We gathered at Gore Hill Oval on the new artificial turf to play one of the Willoughby Wildcats Green, who we met in Round 2. We welcomed back 6 of our usual players, who weren’t able to play last round.
The Wildcats were certainly on their game early, and were really quick to the contests. They also weren’t giving our players much space at all. The Wildcats surged forwards regularly, but our boys kept repelling the attacks. They did this by some strong marking as well as getting in the middle of the packs to get the ball and clearing it.
For the first half, there was more congestion around the ball than Sydney on New Years Eve.
We went into half-time leading 1-3-9 to 1-0-6. The 3rd quarter saw us kick 2-2, to Willoughby’s 1-1. The field was a funny shape, and the goal posts were funny shapes, funny sizes and funny distances apart. At three-quarter time, we led 3-8-26 to 2-1-13.
The fourth quarter saw Willoughby outscore us, 1-1 to 0-3 but we ended up with the victory 3-11-29 to 3-2-20. Our goals came from Joe, Zac and Jamie. Harry, Daniel and Tom had a number of shots at goal, but weren’t able to convert on the day (I note the current AFL players, who are full-time professionals, are also having similar issues with their accuracy!). Cooper would have kicked a goal if the siren was a few seconds later!
Once again, all the boys were involved in the plays and most of the time didn’t give the Wildcats much space at all. They all showed loads of bravery in tackling the bigger Wildcats, in tieing up the ball, as well as going in for the 50/50 balls.
Coach Chris reminded the boys that it is really important to know which player you are marking, and when the ball is nearby, and you are defending, stay right on them.
Coach Chris also encouraged the boys for doing a great job of getting into contests, and often being able to get the ball out. He reminded the boys to hit their targets. So even though they were under pressure, they still needed to look up for their team mates and hand pass or kick to them.
I am hoping that the inaccurate kicking was more a temporary yip, especially given we were using tiny goals and it was difficult to tell the difference between the goal posts and the behind posts (a few of our behinds were simply because our boys had a clear shot at goal, but aimed between the wrong white sticks). But one for the boys to watch out for, as we will have these issues at other grounds.
The umpire did a great job, and kept the game flowing as well as explaining his decisions when he needed to. The boys displayed excellent conduct on the field, as they have all season. A great reflection on them as individuals and as a team.
There were a few times where our boys found themselves in a little bit of space, and had time to settle. It looked as though they weren’t sure what to do with more time than they were used to. One item for them to practice, is how to kick an effective drop punt and judge the distance to their team mates, so their team mates can mark the ball. There are some good Youtube videos on how to do a drop punt, and I am sure we will also practice this at training (even remembering to use their guiding hand, don’t throw the ball up in the air, and hold the ball vertically all really help, especially for boys used to kicking a rugby ball).
Coach Chris suggested the boys watch an AFL game and see how the players go. I gave my advice that I consider watching footy doesn’t count as screen time, if that helps.
Well done to our team of boys, who continue to have fun, and learn new footy skills each week.
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