If you are a student of modern military doctrine you will be familiar with the concept of asymmetric warfare – the idea that combatants use non traditional means to overcome traditional weaknesses.
The Cats are not students of modern military doctrine.
The Cats are students of good, old fashioned, trench warfare. The idea that if you persist long enough your opposition will, eventually, be overcome. And so, on a brisk Sunday afternoon at the SCO, the Cats front up to the Manly bombers. The bombers are third on the table with a 5-1 record. The Cats are good at digging trenches.
The Cats start slowly, sluggishly, stop all together and then start again. The focus at training this week has been all about quick disposals to supporting team mates and it starts to show. The Cats are looking for teammates by hand and foot and they are protecting their teammates gathering the ball. The execution isn’t perfect, but it’s a far more attractive brand of footy and the execution will come with practice. The Coach has been drilling the need to call for the ball as well and there is plenty of calling. Multiple times three Cats call for the ball and three Cats go for the ball, with the inevitable outcome. With the Bombers pressing toward goal at the end of the quarter, Chops demonstrates the real value of calling for the ball. Standing in the defensive goal square with three Bombers bearing down on her, she screams “mine” and all three Bombers players respectfully slow and let her mark unhindered. Chops has been outstanding, she is frequently outnumbered and always the last line of defence, but she never hesitates and never gives up on the ball. The Bombers have been the dominant team in the first quarter, but the Cats have laid out the trenches within imaginary forty metre lines and the Bombers are limited to two behinds. Q1 LCC 0.0.0 MLY 0.2.2
The Cats have found a bit of run after The A.R.M.Os words at quarter time. Elyssa captures the ball on the wing, handballs to LilyS and follows up with a strong shepherd. LilyS runs into space and kicks into the path of Jasmine at full sprint. Jasmine gathers and kicks and the ball goes through for a behind. Not quite the desired result, but the Cats can see the way now. Repeated attacks eventually find Emma thirty-five metres out and tired of all the mucking about, she simply boots it through for a goal. Ash and Griebs are out due to the new 12 day concussion rule. Griebs is in the goals and Ash is running the line, which is apparently harder than running in the game. Emma takes a turn in the ruck and cops a knee to the sternum – which is the end of her day. Down to twelve, the Cats are going to be tested on the expansive SCO, but they are staying in the game with sheer determination. Q2 LCC 1.1.7 MLY 1.3.9
By now both teams have figured out that the Umpires have left their whistles at home and the third quarter turns into a classic arm wrestle. The ball is rarely threatening either goal. LucY and Tipsy are running hard and turning up in every contest. Helena is using strength to break the packs and Graiceeee is intercepting plenty of ball and sending it back in to attack. LilyS is running and weaving and her efforts are almost as impressive as the set up her old man has produced for the cheeseboards; almost. Jasmine is bringing plenty of run in the pocket and takes a great running mark over her shoulder. Martine’s continuing development is impressive, she is not only using speed and strength to gather, but is starting to get the ball away to teammates. Rojia is camped in the forward line, continuing to give the team a target. LilyD is racking up more possessions than there are blocks of King Island cheese, while at the same time keeping the Bomber’s goal scoring guru in the Michael Jordan number unusually quiet. Plenty of effort, but it is not showing up on the scoreboard for either team. Q3 LCC 1.2.8 MLY 1.3.9
It has been a great game already; it’s tight, both teams are hard at it, played in good spirit and with plenty of skill on show. It’s likely that whomever runs the game out hardest will win. The Bombers have been rotating their bench and can be expected to come home strong. The crowd has left the cheese boards and are getting vocal and the 14s have declined A. Coach’s kind offer to warm up and are gathered near the forward pocket. The Bombers come out flying and get an early goal to stretch their lead and now it’s a real test for the Cats. The play moves from end to end as exhausted players find one more effort. Jaimie leads the way with a brave mark running back in to a pack. The Cat’s pressure gradually moves the centre of momentum forward and then to the Cats half forward line. As the clock ticks down, the crowd is getting noisier. A behind gets us within a goal and another makes the win possible, but time is running down. With four minutes left the ball breaks in to the Bombers forward line, but Chops does her thing, cuts it down and sends it back in to attack. The ball is pushed through the middle and in to the half forward line, the Bombers are falling back and trying to smother the ball. The ball suddenly pops out in to the left pocket, where LilyD has run hard from half back line and left her opposition behind. She gathers the ball, steadies and shoots. GOOOOOOOOOAL! The Cats get around, the crowd erupts and the coaches start yelling for the team to flood back in defence, but the most excited person is Griebs the goal umpire who leaps a full metre in the air and brings down both hands. We’ll talk about officials demonstrating impartiality another day. The next minute and a half could be treacherous, but the Cats are cool and the siren sounds for the closest of wins.
The Cats have lead the game for a full one minute and 23 seconds, but they have hung in and simply run harder for longer than their opposition. A magnificent win and another complete team performance. The Cats are showing that they are a force in this competition as long as the continue to develop as a team.
Final Score: Lane Cove Cats 2.4.16 d Manly Bombers 2.3.15
Goals: E. Byrne, L.Dorahy
Players’ Player: L. Dorahy
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