“It’s a funny old game, Doctor Soccer”

The second WA Doctor Soccer carnival took place last Saturday at Charles Court Reserve in Nedlands. Eleven teams competed, with over 80 doctors dusting down their boots and braving the heat. The tournament consisted of a group phase with teams progressing after that to either the WA Doctor Soccer Cup or the St John of God Murdoch Hospital Plate. The day was played out in good spirit with great determination and effort by all players. 

A new team for this years event, RFDS Western Operations, got off to a flying start taking maximum points from their three group games. The team, skippered by Andrew Toner, looked like they were going to parachute in and take off with the cup until agonisingly losing out on penalties to Jupiter.

Rapid Thigh Movement looked strong early on, topping their group, but the celtic contingent of this team may have found the heat too draining as they succumbed at the quarter-final stage. A winter event may be necessary if this team is ever going to take home some silverware. There was something for them to cheer about as speedster Dan “Michael” Johnson won the Fastest Doc in WA sprint sponsored by Coastal Orthopaedics.

Aesthetica Madrid, led by David Colbert, also topped their group with some delightful possession football with eventual golden boot winner Dr Robert Tewskbury providing the finishing touches in front of goal. As would be expected of a team with plastic surgeons, their play was pleasing on the eye but they were able to graft out results too.

Despite an impressive draw in the group stages against the eventual winners, RPH Vascular Angels didn’t make it through to the cup but weren’t too disheartened and were deserved winners of the St John of God Murdoch Hospital Plate after a well-fought 2-1 victory against SKG in the final.

Although on the pitch, things didn’t go as planned for St John’s Wort, a team of GPs and surgeons, off the pitch they showed no sign of needing that herb to lift their spirits as they embraced the occasion.

Healius Hotspur coached by Bud “Poch” Ranasinghe will take solace from their group phase draw with Jupiter and they did well to progress from a tough group consisting of the two eventual Cup finalists and the plate winners.  

The Invincibles, captained by Ayo Olowookere returned this year and despite starting slowly with a loss, they rallied well before missing out in a physical contest against RFDS in the cup quarter-final. Their level of effort and commitment was admirable and if they can improve on their play in the final third,they could be a match for anybody.  

Perth Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine (POSM) were major sponsors and a surprise package at this years event, clocking up three clean sheets and taking their chances before losing out to Aesthetica in the semifinal. Unfortunately, the spectacle of an Orthopaedic derby between POSM and Peter D’Alessandro’s Coastal Orthopaedics wasn’t to be this year. Both teams have a good mix of youth and experience which would suggest they have longevity in this competition and it will be only a matter of time before they play each other.

After winning the plate last year and getting to the quarter-finals this year, Coastal’s form in this competition is on an upward trajectory. If the odd orthopaedic fellow from Spain or Brazil is seen around Fremantle or Fiona Stanley Hospital in the next 12 months, you wouldn’t bet against them progressing further again next year.

One of the most dramatic games had to be the semifinal clash between RFDS and Jupiter. With nothing between the teams in open play, it was down to a sudden death penalty shootout to settle it. Michael Gendy’s Jupiter team wasn’t to be denied with close to 30 penalties taken between the teams, a broken goal net and some top class finishes and saves before they progressed to the final. Thankfully we weren’t short on ammunition for the penalty shootout, thanks to Perth Urology Clinic’s sponsorship of footballs.

The final was a very close contest with Aesthetica Madrid keeping the ball well but unable to find gaps in an organised Jupiter defence. Although we are still looking for the ball that Dr Marc Corbett attempted an audacious bicycle kick with, he made amends a few minutes later with a composed finish. Jupiter defended well after that limiting Aesthetica to half chances and seeing the game out to deservedly claim the title for the second year running.

With all these games and the sprint race, it was left to Lifecare’s Tim Barnwell, Nic Ward and Liam Kessell to pick up the pieces, helping out with a few tender hamstrings and the effects of the heat. We are pleased to report that no-one succumbed to heat exhaustion, thanks to the SKG sponsored hydration Eskies, and coffee and salty snacks from Accumulate Wealth Management to give perspiring players a pick-me-up between games.

Our referees, Chris Grieve, John Walsh and Nick Hudson did their sponsors MDA National proud, keeping doctors from stepping over the line. Good communication skills and the odd two-minute trip to the sin bin made sure nobody would be facing a tribunal after. Overall there was great sportsmanship exhibited by all teams on the day.

A special mention to Perth Children’s Hospital’s Vaanitha Manickavasagar, our sole female competitor on the day. We hope to see Vaanitha back for the 3rd year in a row next year.

Thanks to the great response from our teams, and generous support from sponsors, we have been able to donate all team entry fees ($1500) to Disability Sports Australia, a charity committed to helping people with physical disabilities to engage with the community through sports participation.

See you all next year.

The GPHQ Team