Our first game of 2019 was against the Leichhardt Cygnets, and it was an important reminder of how important it is to get your hands on the ball. The first quarter was dominated by the Cygnets, and had they been more accurate with their shots on goal, they would have ended the quarter well in front. Their dominance was founded on the simple fact that their midfielders and forwards were first to the ball. After a bit of a quarter time chat, the game changed. The Cockatoos stopped being the chasers and started being the chased, as our mid-fielders and forwards were first to the ball, and our defenders marked and pressured their opponents. Jerry was relentless getting his hands on the ball time and time again and passing to a team mate and getting it forward. This resulted in 3 goals in a quarter to Ryan to put the game squarely on our terms.
As the game progressed we started to link up between the defenders, midfielders and forwards, this was best exemplified by a passage of play in the third quarter, which saw Jonti in the defensive zone take an intercept mark at full gallop, play on kicking the ball through the mid-field into the forward zone, where it was roved by Ivan, who used his strength to break through the defenders and hand pass over the top to Hamish, for the first of his two goals for the quarter. Ivan’s ability to get to the ball, and get it to his team-mates was indispensable, and his work rate resulted in a number of our goals.
Our first time players, Jack and Ben got plenty of the football, and used their great tackling skills to put pressure on their opposition and win the ball for the Cockatoos. Oscar was his usual tenacious self, picking up from where he left off last year, kicking his first goal for the year, and leading the tackle count as he chased and harried his opponents. Ollie’s speed and roving ability meant he regularly got his hands on the ball, and Aza’s pressure backed up his team-mates brilliantly, and he was unlucky to miss out on a goal as his kick fell just short. Jude did well using his size and strength, and Jonti once again led the marking stats, as well as kicking a long range goal from a tight angle.
All in all it was a great start to the season. I’m looking forward to watching these boys improve and come together as a team during the course of the season.
Next week we play our first home game at Blackman Park against the Willoughby Wildcats, with kick-off at 8 am. Can’t wait for the next game!!
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