It was always going to be a tough day at the office for Team Hawkins. A number of players had battled illness during the week, had missed training, and there was also the odd sleepover-induced lethargy. The unfocussed and error-prone warm-up didn’t bode well for the game. We had not played Suns Blue Team last year and had no gauge of their ability.
The focus this week was on ball-ups, movement and helping each other out. Captain Angus led his 13-player team out single file onto the field, the coin was tossed, and the ball was thrown up.
Initially the Cats had trouble clearing the ball out of defence, with it spending a lot of time in the Suns forward zone. The Suns scored a couple of goals back-to-back, and parents and players prepared themselves for a very long day. The Cats however, gathered themselves, and began putting some pressure on the ball, and it started to pay dividends. The back end of the first saw the Cats respond with two goals on the run through Hudson.
The second quarter was almost a replay of the first, with the Suns quick to score and then the Cats responding. The team benefitted from now having Ryan and Angus in the middle, and Tommy kicked truly with a long bomb from just inside the forward zone to even up the score. A couple of minutes later, a ball fell out the back of the contest to the advantage of Jude, and he kicked through the big sticks to put Hawkins one goal up going into half-time.
The boys came into the half-time break for a drink and oranges. Coach Roger asked the boys to apply themselves to attacking the ball, rather than relying on a teammate to do so, or waiting till the player had gathered the ball.
Team Hawkins entered the third term and soon it was obvious that the energy level had dropped dramatically, as the midfielders were listlessly moving from contest to contest. A hurried on-field, mid-quarter coaching conference decided that rather than re-arranging the team, the runner was deployed to encourage them to get moving and hope they respond. It mainly worked, for while the play was mostly in the Suns forward zone, the defence held, and the Cats were lucky to get away with only one goal being kicked against, while themselves remaining goalless for the quarter.
The three-quarter time break saw a last exhortation from the coach in addition to some quick instruction on sticking with your man in the ball-ups. The quarter started off with the Suns stronger midfield getting the ball quickly into their forward zone, and placing the Cats defence under immense pressure. Within minutes they had kicked two goals to give them a 12-point break. A hurried switch of Hudson into the centre and Jude forward had an immediate pay-off, as Hudson was stalwart in returning the ball to the forward zone. Jude managed to break free out of a forward stoppage and kick one goal, but despite the Cats being dominant for the remainder of the match, we were not able to score further, and disappointingly went down.
Angus lead his troops from the field and despite the loss and a frank debrief, led them in a singing of the “We are Lane Cove!”
Best Defensive Play went to Dylan Fleischer for a strong tackle in the goal square in the 4th that prevented a certain goal. Best Team Player was awarded to Jude Lumley. His defensive work when playing forward was strong, in particular a good chase down tackle in the second. His two goals also helped in a low scoring game. Ryan Clancy worked hard, laid some strong tackles and did some great smothers in the second and fourth, and Coach Roger awarded him the Coach’s Hot Chocolate.
This Sunday Hawkins return to the home of football to take on Forest Lions.
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