The crowd roared. 100,000 people at the MCG had just heard Dimma announced at half time as the Coach of the Year. For “Efficient Management of Wristbands”. This was a new initiative introduced by Gil MacLachlan, to recognise the coaches across the country, and replaced the traditional half time sprint. He smiled to himself. “I just want to thank Sheeds my coach, for all his encouragement and patience. And the kids – for running to the buckets at each break, and sitting quietly, waiting for the next colour to appear on their wrists, according to the supercoach, Sheeds. Lastly, I want to thank Mrs. Pickett – my most staunch supporter – she has been there through the hard times, through the times when the colours really did my head in, home and away rules and regulations and the buckets. She was always there to bring me back to earth. Red, Yellow and Blue, Dimma, she always said….”
“DIMMA! RED, YELLOW AND BLUE!!! COME ON! YOU HAVE TO PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER!!!
Dimma shook himself out of his lovely dream and tried to focus on the task at hand. Yep – they were all there. All the wristbands, sitting snugly at the bottom of each bucket, trying to jump out and attach themselves onto the wrists of the best team in the world – the Hampton Rovers U9 Blue side… “Oh, I love footy,” he murmured to himself… “Despite Sheeds going off at me every week – he means well, and he’s so great…”
But! To the game at hand. This round was the Indigenous Round, recognising the amazing efforts of Sir Doug Nicholls and the contribution to the game of football by so many amazing indigenous players.
Captains for the day were Jack and Dan (great stuff!!). Dan read the small note to all the players outlining the importance of the day and why it was being celebrated. Well done Dan!
The team was ready to play. Sheeds had his game face on. Dimma tried to lighten the mood by doing rabbit ears on him, punching him playfully in the guts, and even gave him a light shoulder massage – however, nothing today was going to distract or deter the great coach from the job at hand.
Jack and Dan led the team out proudly and they took up their positions. One player down for the day. It was going to be tough!! A strong wind blew across the ground, and Sheeds, Dimma and Matt (runner for the day) held a quick tactical conference, talking about switches, dead pockets, goal squares and live flanks. Amazing discussion if you heard it. We all agreed that this conversation for U9 kids was probably best kept between the coaches… some things are just better that way!
The first quarter was a ripper. Close on both sides and a game of the mids/defence. The whole team was trying their best, pushing across the zones and manning up as best they could, given our personnel issues – continuing to put into match day what they had been taught by Rohan and Ben during the week. Great stuff kids!
The second quarter was even better. Harry, Jason, Arlo and Tom were doing a sterling job. Dan, Tim and Jacob were holding their own against bigger opponents. Teddy was going bananas in everything he did – under the packs – as was Charlie. Diesel was coolly patrolling the centre half back area – trying to repel each and every attack. Cate was doing a terrific job, nullifying her opponent and Angus and Jack were sparkling in the forward line – whenever they could. Angus kicked a great goal from 300m out against the wind – inspirational stuff! Alex, Ben, Sebastian and Sam were doing a terrific job in the guts. Sam copped a knock to the hand and was very brave to come off and have it attended to. And when of the Blue team gets injured, boy, do they respond!!
The third quarter was great. Getting in. Having a go. Looking for teammates. Listening to the voice. Using the flanks. Sam came back on – and went nuts. Going crazy in the forward pocket – won his own ball and kicked a great goal!! A real team lifter! Then Charlie thought – me as well!! So hard in, got the contested ball and kicked his first goal ever in football. There’s something about the look on a kid’s face when they kick their first ever goal. Well done and congrats Charlie!
The last quarter was even better. Two and a half players down for the final quarter – Rohan threw the side around, with amazing results. Ben was playing the best game he had ever played. Sebastian, Jason, Harry and Angus were leading the way and Sam, Charlie, Alex, Jacob, Teddy, Arlo, Cate, Tom, Diesel and Tim stepped up. Dan and Jack were doing a great job playing the team way as Captains. The ball was pretty much played in our forward line, with the whole team really contributing to some serious scoreboard pressure and Ben kicked a great goal too!! Overall, a wonderful game, and Rohan and Ben are both very excited for when we get a full team back on the park! I suppose the best thing about these games is that they are played in the right spirit, hard and focused, yet played very fairly and for the right reasons. These qualities that the kids put into the game will hopefully be part of their team/sporting mantra for the rest of their careers.
Many thanks again to Fi for helping to get the team on the park – great weekly effort! Thanks also to Razor Ratcliffe – Paul – our fantastic umpire. Also – for the oranges, snakes, medic, goal umpire, timekeeper, B&F votes, runner and umpire escort – to all these parents rostered on – a really huge thanks! And for getting the kids to Malvern on time.
Coaches Award – Harry
Most Improved – Ben
Guts & Determination – Angus
Outstanding Contribution – Sebastian
#goBlue #goRovers #goDoug