The last round of the home and away season arrived, Round 13, with the sun beaming down on the Rovers Purple chargers for their last swan song on the hallowed turf of Castlefield Park, which the boys have owned and made a fortress this year.
Pre game the boys were up and about going through their pre game routine on the ground of snapping goals from the most tightest of angles to then switching on and going through their last minute drills with the help of Chris Tanner and Adrian Artico running the drills.
The first quarter started with a scramble for possession in the middle with Toby running off the back flank picking up the loose ball and slamming it forward to Ziggy who had a running shot for goal that just missed to the near side. The resulting kick in had our forwards manning up and applying strong forward pressure which ended up in a turnover, that saw Nate scoop the ball off the deck and slot through his first major for the day. The centre bounce had a flurry of quick possessions through Kai, Ethan, Angus.H who flicked the ball wide to the running Zane, Zane kicked long to the half forward line. Ziggy ran onto the pass from Zane, kicked it over the top to find Will open in the pocket who turned and evaded a defender to send the pill sailing over the goal umpires head for a goal. The midfield of Angus.H, Charlie, Max.S, Ethan, Zane and Kai saw us win the contested ball out of the centre. Charlie marked on the far side to dish off to Nick on the back flank who passed to Jacob who pushed up the ground and kicked long to Kai, who kept the forward momentum going with another long kick into the forwards. Taj picked up the ball on the flank and kicked into the pocket where he found the solid hands of Nate. Nate went back on the angle, kicked truly and never looked like missing. The energy within the group was electric, all the boys were having a crack and helping out their team mates. The mids were doing the job on the opposition and were consistently getting to the fall of the ball in front which gave us first use. The forward momentum kept coming with Angus.H, Kai and Max.S all linking up to find Angus.A in the middle of a pack where he kicked forward to Max.R who snapped and pushed his kick to the far side. The ball was kept in our forward zone with great pressure and a want for the footy. Angus.A had the ball and centred it to the goal square where Will picked up spun around and snapped over his shoulder for his second of the quarter.
At the break we discussed the need to keep applying the pressure to the opposition ball carrier and to keep applying the forward pressure. The second started with Ajax getting hold of the ball and pushing forward and delivering it into their forwards. Our backs of Thomas, Harry, Reid, Mitchell, Baxter and Deakin held up to the pressures that Ajax were applying. Thomas had the full back duties of kicking out, and he did exactly as discussed before the game of kicking out long to the flanks. With the ball in the back half the defence stood up to lay tackle after tackle. Baxter layer a strong tackle on a much bigger opponent which seemed to help lift the intensity of the back six. Thomas kicked deep to the outer flank to find Reid who played on quickly to Toby. The boys started finding space through the middle and some good passages of play followed. Kai, who seemed to have the ball on a string in the first half, was again damaging through the middle with some good help from the run of Ethan, Charlie and Angus.H. The ball was moved forward with the help of Zane with a big kick to find a loose Ziggy deep who had got off his man, Ziggy managed to finish off all the hard work done up the ground by the backs and mids to put through a well deserved and steadying goal. Ajax had managed to put on two goals throughout the quarter. With minutes remaining in the first half we moved the ball across the ground through the hands of Mitchell, Harry and Jacob. The pressure through the midfield continued with good link up play from Angus.H and Charlie to move the ball deep into the forward pocket where Ziggy took possession and snapped to centre the ball. The snap was marked by Will about 20 metres out straight in front, and like a true forward went back to the top of his mark, turned and informed his team mates that he was having a shot, by pointing to the goals. He took his allotted 30 seconds and moved in to nail his third for the day.
The second half saw the rotations come in and all the boys reset for a big last half. The third was an even battle between the two teams. Ajax had the better of the quarter with putting on another major to our point. We had good contributions in the quarter from Zane, who broke through a strong tackle and used the ball well. Deakin used his size to advantage, Max.R had good touches, Taj, Jacob, Nick and Harry all attacked the footy with purpose. Nate racked up the possessions through the middle of the ground and kept the ball coming into the forwards.
The last quarter was one where the opposition managed to kick two straight to our four points. The momentum swung in the last but we as a group never stopped putting in and putting our head over the ball. This was emphasised by Mitchell who threw his body into a contest and then layed a big tackle which helped the backs gain possession and run the ball out of defence. The last quarter was a bit of a blur for me as I was starting to get a wash of emotion come over me in the realisation that the season was coming to a close, so I apologise that the details of the last are a little on the thin side. The siren sounded to the mass eruption from all the boys throwing their hands up in the air for the final time.
The game was played just as you would want from your team as a coach; with passion, team work, energy and more importantly played fairly. The boys all lined up and gave Ajax three cheers and cheered the umpires and then the single most important thing after that was “where are the lolly snakes?” We walked back into the rooms where the boys all linked arms and belted out the club song after a well played game!!
I would like to take this opportunity to THANK every single parent who has helped out throughout the past 15 weeks. I would like to acknowledge Bill Hare and Wayne Spooner for their contributions throughout the season as umpires, Chris Tanner for racking up the kilometres as the team runner, Kim Harper and Kate Hatton for keeping us all informed and up to date as the team managers, Jay Harper for being my stats man, Penny Green and Kate (again) for being the club trainers and lastly to my mate Roger Okalyi for being in the trenches with me all year as my trusty assistant coach. None of our teams success throughout the year could have been done without everyone’s input and hard work 🙌🏻 🙏🏻 👍🏻 👊🏻.
I am extremely proud of the achievements that the team, your boys, have achieved over the past 15 weeks or so, we couldn’t have scripted it any better. If I have missed anyone I apologise, I will do a final wrap of the season next week after the lightning carnival. I look forward to seeing all the boys next Thursday night for one last training session.
Go Rovers Purple, THANKS FOR THE RIDE!!!!!
Awards in no particular order:
#proud #teamwork #effort #thankyou
Goals: 3 W.Jones , 2 N.Jongen , 1 Z.Okalyi
Best Players: W.Jones, C.Tanner, T.Kuzman, T.Green, K.Currie