On Sunday we returned to Steve Chisholm Oval to play our first home game in over a month. Our pre-game talk was more solemn than usual as the team talked about the passing of Steve Chisholm, and the role he played in our club. Whilst our players did not get to know Steve, the team wanted to recognise his enormous contribution to the club by playing for him this game.
Our opposition this week was the Willoughby Wildcats. The Wildcats are a super strong team, and last time we played them we only scored a single point for the match. This time we were determined to improve. We were missing Jonti for the second straight week, and Jude was also unable to play, so the Wildcats generously lent us three of their players each quarter to even up team numbers.
The Wildcats made a strong start with much of the early ball being played in their forward half. Our defenders had to work hard to slow down their forwards, the Wildcats were proving to be a bit faster and a bit better balls users than the Cockatoos.
As the Cockatoos so often do however, they started to work their way into the match. We started to win the ball out of the midfield, and get the ball into our forward zone. By the third quarter time our midfielders (led, it must be said, by a wildcats player, Raph) were dominating, and our forwards getting plenty of ball. Ivan and Oscar got close a number of times, only to be denied by a desperate Wildcats defence. Finally Ryan pulled down a huge mark 25 metres out and on a 45 degree angle. A lot of AFL forwards could learn from the kick that followed, as it dissected the big sticks perfectly.
Before long we had a second goal thanks for strong work by Ivan and Oscar, enabling Oscar to scramble the ball through the pack in the goal square. After kicking a few behinds, Ivan also snared himself a goal before the end of the quarter.
The Wildcats finished the game strongly, but not before the Wildcats defenders were made to work hard. Our forwards were unlucky not to add another goal in the last quarter. I thought last week we played better as a team, but this week we had some real stand out performances against a very good opposition.
Hamish was one of those standouts, he took some great marks, fought hard for the ball, including executing some great tackles, and used the ball brilliantly. He is getting better every week. Ivan was also huge all game. In defense he was spoiling opposition marks, and tackling hard, and in in the forward line his attack on the ball was great to watch as he worked really well with Ryan and Oscar to get some points on the board. Ryan’s marking ability shone through, taking some great grabs, and his kicking was first rate. Ryan always gives 100 percent, whether he has the ball, or is trying to stop his opponent. Ollie also showed great courage, fighting hard for the ball in the clinches, and using his speed to get free when he had the ball.
Jack also had some great moments, fighting hard to win the ball, and get space, and he kicked a booming bomb out of the midfield to get the ball into the forward line. Finally Oscar was simply immense. Easily his best game, particularly given the strength of the opposition. He made some great tackles, took marks, applied pressure all over the ground, and was rewarded with a great goal. His determination to get his hands on the ball was evident for four quarters. His skills, determination and effort made him an easy pick this week for the coaches award. Well done.
Next week we play our final game of the regular season against the Mosman Swans. Hopefully we can end the season on a high with a big performance from the whole team. I’ll look forward to seeing you at training, in the meantime, grab a ball, have a few kicks or handballs, and practice that perfect pass!
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