Match Report Mac U16YG vs Southern Power U16yg Sunday 29th May 2022

Written by Lane Cove Cats

31 May 2022

If you are of the numpty variety that regularly reviews the U16YGs table, you will have noted in the past week our old friends, the Pittwater Tigers, have been re-graded midseason and moved up to Div 2.  Evidently, they have been doing well in Div 3, with their very large percentage for and against, they go straight to the top of the Div 2 table.  That means that today’s clash against the Southern Power is third v fourth and a great opportunity to cement our position in the top 4.

What’s more, it’s a gorgeous day.  A blue, crisp day on the artificial turf.  A day for open running, clean hands and crisp passing.  A day for the paying punters to rejoice in the beautiful game that is footy.

The first two minutes dissuade us of any such notion.  The ruck practice during the week pays off, the Cats regularly have first use of the ball and they are running with a decent breeze, but its become apparent already that today is going to be an old fashioned arm wrestle.  A day for the footy purists.

The pressure on the ball is intense from both teams, there is very little by way of one on one contests, with the majority of the play being held in packs.  It’s a day for putting the body on the line, getting the head over the ball and working as a team.  The pack moves first in one direction and then the other, but rarely more than one kick in either direction.  We’d be six goals up, if the Power fullback was wearing a Cats jumper, such is her ability to attract the ball near the goal.  She gets the ultimate compliment from The Coach who refers to her as “Armo like”.  The Cats are up for this game, are strong at the ball and defending well.  Towards the end of the quarter, the Cats finally find some space and Aoife has used her pace to clear the pack and is heading goalward when the siren sounds.  Not much to bother the scorers.  Q1  LCC 0.1.1   POW 0.0.0

The second quarter continues the trend, but the Cats pressure is starting to tell and they are slowly gaining the upper hand.  LilyS is finding some space on the wing and gets the ball to LexieP who takes a great mark in the pocket.  The kick for goal isn’t quite there and the ball comes back to LilyS who finds Emma this time in the middle.  Emma’s a bit too far out against the breeze and the ball lands in the lap of the goal line defender before making it back out to LilyS once more.  “Bugger this, if you need a job done …”, you can see her thinking, as she jigs past two defenders and slots the goal.  Krysta’s new headgear makes her easier to spot and she is having one of her best games getting involved in the heavy traffic and winning good ball.  Elin’s not seeing much of the ball, but effective when she gets her hands on it.  Nikki is getting her own personal ice pack next week, but keeps backing up and getting back in to the play.  Ash is on the wing, being hounded by multiple Power defenders.  The goal umpires are still pretty bored.  Q2  LCC 1.2.8  POW 0.0.0

The momentum swings the Power’s way in the third quarter and a heat map of the play would centre heavily on their forward pockets.  Clearing kicks aren’t going far and one goes straight up to land 15m in front of the goal square.  Scarlett cleans up by taking an excellent mark running back into the pack, the highlight of her strong game.  The Power forward clears the pack and runs clear with no one in front of her, it’s a certain goal until Jamie hunts her down, holds her up, drives her into the ground, takes the ball from her and clears the ball to Chops.  The backs are working like cattle dogs after breakfast.  Graiceeee is repeatedly breaking out of packs.  Chops is clearing the ball from the back line.  Cover Girl is having an outstanding game, all grit and determination and elegant clearing kicks.  Laces’ game has gone up another level this year and she is playing like the important link player she’s become.

Power kick a behind and Armo lines up for the kick out.  No one on the mark, so she runs, so far so good.  The bounce doesn’t go quite to plan and the ball squirts out to one of the Power plays, who has a shot at goal.  Much to Armo’s relief only one flag goes up.  Graiceeee takes the next kick out.

H is having her most complete game for the season, covering the ground from end to end and equally effective at the top of the ball up as at the bottom of the pack.  Chops is having a run in the middle in this quarter and there is a bit of cousin telepathy going on as the two combine.

India is another who shows no hesitation and is straight at the ball, regardless of who else is coming.  On a rare occasion that the ball does pass the half way, India finds herself up against four Power players.  On her fourth effort, she wins the free kick and then a 50m to take her to the top of goal square.  Now it is fair to say that The Coach and A Coach have been screaming themselves hoarse to “kick it to someone”, but fairly sure they weren’t referring to this situation.  The Power defender on the line takes a comfortable chest mark.  It takes the ump a few seconds to process what has gone on, but eventually the arm goes up and play goes on.

In a quarter where Power have had all of the field position, its an outstanding effort by the Cats’ backline to keep them to three behinds.    Q3  LCC 1.3.9   POW 0.3.3

The Cats have a one goal lead in a very low scoring match, so it will all depend on who has the best legs in the final quarter.  The game starts to open a little as fatigue kicks in.  Lexie gets her head over the ball and wins the free in the pocket.  The kick goes straight to LilyS who gets her second goal and a bit of breathing space on the score board.  The Cats’ tails are up and India wins the contested ball again, gets it to LilyS who claims a triple.

Tipsy takes the ball down from H one more time, breaks free from the centre, fends off the opposition player and clears out.  Her opposite number chases her down and gets there just in time to spoil the kick.  Tipsy will later argue that it was a great tackle.  The scribe is sticking with “air swing”.

While the Cats have left a few goals out on the paddock today, what can’t be faulted is the effort of the team and in particular, the way in which they have supported each other.  The shepherding, the little passes out the back, the gang tackling –  all the little things done with determination and perseverance.

The win moves the Cats to second on the table at the half way point of the season and its been well earned as we’ve mostly played the teams in the top half of the table.

It’s an indication of what a complete team effort it has been, that there are multiple nominations for Players’ Player.  India’s work across four quarters sees her emerge a worthy winner.

Final Score:  Lane Cove Cats 3.5.23  d  Southern Power 0.3.3

Goals:  L. Sullivan (3)

Players’ Player:  I. Gilbert

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