Round 6 saw Team Duncan travel to Mike Pawley Oval to take on Division 3’s undefeated Manly Bombers. The team was fresh off a bye in Round 5 and everyone was very much looking forward to their first Division 3 match. However, injuries and other player unavailabilities, including the absence of Coach Waxman and son Oscar, meant the team was down to 15 players and a “fill-in” Coach, Pete Dixon. Come game day, player numbers were further reduced as Tom C. battled illness. Nonetheless Fill-In Coach Dixon was still confident the team could put in a strong performance against the Bombers.
Fill-In Coach Dixon set the players a challenge before the match – everyone was to give 100% effort for all four quarters. The players also focused on two other team rules: attacking the ball (on the ground and in the air) and keeping their team structure throughout each quarter.
Soon enough, the siren sounded and the Cats pounced – immediately the Cats midfield had an impact – led by Archie L. in the ruck and Byron as ruck rover, the Cats pushed the ball forward providing opportunities for Toby and Oliver to take the ball deep into the Cats forward line. Early indications were that the Cats were out to show up the undefeated Bombers!
Harry set the scene early for what was a dominant four quarter display at Centre Half Back – he was well supported by both Ryan and Ben who possessed fantastic attack at the football, run and carry to propel many a Bombers attack.
The second quarter saw Josh score our team’s first goal – and what a celebration from all the players, coaches and supporters alike – everyone was pumped as the game was played with awesome enthusiasm and determination. Sachin, Daniel and Jerry proved their strength over the ball as the Cats and Bombers played a very even first half of footy while Ted looked very dangerous around our goals with a few great marks.
The second half saw Jude come into the ruck and immediately our midfield benefited from Jude placing the ball beautifully to his teammates – Tom L. also came into the midfield and showed his attack on the ball with multiple efforts out of the centre square. Oliver kicked our second great goal in the third quarter rewarding his fantastic effort throughout the match. The Bombers took a 2 goal lead into the final quarter but the Cats hadn’t given up yet!
Fill-In Coach Dixon heard a mumur from the crowd and threw Jerry onto the ball – and what an impact he had, pushing himself through the centre with effort after effort – even managing to kick truly and convert the team’s third goal for the afternoon!
When the final siren sounded the Cats were down by 13 points (8 points once the video umpire reversed an incorrect goal awarded to the Bombers in the final quarter)! Although the boys didn’t get the win on the scoreboard, Fill-In Coach Dixon could not have been prouder of each and every player for the way they went about their footy today. Team Duncan showed that they have potential to be a dangerous team in Division 3 having taken it up to the Bombers by playing four quarters of strong football without any reserves on the bench while their undefeated opposition had 3-4 reserves to substitute throughout the match. Bring on Round 7 (and the return of Coach Waxman)!
Pete “Fill-In Coach” Dixon
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