Written by Lane Cove Cats

16 August 2022

Wow, what a season, hard to believe it’s finished already! The progression and growth of the team over the year has been great to see, we’ve got a really good bunch of kids in the team, and they have been a joy to coach. We came up against a really good opponent yesterday, but the kids stuck to the task, implemented what Pete and I were asking of them, and I reckon matched it with one of, if not the best team we’ve played all year.

While Mason arrived a bit late (joys of having an older brother playing at Narrabeen!) he was straight into the middle and getting involved. He always provides an outside option, or finds space, and when everyone else realises where he is, he’ll get a heap of the ball and terrorise the opposition!

Alex has the rugby tendency to try and break tackles, and quite often manages to, breaking the line and using his long kicks to find teammates down the ground, he kept running and creating a contest all day.

Archer creates a contest whenever he goes near the ball. He’s realised over the past few weeks how to use his height to his advantage, in the ruck contest and around the ground. He gave his teammates first use of the ball, tapping to advantage and then following up and getting the ball himself. Countless times he drove the ball forward, rebounding and providing options for his teammates.

Elliott’s precise kicking is always a treat to watch, delivering the ball up forward, or clearing it from the backlines. He’s always keen to bring others into the game, with strong hands to grab the ball and get out on the boot or handball to get it forward.

Elsie is also great to watch, she more than keeps up with the boys! Her pace helps her to break free from the pack and then skilfully delivers the ball to her teammates advantage, she’s very coachable, listening to instructions and implementing.

Yali’s attack on the ball really belies his size, for a little kid, he certainly plays a big game, constantly cracking in and getting the ball. His finish to get our second goal was great, snapping around an opponent was great to watch.

Xander has had a great year, his confidence has built slowly through the year, and he’s made great contributions to the team, he listens to what you ask of him and played a vital role as a lone full forward to provide a target, then rotating through the forward line to get the balance right, valuable contributions to the team.

Tom put his hand up before the game at being best in defence, and he certainly backed it up. He keeps his opponent honest, making sure they don’t get any cheap touches, while using his strength to provide a contest and to bring his teammates into the game.

Josh has developed so well this year, he’s gone from being not that confident to attack the ball, to being willing to jump in, win the contested possession and getting a quick handball out to his teammates. The change and growth in confidence has been great to see.

George’s enthusiasm is great to see, his joy in the game is great to watch, cheering for his teammates doing good things, while getting in and doing the same, chasing the ball and creating havoc with the opposition, his pace and skills are great to watch.  Liam has come along in leaps and bounds, joining early in the season, he’s certainly picked up the game well and is contributing to the team. A couple of strong tackles and clearing kicks were exactly what was needed, standing up when needed for his teammates.

Billy was rewarded for his efforts with a great holding the ball decision (his was about the third tackle on the kid in that play I reckon) and finished off with our first goal. His attack on the ball and opponent was great and showed his courage by smothering a ball directly in his stomach, doubling up in pain, but sucking in a few deep breaths and taking his frustrations out on the opponent and the ball, the next few minutes were intense!

Austin making a quick cameo for the last game acquitted himself well for his first game of footy, a bit unsure to start but worked his way into the game well.  It was a real shame Max couldn’t make the game, his energy to drive the ball forward was certainly missed.

The group has grown so well this year, and it has been great to watch their development, they’ve stuck together, helped each other out and had some great results.

U9 Duncan & Stengle teams

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