A beautiful calm day arrived for our game against East Malvern Knights. The boys all told me they had been up early making their Mum’s favourite breakfasts of tea, coffee, toast or porridge, and helping by getting their own footy gear ready – what little angels they all are! Between making cards, wrapping presents and giving lots of hugs, they all arrived on time for the early game at Castlefield.
Darcy and Harrison N were the captains for the day. Both have been training really hard during the week and putting that into some great performances on the weekends. Whilst they didn’t win the toss, it made no difference in benign conditions and we were ready to go.
It was Darcy’s turn to start off well and get the first clearance and first inside 50. The quarter was an arm wrestle with both teams tackling well and locking the ball up in tight contests. A few of the boys were able to break the lines at various stages to get the ball moving, with Darcy, George, Charlie H, Harrison K and Tom putting some run and drive to better position us. We always want to see all the boys taking on the game and either trying and succeeding or trying and learning.
We continue to encourage the boys to be aware of space and positioning on the ground, with Thomas and George working well together deep in the forward line which opened up room for Freddie to take a great inside 50 from Elliot. Freddie with his agile pace and awareness, baulked a couple of opponents and slotted a great goal.
In the second quarter the arm wrestle continued, Marlon put in some great ruck contests and guided a few tap outs to Jock and Charlie Q who were working hard inside to get to space up forward.
The backline was under pressure, and Cooper relished the opportunity again to demonstrate himself as a dour defender when playing back. Freddie and Kieran were providing Cooper with plenty of help down back and putting pressure on the Knights forwards, whilst looking for opportunities to drive the ball out. The boys learnt the hard way the importance of kicking long and wide from the backline after trying to switch the play, but centered the ball, with the resulting turn over allowing the Knights to score.
In the third quarter, the boys came out to play. The contest was still very tight as it had been all day, but there was space around the ground allowing for cleaner ball movement. Harrison K found a lot of it and used it well, Thomas was great on the inside contests along with Kieran. Lachie enjoyed the fruits of his labour and snuck through a goal. Tom bombed one from way out and was excited to see it make it through.
Charlie Q seemed to be everywhere in the backline in the last, being in the right place every time to stop the Knights entries into the forwardline. He and Marlon got plenty of the ball and found Liam M and Liam H to link up with in the midfield. George seemed to own a lolly shop with the candy he was selling in the last, a great effort saw him power his way forward and kick a great goal.
Harvey had a big smile on his face when he found himself lining up in front of goal. He composed himself, went back and then kicked purely through the goals straight over Mum’s head who was taking on the goal umpiring duties with pride.
The boys are learning a lot and in just three games, the development from each of the individual players and the team is remarkable.
Stephen Hart – Coach