This week Selwood travelled down to the grass at Blackman, it was a rarity for us not to be playing on the great synthetic surface, but instead we were the away team to Willoughby at home. Despite the overnight rain and the constant drizzle, the ground was in excellent condition. The rain kept the normally large crowd away as some decided that staying at home was a better option in the cold, wet conditions; obviously these people aren’t from Melbourne.
The game started out strongly, the tackling was ferocious from both team and the score at the end of the first quarter showed, with only 1 goal separating the two teams in Selwood’s favour. This ferocious attack on the footy and strong tackling continued on for the next 2 quarters with Selwood maintaining its 1 goal lead heading into the final quarter. There were some worrying signs for the Selwood coaching staff however, as we saw an increased number of players not manning up across the ground. This undisciplined play turned quickly for us in the fourth quarter, where Willoughby quickly scored the first goal and then another, and very quickly we found all of our good work undone and we went down by 3 goals.
The core to a great team is doing the little things well, and for us it is marking our players. We will continue to push this as a key attribute that we need to improve with the kids.
Don’t forget photos this week at 8:00am
The U11 Taylor team took to Blackman Park this week with a near full line up, after many weeks of brave efforts against excellent opposition, looking for an improved performance to justify our position in the 1st Division of U11’s.
There was some confidence in the group and we went into the game with a simple plan to compete with Forest Lions early on – as they have beaten us twice this season already. At quarter time with the scoreboard reading Forest 5 goals and Cats 1 goal, it was clear that we hadn’t quite turned up fully ready to play. That is the difference with Div 1 – you need to be physical. Skill is important, once you have the ball, but you need to be physical to get the ball in the first place. It seemed to the coaching staff that we were a little hesitant and second to each contest. We discussed this as a team at quarter time and resolved to each get a tackle and make a bump – to get into the game.
Through hard work, determination and the desire to be physical the game seemed to turn a little the way of the Cats in the second quarter. Sam Hynes strong presence in the centre was critical to this, as was the ruck work of Tom Hardy and Will Stevens. This allowed our onballers such as the highly consistent performer in Declan Fitzgerald and the new recruit in Harry Hogan who had an outstanding game and kicked some goals to boot, to ensure that the ball was moving our way out of the centre. A spectacular one-clunk grab from Liam Cunneen (the second in successive weeks) led to a great goal from Ben Cheshire, who had his best game for many weeks. Ben is tough when he needs to be and has outside run when we need it. He is still an x-factor in any game we play.
At half time the Forest lead was reduced and the team were starting to get some belief. All the training, the hard work, the hard losses, the lessons were coming together in a performance that was great to watch. Again at half time the message was simple. Be physical, work hard for your teammate, have fun!
The third quarter saw the Cats again work hard and get reward on the scoreboard. The back line were immense. Led by Billy Sykes, Matt Sidhu and Nick Foster they were simply outstanding. Every forward Forest foray was repelled. Max Negri would then lead the charge from the back line into the mids and in the 3rd quarter had one of the best quarters of football by any Lane Cove Cat player. He was inspired and inspired those around him. When the ball made it to the forward line, Tom Hardy or Will Mason would pounce and ensure that we got reward on the scoreboard for all that hard effort up the ground.
Heading into the last quarter the Cats were behind by 12 points, but we were coming home strongly. Nic Berthold played well in the backs and in the centre despite only just returning from the UK. Jet-lag seemed no issue for Nic. Jasper Tippett put a lot of pressure on his opposite number and got some critical handballs just when we needed them.
As the quarter progressed the parents on the sideline were a little excited. Goal, another goal, the a point or two had the Cats ahead by a few points with 5 minutes to play. How the U11 Taylor team played those last 5 minutes, like the 3 quarters before was immense. Effort after effort, contest after contest, they just kept going. When the final siren sounded the Cats had won by 8 goals to 5. Forest had not kicked a goal for 3 quarters.
It was fair to say that the coaches, the parents and all those at the ground were proud of the way the team played. It exemplified what we are trying to instil in the team and as a club. Only our 3rd win in Div 1 this season, but by far and away our best. Well done to all the Taylor team, players, parents and coaches….we earned that one!
It was a cold winter’s night as we faced the Canada Bay Canons under lights at Blackman Park. The last time we met, they gave us a good lesson in effort and intent. We had taken them at face value (they were bottom of the ladder at the time), but we found out quickly what happens when you take your opponent lightly.
And the nightmare looked like repeating itself, as the Canons came out of the block quickly to slam on the first four goals of the game. I would like to blame the freezing conditions for our slow start. However its been an issue for the team all season, Its something we have to rectify if we are to have a chance in the finals. Giving away such a lead will be difficult to recover when the pressure ramps up.
With a couple of positional changes, we stopped the flow of goals early in the second quarter. The boys then started using their head and playing to their advantage by protecting our key ball carriers and getting it into the forward line quickly. This saw us kick four unanswered goals and head into the half time break in the lead.
With our defence and midfield becoming in penetrable, we managed to keep the Cannons to only one goal after quarter time. This defensive pressure kept the ball in our forward line for long periods of time, enabling us to pepper the goals. Our lack of accuracy saw us run out winners by only five goals, despite controlling the second half of the game.
While it was a good win, we still have issues to resolve. Our defensive pressure at the start of games remains poor. We also let us down by rushing our kicks and handballs and turning the ball over too quickly. If we can rectify theses issues quickly, we will be a force to be reckoned with.
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