Wow another winter weekend when we missed the bad, cold weather. With an 11:30am game today the dew was gone and air was mild, slight cross breeze with no major advantage on our fantastic ground at Castlefield. Or as a few boys remind me “Caaarrstlefield” not “Castelfield”. Most of the boys came down early and watched the Under 8’s pregame which was good to see.
When we hit the rooms the boys looked pumped, excited and raring to go. We sat down for the pregame discussion with a focus on doing the team things, running like in packs and not being left behind. We set up the Danger Zones at each end of the white board. The back area Danger Zone is a no go zone, the forward Danger Zone is where we wanted the footy right above our square. The boys seemed to take this in.
Today we were again missing some of our big guns, Raph was not feeling well this morning and Jody was still away. Lining up with 17 boys we recruited Ollie’s younger brother Spencer and Caelan from the U/8’s. I nominated our Captain today as Theeran Goyal, and all started well, we won the toss and kicked to the miniature goal post end.
From the first bounce the Rovers boys were committed. Big Chris Wormington showed us his strength in the ruck position roaming the mid field and taking a great mark in the play. Wil Licheri was in full attack mode from the wing tackling, putting his body in and doing the hard things in the packs. Baxter and Jake were controlling the midfield and Harry was everywhere, Jade kicked it into the forward Danger Zone, (right where we discussed) Ollie marked and converted our first goal of the day. The ball returned to St Peter End where Seb Gelso held strong on the last line of defence. His pressure acts, tackling and intensity ensured the ball came back our way, he was well supported by Theeran, Jack and Campbell. Lincoln was designated kicker and ensured the ball stayed wide in our defence. We saw some fantastic link play with Fletcher running the ball with a long kick to Baxter who controlled the ball nicely to Jake in the mid-field, Jake kicked in to Jade who marked and slotted a great goal from 25m out. St Peters snuck in one goal for the quarter.
In the second quarter we saw some more great footy, the first major play had Fletcher win a loose ball on the wing, run around and kick laces out to his brother Harry. Harry kicked into Jade who gave it back to a running Harry where a classy goal was kicked. Fantastic footy. It wasn’t long after that that Theeran sent a booming torpedo from half back, the ball went a good 45-50m it was a cracker. Jack Breen showed his commitment from the wing with some great inside work helping his team mates. Dan Storey was always at the contest and Campbell took some great marks around half forward and after we got the ball back into our forward Danger Zone, Baxter took the ball in traffic could’ve easily had a snap himself but lowered his eyes and drove a beautiful low drop punt into Harry at the top of the square. Easy second goal for Harry, but a seriously impressive assist from Baxter Moss, great skills, great poise and great vision.
St Peters had plenty of opportunities and also scored two goals, Jade had a great quarter down back, winning the footy down low, using his body and kicking to advantage in the midfield. He was backed up well by Magnus and Toby .Ollie took the important kicks in and held up well.
At half time the boys were full of belief Harry had another great quarter in the back line, Jake and Chris ensured the ball wasn’t in our back line long. Josh, Ollie and Toby worked tirelessly from the ruck taps of Magnus. This third quarter was an arm wrestle St Peters were lifting and we needed to respond, the opposition goaled and for the first time it looked like we might lose a quarter of footy today. Spencer Ries had some great clean footy in the back line and Toby and Ollie worked the ball back to our forward half. Lincoln applied pressure to the pack and forced the ball out at half forward when a quick kick found Fletcher on a slight angle 25m out from goal. THE SIREN SOUNDED. The boys went over to reassure Fletcher that he could kick this goal, he walked back and slotted it straight though, never in doubt. The first post siren goal for us this year, very exciting!
The last quarter again saw some great rovers play. I was so pleased and excited when I saw Lincoln hit up Harry from the midfield, Harry kick straight o an open Jade in the Pocket only to run on and receive the handball back from Jade. That is how you play footy and those moments of team play are so much better than any goal we kick or mark we take. That’s the sort of improvement I have seen this year with our boys. The quick handball under pressure, the link play and the collective efforts. Great to see these things starting to click in these young boys. Even with our great play we couldn’t score another goal, unfortunately St Peter’s did. A young boy from their team (number 14) had a stand out quarter, his efforts resulting in some great goals (three) in the final quarter. He was getting so much leather I even resulted to putting a tag on him in the last few minutes to try limiting the damage.
Overall we saw some great footy today from both sides, the spirit of the game was all class and our boys kept their heads up high until the final siren. We headed back to the rooms to enjoy our song.
Many great efforts today from our team. Weekly awards:
Guts And Determination
Wil Licheri – This boy has great pace and is fearless in the contest, he is fast working out how much influence he can have on the game by just getting to the contest. Today his efforts were plentiful, he was putting himself in the play, in the packs, running hard at the ball and tackling hard and had more possessions than I have seen this season. Many of these efforts and 1%ers resulted in the ball ending up in our forward line. Keep up the hard work Wil great game today.
Jack Breen – Jack started the season late, is relatively new to footy and has missed a few weeks on leave. However I’ve been please to see consistent improvement in Jack each game. Today he applied himself to every opportunity and even when he didn’t get the ball, he will lay a tackle or apply pressure to his opponent. As a new player, ball skills will come for Jack, but you can’t teach kids courage and Jack has all the right stuff in that department and he used it well today. Super Effort.
Absolutely Smashed It
Jake Ring – Another boy who has been on leave and it looked like he has missed the footy as he got plenty of it today. Jake is a fantastic running player who generates momentum for our team. His effort for four quarters is never in doubt. While his ball carry today was a highlight again, it’s the consistent efforts that impresses me the most. Jake also plays like he trains, he is very serious and very competitive and always focused. Very reliable team mate for Under 9 Yellow.
Mark of the Day
Campbell Hardie – Last season Campbell was one of our power players taking marks and clearing packs and slotting the odd goal or two. This year he had some time off in England and didn’t return with his same confidence. The last few weeks we have seen the Campbell we remember, today he had great presence at half forward and half back, showed strength taking some great marks in the play and reminded the opposition how strong he is. Looking forward to some more of this in our remaining games. Great marks today.