We are usually provided with a very well presented field and opposition when we line up against Willoughby and Sunday was no exception. However, it was bucketing down on Sunday at Willoughby Oval, not a picnic rug in sight in the outer as Team Blicavs ran out to play for a late one against the Wildcats. It was wet weather footy at its finest and Team Blicavs did not disappoint the small crowd of faithful supporters in tow with a stunning performance to take the chocolates.
Both Drew and myself were extremely proud of the boys for putting in such a complete and dedicated performance across the paddock. There were no passengers and everyone of the lads brought 100% to the contest and committed to team play for the duration of the match. The message at the start of the game was simple. It’s wet weather footy! Slam the ball on your boot quickly. Keep the ball moving at all costs. Crash, bash and keep moving to keep the pressure on the opposition. They all listened. It happened! It was surge footy and the boys executed like they had been playing like this forever. While a few bounces and some otherwise dubious alternatives occasionally were trialed, common sense prevailed and the formula was executed for full points. The opportunities presented to our forwards were plentiful, and the ball often stayed in for extended periods, but when Willoughby repelled, our defensive unit was up to the task and mostly managed to shut down opposition attacks and reload.
Thanks to Hamish Lovejoy and Henry Groocoe for filling in, without the extra numbers it would have been an otherwise more difficult matchup. Thanks also to your parents for sparing their otherwise busy schedules so you could be at the game, while they road tested Goretex.
I have been rummaging through the hours of video tape of the various highlights to help me recall the best moments for the plays of the day. There were so many, but perhaps there were two most special moments to savor for two very difference reasons. The first being Sammy’s great defensive effort to styme a surging trifecta of Wildcats. Sammy was the last brick in the dam wall holding back a torrent about to spill over! As the ball and the opposition came running towards him, Sammy stood up took the ball cleanly and took the threesome of tacklers on. He stood up, defended his space and waited for the cavalry to arrive and the umpires whistle. Sammy saved a certain goal and stopped any momentum swinging the oppositions way. Also, to Eli in the last term when stationed up forward, he had the presence of mind to stay one out in the goal square (as instructed….very good at listening to instructions is Eli…). With the ball, coming in like it was propelled along a slip and slide, Eli had the presence of mind to keep himself in front of the opposition and with the ability to pick the slippery ball up, he snapped truly for a memorable and well deserved goal. For those two feats, Sammy and Eli you both deserve the chocolates!
Jordy was epic in the wet. If Jordy could have dialed up a set of conditions that suited his game style more, he would probably be fishing in the Antarctic with a beak! He looked most at home in the conditions, feeding on hard ball gets like they were sardines. If there was a hard ball, he got it! If he didn’t, then chances are Jordy was somewhere close to it and influencing the outcome. Bottom of the pack, dishing a handpass, providing a running option, that was Jordy’s game. Certainly from the coaches box, I could not fault his commitment to the contest and his continued repeat efforts.
Ethan gave his usual run with flair, his long range goal from the set shot demonstrated his confidence in his own abilities to take aim and shoot straight. Ethan was also most vocal on the field also, barking orders from the forward line or from defense. Marcus competed hard all day and helped as a pressure forward in the last term, tackling, handballing, being a body around the contests. In the first half managed to stave off many an attack in defense and kept pressure on the opposition, happy to ensure the opposition was more focused on by-play than competing for the ball. Like the rest of the team, was committed to the contest all game.
Teflon Jack played a ripper also. His parents must have left the fondu set in the cupboard on Saturday night, allowing Jack a decent nights rest. It paid off with one of Jacks best performances for the year. While the Teflon Express didn’t hit the scoreboard as hard as he hit the opposition, he marked everything, competed at ground level and everyone knew where he was on the field!
Benji stuck to the task of being a forward for the first half, and played a great game of footy, often using his size to out muscle his opponents. Sometimes it took two of the opposition to tackle him and this allowed team mates who were free to benefit from his contested work in the square or in the forward arc. Benji was unlucky not to finish with a few goals, and further work with Benji at training on marking contests and bringing the ball to ground will likely deliver the results. Asher competed hard and found plenty of the ball in the middle. After 2-3 attempts to try and run with the ball and being stopped he did finally realise that in the wet its just about kicking forward any way you can and getting yourself to the next contest. Well done Asher.
Billy……while the video evidence will suggest he was listening when I said just get the ball and kick it forward, he did so on many occasions, with great effect, Billy just couldn’t help himself with a few running bounces off half back. But despite the blockages in his inner ear, Billy found plenty of the ball and managed to connect with his team mates on many a great play throughout the day. His main highlights must have been that over the shoulder effort channeling Riley Thirlthorp’s effort for the Crows in the week prior.
And last but certainly not least Jake Spiden. Jake Spiden played like Jake Spiden. He marked superbly all day, played for his team and made a contest where there were contests to be made. Jake had his just rewards finishing off a beautiful contested mark inside the forward line with a superb set shot goal.
Well done to all and looking forward to seeing Team Blicavs taking on the Balgowlah Suns at home on the 11 July.
Drew will host training on Thursday evening and we will advise if there will be any further training throughout the school holiday break.
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