The Grand Final rematch against Pennant Hills (PH) back at our home ground was set to be a real test for Team Henry. Our slow build up into the season was
of some concern coming into a match against a side with some strong early round results.
With 19 available, we welcomed our newest team member James Zervos for his first game of AFL. The focus for our game remained centred around 1) Front &
Square positioning, 2) Driving our legs with the ball in hand and looking for the flat handball to team mates in support & 3) Team Defence. Harry Arnold who
had started the season in great form, was handed the Captaincy for the match. The first centre clearance went to PH and they were direct to goal. Supporting
this style they had the tallest player on the field set up deep and through this forward entry and a number of subsequent ones to follow, he was able to mark
almost unopposed and kicked a couple of goals to kick-start their score line. We were being beaten easily at the contest. Our players were content to watch their opponent win the ball and then hope to tackle them to win it back in return. This was unsustainable and would lead to a quick blowout.
Down by 2 goals at the end of the first quarter, the boys were reminded of the key to beating your opponent to allow us to win the contested ball, gain territory
and build some momentum. Their response was terrific and all players had a bit more urgency in their attack. The result was 1.3 goals to both sides and a 13pt
deficit to PH at half time.
Although we were back in the game, the pressure applied by PH meant we were rushed with our disposal and we often kicked the ball with no awareness of what or who was down the field. We tried to assist at the contest, but found ourselves caught in “no mans” land, neither helping to get the ball out or defending the ball. Though perhaps the fluctuations in concentration and effort remained our greatest challenge. This meant we relied on some of our team members to carry the workload.
In Q3 PH extended their lead with 5 goals to 1. The magnets were getting worked overtime, but the spark didn’t appear and the final margin at the
end of the game had blown out to 48pts. Pleasingly our boys didn’t give in. We were outclassed by a better opponent, which played for each other. We will continue to develop our players to be better skilled, understand options with the ball in possession and be a stronger team supporting every one with our best energy focus. Well done to Hudson Savage and Harry Arnold with efforts consistent throughout and also to Lucius Pimpini who filled a number of positions.
Some of the tackling in the 2nd quarter was a genuine highlight. Aaron Ball using his leg speed was brilliant in front of the coaching bench. The four goals, all a mix of long range kicks and snaps, were also highlight coming from impressive team play. The capability is there and the players must prepare to accept the challenge to raise our standards.
Goal kickers: Zac Holgate 1, Oliver Meichan 1, Lucuis Pimpini 1, Hudson Savage 1
Final Scores: Pennant Hills Demons 12.8.80 defeated Lane Cove Cats 4.8.32
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