Don’t the commentators always say, “It’s a game of two halves”? Well it certainly was when a scrubbed and polished Team Hawkins came straight from their photo-shoot to meet Forest Lions on Steve Chisholm Oval. The Lions had the wood over the Cats last year, and seeing the Lions team expending their energies on the gym equipment instead of pre-game drills, it was thought from the coaches that we may get that needed win.
This week’s focus was on energy and moving with the ball, helping your team mate, and getting the ball forward. Captain Henry led his ten men onto the field after the coaches address, where they were joined by two Lions loan players, who played a half game each for Cats before being rotated. The Lions players were great sports in all cases; more than once when they were in a position to score they would intentionally pass off to a Cats teammate rather than take the glory (or perhaps emnity?) for themselves.
The first half was all the Lions. From the centre-bounce, the Lions had far more energy and more application at the ball, and the Cats did not score a single point in the first quarter. Even with the rotation in the second, the ball was rarely out of the Cats defensive zone, putting immense pressure on the back-line, and a flurry of opposition goals resulted. The Cats were finally able to hit the scoreboard in the second though, when an errant high tackle in the Cats forward zone resulted in a goal from the set shot.
The boys came in to the half-time break a little dispirited, and were challenged to up their energy levels.
The second half was a lot more even, and the Cats dominated play in the third quarter, the Lions only scoring a solitary point. Angus’s goal from the boundary was a beaut and the Cats were unlucky not to score more. The final quarter the players stayed in their previous rotations – with a couple of minor tweaks to account for match-ups. The Lions also had their strongest set-up and this became a bit of a slog. The Cats were unable to make up for the damage done in the second quarter.
The training focus will be on positioning against your opponent while your team has the ball. Too many times players were behind their opponent, and with kicks dropping short, it became a turnover. This is just a simple reinforcement needed. There was a lot to like once the boys had found their energy though. Linking passes from player to player to player from the back zone to the forward had even the opposition supporters applauding politely. Player communication was pretty good, tackles and clearances were also good, and Champion Data are yet to respond whether Team Hawkins broke the record for smothers this week.
Jacob is coming on as a player and his selfless smother in the second while in the back-line saw him awarded Best Defensive Play. Felix was “on” this week, had a strong third quarter in the forwards and was left forward in the final quarter to improve our prospects. He received the Best Team Player award. Hudson was his usual energetic and focussed self and was awarded the Coach’s Hot Chocolate.
Hawkins return to The Cattery for a rare Friday night game under lights against Willoughby Wildcats Black.
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