Following a solid effort at training this week the boys from Team Yellow were able to put on their white shorts for their first away game of the season.
Arriving nice and early at Princes Park all the boys (and parents) knew what to expect today, and on the whole everyone looked a lot more relaxed. The boys were all keen to get out on the field and warm up before the game, and after some game-play instructions from Julian, the boys and parents took the long walk from the change rooms to the ground.
With much anticipation the siren sounded and the first quarter was underway. Ajax showed they had turned up for a game of football and by linking their kicks together early on, they put some pressure on the Rovers’ defence. To Team Yellow’s credit they showed great teamwork and pulled together to get their hands on the footy and rebound the football to the half back flanks. Playing deep in the back line Ethan had some big kick-ins, Caelan K-F and Archie roved the packs well to pick up the loose ball, and between them they all managed to get their hands on the football and out-muscle their opponents. Lucas, Seb and Joshy all applied some strong tackles with repeated efforts to keep the ball tied up. By the end of the first quarter the defence were working well to win some great turnovers, and rebound the ball into the middle for Angus to work some magic – with a great mark being a highlight.
The second quarter saw some minor changes, with Cruzy and Kai joining the midfield. Kai showed some great strength in the middle as ‘the extractor’ winning a lot of clearances, which set up some early forays into the Rovers forward line. Ajax were playing like Collingwood and by kicking a few points instead of goals they kept the Rovers in the game early on. Halfway through the second quarter the Rovers midfield started getting their hands on the ball first. Louis, Freddie, Caelan M, and Cruz all followed Kai’s lead and put their head over the ball, and played hard to win more of the contested ball in the centre. Kai broke free from the centre and sent a long ball into the forward line where Jackson N weaved around several Ajax defenders – only to put through a minor score. The resulting kick–in was then marked by Jackson, who ran around onto his left like Buddy and sent it back over the Ajax defence’s heads for the Rover’s first goal.
The forward line lit-up with the confidence that the first goal often brings. Jack, Harry, Charlie and Will were now all working well to keep each forward entry moving towards goal. As the next ball entered the forward line, the boys kept pressuring the ball closer towards the goal where it was pounced on by the new Eddie Betts of the team – Edward, who snagged a great goal from the pocket.
The Half-time siren sounded and the Rovers had some hustle and swagger. With a spring in their step we all looked forward to a big second half from the boys.
The defence were again challenged early in the third quarter with Will showing some great determination to win the ball, Ashton and Jack were competing hard at each contest, and Caelen M started to assert more pressure across the half back line. The strong work from our backs sent the ball forward more often, and Edward finished the third quarter with 2 more fantastic goals.
The final quarter saw Cooper, Archie, Caelen K-F and Harry start to win more ball in the middle of the ground, which as a result saw the ball enter into the Rovers forward line several more times. The final quarter was close and the Rovers played a great game to finish off a competitive match with Ajax. There were no signs of last week’s late fade out, with every boy competing strongly until the final siren.
It was great to see all our players concentrating throughout the game this week. The skill levels and game sense showed by the boys was a big step up on last week, as the boys had a better understanding of the zones and where their team mates were positioned.
This year is primarily about making football fun for the boys, and after such a great all-round team performance it was only fitting for the boys to get a taste of singing the Rovers team song back in the change rooms.
The coaches really appreciate the support we are getting from all the parents, whether you have official roles during the game – or you are prepared to help out with setting up the rotations on the team boards etc. A big thank you to our umpire this week – Paul Kelly who did a great job, and a big thank-you as well to our stand-in Team Manager during the game – Peter Eddey who helped Aaron out in his absence.
This week’s awards (in no particular order) were presented to.
Next week we will line up against the East Brighton Vampires for a home game back at Castlefield oval.