In the face of great adversity can come triumph and triumph came in another more important shape today than score-line, and arguably proof of the team taking one giant leap forward. For the 16 lads that started and the 12 that were able to finish, has there been a more spirited team effort to represent self and Club better at an U16 level than what Paul and I, the parents and opposition coaching staff witnessed today? The team has bonded, the spirit is amazing.
In a match where we were undermanned & undersized, one would have thought we played with 36. Throwing out the window, self-doubts that go something like “I hope I play well today” and substituting in their place, “I will focus on what I can control” what came to the fore this afternoon were life-long attributes of Resilience, Persistence, Heart, Courage and Self-belief.
I’ve not coached a game of football where I have walked away feeling so incredibly proud to be associated with such a fine young group of lads. Right from the first bounce the tackling, combativeness, attack on ball and pressure on opposition ball carrier, smothers, hard running…no spectating, use of voice, strong overhead marking, strong overhead spoiling against some monsters…simply sensational and inspiring…11 of the strongest and ferocious tackles laid this season came in the 2nd quarter from Sam (3), Beau(2), Connor(1), Will(1), Birdy(1), Liam K(1), Marcus(1) and Zeb(1)…
After losing Zeb in the 2nd quarter in a strong tackling contest, the third quarter took a couple more casualties losing two players in some fierce tackling — Will Nolan with a nasty broken wrist being run down streaming towards goal and Matty Warman doing an ankle after being run down also streaming towards goal after a sensational loose ball get, run and bounce. The opposition coach asked at 3-quarter time whether we wanted to call the game or play given we were down to 13…turning to the players and asking what would you like to do lads…it was a resounding “KEEP playing.”
Losing Beau to ribs in a tackling contest early in the 4th, down to 12 v. 13, the space on the ground opened up and some of the best overall footy and positive forward ball movement resulted in a 3-goal last quarter which could easily have been 5. While the resultant scoreboard was 5.3.33 to 19.6.120…to have no bench for the match while the opposition had a bench of 6 and compete for 4-quarters, and to finish the game so strongly despite the odds, the proved much today.
Will – we hope the broken wrist is sorted – clearly painful. You were playing another excellent game back and forward.
Sam Wilson – well captained today, your best game since joining the team, led from the front, and awarded the Robert Connor Dawes player of the round.
Team – all players – awards for delivering out-and-out gutsy performances.
In the words of the great Nadia Comaneci…”I don’t run from fear, I run towards it and trample it beneath my feet” = U16 Div 2…in spades today.
Sandy Rovers – U16 Division 2