It was a cold and wintery night, the wind howled and the rain cut like a knife … oh, hang-on, that was last Sunday morning. To all the players, parents and volunteers who braved the elements last weekend, thanks a bunch for making it down to Castlefield for the U12 D6 game. It was quite the winter football experience! Now, onto the game recap…
After a good week of training, the Rovers were ready to hit the ground running against Mordi Brae. The captain for the week was Oli A who had lead from the front during the previous match. The Rovers won the toss, and chose to kick to the Cornerstone end, but with a northerly blowing hard, there was not much advantage either way.
At the first bounce, Max R competed hard in the ruck, but the opponent crumbers were fast and decisive and immediately put our backline under pressure. Christian B was again solid in defence, with close manning-up on his opponent, and Heath D swept across half-back with skill. The Rovers were able to move the ball forward on the rebound, with Ethan P teaming-up with Brodie J to punch the ball into the forward line for a scoring opportunity. Both teams midfields played exciting offensive football, with plenty of movement in both directions. Rovers highlights were Billy M’s team-play in shepherding runners with the ball, and Ben D’s lock-down tackles in the backline. Mordi-Brae demonstrated their polish with a couple of quick goals against the run of play, but the Rovers showed that they were up to the challenge for the game.
The weather began to change at quarter time, with rain starting to drench the field, making it harder for both sides to maintain clean possession. With the opposition now kicking with the wind slightly favouring their end, the ball spent a lot of time in their forward half. However, the Rovers demonstrated plenty of G&D with strong tackling, effort at the ball and maintaining their structures. The coaching staff were especially pleased at how the players were playing “team first” football, looking to support their team mates on both side of the ball. Oli A lead with a captain’s effort roaming the wing, Matteo D drove the ball out of defence at every opportunity, and Josh E providing run and clean kicks out of the danger zone. But the biggest contribution for the quarter was by Ben F, who was ill over the weekend, but was willing to go on for an injured player and played the quarter on the half-back flank – a gutsy effort. Despite the valiant efforts by the Rovers, the opposition were able to kick-away during the quarter.
At the half, both coaches and players ran to the rooms to get away from what was now a continuous downpour. In the rooms, the coaches impressed on the players that, in wet weather football, height and skill are secondary. What is most important is the players desire for the ball. “Do you want it?” was the question posed by the coaches, a challenge to each player to raise their intensity in the second half. And the players responded with their best quarter of football for the game. Marco G was moved into the ruck and made an immediate impact with his intensity and effort, Oscar G rebounded with intensity from half-back and Jake Mc tackled anyone in sight on the backline. The polish was added by Marco G and Ethan P who kicked the team’s majors for the quarter. Linking handballs and kicks abounded, with James Mc owning one wing and Christian S owning the other, Oli S, Billy M and Ethan P running hard between the arcs to link together, Stanley H and Max R competing for every mark in the forward line, and Brodie J and Eddie L locking the ball in the forward line. It was a complete team effort of pressure and running from goal-line to goal-line that was exciting to see. The highlight being Zac B’s tackle and lock-in of the ball against 3 opponents, stopping them from getting away that epitomised the team’s quarter. It was one of the best quarters of D6 footy for the year.
The toll of wet and cold began to take a toll on the team, with most players not able to feel their fingers by 3/4 time. It was with lots of bravery and effort that the team played-out the fourth quarter, despite the inclement weather. It is in challenging situations like these where the character of individuals and teams is tested, and in the coaches’ minds the Rovers passed the test. Despite the opposition playing hard, the Rovers continued to play hard as well, all the way to the final siren. Although the Rovers were not successful by the scoreboard measure, they demonstrated the best traits of a football team: trying their best, supporting their mates, and not giving up, no matter what the circumstances.
Coach Mike & Coach Dave.