We welcomed Josh Kordupel back from injury and first gamer Spencer Ries. Team captains James Jebb and Zac Saunders made the right call to kick with the wind. The Port Melbourne Colts were down a couple of players so we had to rotate some of our boys to play for the Colts (which threw our planned rotations into complete chaos) but it was great to see the sportsmanship shown by our boys, particularly Hewitt Sawatzki and Archie Dowling who volunteered.
From the first ball-up it was obvious our boys had listened to the pre match instructions. Josh Kordupel, Lachlan Curtis, Harry Haines and Zac Saunders all had immediate impact in the middle, sending the ball forward where Adrian Gonzales, Hewitt Sawatzki and Luke Kollmorgen all followed the team rule to kick to the top of the goal square, allowing Josh Bou Diab to kick 2 goals and Henry O’Keefe a sneaky single. By the first siren our boys had the game under control.
In the second quarter it was made clear that the Colts were now kicking with the wind and our backline would come under pressure. However, James Jebb and Tom Stricko created the first line of defence across the middle, Luke Kollmorgen got a handful of kicks across half back in defence and was closely supported by Shae Newey and Massimo Champness who were great during a tough quarter. Lachlan Curtis followed another team rule to always have someone drop back on the opposition goal line and saved a certain goal (love seeing that as a coach!), while Ben Montgomery and Zac Saunders also fought hard. Despite the stiff breeze against us, the team defence in the quarter contributed to our team comfortably winning the first half.
In the third quarter first gamer Spencer Ries got the feel of it with a couple of nice kicks and tackles. However, the quarter was completely owned by Josh Bou Diab who marked strongly and kicked goal after goal. A major highlight was when Joe Whelan again followed the team rule to absolute perfection, while being on the boundary line and too far out to score, booted the ball to the top of the goal square, where his mate Josh marked and slotted his 5th for the game (!!) but this goal belonged to Joe as much as Josh. Great team work boys! During this quarter the Colts managed to steal some of our midfield run and kicked into their forward line on various occasions, but again our defence held up well with Kobe Knight, Shae Newey, Boston Hughes, Harry Haines, Lachlan Curtis, James Jebb and Hewitt Sawatzki all featuring.
In the fourth quarter against the breeze Hewy Sawatzki, Lachlan Curtis and Ben Montgomery were all strong again. A great piece of play saw teamwork from Hewy and James Jebb running hard to collect the ball in front of the bench, then Hewy showed great vision and skill looking in field and hitting Luke on the chest with a high impact bullet pass. Lachlan Curtis and Tom Strickland continued to repel the Colts forward thrusts but in the end the Rovers were comfortable winners.
In a game with the obvious highlight of 5 goals from Josh Bou Diab, there were other team highlights which from a coaching perspective were awesome to watch this week, being:
– having Rovers at the drop of the ball at ruck contests (discussed pre-game),
– the pressure put on our opposition (discussed pre-game),
– kicking to the top of the goal square,
– hand balling to a team mate when under pressure,
– locking the ball in our forward line at an opposition kick out.
No question – our boys are listening, learning and becoming a nice unit.
Koje & Kurt