Winter has arrived, well and truly! We travelled down to Albert Part to take on South Melbourne Districts on a cold and boggy ground. Jack W and Will S were our captains today and both had fantastic games and led by example.
It turned out to be a very one-sided first quarter – thankfully it was our forwards who were getting plenty of the ball, whilst the backline felt the cold! The midfield group were terrific, James C winning the ruck contest comfortably, Sidney, Thomas, Peter, Bailey M and Jack Mc combined well to drive the ball into our forward line and then lock it in with a very effective wall.
Ollie F continued his great from last week up forward early, looking very dangerous. Bailey S and Stefan were also putting their hands up and were in the play. Our first goal came after Stefan took a mark at centre half forward, passed the ball to Jack W, who kicked the ball onto James B who was able to snap across his left shoulder and send it through the middle.
We continued to dominate the quarter, but we weren’t getting the reward on the scoreboard. I was getting worried we might pay later for not putting on enough scoreboard pressure, however, late in the quarter Jack W, who positioned himself really well today and used his strength over the ball to his team mates advantage, helped set up our second goal when he put on a great tackle which spilt the ball to Thomas who picked it up and was able to it put through the middle.
Our third came just before quarter time. Niko, who was also having a terrific quarter, took a mark and kicked the ball deeper forward. Jake jumped on the loose ball and snapped our third for the quarter.
We managed to hold South Melbourne goalless and hold nice three goal lead at the break. South Melbourne came out fired up though and put enormous pressure on the backline early in the second quarter, kicking two quick goals – we had dropped our accountability and let them run free in their forward line. Credit to our boys though as they sensed this and tighten up. Will Smith was a real leader and was holding things together for us. He was supported by Matt Cole and Geordie. Geordie had a great game today – he is very consistent each week and is flying under the radar a little with his contribution to the team.
Jack Harrington was playing some accountable football for us and managed to get his hands on the ball a number of times and help us clear the ball from dangerous positions. Bailey S and Matty G were also part of the reason for us tightening up. Matty G was providing us with some run off half back to turn defence into attack.
Our midfield lifted after a slow start to the quarter. Stefan continued James C’s great ruckwork, Sidney worked his way into the game Mitch enjoyed the run in the centre square and was getting into the game more as it wore on. Nate put on three big tackles inside of a minute at half back, which was one of the big momentum shifting moments of the quarter. Ollie was on the other wing and ran very hard, often leading his opponent to the ball and driving us forward.
The boys were the most disciplined they’ve been this year with setting a wall up in our forward line. Sidney was able to mark a clearing kick from South Melbourne and send the ball straight back over their heads for our first goal of the quarter. James P had a terrific quarter up forward and put a nice shepherd on the allow Jack Mc some extra space and enough time to kick our second goal.
So, we wrestled the momentum back and matched South Melbourne to protect our three-goal lead by half time. The boys now had plenty of confidence and they managed to control the third quarter, defending confidently when South Melbourne were able to drive forward.
Peter was providing us with lots of run today. He put on some big tackles on boys much bigger than himself and he was rewarded for all his hard work when he ran onto a loose ball at half forward and continued sprinting towards an open goal, slotting our first for the quarter.
James P moved onto the ball and continued his good early start. Matty G continued the good work of the boys in the ruck, winning most contests. One area we’ve struggled in this year has been marking above our head, particularly in a contest. Matty G provided a highlight in the third quarter – firstly he positioned himself as a ruckman should when the opposition is attacking – deep, just in front of the full forward. South Melbourne kicked the ball deep, a pack formed and Matty jumped through the pack and took a really classy one grab pack mark to deny South Melbourne a scoring opportunity.
Our second goal of the quarter came from a good piece of link play when James C put a nice handball out to Jack Mc, who gladly received it and kicked his second goal of the game. We were very close to kicking another couple – Niko came close, then Will turned a couple of opponents inside out and ran around out of the pocket, took a snap to narrowly miss.
We came into the last with a handy lead. The boys had their tails up and were able to pile on four last quarter goals. Bailey S had a good game today was set up by Jake for our first goal of the quarter. Not long after Sidney sharked the ball out of a pack and kicked his second of the day. Sidney was on fire and followed this up after receiving the perfect tap from James C out of the ruck contest to kick his third.
Our last goal came from some good teamwork when Peter dodged an opponent and sent a perfect pass to Mitch who went back and converted for his first goal of the year. Mitch played more up the ground today and showed he is very comfortable anywhere on the field. We’ve really enjoyed and benefited having him back in the team after we thought we’d lost him to basketball early in the season.
Plenty to be pleased with today. The boys are now playing with confidence and belief. The teamwork is really lifting, we are getting important contributions from every boy in the team.
The number one focus this year is teamwork. We will continue to work on this – how well we can combine and play as a team. Today I asked a number of boys to play out of position and I’m really pleased with the attitude, effort and output we received.
It’s only early still in the year but we have recovered from a slow start and now sit in the four which is great reward for hard work. We have a big game against St Peters next week, so let’s all get to training and continue to work hard on improving both our individual and team game.
Let’s keep enjoying our footy and the company of our mates.
Hampton Rovers – Best Mates!
BTW – Boys make sure you touch your football 100 times each day!!