It was all smiles as the boys and girls of Team Hawkins hit the field against the Forest Lions in the first game of the year. With a mixture of old heads and new players, expectations of a well oiled machine were relatively low. But by the second half the game, they looked like a season hardened team.
Led from the front by club stalwart, Niki Neal-Bartier, the team never took a back step. The effort was first class, with strong tackling evident right from the start. However, the best was left to last, with ring full of so many smiling faces as we all belted out the team song.
The first game always sets the scene for the season. And from what I saw, we are going to have a blast.
What a great start to the 2017 season it was for our Under11s Taylor team! The best thing about the game for me was ow effectively we played as a team, with everyone contributing. The first quarter was quite close, but our consistency and determination saw us pull away each quarter. The points were shared around and there were plenty of hand passes and mid field kicks that showed our players were looking for each other and making good decisions when they had the ball.
Our debutantes, Lucas, Louis and Will M all settled into the team really well and made their own contributions. Lucas found a lot of space in the forwards and proved to be a great target for our centres, Wll made yards all over the field and Louis took an awesome mark that was talked about all day!
Max had a great captain’s game and seemed to be in everything, along with Cooper, Lachlan and Blake, who were all able to clean the ball out of some messy stoppages and get it moving back in our direction. Sam and Joey regularly burst through the field and made heaps of ground running down the wings and kicking deep into our territory. This was all made possible by the in close work of Daniel, James, Darcy and Jaeden, who all tackled strongly and played the ball well off the ground to turn the ball over to our team constantly. Will Z covered the whole field and was in almost every ruck and free kick and Schoey flew high with some great aerial marking and strong tackling. Emma and Liam were rock solid in the forwards especially, positioning themselves well in attack and tackling hard at the turnovers, keeping the ball in our attacking zone.
It was hard to highlight individuals in such a good team effort and that was the difference between the two sides on the day. I could not be more proud of the way every player in out team worked and felt they played well above the level you would expect for the first game of the season. The end result was a 59-29 win, but I thought that score line flattered the opposition a little as it felt like a ten goal win to me!
Bring on a home game next week!
A great ‘Gala Day’ event was put on at North Ryde’s new synthetic field by the AFL to celebrate the opening weekend of the new U12 Youth Girls age group for the Sydney competition.
It was a chance to play 4 x 12 minute games against a cross section of clubs, with our team of 8 girls on the day. We shared a couple of players from the opposing team for each game which helped make up the numbers for a competitive challenge.
We had two new starters on the day in Annabel Cooper and Lily Sullivan. Annabel brought her strong defensive tackling skills, and good clearance kicks to open up the game, and Lily her running skills to chase down the breakaway players from the other team and tackle them no matter how much taller they were than her. Zoe Albin was excellent in her overhead marks, and also her willingness to run the ball up the field and tackle the opposition, including many time players much taller than her as well.
Charlotte was relentless in her ability to keep picking up the ball and passing it or kicking it forward, backed up by Izzy Wan who was ready to take the ball and run it forward with her ever present smile.
Elon Ladmore following up from her U10 boy’s game in the morning, was great in her positional play, and calling for the ball, and once our overall team skills develop with more targeted kicking and passing, will be well placed to take the ball forward and hopefully score many goals.
Lexi ‘Ducky’ Howell used her height to her advantage with some great taps out from the rucks, and with following through and clearing the ball to our other players, and seem to also run all day like the other girls.
Lastly Emma Byrne, after playing in the U11 Boys game earlier in the day, and scoring a number of goals, was also successful in leading the team in breaking away from tackles and scoring more goals for the girl’s team.
We should also mention the friendly overall spirit of play with the other teams, and the willingness for the other teams to share their players with us. It was a fun experience for the whole team, and while there is still plenty of opportunity for all the player’s skills to develop, it was the great spirit of the teams that made the day
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