There were some important lessons for the team this week as part of a great game. The boys were given a lesson in small ground football in the first half. East Malvern came out firing, moving the ball quickly, finding their targets and marking well. They knew how to play this ground.
The coach asked pre-game for the boys to switch on. During the warm-up and the first quarter it was obvious that the boys hadn’t quite registered the message. Lesson number one – be ready to play the moment you run out of the rooms. The first half showed that when you come up against a good team willing to run, you just might get left behind.
The first half was played mainly in the backline and through the centres with East Malvern playing the game on their terms. Stricko and Hewy were fighting hard to defend but with the quick ball movement of East Malvern goals were coming fast against the Rovers. The second quarter saw the boys open the term with some clean ball movement which resulted in a quick goal. Despite how hard Shae was working, East Malvern again got on top and at the main break and the Rovers were well down all over the field.
At half time the coach looked for three things from the boys in the second half: 1. move it forward, 2. man up, and 3. use the ball long. On a ground this size our usual run and carry just wasn’t going to be allowed.
The third quarter saw a complete turn-around in the match. With Lachy working hard in the centre supported by the quick ball movement of all the mids the forwards had a chance to come into the match. It wasn’t all one-way traffic though with the backs still called on for support, Hewy was roaming the half back line and took a great grab to halt East Malvern again threatening to score. By following what the coach wanted, the Rovers managed to keep East Malvern scoreless while closing the gap (on the very unofficial scoreboard).
The boys and the coaching staff knew the Rovers were back in it. Keep running together and move it quick. The mids responded and the rest was left to the forwards. Josh B led the charge down forward managing a quick fire three goals to have the boys back on terms. Apart from his Malcolm Blight moment, his efforts had a big impact on the boys. This could not have occurred without the support from all the forwards and mids in trapping the ball in our attacking area when East Malvern looking like getting out.
By the end of the game the Rovers had turned it around and once again got to sing the song. For the second week in a row our boys were tested, but delivered. You did well boys! You supported your teammates – that is the Rovers way. As the opposition coach said at the end, football is about fun whether you win, lose or draw and that is the way to play the game.
Our coach reminded our team that it’s so important to do all the little things from the start – and that’s be ready and switch on, follow the coach’s instruction and be ready to change the way you play. Well done boys!
By Myles Whelan