Saturday’s match presented as a great opportunity for the players to challenge the reigning premiers. We took confidence into the game on the back of some promising recent form.
The first quarter was a very even contest where we found plenty of possession and strong defensive rebound. However Sturt were also able to break through our defensive structures a little too easily and scored accordingly. This is a focus of this week’s team review.
Again, the second term was very even until the ten minute mark of the quarter. For the preceding 10 minutes, we were well beaten thanks to lapses in defensive pressure and poor skill execution. Sturt were able to make us pay on each occasion. It is important to note however, that although we had lost momentum, the players continued to play the team structures. This ensured deep forward 50m entries against the flow of play, culminating in late goals from Mason Middleton and Zac Bates. This was a good step forward for the group.
The third term was again, a very even contest. Our forward efficiency was excellent thanks to some group teamwork from the forwards and delivery from our mids. Our forwards are improving, each work with regards to their team based leading patterns and allowing space for each other. Trailing by three goals at the final term, we decided to keep our structures and player positioning as we felt we were playing well enough to win the game. We were able to close the gap to 13 points midway through the quarter and I felt that we were gaining some ascendancy. Our backline was proving difficult to penetrate and with some good intercept marks by Chris Burgess and Errin Wasley Black, we were rebounding well. Unfortunately, we didn’t take our opportunities in the forward half of the ground by choosing some poor entry options. Sturt we able to defend these with numbers behind the ball. Despite our best efforts and a resolve to play out the game, we were unable to close the gap further, trailing by 19 points at the final siren.
As discussed with the players post-match, the process goals we had set ourselves for the day were all achieved. This is a pleasing outcome, despite the obvious disappointment of the final result. Our structures for the whole day were solid and our ball movement patterns were pleasing. There were clearly not perfect however and we will learn and adapt from this game, just as we have done from those preceding. I thought we had a very even contribution from the playing group. Debutants, Elliot Duncan and Gibson Turner both made important contributions. Each displayed their obvious talent to play at league level and I look forward to seeing more games from them both. John Noble continued his consistent season as a small forward, seeing plenty of the ball and fine ball use. Zac Bates displayed his value as a defensive pressure player in our forward line. His ability to finish off in front of goal is also proving valuable. Ever reliable Josh Schiller had a strong influence in the midfield. I thought his ball use in close was a real stand out this week. Jake Wilson and Chris Burgess both played important roles both up forward and in defence. I appreciate their willingness to play an important, if not varying, role each week.
Overall, I am satisfied with how we played the game. Can we get better? We most certainly can and I will be challenging the players to deliver improved results every week.
FINAL SCORE: WEST 3.2 5.3 8.4 10.5 (65) | STURT 3.2 7.4 11.6 13.6 (84)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Stevens 27, Schiller 27, Hill 26, Noble 24, Keough 23, Agostino 21.
GOALS – Bates 3, Middleton 3, Karpany 1, Burgess 1, Wilson 1.
Best on Ground –
League: 1st – Zac Bates | 2nd – John Noble | 3rd – Josh Schiller | 4th – Jake Wilson
Best Team Man – Chris Burgess
Reserves: 1st – Tom Lynch | 2nd – Josh Ryan | 3rd – Angus Rana
Join us this Saturday as we take on Norwood in a triple header at City Mazda Stadium.