We travelled down to Albert Park today for a afternoon match against the Bloods. It was a good reminder that winter is very close. The temperature was mild, the wind wasn’t bad but favoured one end of the ground slightly and the outlook was dark clouds and rain.
Today we lined up with some of our gun team mates out of the team, Baxter, Tristan and Jake were away. Ollie Ries hurt his hand last week and couldn’t pass the fitness test prior to the game with the team doctor declaring him out for at least a week. Lucky for us we had some eager reinforcements pushing up from Under 9’s with Luke Kollmorgen, Harry Haines, Kai Hotton and Nick Barton. After the boys warmed up watching our Under 10 Rovers Purple take on the Bloods before us we were ready and raring to get on the field.
I selected two Captains today who have been showing great leadership – Harry Ockerby impressed me with his stand up address to the team at training this week and Magnus Barton has been really focused during drills lately which is turning into great game day performances on the field.
Today we started slow with our first term much of a yoyo game with our kicking often letting us down as we kicked to our opponents far too many times. It was the first damp ground we had played on this season and the pace of the game really slowed up and became much more congested at the stoppages. The first quarter had some highlights with Big Raph taking one of the marks of the day, Toby and Jody fought hard in the midfield packs with lots of tackling. Our younger team mates performed well with Luke getting a few handy touches in the forward line, Nick getting plenty of the ball on the wing and Harry showing us how solid he is on backline with great intercept marks and rebounds. We looked dangerous down forward with Jack pursuing the contest at every opportunity while Theeran, Harry and Lincoln all came close to kicking a goal. Inaccuracy into the wind was hurting while the Bloods managed to sneak two past us the other way.
The second term we had the wind and plenty of ball but the boys from South Melbourne turned on the pressure. Our backs saw plenty of footy, Magnus kept the last line of defence safe and stopped a few goals. Harry ran the ball out from half back but South Melbourne was rebounding time and again in the midfield. Chris Wormington showed us his strength in the midfield keeping his body over the ball and getting clean possessions out time and again. Kai Hotton came into the midfield and fought hard all quarter, Tom showed us his pace out on the wing with some nice run and carry. The boys fought hard to keep the ball forward and eventually Raph used his height and reach to tap a ball from the pack to Jade in the clear who slotted our first major of the day. We finished the quarter one goal for Rovers and one for the Bloods. It was tough competitive footy and we headed into the main break with the bloods holding a slight score sheet advantage.
In the third we were back into the wind and a challenge to ensure we didn’t let the opposition capitalise. The back line was asked to really tighten up and we needed to run the ball forward. The midfield worked well with Luke and Lincoln teaming up well in and under the packs Harry running hard again and Jack tackling hard over and over. It was tough footy again, and our backs were under pressure Daniel and Seb were ferocious in the back line tackling and applying pressure at every turn. Jody, Jade and Nick gave us some penetration into the midfield but we struggled to get he ball up forward effectively. Unfortunately we couldn’t manage a goal this quarter and the blood snuck another one through.
At the final change the boys asked what the score was, I told them not to worry about the score. We have the wind to finish, we have 12 minutes to see what we can do. Lets give it all we have and finish of strong. And that they did, Raph was back in the ruck and gave a great use with his tap rucking Jody, Jade and Kai pushed the ball forward at every opportunity. The ball went long and high where Luke K marked and confidently went back to convert his set shot. Straight out of the middle again and Harry again hits up Luke who converts his second gaol of the quarter. The momentum had swung and the Rovers were rolling home. Again our midfield willed the ball forward with Dan Story getting some key possessions. Harry kicked another one into our danger zone in front of goal where Luke was again looking dangerous when the ball was collected by Lincoln and he banged one through the goals. No idea what the score was now but it was a close game I knew that. The boys were playing inspired footy and it was great to see such endeavour towards the end of the game. Again our midfield bombed the ball forward eventually getting to our forward pack, the hot footy bounced of some hands straight through to Magnus who grabbed it cleanly and instinctively turned around and slammed it through the big ones! What quarter from the boys and what a finish.
Thanks to our mates that filled in today, the four boys from Under 9’s played great footy and all impressed. Today was an unofficial (very close) loss but it really felt like we won that game today we gradually gained momentum and finished just beautifully. The bloods were a great opponent and we look forward to challenging them again later in the season.
Weekly Match Awards
Outstanding Contribution – Luke Kollmorgen played his second game of the day and really impressed me with clean hands and a cool head around the stoppages along with two great marks and goals in the final term. Great game today.
Guts and Determination – Jack Stefanovic shows this in spades. On Friday night I watched him train with focus and enthusiasm and then when training finished spend another half hour just on his kicking drills. DETERMINATION is something we always get from our team mate Jack. Jack is doing the hard work and getting his hands on the footy, that is the hard stuff! As his skills develop we are going to see some great footy from this young man who is fresh into his first season of footy.
Completely Smashed It – Christopher Wormington is one of our tall, strong fellows and always smiling. He is learning fast just how strong and skilled he is. Today he impressed me with his poise in the middle of the ground, collecting loose balls and using his strength and balance to ensure the ball was his. A couple of great possessions in the thick of play. Great contests in the ruck and just a presence for our team out on the field. Great team player and a great game today.
Mark of the Day – Raphael Leman-Philp this boy is in a major acceleration of his development. Confidence is exploding and he is fast finding how tall, strong and skilful he is. The other team quivers when he attacks the ball and he’s starting to realise this as are his team mates. Today he crashed the pack and plucked a fantastic mark at full stretch it was a great mark and the most memorable of the day for me! Keep up the good work Raphy!
Don’t forget to brush your teeth, comb your hair and pull your socks up for team photos tomorrow!
U10 Bronze Coach