On a beautiful Friday night under lights and almost a full moon at Blackman Park, the Selwood team took on the Mosman Swans. In 3 years of coaching the U9s this was by far the best game I have seen, and to think we are only in round 3. We started strongly in the first quarter with some great leadership out of the centre from Billy H, aptly supported by Elin, Luka and Jed. They took control early and delivered the ball extremely well into the forwards of Xavier, Aaron and Hayden. In the second quarter the Swans attacked strongly to try and even the score, and the ferocious pressure of Billy N, Haine and Alex was some of the best pressure football I have seen from an U9s team.
The rest of the game was one of fast moving end to end footy, with strong defensive pressure from both teams, and great rebound footy. Every player on the field played a great game, on multiple occasions we had players running through the centre, linking up multiple hand passes and then kicking deep into the forward line.
Despite not keeping score, we won the game by 3 goals, but on Friday night it wouldn’t have matted if we won or lost, the way we played the game was full of respect, hard work and determination and for that everyone should be extremely proud.
U9 Selwood coach
Despite being a holiday round, we had close to a full squad for round 3. The anticipation for this game was huge, as we squared up against our arch rivals, the Forest Lions. While the playing group may of been slightly different, the boys didn’t forgot the defeat we suffered in last year’s under 11 grand final against this club. So much so that when I offered them some Gripo (a non-slip sports hand grip), they decline as they played with it in the losing grand final!
They say one of the main skills a junior coach needs is motivating the players. And while this is the fourth year I have coached some of these boys, I still struggle to find a successful method that gets them in the right frame of mind at the start of the every game. Motivation wasn’t exactly the issue this time around. In fact, they probably had too much and this resulted in them losing a bit of focus.
They entered the quarter time break scoreless. However, they regrouped in the second quarter and started to dominate possession. Our key backmen, lead by Alex Strassberg starting setting up correctly and repelled most of Lions pushes into their forward 50. The midfielders (Ballhausen, King and Ferguson) started spreading and providing some pressure on the ball carriers. And the forwards, lead by Toby Zerna and Samuel Hynes starting putting the score on the board.
Our defence was so good we kept them goalless in the second half. After a slow start, our tackling started to bear some fruit with many turnovers in the centre of the ground. Ballhausen was particularly strong, leading the tackling count for the team. But we can’t ignore they great forward line we now have. Gillard, Hynes and Zerna; with the help of many others, have kicked 41 goals in the first three rounds. The competitions goal kicking ladder is dominated by the Cats, with Hynes leading the way on 13. This week we also saw Riley Fenton and Luke Fish register his first goal for the season.
We ended up running out convincing winners by 56 points. We now find ourselves undefeated after three rounds and sitting third on the ladder. The challenge now will be keeping this great group of boys from getting ahead of themselves. Its a long season, and many things can happen between now and the finals. However I am wrapped how well they are playing as a group and feel they can achieve a lot this season.
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