On a day that saw straight kicks turn to bananas and high kicks fly backwards, U11 Team Ablett met Willoughby Wildcats for the second time this season. The strong wind at Steve Chisholm Oval had an icy bite and the sunshine promised no warmth, only a cold sunburn. James Graham captained today, and we had a very full side, with 19 players ready to take the field. Coach Roger’s pre-game address was largely about the wind, how it would affect play, affect kicks, affect scoring.
Previously, Ablett has jumped out of the blocks in the first quarter, but from the beginning this looked like it was going to be a dour affair. Tackling was hard and heavy, and no one truly got a run on. It was obvious that the “scorer’s end” was going to be the hill-end goal posts. The Cats midfield was matched by the Wildcats, but nevertheless, we managed to score a goal in the first despite kicking into the wind. Captain James lit up his side in the second with a goal, and while Wildcats had many opportunities, the Cats defence was good enough to keep them goalless for the game. Team Ablett’s midfield and forwards put the game out of reach, despite some set shot attempts being blown sideways.
Final score was 5-6-36 to 0-4-4. Goals kickers were Hudson, James Graham, James Hughes, and Zac Holgate (2).
James Ross has provided solid contribution at all positions on the ground since his trade from North Ryde, but is displaying his worth in the defensive line. This week he was awarded the Defensive Player Award. Captain James “Jimmy” Graham led his team from the front, kicking a goal that had the opposition in disbelief that it had actually gone through. He was awarded Team Player. There was no dispute about the Play of the Day. It was rightly awarded to Zac Holgate for his running goal that started on the wing, included two bounces, and was slotted at a narrow angle, though probably aimed at his brother’s head who was goal umpiring at that end!
While it was another good win, there is much that can be improved. Coaches/runners/managers are still shouting themselves hoarse at players out of position, drifting forward from defence into a crowded forward line, or not moving across field to match the play. At times moving players feels like moving a very large rock with a rubber band, just when you think things are about to break, they spring forward dangerously. The boys were all over the place during warm-up, more intent on mucking around than sharpening up for the game. While it didn’t hurt them this time, at some point they will get jumped. We’ll continue to work on the boys on Thursdays; they are certainly enjoying themselves and the way the team is performing, and improving their game play further is the icing on the cake.
Next weekend Team Ablett makes its very first trip to Rofe Park to meet the Hornsby Eagles at 10:45am.
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