A bright sunny Mother’s Day saw Team Hawkins brave the Military Road traffic to Allan Border Oval to meet the Mosman Swans. The boys were hoping to make up for the previous weeks disappointment, and it was pleasing to see most of the team ready 30 minutes before the game to start Coach Mic’s pre-game routine. This was especially so, since players were coming from other games, their siblings’ U8s games, and Mother’s Day breakfasts! The boys reminded the Coach that the last time they were at Allan Border they lost the Gala Day Grand Final in a very close game, and were quite fired up to atone for that loss.
Hawkins welcomed Jacob Brown for his very first game of footy. A short jumper presentation before the game saw him excitedly receive the number 20 that Stevie Johnson made famous. Jacob made the team up to twelve, and it is the first game this season that we’ve had a full team, so his inclusion is welcome.
Captain Noah lead the Cats onto the field, and from the centre-bounce they jumped the Swans, kicking four goals to zero in the first quarter. The midfield continually returned the ball to the forward zone and the repeat entries kept the Swans defence very busy. Noah and Ryan dominated the scoring in the first, but it was a whole team effort that got it there. The second saw the Swans gain some breath and pull back a couple of goals, but this time it was Hudson, Henry and Felix that kept their defenders busy, and Jude with a cross-body beaut from the boundary that had the Cats supporters behind the goal loudly “woh!”-ing their approval.
The Mosman Swans might be called the Mosman Wanderers so often were their players moving into the centre zone. At one ball-up in the second quarter, there were Swans players from all three zones present! Hawkins remained composed, and in their zones despite this, and it was good that our adherence to the rules did not adversely affect us on the scoreboard!
One focus for the game was our setup at ball-ups, and it was pleasing from a coaching point-of-view to see that in most cases the boys worked it out without needing to be reminded. The only disappointment came from “Mr Boom”, a Mosman coach/supporter who was screaming instruction from the sideline, at times contradicting their on-field coach! Mr Boom certainly trampled on the definition of “positive support” whilst admirably our Cats supporters remembered their Shoosh for Kids.
Team Hawkins went into the main break well ahead. Despite the freshly-picked oranges and quick rest in the shade, Coach Roger could see that his men were tired, and the need to keep an injured Ryan “resting” in the forward line, meant that the second half would be more even. All could feel that the Swans were going to claw back over the next 20 minutes. It was not to be in the third though, and the Cats extended their lead. The Swans fightback finally came in the fourth, but it did not come close to covering the margin.
Team Hawkins clearly had won the day, both on the scoreboard and morally. Noah lead from the front kicking goals when rotated forward, and leading the team from the field and into the Cats song.
Our focus at training this week will be on choosing the best option. While our link-up was generally quite good, a number of times the ball was kicked into a contest or space, ignoring a free player on the wing. This is difficult for senior players as well, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be worked on!
Goals are a team effort, and therefore it is rare that the Best Team Player would be awarded to the player who scored the most, but in this case, Ryan deserved the accolade. He demonstrating confidence in marks, composure with the ball, the correct way to take a set shot, and dead-eye accuracy. His kicking coach would be proud. Henry had a cracker. His stellar work in the midfield and defense did not go unrewarded, his clearing kick resulting in a goal in the first quarter, his continued intercept marks, and great goal in the second earned him best Defensive Play. Harvey was tireless once again playing in defense, kicking a goal in the 3rd when moved forward and being in at the ball, and was awarded the Coach’s Hot Chocolate.
Next up for Team Hawkins is an away game out at Balgowlah against the Suns.
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