Woke up today expecting absolute freezing conditions for our 8:30am start at our beloved Castlefield. Many parents got up extra early to help set up the ground which is something we thought we had gone past in with our Under 8 commitments. Never the less the morning wasn’t cold at all. At my house we almost had double figures 9 degrees, no frost and no wind! A great day for footy!
Today we were lining up against a team that I had been hearing about week after week from opposition coaches. “Have you played Brighton Beach yet? Good footy team?” they all said. Most of them confirmed they had gone down in quite large margins when they played the boys from Brighton Beach. It didn’t worry me in the slightest, our boys are a force to be reckoned with and I’ve been looking forward to the challenge.
We came out today without Jake Ring who was scheduled to be away, along with a late withdrawal of Jack Stefanovic who pulled up sick this morning. (Big thanks to Mick Stefanovic, Jack’s dad who still came down to goal umpire today. Two thumbs up for that effort!). Our Captains today were Oliver Ries and Javier Cortes. The boys didn’t win the toss today, but it didn’t matter with the wind was barely moving and we were kicked to the western end.
As I mentioned earlier the talk of the town was that no one could match this Brighton Beach outfit. The boys were talking about this too, but to their credit they all turned up early, focused and ready to show this team what Rovers play like at home. The game that proceeded was one of the best U10 performances I have seen. The football was fair, hard and played in great spirit. At the halftime break it was still anyone’s game in a relative low scoring affair. By the end of the game there was a clear difference in the score sheet in Brighton Beach’s favour, however it was far from a true reflection on the competition of the game and a much smaller margin that our competition had confirmed. Our boys stood tall today keeping Brighton Beach scoreless in one quarter and less than two goals in two others, with no bench today and Toby Clarkson carrying a tight hamstring we pulled together a great performance. The most impressive of all today, was the lift in our whole teams effort across the ground and the fact no one ever gave up. I only had three awards today, but wish I could have given out more! Some standout efforts this week were:
- Another brilliant performance from Jody Cripps today. His tackling pressure and follow up was just fantastic. Jody is such a competitor and never lets his team mates down in effort. He played fantastic footy in the midfield and showed great leadership directing traffic in the back line today. I don’t praise this boy enough often because I have come to expect his brilliance. On reflection of today Jody was really outstanding!
- Harry Ockerby was rewarded by Brighton Beach as the player they recognised and best a field and he was damn close if he wasn’t. Slashing through the midfield, tacking, big grabs and eventually resting down forward where he got on the end of some great team play to finish off a great goal.
- Theeran Goyal who I have named “The Enforcer” let the opposition know what physical footy is about. Theeran had a great influence down back and later dominated in the midfield. At one stage he took on three opposition players and just kept paddling the ball forward in great control to a stoppage. No one could stop him! His kicks from Full back were a highlight today also.
- Chris Wormington moved into the midfield from the forward line and showed us some great hands around the packs, he got over the ball today and opened up the midfield packs with some quick handballs. This was great to see and something I want more of this season!
- Fletcher Ockerby has been brilliant in the last month and keeps getting better, he is a natural backman, though he won’t admit it! He reads the play well, takes a great mark and is always reliable under pressure. Today Fletcher gave us great drive off the back and stopped a lot of Brighton’s drive in to their forward line.
- Javier Cortes showed another step in his development both down back and in the midfield as ruckman. Today we say his physical side with great tackles and pressure around the stoppages..
- Seb Gelso – Played on some boys bigger than him today but Seb never backs down. He was tackled hard, and had some valuable possessions throughout the game
- Toby Clarkson knew we were short today and played with some leg soreness. He started in the midfield and then I rested him forward. Toby still had a great game and was instrumental getting a contested possession to Harry for his goal.
- Magnus Barton provided a big target forward and back today and was an influence in the contest even when just bring the ball to ground for the crumbers to attack.
- Jade Doherty played key position back and forward today and was a lynch pin in our defence early and swinging nicely into the forward line later. Another solid performance today from one of our week in week out performers.
- Campbell Hardie looked dangerous up forward today but was covered well by a strong Brighton back line. Moving down back he had to float between loose man and key defender along with kick out duties. Played some tough positions today and rose to the occasion.
- Tristan Gastevich is also finding space and getting to the contest when his opportunity arises. Today he gave us great pressure, took a few marks and gave us some great linking play through the wing.
- Daniel Storey had a ripper game today, he was everywhere. He has an amazing talent to get in the packs and get his hands on the footy which you just can’t teach. That is exactly what he did today, hard ball gets, tackles and lots of hard stuff. Almost had a goal and took some tough marks.
- Lincoln Sharpe fought hard in the forward line and tackled hard all day, always in and under. He was nursing a few bruises after the game which was a sign he gave his all.
- Raph Leman-Philp has homed his skills as a tap ruckman and is now getting great handballs out of the packs to our running rovers. I can see him using his smarts to get in the game which has been great to see today. Took a great tall standing mark today in a bunch of big bodies.
Each week I talk about how great the spread of our teams performance becomes. The boys are working together more and more each week players are developing an awareness of each other. Players are growing into the game and the overall effort is just awesome. It’s really pleasing to watch and super to be part of. Today was a great test of character and I can honestly say every boy rose to the occasion this morning. Let’s hope we can play Brighton Beach again with our full team together, they’re a great test for our group!
Absolutely Smashed It – Tom Hollingworth is blessed with natural speed, he is new to footy this year and is now reading the play and getting to the contest in any zone. Today he was a real influence around the packs in the midfield, tackling, applying pressure, supporting team mates around the pack and getting his hands on the footy more each week. Tom’s efforts today really impressed me and I thought he did smash it!
Guts and Determination – Ollie Ries, Captain today and played exactly the way one should. Amazing attack on the footy today. He won contests he was outnumbered in on pure guts and determination. Massive influence off the back line and cleaned up in the midfield today. Great game after a few weeks off with his injured thumb.
Play of the Day – Raph Leman Philp, there were some great marks and plays today. But Raphs big mark up forward today was a ripper. He stood tall in the pack and the ball just stuck to his hands like glue. He didn’t flinch in the contact and just stood strong and tall. Looking forward to a few more of these during the year!
Rest up, enjoy your break and get out and kick the footy with your mates or family!