With half of our season in the rear-view mirror, and the next half full of opportunity and promise, we are taking a moment to take stock of where we are as a team, where we have come from and where we are going. Despite a difficult schedule that has seen us play most of of our games against the best in our grade, or higher, the coaching staff have been really pleased with the team’s consistent effort, support for team-mates and demonstrations of sportsmanship in the heat of the contest. The team listen intently to the pearls of wisdom from coaches at training and on gameday, and challenge themselves and their team-mates to get better every time they step on the field each weekend. But most encouraging of all, the boys enjoy playing footy with their mates.
- This year, we are fortunate to have 8 players in the team wear the Rover’s jumper for the first time. The team has embraced the new players, with everyone gelling during the preseason and working together during training throughout the season.
- From the beginning of the season to now, 7 games later, the players have continued to develop their individual skills, but have also improved their teamwork. We are learning to use our vision and voice to bring other players into the game, whether it be a clearing kick or handball to advantage, a shepherd or block to release a player into the open, or a group tackle to pressure the opposition into mistakes. We are still a work-in-progress in these areas, but the green shoots of growth are clearly evident and suggestive of future success.
- The team has greatly improved their discipline and understand their roles in the 3 phases of the game. Most notably has been the encouraging improvement in manning-up the opposition, and maintaining the discipline of the team structure, especially in the backline.
- The team’s first game, a hard-fought win against our neighbours at East Brighton was a great start to the season. The team worked well through linking handballs and kicks down the wings, and the way the team won the contested ball was exciting to watch. It was also the perfect opportunity to bring all the players, arm-in-arm, together with their families to sing the club song, for the first time this season.
- In every game, the team has been competitive from start to finish, but we’ve had trouble getting going in the first quarters of games. We’ve discussed this during training and before games, and have acknowledged that we need to be switched-on from the get-go. One of training mantra’s has been “you play as you train” so we are focusing on being switched-on during training, in order to be mentally and physically ready for the first bounce every game.
- The team has been focusing on improving their handball skills during training, as this will help us get out of trouble when under pressure, or open the game when handballing to space. The challenge for the team is to take the learning from training and apply it with quality handling in the cauldron of game situations.
- Whether it be the AFL of SMJFL-U12-D6, the team who has more players around the football usually wins the contest. But the secret to getting more players to the football is for those players to push themselves to make a second effort (and third and fourth, as needs be) to get to the contest. Our team is full of energetic players, so we need train ourselves to follow-up our first efforts with additional efforts to get the footy, support our team-mates or pressure the opposition.
Coaches Mike & Dave.