The Australian Masters Games for 2009 kicked off at Bell Park Sports Club in Geelong on Saturday with 17 teams competing in four groups, men’s 30–35, 40–45, over 45 and women.
Geelong 49ers opened with a three-one win over MG Force from Mount Gambier. Mick Oppermann powered in a header from a cross by Rod van der Chys in the seventh minute to settle nerves in the home team. Two quick goals after the interval, the first by van der Chys from the penalty spot after Steve Sodamaco had been fouled in the area, and the second a neat lob over the keeper by Oppermann, secured the result. Mount Gambier scored a neat goal with three minutes left to play when Lou Ferguson received a pass through the centre of the defence and gave Peter Duque no chance with a precise shot.
In the second match in this group the Melbourne Latinos, drawn largely from Brunswick Juventus ranks, drew one-all with the Gold Coast Beach Boys. With 70-year-old Everett Nelson in goal the Gold Coast went ahead in only three minutes when a move along the right goal line involving three attackers resulted in a goal credited to John Kubina. Mario Mantella brought the Latinos level nine minutes afterwards with a header over Nelson. Both sides had several chances after that but it finished one-all.
In the 40–45 group two matches were played, with Castlemaine Gold Spice beating BOBS by two goals to nil, both scored by T Cooper. PHE Voltaren Dependant had a three-nil win against Melbourne Latinos’ younger group. Michael Hof, G Redpath and R Braithwaite scored for PHE.
Finally in the 30–35 group, ADF with goals by G Gillard and K Naughton accounted for Barwon Heads for whom Mark Linney scored, by two goals to one.