ANZAC Day 2021 and our boys were privileged to participate in the traditional formalities of the playing of the “Last Post” and “The Rouse” whilst standing silent arm in arm in the middle of the ground. Well done the St Ives Junior AFL Club for their tribute and inviting both teams to take part. Similar to last week, St Ives is another new opponent we have yet face in the last 3 years.
On a perfect Autumn day, our game day squad swelled to 19 players and we welcomed a few familiar faces back from the 2020 side along with Thomas Ogier playing his first game in 2 years.
The side was prepped to deliver on areas we had practised at training during the week. Specifically 1) Front and Square positioning at marking contests; 2) Spoiling when caught behind and again 3) Team Defence. “Kick-In” movement was reinforced and it was handed to Xavier Coker to lead the boys onto the field as Captain.
The improved warm up led to earlier engagement in what we had set out to do as a team. Some winning clearances and follow up from the midfield group provided us with a couple of early goals. St Ives was up for the fight and the ball travelled the length of the field at times with fluctuating pressure.
Pleasingly the defensive group attacked the ball and managed to repel the opposition attacks. We managed to deliver some spoiling too with good effect.
The opportunity to educate the boys’ regular arises in games and they were taught to follow up our defensive half disposal by finding a player and not stand watching the ball from 20m away. When this was not done the action resulted in a turnover goal to St Ives.
At the long break we held a 4.3 to 1.6 lead. St Ives had lifted their effort & attack and team Henry were encouraged to match their opposition in this area and beat them in the contest. We spoke about better composure with the ball and not being rushed to dispose of it. The bigger field this week played into our hands as we found more space in our forward line. A real highlight came from Jude Lumley who played a great game, valuing concentration and early reaction to combine with his leg speed. He capitalised on the centre clearances we were winning and from here we were able to build the ball up with several marks in succession. More space produced more scores; the shining performance here came from midfielder Harry Arnold who had 5 goals to his name by the end of the 3rd quarter.
By the start of the last quarter with the game under control, we continued to explore different positioning and the resulting five goals were our best for the match. Pleasingly it was an even team performance, with contributions from everyone. I was impressed with the teams positive attitude to the high number of rotations forced on the boys when playing with 19.
This year we will be presenting a new award each week recognising “Outstanding Effort and Influence on the Game” the recipient could be our best on the day or a player that has performed above their standard and provided the team with a platform to excel. This week’s winner was Harry Latus for his steadfast defence and defensive exit possessions. Other notable performances came from James O’Dowd, Hudson Savage, Jude Lumley, Dylan O’Dowd & Harry Arnold.
Goal kickers: Harry Arnold 6, Zac Holgate 2, Hudson Savage 2, Xavier Coker 1, Oliver Meichan 1, Noah Tops 1
Final Scores: Lane Cove Cats 13.5.83 defeated St Ives 3.7.25
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