon Johnston (11) playing against the Warriors in 2013

Jon Johnston (11) playing against the Warriors in 2013

 

Jon loved a challenge and loved competing which is what brought him to the Warriors. He worked extremely hard in everything he did and always gave 100% regardless of the situation. The energy he brought to each training session for the past 2 months brought the standard level up each time. He was there to compete and have fun and let you know about it which is why he is such a loveable character.

Jon Johnston's final message to his Teammates and Coaches

Jon Johnston’s final message to his Teammates and Coaches

 

The above is a facebook message Jon had left to the team before he took off to Tibet. The passing of Jon has impacted the Warriors organisation quite hard and whilst he has only been at the club for a short time, his influence on the group has been significant.
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Jon loved the outdoors and had ambitions to be the first man in his age group to ever climb Mt Everest (8,748m) and also Lhotse (8,156m) peaks back to back in under 10 hours. Jon was in Tibet, China preparing for his third attempt at climbing Mt Everest. He had been training for the past 6 months in Melbourne and was climbing Mt Shisha Pangma in preparation where it all went horribly wrong.

“The incident occurred at an altitude of 6,200 m on April 24 while the duo fell into the crevasse while they were moving up from advanced base camp on Mt Shisha Pangma,” an official at Active Holiday Treks explains (which handles their expedition from Kathmandu).

Jon along with son Nicholas whom he played with whilst at Croydon Rangers

Jon along with son Nicholas whom he played with whilst at Croydon Rangers

 

Jon is a family man and whilst he leaves behind wife Susan Johnston, 3 sons Nicholas, Nathaniel, Noah, brother Lonn Johnston and family he will always be remembered for how he lived his life and how he impacted everyone around him including everyone that he met. Jon is one of a kind, a true gentleman and will be missed by everyone that knew him.

Rest In Peace.

Herald Sun Article Here

The Himalayan Times Article Here

 

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