Match Report R8: LCC U10YG vs Willoughby Wildcats U10YG Sunday 6th June 2021

Written by Lane Cove Cats

7 June 2021

A mid-week change to the season fixtures meant that a 9:30am centre-bounce at Gore Hill was brought forward to 8:30am. This early start, and the sub-antarctic temperatures, could’ve meant that few were there to watch the game. But no, we had our strongest contingent of parents and supporters yet, and clearly outnumbered the home team. For that matter, just where is the home team! At 8:20 a conference between Manager Sam and the Gore Hill Ground Manager determined that the carrier pigeon relaying the message of the change of time, must’ve disappeared over enemy lines. While the parents were looking hopeful that they could get back to bed, the players were looking devastated about not playing, and it was decided after contacting the opposition coach, that we would see what sort of team he could get together by 9am. By 8:50 they had ten, and we decided with the umpires we would play two 12 minute halves with a short break.

It ended up being a quite harried beginning of the game, with coaches, managers and parents rushing left, right and centre to get the players on the field, and everything set up and organised. Coach Kelly was shanghaied to be the timekeeper. Verity is very quiet and shy, and she captained the team, though didn’t feel confident enough to address the team, which was OK, as everything was very rushed anyway. She led her full team of ten onto the field.

[Cats players L to R] Lulu, Verity (hair flying) and Isla in the chase for the footy

Team Evans were dominant from the centre-bounce, and the majority of play was in the Cats midfield and forward-line. Annabel scored her first goal after a persistent follow-up effort, and Coco scored two behinds before registering a major. The Wildcats coach moved one of their stars down back to plug up the holes, and our backs stopped stamping their feet to stay warm and got into the action. Willoughby kicked one goal for the first half.

The half-time break saw Coach Mic spinning magnets like a madman with the need to rotate players, and fearful of the Wildcats able midfield. He urged the players to retain focus, and to keep it moving forward by foot when possible. The half was reduced to 8 minutes, due to the late start and the need to clear the field for the next game. Willoughby started strong, kicking two quick goals from defensive lapses at stoppages, but The Cats wrested the momentum back and a huge defensive clearance kick by Eva saw the ball get eventually to Isla in the forward line, and the way she booted it through the big sticks, had the umpire checking the ball for damage. Though the Wildcats pressed for the remainder of the term, they could not score, and in the end it was Coco’s little trio of attempts that made the difference, the Cats finishing ahead by a solitary point.

Annabel has been one of the surprise packets of Team Evans. While she may play the sympathy card on the fact that she is the youngest and (one of the) shortest in the team, when she takes the field she is nothing short of ferocious. She is very vocal on (and off) the field. She is learning very quickly to get clear by turning out the back of contests, and does not flinch when tackling much larger players. She started this game in the forward line and kicked her first goal for The Cats, which was great to see.

Annabel gets a handpass away. Note shorter Cats players in the background!

While we did get the win, the uncertainty about the game clearly got into the players heads. At the start of the game, Coach Mic was mostly silent, letting the players run it all, which is a great sign of maturity in the team. But that changed in the second-half, and he had to remind them to stop ball-watching, to move across the field, and to not lose touch with their opponents. Sadly also, the stoppage setup which we’d drilled (and drilled and drilled) broke down and the Wildcats got on top due to a number of strong clearances, and these resulted in goals. Also, the girls had been drilling relentlessly since about 8am, so Willoughby was always going to be fresher at game end. Regardless, while it wasn’t our absolute best, Team Evans should be proud of this win, as Willoughby have quite a number of very good players. We just tackled our hearts out. It is also obvious the amount of work that has gone into clearances, and that our difference is our outside speed.

Coco is one of Team Evans’ better players, and should feature strongly in both the B&F (aka the “Tarni”) & the goal count. She is always determined, fast and extremely competitive, so much so that in the first half when her laces became untied and the coach helped her, she almost kicked him in the face in her eagerness to get to the ball going past! Nine hours before the game, she was sick with suspected food poisoning, but there was no question of sitting this match out. Coco was awarded the Tayla Harris Courage Award. Verity surprised Coach Mic a couple of times during the game, got a number of clearances and was very determined to get first to the ball. Her improvement overall and in particular her leadership in this game saw her awarded the Darcy Vescio Player of the Day.

Coco getting clear

There is a (blissful for parents) week off before returning to SCO to meet Balgowlah in Round 9. See everyone at training on Wednesday!

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