The boys were excited to be back playing on their home deck and playing in front of the home crowd. We welcomed into the fold a new player to the team, Thomas Cunningham, a mid season transfer from Queensland. His transfer papers were completed at the close of business Friday, so he was good to don the ‘Green & Gold’ of the mighty Hampton Rovers under 8’s Purple for the first time. Welcome Thomas! As per league instructions we shortened the ground to the required measurements, much to the ooohs and aaarhs from the boys.
The first began with the combination of Nate, Kai, Toby & Taj in the middle and Thomas on the wide open space of the outer wing. The first few minutes were an arm wrestle as the ball seemed to be getting punished between the arks and with no real momentum being made by either side. East Malvern were applying good pressure to our ball carriers. Midway through the quarter we had a fantastic passage of play. Nate crashed a pack, kicked long down the line where Ziggy had broken free from his tag and found space to mark. Ziggy quickly turned short passed to Jacob, who in turn flicked the ball onto Angus.H who finished off the great work that had been done up the ground by booting home the first major for the day. The boys were starting to click and string together some good possessions. Reid took a strong contested mark on the forward flank, centred the ball to Nate who passed off to Jacob. It is pleasing to see the boys bring what we have been practicing at training and representing that on game day. Kai & Taj linked up well together through the midfield just as the siren went to end the quarter.
The pressure came on our back six from near the start of the second. Throughout the quarter the backs held their own, keeping the pressure on the opponents with Will, Charlie and Nick all chasing hard and causing turnovers. On one of the turnovers Angus.A scooped up the loose ball and banged it onto his boot and launched it deep into the midfield to give the back six time to reset and compose themselves. The midfield battle was one to see with the new boy, Thomas, showing his team mates how it’s done up north, by putting in hard at the stoppages. We managed to bring the ball forward through the determination of Kai, Baxter (now that he made his mouth guard in) and Toby who pushed the ball forward where Jacob got on the end of it and pushed the ball wide for a point. From the kick in, the boys up forward, all manned up well and the kick in missed its mark and ended up with Angus.H taking an uncontested mark in front of goal and then unselfishly hand balled it across to Jacob who slammed it home from 15 out. The forwards of Ethan, Reid, Deakin and Ziggy were constantly putting their heads over the footy and getting it out from under the packs. The remainder of the second quarter again saw the boys have great teamwork and from on the boundary I was hearing lots and lots of talk, which we have been drumming into them week in and week out, so that was great to hear.
The main break we spoke about keeping the pressure on our opponents and to use the ball well, kick long and the use of hand ball in tight to get it to space. With four team mates unavailable and having no rotations I though the boys might be starting to feel a touch worn out, was I wrong. All the boys at the half were eager to (a) see where they were playing in the second half and (b) get back out there amongst it. The third was a great display of defensive pressure from both teams. For the majority of the quarter it was either with our back six or being fought for through the midfield, the forwards didn’t see too much of the leather this quarter. Nate was like a general down back, he was in everything. He was very unlucky not to have a great contested mark payed. A piece of play that I would like to bring to light is where Reid took a good mark and before you could blink, Nate screamed for the hand ball running past, Reid immediately shot out the hand ball without looking which hit its target running past being Nate. Nate without breaking stride ran on, took his allotted 15 metres and launched the pill long down the outer wing where Ziggy was free in space and marked. The reason I highlight this passage of play is that for the past two weeks we have been dedicating the last twenty minutes of training to circle work and that passage is straight out of our training manual and replicated to perfection on game day, well done boys.
So it comes down to the last and the boys have been pushing hard all day, their tanks must be getting low and looking over to the other bench, i see five (5) boys resting, reenergising, just waiting to get back out on deck, but our boys are still pumped and ready to charge out. The first bounce saw Ethan throw his body into the contest in the ruck with Reid and Deakin also going in for the hard ball and laying some good tackles. Reid was going in so hard and with no thought of his own safety, he put his head over the ball and collided with an opposition player and both were put to the ground in the contest. Reid got up and his first thought was to make sure his opponent was ok. Great sportsmanship shown by Reid, well done mate.
The midfield moved the the ball into the forward line through a good passage of play through Ethan, Jacob and Ziggy. Zane made a good chase to pick up the ball and kicked long into the pocket where Will found himself on the end of it and managed to turn 360 degrees before snapping a goal over his left shoulder. The boys were showing no signs of slowing down. We had the majority of play on our terms in the last, we managed to pepper the forward line through long kicks and great use of hand ball. Max.R, Zane, Charlie and Nick all showed off their skill and toughness with some good possessions in the forward line. The last few minutes saw Jacob, who was sitting to the back of the midfield pack, stopping the kick going back the other way, run onto the loose ball out the back where he fed it to Reid, Reid ran on and kicked to a waiting Charlie. Charlie saw a mis-match (height difference) deep forward of Angus.A being manned by a minnow, so he launched a kick and hit its target of the out stretched arms of the waiting Angus.A. Angus went back and split the middle for a maximum. A great game played by all 18 boys. Passion, Teamwork, Fun, Respect.
Congratulations to all the boys today, a well deserved, well played and great team effort by all.
The best thing about being a coach is seeing the boys learn week to week and seeing them get used to playing with each other and seeing the teamwork grow. This week has seen the boys take another step forward in their progress as footballers. Speaking on behalf of myself and Roger, I can clearly see that the boys are taking on board what we are trying to instil in them at training and reproducing it on game day.
Awards given in no particular order:
Angus.H, Deakin.P, Reid.I, Kai.C, Nate.J, Ziggy.O and awarded best afield by the opposition Jacob.N
A huge shout out to all those parents that can help out each week, thank you for all that you do for the boys. Without your support none of this would be possible, Thanks again.
Goals: 1 W.Jones, 1 A.Aujard, 1 A.Hare, 1 J.Nichols
Best Players: R.Ilczynski, A.Hare, K.Currie, N.Jongen, D.Purton, Z.Okalyi, J.Nichols