Under 10 Yellow started the pre-season with a mixture of training sessions at different venues and the challenge of getting a full turn out during the school Holidays.
Despite this, Julian and Wayne were able to get the group prepared and in a position to have an intra-club match in the week leading up to the first round. The team showed some consistent effort in the intra-club match, and we would also like to thank the Rovers U10 Team Orange for allowing our team to get a practice match in before round 1. It proved invaluable – and was the perfect way to get the team ready for the contest they were about to face.
Team Yellow – playing away – made their way outside the Hampton bubble to Caulfield, to take on the mighty Ajax club. It had been two years since Team Yellow had played against Ajax, and the first quarter quickly reminded the Rovers of just how strong an opposition, and how well coached, the Ajax team are. The first quarter was a tight and tough contest fought across all zones. Whilst there were no goals scored in the first quarter – there were many great efforts across the team.
The forward line of Dylan, Cooper, Harrison, Seb, Charlie E and Ashton all provided a great contest. However, with the ball so close to the goals we were only able to score a few points.
At quarter time the team broke into the de-briefs with their line coaches – Rod Block with the forwards, Julian Sill with the midfield, and Coach Steve and Assistant Coach Wayne with the backs. With such a wealth of knowledge around the Team we are very lucky that the boys can hear the messages from many different people.
The second quarter resumed with Team Yellow maintaining their first quarter positions. As a team we have found this to be the most effective coaching tool for the boys, with the ability to play a quarter, get feedback from the coaches and then improve in the same position for the next quarter. It is something that we will continue throughout the year, to develop the players, and allow them time to learn their craft in the various zones.
The backline of Kai, Caelan, Ethan, Hugo, Jeffrey and Will B applied intense pressure and strong tackles to the Ajax forwards, and the momentum started to swing in the favour of the Rovers. Consistent effort to chase, stand next to loose opponents, and look for the first option was being applied all across the ground.
At half time there was a buzz about the huddle and it was great to have the team ready for a switch of zones for the second half. Jackson N moved to full back, Kit arrived fresh off a flight from the UK to Melbourne (that landed about two hours before the start of the game) and the forward line was ready to pounce. Eddie, Josh, Jackson B, Will L, Cruz and Caelan were instrumental in kicking some great goals, Caelan from a strong mark in the goal square, Josh Sill with some bouncing magic from out near the 40m arc and Eddie P with a snap from close to the point post on the boundary line (in the 4th quarter).
The aim for the fourth quarter was consistency. Keeping up the intensity of pressure on the opposition and making sure that the Ajax mid-field were not able to get the upper hand was the focus. The opposition had some crafty tactics of going early off the zone line and dropping two men back who were a kick behind the play in the mid-field. The Rovers were up to the challenge, and the intensity and determination they applied in the first 3 quarters held fast to the end of the game.
There were some highlights that need a brief mention as well:
- Charlie S played a pivotal role with a kick behind the play in the mid-field – which allowed him to rebound through the zone with confidence. This is something that will be asked of different players at times, and while not a flashy role – it is something that will be asked of the team most weeks
- Kai Hotton reminded everyone of his ability to run through brick walls when he split the pack in a marking contest and we wondered if the opposition were going to get back up off the ground
- Jackson B gave the current AFL players a run for their money with a contender for haircut of the year.
The day finished with a rowdy rendition of the Rovers song back in the change rooms, and a reminder from the coaches that applying concentration, pressure, and having fun playing footy will be the focus of the season ahead.
We have welcomed three new players to the team – Harrison, Hugo and Will B. They played well today and we look forward to their input in the team throughout the season.
Awards today, in no particular order, went to Dylan, Charlie S, Kit and Will B.
Well done U10 Team Yellow!