You just never know how a premiership team are going to approach their next season. The big decisions need to be made in the off-season: headband or no headband. Swagger or cool head. Girlfriends coming to watch or flying solo… The boys first game was against last year’s Div 1 grand finalists, Ajax, who started the game with a bang by kicking the first goal within a minute. Ouch.
Luke N-S started where he left off with some great grabs. When Dan H had a shot for goal from miles out, Assistant Coach Steve was heard to say, “if it’s within 80 metres of the goal, Dan will have a shot”. He missed. Bummer. Ajax’s Runner spent the first 10 minutes on the ground coaching the players until Nigel strode to the officials to let them know that perhaps the Runner should just be delivering messages to the players and then coming off. This TM job is a serious caper Nige. The on-ground coaching must have worked as Ajax were all over us until Alex S performed a goal saving tackle that had the crowd in raptures.
During the quarter time address the idiot Umpire Escort (me) was quietly reminded that she needed to be standing with the umpires, not taking pics and listening to the coach! It’s not easy to multitask. Just ask any man.
While the boys’ effort didn’t drop in the second quarter, it was clear Ajax were harder at it and always seemed to be in front of the ball. Jack Tuffley read the play well and Ned G continued to take great marks. Boundary umpire, Rich Bowen, threw THE worst ball in ever right in front of the parents who let him know about it but the absolute highlight was Olli Horigan flying 10 metres in the air to take the best one handed mark you will ever see. And promptly winded himself for his efforts. Score at half time was 31 to 9.
The third quarter saw the boys’ intensity lift with a couple of goals, keeping Ajax goaless. Score 35 to 23. And yes, I forgot to take notes.
Ajax started the final quarter with purpose hitting targets but our boys had some great transition play. Jack T’s tackle on a kid twice his size was brilliant and while later on he kicked into the man on the mark, he was saved from a smack over the head from dad by Hopey (J) kicking a great goal. Just what the Hopeys do best. George H also had a good game in the backline.
In the end, it was a respectable 10 point loss. Heads never dropped but it’s a whole new level at Div 1. At the after match coaches address, Trent made sure to mention that there needs to be more talk amongst teammates. Next week’s match is against Vampires who won by 101 points.
Final score: Ajax 40, HR 30
Best: Ned Gray, Luke Nixon-Smith, Alex Smyth.