Due to implausible reports of a sodden Steve Chisolm Oval, and after a flurry of telex messages, Team Ablett relocated, and their Round 4 game was played in the bright sunshine on the artificial turf of ELS Hall against the North Ryde Dockers early Sunday morning. Harvey was Captain for this week and led his 14 teammates onto the field. After agreement with ground staff, opposition and umpires, this was changed in the second quarter to 18-a-side so that everyone could get more game time.
Once again the Cats came out strong, and had scored a major within the first couple of minutes. The let up didn’t stop till the end of the first half, with the Cats leading 7-5-47 to 0. From then on, players were rotated through positions in their groups, and the game became a much more even contest. The third the Dockers narrowly won 1-1-7 to 1-0-6, but our Defenders relished being moved forward in the final quarter, and we scored 4-1-25 to 0 even after having two players removed from the field with the mercy rule. Final score was 12-6-78 to 1-1-7.
Goal kickers were spread mainly across the mid-field group: Harry (2), Dylan Fleischer (across the body), James Graham’s first for the year, Zac Holgate when moved up front, Lucius, and Hudson (3) in a strong game. For the forwards, James O’Dowd and James Hughes also scored majors. The team Runner was waiting at the side-line preparing to tell Olly to get out of the forward line when he channelled Pele to scissor kick his goal in the 3rd. The Runner returned without sending the message.
Team Ablett has been focusing during game simulations on the switch kick, and Zak Evans provided two glorious examples of this, the first of which was during the second quarter, after his strong mark at half-back was kicked across field, marked, kicked and marked again, and resulted in a goal that had everyone cheering. It was certainly the Play of the Day. It is encouraging to see that not only do the players actually listen to Coach during training and take in what’s being said, but also that our boys have the skills to perform a move that even professional teams can struggle with. Particularly my team this year.
Another point that is frequently brought up at training (and just as frequently ignored gametime), is the frustrating tendency for midfielders to crowd into the forward line. Everyone wants to kick goals, right? The boys were reminded that Footy is a team game, and when there are 18 on the field, not everyone can kick goals. Hopefully in the next few weeks we can get this point across at training.
One thing which had to be addressed was on-field behaviour, and in particular the players need to moderate themselves and not react (or overreact) to poor opposition behaviour. Coach Roger spoke eloquently on the subject post-match, and left the players in no doubt of their responsibilities. We will reinforce this message at training.
It did not take the shine off another masterful performance by Team Ablett. Next week we meet the Manly Hornets at Mike Pawley Oval at 11:15am. Go Cats!
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