Rovers 1.4.10 to Port/South 3.8.26
Goals: Rankine (1)
In what is considered the most challenging away venue in SMJFL footy, conditions at Albert Park were compounded by a diagonal cross breeze favouring the clubhouse end. The boys were under clear instructions to “engage in the contest”, a phrase that I have repeatedly used throughout season 2018, where we approach the game contest by contest, quarter by quarter and less focus on the outcome. The loss of the toss saw us kicking against the favoured end, and avoiding the temptation to go defensive we backed ourselves to attack. From the first bounce the rovers ferocity at the ball was on display, and we had control of the play for the first 10 min with the ball locked in our forward half without damaging the scoreboard (that would prove to be a telling factor). SM eventually cleared the ball and once they got it forward immediately began to pepper the score board. The backline remained tight but in the last minute of play we unfortunately conceded a goal, however the message was positive at quarter time with the foundation laid in terms of intent and pressure applied to the opposition.
The second quarter with the wind advantage saw a continuation of the rovers hunger for the footy and domination of general play. Unable to capitalise on some early opportunities attacking from the fat side, once the ball got locked in to the dead pocket there was a bit of stalemate in general play. We were unable to set up any genuine scoring opportunities, and when PM/SM start to get their running and link play going, if not for some desperate efforts of our last line of defence we may have conceded a couple of goals against the wind. We came into the half time dugout a little disappointed about what the second quarter yielded, but remained confident in what the boys could produce in the second half.
Being against the wind in the third we were conscious of not letting the scoreboard slip away, so we took a more defensive approach with an extra number back in defence. There were numerous effort from deep in the back half where we displayed composure under immense pressure to clear the ball from the danger zone. Without being able to push past our forward 50 arc, the ball continued to come back in but time and time again and we were able to nullify the contest and direct the footy towards the dead pocket. As luck would have it we conceded a late goal at the 14 min mark of the quarter that had the potential to completely deflate the team.
The coaching crew didn’t see it that way as we came into the 3/4 time huddle buoyed by the effort displayed for 3 quarters, albeit without producing a gaol. With so many selfless and inspirational defensive efforts to draw on, we tried to motivate the boys to will themselves back into the game, with clear instructions play an attacking brand of footy from the fat side of the ground. The boys were clearly up and about and when we posted our first goal for the match a few minutes in to the quarter and found ourselves only 10 points down, we were hopeful of a quick follow up. Whist we had our chances we were unable to draw any closer and when they goaled against the run of play with 5 minutes on the clock the boys had spent their petrol tickets.
Whilst the scoreboard doesn’t really reflect it, it was a performance I was incredibly proud of with many memorable moments to reflect on. Whilst the boys once again proved that they are able to compete against good opposition under immense pressure, our inability to create scoring opportunities and convert the ones we did have was once again the difference between the teams. Had we capitalised on our early period of domination with a couple of goals, and had the siren gone at 14 min mark of the 1st & 3rd quarters we would have won the game – glass half full I know, but the point is we are not that far off the mark.
- Maxie’s smart reading of the play, body positioning and intercept work across half back
- Alex’s continued improvement in his ruck craft and work rate across the ground
- Lucas R presenting up forward, showing his class to post our only goal of the match
- Ted & Josh D providing the link through their respective wings
- Louis and his energy at the contest and willingness to take on the opposition on with ball in hand
- Dylan displaying real composure numerous times in the last line of defence including pin point accuracy with his kicking
- Jake T leading the way with his defensive discipline, continually directing the footy out of the danger zone
- Jake G with his defensive clearance efforts using that damaging left foot to great effect
Things We Did Right
- Intensity and ferocity at the footy and pressure on the opposition
- Defensive efforts of the back six, and composure under pressure In being able to effectively clear the ball from the danger zone
- Working in numbers at the contested footy and around the stoppages
- Room For Improvement’s
- More effective ball movement and hitting our leading targets
- Too many turnovers where the footy quickly rebounded into our back half
- making the most of the early momentum we had in the game – when we have a period of domination we need to damage the scoreboard