Curl Curl had a Blue and White Army invasion on Sunday with not only U11 Ablett at Mike Pawley, but U10YG Tayla and U12YG Privitelli next door at Frank Gray, all playing against Manly Hornets/Bombers. The ground was soft and muddy in parts and the wind was gusting towards the sea, so fine ball-handling skills were not going to be on show. Manly have always been a particularly tough opponent for the boys, winners over us at the 2018 Gala Day grand final and beating us twice in the 2019 Home and Away season, the boys were in for a muddy slog of a game.
After the coaches had managed to drag the boys away from their traditional warm-up of discussing their latest Fortnite battle royale results, we got into some drills on the dry part of the ground and Coach Roger addressed them, emphasizing the poor conditions and the game focus of Being In Front. Jude captained today and led his team onto the field, only to have Shane returned at the umpire’s instruction to trim his fingernails! Lucky he found some clippers, because he was going to be needed in the backline.
Kicking with the wind, the Cats had a dominant first quarter, kicking 4-0-24 to 0-1-1, good stoppage tap-work from Xavier and clearances from Harry and Hudson providing the feed to goal. From quarter time though, the game turned in Manly’s favour. The contest was even in the second, each team scoring one goal apiece, but the whole third quarter was spent in the Cats defensive half. Manly peppered the goals, kicking 1-6-7 to 0. The Cats were just unable to clear it out of defence, either kicking into the wind or into an opponent or contest, and had Manly been able to convert some of those behinds into goals, the result would’ve been very different. The last quarter was again one goal each, and as the final siren sounded, the coaches and parents’ hearts re-started. There not being a scoreboard, there was some dispute amongst the players at the siren over who won the day, but it was the Cats whose mathematics was superior and who had been able to hang on and win. Jude’s musical training was to the fore as he led his team in a boisterous, though tuneful, rendition of the Lane Cove Cats team song.
While Coach Mic often bemoans the poor goal-kicking at Thursday training, the fact is on game day Team Ablett are really quite accurate both in running goals and set shots. Goal kickers were Harry, James Hughes, Lucius and Hudson (3). The final score of 6-0-36 to 3-8-26 would’ve been quite different if either the Cats had kicked less truly, or the Hornets kicked straighter.
Shane had his hands all over it in the busy third quarter, and was awarded Defensive Player. Lochie was moved down back to assist in defence, and was specifically instructed to lay some tackles. And he did, against bigger opponents, time and again. He was awarded Team Player. Our ruckman, Xavier was off injured for some of the second, and while Angus battled manfully in his stead, it was a relief to have him return in the third. Xavier demonstrated his worth going back with the flight of the ball, just getting his fingers onto a pass that would’ve been damaging had it connected with one of the Manly players, and was awarded Play of the Day.
Held over from last week’s win against North Ryde were the award winners. Harvey for his continued work in defence won the Defensive Player award, Lucius always contributing in the middle and getting on the scoreboard won Team Player, and Zak E. for his great run out of defence and switch kick to set up a goal won Play of the Day.
Team Ablett are a very strong team, and while we are yet to face the ladder-leading Pennant Hills, it is rewarding and encouraging to see the boys improve week by week, their ability to follow instruction, particularly under pressure during a game, and their ability to take what they’ve learnt in a training drill and put it into practice on the field is most pleasing. Congratulations boys, you played very well today!
Next week Sunday 23-Aug we are back at Steve Chisholm for a 12:30pm return game against Willoughby Wildcats Black.
RECEIVE OUR NEWS
Join our mailing list to receive our latest news and support the Lane Cove Cats.
The Family Friendly Junior AFL Club.