We had our biggest turn out of the year with 17 Cats assembled for our first home match of the season. We faced the Manly Bombers, the team we played away last week. Manly had 12 players so we played 12 aside, which meant we had 5 substitutes. All the Cats were eager to play as much as possible, which made it a little tricky to manage all of our subs! Consequently, our play was a little disjointed compared to previous weeks as we tried to give all our players equal amounts of playing time.
Nonetheless, the Cats showed some great skills and perseverance, a highlight being a couple of absolutely brilliant marks taken by Iris Hamilton which earned her the team’s best mark award. James O’Dowd earned the team’s best goal award by kicking a well composed goal under lots of Bombers pressure in the first term.
After the game, our coach, David O’Dowd, asked the team if next time we find ourselves in a situation where we have more players than the opposition, would any of the Cats volunteer to be loaned out to the other team. The goal is to get all the kids playing as much footie as possible. The kids appreciate this because a number of Cats indicated they would be willing to make the switch if necessary. We have quite a big group so I wouldn’t be surprised if we take this option in the future, especially at our home games.
Next week we have another home match at Blackman Park versus the Mosman Swans. The match starts at 8 am, so if the parents can get their kids to the ground by 7:45, David and I will have plenty of time to work out the numbers with the other team.
David & James
Team Hawkins travelled across the Spit Bridge to take on the Balgowlah Suns. Under dark clouds and thunder, the kids put together the best team performance for the year, with great running, tackling and teamwork.
With a couple of players out, and the opposition fielding a bug team, we got some extra help from U8 player Genevieve. And after a slow start, the team hit its straps with some fierce tackling. In fact, it stop the Suns in the tracks and they struggled to score for the rest of the game.
Players started looking for teammates to kick to, instead of blindly putting it on their boot. Handballs were also utilised well and the talking was much better. Even though we probably fell short on the invisble scoreboard, it was the most pleasing game I have coached this year. If they boys and girls can produce this type of performance every week, they will go home winners no matter what the score.
This week we celebrated Mother’s Day, recognising all the work our Mums do for us so we can play footy! Kicking with us, driving us to and from training, patching us up after an injury and so much more. I’m not sure if our team had been eating pancakes for breakfast or had worn themselves out from making Mum breakfast in bed, but our first quarter was one to forget with us regularly missing tackles, failing to mark up in defence and standing around waiting for the ball to come to them. After this was pointed out to them at quarter time the team lifted to play a more typically aggressive and determined style of footy in the second and third terms. The end result was another win to our team, keeping us undefeated, but it wasn’t the convincing win we normally expect from the team.
We win most of the ball when contested on the ground and tackle well when a mark has not been taken, resulting in our team dominating the breakdowns and creating momentum from broken play. Our on ball work is second to none and the whole team backs up for second and third efforts if the ball is lose or won away from us. There is no doubt of our tenacity and we play a relentless style of football (normally). We have two areas to improve on to take our game to the next level.
The first is looking for the best option when offloading the ball, and executing on it. Too many times, when we are not under pressure we kick the ball into a pack of players with no real target in mind. If the ball is spilt to the ground we tend to win it, but if the opposition take a mark we get punished badly as our opposition tend to find targets better and quickly move the ball towards the goals with consecutive marking from more deliberate kicks.
The second is our shepherding. Our players bump well when going for the ball and win if off the ground most times, but those who are not on the ball tend to either sit back and watch the show, or take off calling for the ball. We need to help create a secure zone around the player with the ball by shepherding, to give the player with the ball a bit more time to identify a target and execute their kick or hand pass accurately.
As you can see the two areas are linked and we will focus on these game skills in the coming weeks and with additional training sessions. Our individual technical skills are good and our overall team work is great, we just need to refine our technical game play. If our players devote the same focus and drive they have done in every other area of their game it won’t be long before we are stringing marks together and playing higher percentage footy!
I still have to say though, our team is playing great footy in the first half of the season and I can only guess at the level we will get to by the end.
It was a significant game for our Lane Cove girls team on the weekend, as it was the first time we fielded a full team without sharing players from the opposition.
The enthusiasm among the girls and general enjoyment is seeing our team numbers grow.
This week we played against the Willoughby Wildcats for the second time. Although we started off in our usual defensive play against a generally stronger opposition, we very quickly started to show signs of spirit with some great clearances by the two Lily’s in our team from the centres and defence which helped to open up the play, and get the ball forward.
What was a welcome surprise was the small successes we then started to have with team work, including some passing and kicks that resulted in marks by our team.
One of the highlights was a piece of play that saw two successive kicks and marks, finishing with Ducky in front of the goals. I am not sure who was more excited, myself or the players at seeing team mates who only recently protested that they couldn’t catch, show clearly that with practice they can!!
Team captain this week was Elin, supported by Annabel. They both assured me that they kept the team focussed and in their zones actively marking the ball and opposition. They also showed leadership by example in their running, tackling and opening up the play.
We welcomed Olive, Charli and Sami to the team this week, who all contributed solidly on debut.
Emma joined us in the second half, and quickly showed her control of the ball and the game, contributing very quickly to a team goal.
Charlotte featured in the forwards with some great marks and attempts at goal. Catie and Izzy both featured strongly in their attack and defence in the first part of the game but succumbed to some muscle soreness in the arm, and some sprained fingers respectively. We hope to have them back in play for the team very soon.
Greg – Coach
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