So here we were. Boss James and the last game of our 2018 campaign. Finals no longer in our sights, we were looking to finish our year off on a high. Last game of a year that has had highs, lows, troubles and triumphs. Everyone would remember the year more favorably if we sung the song one last time.
The match had some extra bite with our rivals, Ajax, still a chance to finish 4th. We rolled out 3 more 50 games milestones with Geordie, Maxy and Nate W.
The first term was the tussle we expected. Scoring pretty even and the boys getting used to the large surrounds of the Boss. Ball movement is the real key to the larger grounds and Maxy at half back was taking some great grabs and sending it back our way. Matty B and Sandro were combining well using their skills to give us plenty of opportunities. I revved up Nate J ,who was helping us out, to kick 10. He booted our first and the boys loved it. Geordie was presenting well after being instructed to be a focal point up forward. Leo was running into space and got some important touches. We were on!
The second term saw us lock the opposition down through the great work of James H, James P and Ollie F down back. Mikey was also continuing his stellar season down back and I had something different for him in the 2nd half. Freddie’s year has been brilliant and he was cool as ice with his attack and kicking skill. Benny W kicked 2 rippers which saw us into the big break with a good lead.
Everyone was showing the best of themselves. Jack W was getting a bit of it and we all went nuts when we thought he’d kicked a goal. The Ajax goal umpire didn’t sense the moment and gave it as touched. Nate W was running through the lines and repelling Ajax’s effort to get forward. Moved Mitch R to half back and his attack on the player and ball was hard and fair. Huddy was simply everywhere once again, and he kicked another big goal to put the game well and truly in our favour. I’ve been saying all year the Harry BG would be a key player when he holds onto all his marks. He was plucking them out of the sky at will. Great to see the improvement as the year has gone on.
To the last term and we were looking to enjoy our footy and finish the game off strongly. The Mikey move forward took shape. Ryan P slotted a left foot checkside dribble through the big sticks and it was party time. Mitch G was strong with run and got the ball over the top where Mikey gave off to little Nate J for his second major. Sandro was having his best game for the year. Repeated efforts is this kid’s go and he never shirks a contest. Late in the last, game beyond doubt, it happened. Mikey ran onto the loose ball and snapped over his shoulder for a big sausage roll. He wasn’t palming that one off!
A 40 point win on the Big Boss is equivalent to 60 on Castlefield. We’ll all remember finishing the year with a win and singing the song. Harry and I thought it appropriate to give the water bottles a spray over the boys to add to the joy. The sad part was looking at the ladder yesterday afternoon. We missed the finals by 2 points after the team above us had a drawn game earlier in the year. I look back on 6 or 7 games where we lost by 1 or 2 goals at how close we were to having more success.
So the year ends with us just missing finals. Pretty damn good effort in Division 1 and ungraded in comparison to 3 or 4 other teams. I’ve been so happy with our development and how we’ve conducted ourselves in every game. Teamwork, pressure and fair play has been displayed by our boys all year. Let’s all celebrate at the presentation gathering on the 26th. Good luck to Damien and the Purples who should go deep into finals.
Thankyou for allowing me to coach the boys this year. I enjoyed it more and more as the year progressed. Special thanks to Graham and Neil for assisting me, Steve for being a great runner and to all the parents who volunteered in various ways all year. It’s you guys that make game day work.
Last but not least to Woffy. A coach is only as good as his team manager allows him to be. Woffy you’ve run like clockwork all year in a huge job. Thanks buddy.
To the boys. Bigger n better next year.
Go Hampton Rovers – best mates!