Facing the Suns was always going to be a challenge after managers, coaches and players alike had interrogated the leader board and the results of previous weeks’ games to try and understand how tough this game was going to be
Pre game jitters and many stares towards the river end of Blackman Park where the Sunsnwere warming up gave us a taste of the size and speed of this team, but there was a cautious sense of optimism and confidence that the Cats were going out to stand their ground – after all Blackman Park is their ground.
As the fill in manager for the weekend, I had a sneaky thought that under my stewardship (along with guidance from the coaches) we could deliver Micko an upset. With the Cats setting up a defensive setup on the field the game started hard and fast with Sun’s running, kicking and passing looking like they knew each and every team member’s next move. The Cats responded as best as they could, continually reading the play and started working out their role in this frantic game. The defensive line did not stop scrambling, spoiling and doing their best to slow the game down. With 1.20 minutes to go the Cats finally ventured into enemy territory showing they were starting to work out the Sun’s tactics and whilst it got the hearts racing on the side line it was short lived as the Q1 hooter belted across the oval marking the end of the first quarter. Time for a break and regroup. Score LCC 0.0.0 Suns 4.5.29
Quarter 2 started at the same rapid pace as previously but the Cats came out with a revised strategy and renewed vigour putting their bodies on the line and started clearing the ball further out wide. “Look for people on the wings” was the call and this helped the Cats extract the Sun’s temptation to run it up the middle and kick towards the goals at ever opportunity. This was definitely a big day for the Cats backs ! Unlike in the first quarter the mighty blue jerseys started getting a taste for what it was like in Sun’s territory, and whilst they weren’t there for long they started putting a stake in the ground signalling the rest of the game was no walk in the park. End Q2 LCC 0.0.0 Suns 7.6.48
Quarter 3 was all about contesting for the ball. The clear intent was to make the Sun’s work harder and harder for each and every point by putting the Sun’s under pressure and starting to spoil the ball. As with the first two quarters the Cats continued to learn how the Sun’s played and as such built on their positioning and ramped up their support of each other through much more effective shepherding and contesting. By this stage the entire team had touched the leather pill at some stage allowing each and every Cat to have a go – including some amazing engagement by some of the newer players. The coach was well and truly utilising the 4 subs to continuously put re oxygenated blood on the paddock and give players a variety of roles to experience and learn from. Q3 down and for the third successive quarter the Cat’s had slowed the Sun’s pace at which they popped the ball through the posts. End Q3 LCC 0.0.0 Suns 8.12.60
By Q4, with the mercy rule applied the Cats went out with a few more players on the field intent on having fun, playing good footy, to show the Suns who they really were and that Cats never give up. What impresses me most with the Cats is their relentless and tireless ability to have a positive mindset, to challenge themselves each and every quarter and to run out into middle of the field with heads held high and a mindset of “we will do this!”- no matter what the score. And this is what they did in quarter 4 – contesting, spoiling, running, shepherding, taking great marks. They slowed the Suns down to a mere goal and one behind in the last quarter and with just 45 seconds to go, after a determined and aggressive attack the sideline fans jumped out of their seats to watch the Cat’s get so close to ticking the home side score board into positive territory only to run out of time. Next time! Final score
LCC 0.0.0 Suns 9.13.67 (I think – we stopped scoring).
Players player : Ash
Manager’s player : the whole team!
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