This was one of the toughest games we have played this year. Not only were there a few jet lagged key players but there were also a few legs that needed a bit more time to warm up than usual after being away on the long break for 2 weeks. The contest was fierce, with both teams displaying great skill, determination and respect for each other during the game. It was hard to pick our best players as everyone played so well, with each player doing their job for the team and performing cohesively as a unit.
Manly Bombers were truly a pleasure to play with goals traded all morning between the teams and both sides maintaining pressure on each other through the defensive halves and through the middle. Great sportsmanship was shown at the end of the game, the team song being sung with extra gusto in front of the Manly players, at their request, with all our kids standing and listening arm in arm to the Bombers singing theirs! I thought I saw Andrew Spring murmur a few lines of “See the Bombers fly up….” Purely from habit of course. The Manly coach telling me that that was the hardest game his boys have played all season. He said they normally thump teams by cricket scores but that Narkle was their toughest opponent so far.
Our highlight reel started with the quickest first goal: – it was a ruck contest won at the first bounce and a clearance from Jake who passed lace out to Jack, who then marked and converted truly! That was the first 5.6755 seconds of the match and perhaps the quickest goal scored this season, faster than a juiced up Ben Johnson 100metres!. Manly Bombers parents were still high-fiving each other over the free parking situation before the next goal and it was probably another one from Jack Phillips who bagged three for the quarter channeling his star quality from the barber’s chair!
Marcus Kiley had a great second quarter with two goals and an equal number of assists. He created maximum forward pressure on numerous occasions, but one to mention was Marcus chasing down an opponent and the ball, getting to the contest second but finding a way to wrestle control of the ball (Jedi mind trick I think….) and then proceeding to run into goal and snapped truly.
Speaking of mind tricks, Will Spring has a fantastic football brain. He has the presence of mind to sum up a situation and work out the best means of creating the best outcome for his team in front of goal. That sometimes means going backwards before going forward. When Will was faced with a wall of opposition in front of him before the goals, he spotted Ethan lurking a kick clear straightening the cones his mum set up earlier that morning (thanks Taya), passing to him for a clean shot at the posts. Will was excellent in defense also, taking telling marks and thinking his way through situations to give the team the best chance to set up its attacking plays.
Ed Callaghan also managed a kick in the wrong direction except this time it was into the oppositions forward line. Fortunately it was return with interest by his team mates. Despite this, Ed did have a good game, winning ruck contests, getting his body over the ball, defending well early and providing a target up forward late in the game. In a performance reminiscent of Cale Hooker, the ultimate “swingman”. Just like his team mate Jake who was a valuable defensive player ensuring the Bombers a difficult time in their attacking zone and setting up countless rebounds through the midfield. Jake always the team man, taking clean marks and providing precise passes, his signatures on the game.
Maddy was busy all day presenting as a target for forward entries and always willing to be involved in running play providing a link through the middle on many occasions by hand. Max likewise was keen to be involved in presenting for a hand pass through the middle and also presenting as an option in the forward half when stationed there.
Jordan harassed all day and was valuable through the middle, barging, running and blocking, all with a cheeky smile. Evan was consistent in defense and damaging in the middle, where his best football was played for the day. He had too many highlights to mention but what was consistent were his side steps, calculated risk taking, bounces and damaging run and carry.
Charlie found a way to get involved in the game with rebounding defensive work pushing the ball forward with his long kicking and Ethan was his energetic and enthusiastic self, working hard around the contest, taking the game on, harassing the opposition and bringing his customary intensity to the contest.
The whole team found a way to be involved and lifted in front of a tough and well drilled opposition. Our players found a way to deploy their skills and judgement better to keep their noses in front, in what was an exciting and entertaining spectacle.
Other Information to take note of:
Looking ahead we only have 3 weeks to go. Next week we are at home, same time as last week. We then travel to North Narrabeen and then the program has changed such that Lane Cove Cats will be hosting at Blackman Park an U8 AFL Gala Day from 8:30am to round out the season on the 11 August. This will be what the AFL terms the Sydney City North division meaning we are playing a few different clubs such as Leichhardt and Mosman not to mention our old foes the Willoughby Wildcats. I attach from the Club the explanatory email for your review.
Also some of you have requested information on the end of year presentation for the U8s. It will be at The Diddy on the 8th September at 11am with the Juniors. More information to follow.
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