It was a perfect day for a game of football, the sun was out, the wind was light, and Steve Chisholm oval was full of happy dads enjoying footy on the second most important day of the year (second of course by a considerable distance to Mother’s day). If there was ever a day for the LCC Selwoods to bring out their best footy, this was it. And bring it they did. Playing against a very competitive Balgowlah Suns team, our boys played what was undoubtedly their best game of the year. There were stunning goals, spectacular marks, and monster tackles, but the most impressive part of the game was how well we played as a team. This was a game where there were no passengers, as every member of the team bought in. Most impressive was the way that our boys looked to work with their team mates, whether it was a handball to a player in space, looking for a team mate with every kick, or backing each other up when competing for the contested ball. This meant that not only did we have multiple goal kickers, but we had multiple multiple goal kickers.
It is hard to pick the best play of the day, but our first goal was a good place to start. It started with our ruck, Jonti, palming the ball to Hamish in the midfield, who kicked it into our forward zone. The contested ball ended up in the goal square, with Ivan able to take possession, wrestle out of one tackle, and some how get ball to boot as he was tackled by two other defenders, with the ball dissecting the big sticks. This was one of three (or was it four) goals kicked by Ivan. Perhaps play of the day was the play where Oscar, swooping out of defence onto a loose ball, kicked a pinpoint pass to Hamish, who marked the ball in the midfield, who then executed a perfect pass to Ivan, who marked in the forward zone. Two kicks to get the ball out of defence into our forward zone for a shot at goal.
Was it the play starting in the centre ball up, which saw Jonti tap the ball to Archer, who took possession, evaded one tackle, drew another defender before twisting and executing a perfect handball to Jonti in space, who was able to kick to Ryan in the forward zone, directly in front? Ryan played on and booted it straight through the posts. From centre bounce to gaol in about 15 seconds. Aza’s goal was another candidate. The contested centre ball up resulted in Hamish kicking the ball to the forward zone but out on the wing, Ollie charged at the ball, took on two defenders, got the ball clear to Ryan wide in the forward pocket, who kicked it straight to Aza, who was unmarked in the goal square. Aza was only a metre from the goal line, but did what any good full forward would do, and kicked the ball into the (admittedly imaginary) second tier of the grandstand!
Ollie’s goal certainly enters the conversation. A Suns defender kicked the ball from the Suns back pocket to an unmarked Suns player just inside the midfield zone, only to have Jonti swoop in for the intercept mark, play on, and hand ball to Ollie in space. At the time I thought that Ollie might have been a bit too far out as he was kicking into the breeze, but he made a strong connection with the ball, and his shot sailed straight through. Hamish showed his excellent game smarts, with both his goals coming as a result of strong leads into
the goal square, having seen Jonti take possession just inside the forward zone. Leading into space he was able to swoop on Jonti’s pass and add nicely to our goal tally. Hamish’s work in the midfield was brilliant, as he combined with Jonti and Archer to pepper the forward line with penetrating, accurate kicking.
In terms of spectacular goals it is hard to go past Ryan’s snap from deep forward pocket. He swooped on the loose ball, evaded one defender before kicking truly from an impossibly tight angle. Ryan managed three (or was it four) goals for the day, and was super impressive where-ever he was playing. Jonti’s curler might be a bit of a competitor to Ryan’s snap, Jonti curled the ball from out on the wing, just inside the forward zone. It almost curled too much as it just snuck around the inside of the goal post. A great shot from long range. Whilst goals are an important part of the game, winning games requires a strong defence. Not only were we able to score heavily, we also managed to slow the Suns from scoring, thanks to some great tackling and pressure right across the ground. Special mention goes to Harry, who was the best defensive player of the day. He fought for every contested ball, tackled hard when he couldn’t win it, and when he did, made great use of the handball and his boot to get the ball out of congestion. Jerry and Oscar were also integral players throughout the game. They were hard at the ball, and fed the ball to their team-mates helping to set up goals. Oscar’s class when putting boot to ball was on full display.
Ollie didn’t just score when playing forward, he tackled hard, and chased all day, and won plenty of the ball. Another really strong performance from Ollie. As impressive as Ivan was in the forward zone, his ruckwork and defensive work was also first class. He had a really big impact all game. Aza’s goal was great reward for hard work, which was also on display in the midfield, as he fought hard for the ball. He is really learning to use his body to win the contested ball. Parkes, playing his last game for the year continued his strong form. Always courageous in the contest, he worked hard to get the ball to his team-mates advantage.
There were two coach’s awards handed out on Sunday, such was the depth and quality of the team’s play. Archer’s use of the ball stood out all game. He has a really excellent kick, and directs it beautifully to his team-mates advantage, but what really impressed me this game was his pinpoint handballs. The handball under pressure is a really difficult skill to master, but Archer’s use of the handball to get the congested ball to a player in space was first-class, and an often underappreciated skill. His combination particularly with Jonti and Hamish in the midfield was brilliant, and left me, and dad Michael with big smiles on our faces. The second coaches award went to Aza, who worked hard all day to get his hands on the ball, and to his team-mates in space, and kicked his first goal of the year. A great effort by Aza.
All in all a huge team effort by the Selwood boys. The team song was sung with much gusto after the match, particularly so by all the Dad’s in attendance (the players joined in of course). Our last game of the year is an away game against the Willoughby Wildcats. The Wildcats are always top quality competition, but if we continue to work together as a team, we can take the game right up to them, and turn those Wildcats into Mild-cats!
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