The U8 Green team headed over the highway to face St Paul’s McKinnon at their home ground. The late start enabled a larger than normal crowd of Rovers spectators and parents to make it to the game to cheer on the boys to take in a great spectacle. The McKinnon Reserve Oval was in excellent condition and the warm and sunny winter’s day made for perfect footy conditions.
Lewis and Charlie Q were our deserving captains for the day. Lewis has been strong in the contests around the ground and has been versatile to adapt to play in all positions where he has made a big impact on the last few games. Charlie reads the game so well and often finds himself in the right position to get the ball. When he does, he always looks dangerous and provides run and attacking footy, bringing his teammates into the game.
Following the break for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend we were looking for the boys to consolidate all their learnings from the first half of the season, rest up and be ready to push on with strong second half of the season. The last game from the boys had been a classic four quarter effort with contributions from the whole team, so we wanted to do more of the same against St Paul’s.
Charlie H started with some good run out of the middle, he moved it up forward and found Marlon who was working hard as usual. Johnny was enjoying his time up forward and was moving well and providing leading options and getting to the loose balls. Felix was getting involved early and helped Marlon get it to Harrison K who opened our account with a major. Lewis was applying some hard tackles to keep the St Paul’s team honest. Freddie collected a great ball in the middle and moved it quickly to Charlie H who turned on a dime, looked up and sent it down to Jock who maneuverered around a couple of opponents and kicked a great goal. Was great to see all is teammates get around to congratulate him. The remainder of the quarter the boys looked a bit flatfooted as St Paul’s showed their strength and were able to hit the scoreboard a number of times to finish of the quarter well for them.
In the second, the game was a bit scrappy with both sides getting stuck in wide pockets of the sizeable McKinnon ground. Darcy was playing strongly in the midfield, going after the contested ball and commanding it whenever the opportunity presented. Will put in some great efforts in defence when the opposition attacked and was able to shut down a few of their inside 50s. He was helped by Tom who chased hard and laid some important tackles when we were challenged. However, the boys still couldn’t find their rhythm and appeared to be waiting for the ball to come to them, rather than getting in after it, which allowed packs to form and kept the umpires busy with lots of tackling stoppages and ball ups.
Following a fairly subdued effort from the boys in the first half, I gave the boys a rev up to make sure they were ready to give their all for the Rovers and their mates for the second half. It was pleasing to see the boys respond well at the huddle, and then immediately see them put a much higher level of enthusiasm and effort into the contest from the start of the third quarter. The boys made most of the play for the quarter and were very active in keeping the ball in our forward line or midfield. My list of notes that I keep during each quarter was filled with a great effort that impressed me from each of the boys on the field showing how much they boys lifted and contributed. Liam H worked really hard all quarter to make a mark on the scoreboard. He created a number of opportunities but had to go up against some strong defence from St Paul’s. His persistence allowed him to break through with a great goal after some great efforts up the ground from Felix, Elliot, Jock and Darcy – but he was unlucky not to have got a couple more.
In the last, Spencer was tearing up the midfield getting first in for the ball and was able to feed it off to Freddie and Harvey. Felix had a standout game and put his body on the line in a number of contests – he came off second best in one – but showed great resilience to finish off the game well. Jock and Harrison K were continuing to work well up forward and gave themselves opportunities to hit the scoreboard but couldn’t quite convert. However, their good work allowed Tom to run onto a loose ball, swing onto his favoured right foot and kick truly.
When the boys turn it on, they play a great brand of football that is exciting to watch. The boys will be looking forward to the return match later in the season and put in the four quarter effort.