It’s becoming the typical Sunday morning this season, fresh almost no wind and sunshine gleaming across Castlefield. Today we were up against Prahran a team who were undefeated and have been winning quite convincingly this season in most games. After two weeks of solid training with a focus on our competitiveness, working in numbers and winning our own footy, the boys were primed to take the game to our leagues best competition.
We headed out with Raphael and Lincoln as our Captains. Unfortunately Wil Licheri was a late withdrawal, but we had some eager Under 8’s ready to set up and give us a bench today. I asked the boys to work hard today knowing we had great opposition and the first quarter was great. Prahran got first use of the footy and moved straight to the tiny goal post end of the ground, threatening to score. One poster knocked the pole dangerously close to the goal umpire. (For the safety of goal umpires we might have to go back to using the real ones?) Our backline held strong with Toby Clarkson winning the footy on the goal line multiple times and running the ball back our way, he had great support Fletcher, Ollie and Josh. Once the ball got out to the mids Jody, Daniel and Baxter ran and moved the ball down to our forward zone. The relentless effort eventually getting us the first goal of the game with a great kick from Jake Ring who is becoming a regular on the score board with those flashy green boots. Jade also had a great quarter being a strong target up forward with Seb and Jack crumbing the packs and looking dangerous every time it hit the ground.
In the second quarter Prahran got a goal back after lots of tough footy from the midfield. Great standard for Under 9’s from both teams. Theeran and Raph shared ruck and wing duties, while Josh and Flecther were tackling hard, applying pressure and competing just like I requested. Toby had another great quarter, his second and third efforts were a highlight for me. This boy never gives in! The mids kept the ball trapped in our half most of the quarter. Jody, Harry and Baxter all looked dangerous and we kicked three behinds before Jody slipped a goal through. Magnus used his presence in the forward line to make way for a big goal from Campbell in the thick of traffic. Prahran hit back hard countering the attack until Seb flew into to the pack to take a great backline mark stopping a likely Prahran goal. We were starting to really take control of the score board which showed 0.0.00 to 0.0.00 but the boys knew what was going on, we had a handy lead. We just needed to keeping applying the pressure to the Prahran team for another two quarters.
In the third quarter Chris Wormington volunteered to take ruck duties, with his recent form and confidence we expected big things and he delivered. He was supported well in the midfield by Jake, Seb and Lincoln who showed us some great linking footy and hard in and under play. Prahran kept coming and seemed to beat us around the ball with numbers but our boys fought hard against the odds and we maintained a competitive quarter. One of our Under 8 boys Jackson got his hands on the footy at full forward ran out with poise and snapped a goal over his shoulder. Very impressive snap! I heard a few people asking who number 10 was? A hard fought quarter which was very even by score. Hampton Rovers had a slender lead (by my unofficial score board) but we know it’s a game of four not three quarters.
At the last break, I asked the boys for one last effort and they all committed with energy and I believed we could be the first to take down Prahran this season. Unfortunately Prahran came out with as much gusto and went straight into attack. Our backline was under pressure for the whole quarter and while we stood up well, the relentless forward movement eventuated in two Prahran goals and a lead we could not claw back. Even having the short end of the ground with the tiny goals was no advantage for us. The boys never gave up today and fought hard to the finish, we are definitely a competitive force with the top sides in our Division and it’s been great to see our boys having to really dig in. We can beat anyone on our day I know that and I was very proud again of our never say die attitude and commitment, that’s why we hit the rooms to sing our song after the match! I really hope we can play Prahran again before the year is out! Great game of U/9 footy today.
Thanks to the Under 8 boys and their parents who hung around and helped out playing some instrumental minutes with us today. Josh, Jackson, Kit and Spencer, we hope you got some new experiences and valuable extra game time today.
Outstanding Contribution – Toby Clarkson, one of our smallest players in size but biggest in performance, courage and commitment. Toby attacks the ball in offence and defence giving 110% with multiple efforts at every contest. Many possessions today were in the thick of play where he either won his own ball or applied pressure to his opponent to gain possession. Super effort and great game today., tough stuff.
Guts and Determination – Jade Doherty one of our strong body boys with a great pair of hands and poise when taking possession. Jade took a lot of contested marks today, he suffered some heavy knocks from a tough Prahran team but got straight back out there to help his team mates! Awesome marking and commitment today.
Completely Smashed It – Jody Cripps a recognised leader in our team with his ability to win the ball and make ground on his opponents. He performs as we expect week after week and rarely has a poor game. Today Jody excelled in all positions he played and stood out as one of our best for the day against great opposition. Keep it up Jody!
Mark of the Day – Sebastian Gelso our quite achiever. Seb always puts himself in the contest and today was no different. His mark coming out of the backline against two kids almost twice his size was not only courageous it was a great, tough mark that stopped Prahran’s momentum forward. Love it! Good tough, skilful footy from a tough little Rover.
Coach U/9 Orange
Hampton Rovers JFC