Beep Beep Beep Beep…
10 minutes go by…
Beep Beep Beep…
10 minutes go by…
BEEEEEEPPPPP!!! 7.00am! Time to get up!
The school holidays are now done and dusted and the Mighty Rovers are getting ready for their first big match after two weeks off. Sheeds felt like most other parents this Sunday morning – up early but really preferring to roll over for another snooze. But all’s good when you are ready to face the mighty St Paul’s at Boss James.
As Sheeds ate his corn flakes, it dawned on him that there was a huge challenge in front of the team – no training for the last two weeks AND seven members of the team not available through holidays or sickness. It was going to be a tough day at the office! But that was the least of his concerns…his biggest challenge was filling the void left by his highly experienced right-hand man – Dimma. You see, Dimma was still in his Speedos, sunning himself on the beaches of Broome (geeeez, I hope for the locals’ sake he comes back with at least a couple of tan lines…with that thought Sheeds choked on his corn flakes).
Crunch crunch slurp, who can fill the void? Crunch crunch slurp, who has the skill? Who has the ability and the patience to step into Dimma’s massive shoes? Who can keep Sheeds calm and focused on the game? And the most important job, who can organise those coloured bands and buckets???? Crunch! Sheeds knew the man for the job?
Who is cool as a cucumber? Calm under pressure? Makes great decisions? Calls it as he sees it? Paul “Razor Ray” Ratcliffe! It was his day off from umpiring, after umpiring most games. He clearly needed a job – and would be perfect for the buckets! 😉
Sheeds pepped up, finished his flakes and was at Boss James in no time. He was on the hunt for Razor.
“Hey Paul, I mean RAZOR, I need to ask you a favour,” Sheeds asked with a pensive voice. “I was hoping you might…” Sheeds sheepishly looked down to the ground.
“Of course Sheeds! I would love to be your assistant! I thought you’d never ask,” Razor responded enthusiastically.
‘Wow – cool, calm, collected and he has a sixth sense – I knew it’, Sheeds thought.
With that, Razor took the reins, organised the troops and got the warm up drills under way. It was freezing, but the sun was shining and Sheeds had a good feeling about the day.
Warm up done, now down to business.
With only 15 Rovers players, St Paul’s showed great sportsmanship and lent the Rovers a player each quarter to even the teams up – fantastic.
Xavier, the newest member of the team, was welcomed by all. He has been training with the Maroons for the last four weeks before holidays and was ready for the big time. He was presented with his jumper – number 18 – and was ready to go.
Our captains for the round, Caitrin and Diesel, headed off to the centre for the all-important coin toss. St Paul’s called heads. It’s tails. “Which way we going to kick Cait and Diesel?” Sheeds asks. “Ummmmm that way… towards the goal posts!” they say. Good choice!!!
By the time the kids had received their last message in the huddle, Razor had the coloured bands sorted and on the players. We were ready to go.
The first quarter saw the mighty Maroons jump out of the blocks. Harry collected the ball from a tap down and booted it forward. The forward five immediately put the pressure on the St Paul’s backs. Lucas, Sam and Caitrin worked in and under and tackling well, while Diesel and Jack roamed the packs.
Before the shivering crowd knew it, the ball popped out and Jack swooped and kicked the Maroon’s first goal. We were off. Back to the centre. Tim’s ruck work was sublime, and Tom, Xavier, Arlo and Niko picked up the crumbs and sent the ball long into the forward line.
It was almost déjà vu when Jack again found space, collected the ball and kicked the second goal of the quarter! Go Jackkkkk!
The back line stood up tall when the ball came down, Charlie laid some strong tackles, Bertie was in the thick of it, and Jason and Sebastian took some handy marks. Diesel finished the quarter with another goal (not that we are counting).
Into the second quarter and the game took a completely different turn. St Paul’s came out firing and took the ascendency. The Maroons back line was under siege, with St Paul’s kicking goals to even the game up.
Razor was doing a fantastic job with the buckets and bands and giving Sheeds lots of calming advice on the sidelines.
Into the third quarter and St Paul’s started where they left off in the second quarter. But the Maroons were ready. Everyone had their heart in their throats when Harry’s superb goal was counted, and then not counted, and then counted again. Phew!
Lucas was making a play for the ball when it counted, and we were set up for the final quarter.
With hearts pumping the team knew that they had to give their all this quarter – and they did. It might have been the icicles on the end of their noses, or the thought of showing off their school holiday homework by singing the Rovers theme song that pumped them all into action. Diesel channelled everyone’s energy and kicked two more goals to finish the game. What a last quarter, what a game.
The team showed excellent sportsmanship at the end of the game – with particular thanks to the St Paul’s players that had stepped in for the Rovers. Outstanding!
Our umpires Damien (field) and Jonathon (goal) were keen to get back into the club rooms to thaw out. A special thanks to Damien for juggling his other Rovers responsibilities to umpire today, and to Jonathon for coming to fulfil his duties, even though Will was home nursing a fever. Thanks also to Fi for organising everyone on the day, Matt for relaying Razor’s and Sheeds instructions to the players, Sean for keeping the umpires under control, and all the other parents for helping on the day, especially Razor who kept the buckets, bands and Sheeds under control.
And as the Rovers belted out the theme song they were all visualising hitting the ground again next week.