On Sunday we ventured far away from home (okay maybe just a 25 minute drive) to face Westbrook Red out at Cherrybrook. Despite a little confusion about which oval we were playing on, things went pretty well, albeit in a challenging situation.
Westbrook started with 14 players to our 10, despite my suggestion that they lend us a couple of players to even things up. After the first quarter Westbrook did lend us a player for each of the remaining three quarters, but it still meant that our mighty Cockatoos were outnumbered in two of the three zones. Despite this handicap our team did remarkably well. Even in the first quarter we were able to get some control of the ball, and managed a great running goal by Ollie! Over the course of the game our players were regularly first to the ball, and able to move the ball into our forward zone. The first of Scarlett’s two goals was a monster kick into an empty goal square, which allowed the ball to roll through the big sticks (taking a couple of very favourable bounces on the way). That effort earned Scarlett the award for best goal. Jerry also kicked a goal, as did Oscar who managed a spectacular kick across his body to put the ball through.
Max really enjoyed himself out there, telling our assistant coach Andrew, “I’m playing really well today”. He was right of course. He was given the award for Best Effort for what was a really great effort. At one point he had two much bigger Westbrook players jump on him to try and get the ball off him, but he hung on determinedly, and a without a fuss took his well deserved free kick! Big sister Ysabella also continues to show her determination to get the ball, more than once racing two bigger bodied Westbrook players to a ball on the ground, wrenching the ball out between her two opponents, and forcing her way free! Once again she combined excellently with Jude to get the ball into space.
Ryan continues to demonstrate what a safe pair of hands he has, taking a number of great grabs, including bullet pass from short range. He also was able to pick up the bouncing ball on the run to great effect. Aza also showed his ability to get contested ball, particularly when it hits the ground. Xavier did a great job as captain, not just getting his hands on the ball, but also directing his fellow players, and reminding them to mark their opposition when Westbrook had the ball. In fact it was really great to see a number of our players reminding their team-mates to mark up on an opponent. On occasions this was difficult as even when all our players were marking their opponent, Westbrook’s greater numbers meant that they were still left with a player free. It’s good to see that they are really getting this message through, allowing them to massively improve our defensive play.
Most encouraging of all was the spirit in which our team played. While they were understandably unimpressed that Westbrook had greater numbers, they got stuck in and on with playing. Really proud of their effort this week, despite the challenges.
A big thank you to our assistant Coach, Andrew, who does a great job in keeping our players focused on their role, and providing encouragement and support to all our team. A particularly big thank you also for keeping me organised, which is not always an easy task!
We’ve got a couple of weeks off now for the school holidays, with our next match a home game at Blackman Park against Pennant Hills Blue on 22 July 2018 (last day before the kids go back to school). Kick off is at 8:30, but I will send out a reminder closer to the day.
Mr Stephenson as well as being head photographer can you please be on orange duty for the 22nd?
In the meantime Cockatoos, get out in the park or your backyard with a ball (any ball) and keep practicing your kicking, hand-passing and marks!
Have a great school holidays and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.