We were back at The Boss to take on Dingley on a foggy winter’s morning, with the temperature at the bounce being a chilly 5 degrees. We were definitely kicking the dew off the top, with plenty of the boys struggling to keep themselves warm despite a solid warm up. It was awesome to have our mates from the U8 Violet team playing at the same time at the opposite end of Boss James. First year players in our club’s 90th year. #TEAMWORK #sidebyside
Jock and Tom had the opportunity to lead the boys as Captains today. Jock has had an excellent run of recent games and has shown his confidence building each week, demonstrating his ability to score and defend. He loves a contested ball and the chance to lay a strong tackle. Tom provides options all around the ground and seeks to move the ball forward, trying to bring his teammates into the game. He’s always looking to improve himself and the team, seeking input and extra skills sessions from the coach whenever he can. They won the toss and selected to kick towards the clubroom end.
There were simple messages to play for today. We wanted to focus on a great first effort, but to also follow up with second and third efforts to ensure we clear the ball and use it to our advantage. Using the corridor to get the ball moving quickly to break the lines. Doing the team play by dropping back to fill the gaps in the zones, in order to give us the best opportunity to rebound from defence. Finally, to be eyes on the ball and game all day, and to be accountable to our teammates.
Despite the cold, the boys got off to a strong start with Charlie Q and Marlon combining on the contested ball. They put in multiple efforts to get it forward to Freddie who kicked us deep into attack. Tom and Liam H pounced on the ball hoping to make a mark on the scoreboard, but the Dingley boys defended well. Packs were forming and it was hard to take clean possession with cold wet hands, but Harrison K made it look easy and passed well to Liam H who got the Rovers first goal. He got on the end of another later in the quarter following a great tackle from Jock and some good corridor use from George and Charlier Q. Spencer contested well, then passed to Marlon who set up Tom for a great mark up forward. He was too far out but centred it to where Will was putting in multiple efforts at the top of the square and managed to break through to get a goal himself.
In the second, Cooper was working hard on the inside, also putting in multiple efforts to gain possession. He was able to break through a pack and unleash a massive barrel into our forward line. Liam H and Cooper were doing the team play by dropping back to protect the zones and were able to defend well as a result. George was having a great game and was finding the ball and bursting through the packs to either handball to a teammate, or to kick quickly to the goal square. Dingley were holding tight on the last line of defence, which saw us denied with several rushed behinds from our attacking forwards. We saw a real lift in our running and linking with Harrison K, Harvey and Freddie combining well down the corridor, as well as Jock and Liam M. This combo allowed Jock to kick a nice running snap off his left for our only goal for the quarter.
By halftime the temperature gauge felt like it was going backwards. I had the unusual request from a couple of the boys wanting to spend some time on the bench in the third just so they could warm up by wearing the dressing gowns. We got them moving with some more star jumps and running on the spot instead and they were ready to go. The boys continued to apply some great tackling in the third – a skill that they have demonstrated well the whole year – chasing hard to make the tackle, keeping their feet, and avoiding giving away free kicks. Lewis, Cooper, and Tom were really active with the tackling when the Dingley boys looked dangerous. Xavier provided some awesome run and a bounce up forward and was unlucky not to have scored, but his good work allowed Cooper to get to it and then onto Lewis who finished off with a goal. Darcy had been playing well all day and he got the next clearance from the bounce and kicked down to Elliot who picked up a ripper mark on the forward line. Lachie had been struggling to keep warm all day, but had plenty of the run of it up forward, laying tackles and providing options. Will found plenty of the ball and took a great mark out on the wing and got us another inside 50. We seemed to have a lot of the play in the third but Dingley were keeping us honest with some good defending.
In the last, Toby was working really hard up forward and was super focused on the game. He laid a couple of good tackles and was rewarded with a free and was able to send us strongly into attack. Our talls in Tom, Liam H, Liam M, Darcy and George were all going hard and picking up possessions and using it well. When they didn’t have it, our runners in Freddie, Johnny, Charlie Q and Marlon were making plenty of opportunities for themselves. Tom had a few opportunities up forward and was delighted when he ran onto a loose ball and slotted through a check-side snap to get himself a goal.
Another great four quarter effort from the U8 Green. They are sponges of learning, and the development they are making from week to week is building well. It’s great to see them learning and enjoying the rituals of footy.
TEAMWORK PASSION FUN RESPECT