As part of the D5 team’s ongoing development this season, the preparation for this week’s game focused on the fundamentals of “manning up” (i.e. identifying their opponent and staying close). During training, the team developed strategies that would help them avoid the issues of the previous week’s game, where St. Kilda had too many players without attention from Rovers. This week’s opponent, St. Bedes – Mentone, was unbeaten at the top of the ladder and had soundly beaten their opponents in the first 2 rounds. The task for the Rovers was enormous, but the team was excited to make it a competitive game.
The Rovers were lead onto the field by Louie L, who had played with determination and skill during the first 2 rounds. After winning the toss and kicking with the wind, the Rovers matched the opposition’s efforts, with Brodie J rebounding from half-back and Matteo D tackling fiercely at the contest. The Rovers demonstrated good ball movement with a clearing kicks out of defence by Jack C and drive out of the middle by Oli A. At the ball-up and throw-ins every opponent was marked by a Rover, which pleased the coaches. At the end of a competitive quarter, the Rovers held St. Bedes to a single score.
The challenge for the Rovers was to maintain their poise and continue to man-up in the second quarter, when St. Bedes had the wind. Ben F lead the charge with a highlight tackle on the oppositions biggest player, and the Rovers rallied in response. The team looked to move the ball away from the opponents larger players, switching to the fat side to gain advantage. Mitch and Harry T from U11s provided plenty of run around the wings, and Ben D demonstrated his tackling prowess to lock the ball in the forward line. Heath D was busy in the forward line, Jake M laid plenty of pressure tackles, and Stanley H was a moving target for all forward movement. When the opposition did move the ball forward, Chevi O was there to shut-down their advance and big Will S cleared the ball from full back with some booming kicks. At the half, the Rovers had matched the opposition’s effort, and were still in the game.
In the third, the Rovers continued their good work of manning-up the opposition, then breaking free to push the ball forward. Oscar G ran through the lines from half back, leaving the opposition flat-footed, and Josh E baulked his way out of trouble to kick into the forward line, where Max P fought hard against big-bodied opponent. Ben S moved the ball with skill through the centre, Louie L racked-up plenty of possessions and Christian B kept the pressure on the opposition forwards through his tackling and harrassing. It was a quarter of excellent pressure football, with the Rovers showing intensity in focusing on the ball, as well discipline in manning-up off the ball. The team were rewarded with a goal before the siren care of Captain Louie L, after lots forward pressure on the St. Bedes backs.
With the game in the balance, the fourth quarter began with St. Bedes kicking with the wind. They put immense pressure on the backline, surging all their players forward, but Zac B stopped a certain goal by smartly positioning himself in the square. Jack G, who was full-forward, came to the backline to help clear the ball, and the entire team fought hard to limit the opposition’s scoring opportunities. Alex P, who had worked tirelessly in the ruck all day continued to gather possessions around the ground, and Lucas C used his speed to get to multiple contests across the wings.
Despite the players best efforts, the opposition began hitting the scoreboard as the quarter progressed, and ran-out winners on the day. But the Rovers players should be immensely proud of their efforts as they followed the game plan and tried their best throughout the game, pushing the division leaders for four quarters. Event the opposition coaches mentioned how impressed they were at the Rovers’ effort. Another solid outing in the bag for the Rovers, with plenty of experience gained and lessons to be learned for next week.
Coach Mike is travelling this week, so Coach Dave will be leading training for D5 and coaching on the weekend, ably assisted by Coach Graham. Training starts at 5:30pm on Wednesday, so get there at 5:20pm for warm-ups. Let’s have another good training session in preparation for this week’s match.
Coach Mike & Coach Dave.