Tough day at the office today for the boys.
Away to Ajax and in search of our first post-grading win. Bailey S and Jack Mc were captains for the day – reward to both boys who have been showing some great form.
We encountered a fired-up Ajax side who were ready to go from the first bounce. And go they did, scoring the first goal of the match within the first minute of the game. We started to wake from our slumber after this though and we controlled the majority of the first quarter with Ajax struggling to get the ball past the half-way line – the problem was we didn’t convert our opportunities and create scoreboard pressure.
James Cutler was winning everything in the ruck and was well supported by Sidney and Peter who were both prepared to run their hearts out and get to as many contests as possible. Matt C, Geordie, James P and Jake were playing tight in defence as were Ollie F and Jack H who was returning after a knee injury.
We’ve been emphasising the importance of holding a wall across our attacking 40 metre line when the ball is in our forward line. We did a reasonable job at this for most of the day. Sidney did it very well and he was rewarded when he took a mark on the 40m and was given a very generous 30m penalty after an Ajax player got too close to the mark. Sidney converted to put us in front after a flurry of points including one that hit the post.
A late lapse of concentration allowed Ajax to get several unmarked players running through deep into their forward line and saw them kick their second for the quarter. A disappointing finish to the quarter to be down a goal after dominating general play.
Stef moved into the ruck in the second quarter and continued to feed Sidney who was having an outstanding game. Sidney never gives up and wills himself to every contest. He is a great example to all the boys of the effort and determination we need from the whole team. Peter was another boy who continued to shine and was too quick and nimble for his opponent, continuously driving us forward. Max was also toiling away, doing all the disciplined one percenters.
Mitch was good on the wing in the second term picking up some good possessions and putting on some great tackles. Max and Jack Mc continued to work hard supporting the rest of the midfield.
Ollie Mc was doing a good rebounding job at half back, Geordie held down centre half back and was supported by Matt C post rotation.
Things just weren’t connecting in the forward line with the ball not getting to the intended target of Niko, James B, Jack W and Bailey M. James C worked hard at centre half forward and Thomas was pushed deep to try and create some speed and crumbing power.
Once again, some lapses in concentration that saw our boys lose their man. We were not be prepared to run hard enough defensively which put enormous pressure on our fullback line and resulted in a number of goals being scored. Disappointingly, Ajax goals were being scored only when we stopped running, otherwise we were more than just in this game.
The boys received some home truths about their lack of want to chase at half time and we went out optimistic we would see some improvement in the third quarter. Unfortunately, this didn’t eventuate, and Ajax dominated the third quarter, the only quarter they really controlled general play. The pressure mounted and the backline succumbed on a number of occasions. We didn’t manage to kick a goal, although Jake had moved up forward and looked dangerous, hitting the post with one snap.
We didn’t give up in the last quarter and struck back with a couple of goals. It was pleasing to see a lift from some of the boys and Bailey S showed some really good forward pressure – spoiling and tackling.
Our first goal came when Ollie Mc took the ball out of a pack and snapped truly to round out a pretty good game. Our second was kicked by Jack Mc who finished off one of the most impressive pieces of play for the day. It started with Bailey M who grabbed the ball from a second effort at half forward, got a kick away which Stef very cleverly tapped over his head, a further clever knock on from Jack W to Jack Mc saw him convert coolly under pressure. This was a real team goal and a real highlight.
Plenty still to work on. We were very flat today and hopefully we can shrug that off post the long weekend and get back to our best. As I like to say, let’s keep our chins up and stick together – we’ll work hard at training, keep enjoying our footy and the company of our mates.
Damo – Coach
Hampton Rovers – Best Mates!
BTW – Boys make sure you touch your football 100 times each day!!