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20 years on: 2000 Colts Grand Final

By Luke Simpson | Tuesday, December 22nd 2020

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of a very important Mulgrave FC premiership: the 2000 Colts, who defeated Montrose in the grand final at Waverley Park to top off a dominant season.

Luke Simpson, a member of the premiership team who went on to also play in the 2010 senior premiership, has put together a full match report of that Friday night at Waverley Park…

The time and place

The year was 2000. The year of the Sydney Olympics.

The most interesting thing in technology at the time was the panic surrounding the Millennium Bug. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and whatever else the kids of today use were many years off.

We were still seven years away from the first iPhone being released, with the most popular phone at the time being the Nokia 3210. Remember the game Snake?

But the year 2000 played host to a more important game: the EFL Division 2 Colts grand final between the Mulgrave Lions and Montrose Demons.

It was 6.00pm on a Friday night with light drizzle around. The stage was the old VFL Park, which had been repurposed as a suburban ground until the residential redevelopment could commence.

The seeds of future success were about to be sown.

The 2000 Colts season started like any other, with excitement and expectation. A core group of players had ventured down to Mulgrave Reserve from the then Waverley Panthers, who fielded teams up until under 17s. They joined several top age players who were returning from the previous year, along with other local players.

Mulgrave entered the Grand Final having only lost one game for the season, late in the year at Upper Ferntree Gully. It was a loss the team needed to have, as a cockiness was starting to creep into the group due to its dominance throughout the season. In the team’s defence though, there may have been a deb ball or similar function the night before with several players arriving to the game the next morning a little worse for wear. I think training the following week may have been cranked up just a little by coach Graeme Stokie to account for the loss.

Mulgrave had easily dispatched of Montrose two weeks earlier at Bayswater Oval to book their place in the big dance. But as they say, anything can happen on Grand Final day… or in this case, night.

The Game

The first quarter began at a high tempo. Montrose had the first two inside 50s with Mulgrave having to defend desperately.

Mulgrave’s first real foray forward came when a Mark Commons soccer from half back saw the ball quickly switched to Daniel Stokie on the Sir Kenneth Luke stand wing. Stokie spotted up a diving Shaun Calamatta on his left foot, but the mark was spilled. The Olive redeemed himself 30 seconds later, as a repeat inside 50 from Stokie resulted in a snap and goal from 25 metres out.

Montrose were winning the early centre clearances through the dominance of their 205cm ruckman, and within a minute of the Calamatta goal Dean Stephen burst through the pack and gave Montrose the quick reply.

The next five minutes belonged to Montrose with multiple repeat inside 50s and a Stephen set shot from 45 metres hitting the post. Mulgrave were having trouble clearing from defence, but the backline was holding up tightly with Adam Gee, Daniel Stokie and Jason Horack racking up possessions.

The next 15 minutes was played predominantly between the arcs. A typical arm wrestle, you could say. After another Mulgrave behind, Luke Simpson was able to mark the kick-in and spotted up Ben Chamberlain 35 meters out, who converted for Mulgrave’s second.

Quarter time
Mulgrave 2.2.14
Montrose 1.2.8

After spending the entire first quarter on the bench, the second quarter saw the introduction of a long-haired Brad Fowler. It brought instant results. It was all Mulgrave early, peppering the goals, but they could only manage 1.4 after Adam Gee was able to find Calamatta again, 15 metres out.

Now it was Montrose’s turn to struggle with clearances from defence. After Luke Tolliday marked another kick-in, he was able to find Cameron Raine 35 meters out for another goal. This was quickly followed by a high tackle on Matt Adolf and all of a sudden, Mulgrave had their fourth.

Montrose seemed out on their feet. But just like his opposing captain Daniel Stokie, the Demons’ Dean Stephen was leading from the front. After an inside-50 ball, he was able to make good use of the body and goal from 20 meters out.

The latter part of the second quarter provided Montrose with some opportunities, but to no avail. An extra sidestep resulted in another poster, and a desperate touch by Paul Bartlett on the line saw a certain goal denied.

Although Montrose did have their opportunities late, the quarter mostly belonged to Mulgrave

Half time
Mulgrave 5.7.37
Montrose 2.4.16

The third quarter, as they say, is the premiership quarter… and this game proved no exception. Playing on the large ground, it was only a matter of time before things opened up and it was Mulgrave who adapted to the wide open spaces first, with Brad Fowler again leading the way.

The chances Montrose were able to generate were being quickly shut down by the Mulgrave half back line lead by Doug Carmichael and Mark Commons.

Mulgrave dominated the third quarter kicking 5.4 to 0.2, with goals to Chamberlain, Calamatta, Fowler, Tolliday and Gee. Mulgrave held a commanding 53-point lead at three quarter time.

Three quarter time
Mulgrave 10.11.71
Montrose 2.6.18

As expected, the final quarter saw the sting go right out of the game. Montrose scrapped, desperately trying to hold on from completely being blown out of the water.

Goals to Adam Gee and Chris Van Suylen put the icing on the cake for Mulgrave, however Montrose were able to scrap a couple of consolation goals to put some respectability on the scoreboard.

The ball fittingly finished in the hands of captain Daniel Stokie who, after the siren, kicked into the man on the mark, retrieved the ball, took the 15 metre penalty but then narrowly missed his shot for what would have been a fitting end to the night in a near best-on-ground display.

Mulgrave were the better team, both throughout the season and on the night, and were never going to lose this game.

Final scores

Mulgrave 12.14.86
Montrose 4.7.31

Goals: Calamatta 3, Gee 2, Van Suylen 2, Chamberlain, Raine, Tolliday, Adolf, Fowler

Best: Gee, Horack, Fowler, D Stokie, Calamatta

The aftermath

Mulgrave were also contesting the Reserves Grand Final the following day, so the after-party at the club on the Friday night was somewhat subdued. The Saturday night was definitely bigger.

The Colts premiership team featured at least ten players who would go on to play senior football for Mulgrave in the years to come, including Adam Gee, Daniel Stokie, Brad Fowler, Luke Simpson, Joel Northam and Chris Van Suylen.

The team also featured three future MFC life members who would also play in the 2010 senior premiership in Fowler, Stokie and Simpson.

Interestingly, Rob ‘Millsy’ Mills was also a part of the team and would later go on to success in music and entertainment.

Following this game, Mulgrave entered somewhat of a glory period through the 2000s, with the senior team contesting grand finals in 2001, 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2010, and falling just short of the big dance with early finals exits in 2002 and 2007.

The foundations for this decade of success were laid early, and there’s no doubt the Colts premiership of 2000 - as well as the Reserves premiership three-peat of 1999, 2000 and 2001 – were a huge part of the senior success that was to come.

2000 Mulgrave Colts
Coach: Graeme Stokie
1 Adam Gee 13 Robert Mills
2 Mike Horbury 14 Ben Chamberlain
3 Joel Northam 15 Tim Lovell
4 Glenn Hildebrand 16 Adam Ringrose
5 Daniel Stokie 17 Luke Simpson
6 Doug Carmichael 18 Shaun Calamatta
7 Paul Bartlett 19 Chris Van Suylen
8 Luke Tolliday 20 Brad Fowler
9 Liam Howard 21 Cameron Raine
10 Mark Commons 22 Matt Adolf
11 Roan Ekanaike 23 Jason Horack
12 John Stokie 24 Matt Collins

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