Naturally the weekends game could have be viewed as an opportunity to exact revenge on a team that humiliated us earlier in the season. However, consistent with our focus all year, the playing group focussed on our processes rather than the ultimate outcome. The rationale remains that if we get our processes right, we will see the reward on the scoreboard.
For the first quarter we were very good in contested ball and our defensive structures. We slowed the oppositions ball movement and counterpunched well. In the absence of a few basic skill errors, I felt it possible to lead by a little more. None the less a five point quarter time lead was pleasing.
The first ten minutes of the second term remained a close contest however from here our game fell away. North Adelaide spread harder from stoppages and consequently outnumbered us at many contests. On occasion when we did win possession, I felt we were poor under pressure. More specifically, our decision making and skill execution was far too inconsistent. I use the word inconsistent because despite making far too many errors, when we executed well, we continued to produce some extremely positive ball movement and scoring opportunities.
Despite expressing my frustration regarding our inconsistency to the players at half time, I felt we entered the second half with a real opportunity to close the 19 point half time deficit. Unfortunately our second half was very poor. In the third term we were quite simply outworked by the opposition. We competed soundly at stoppages and in one on one contests however we were out run in transition. Our inability or unwillingness to push to the next contest when the ball exited back 50m or entered our forward 50m, or to close down our opponent when the opposition had the ball was very disappointing. You simply cannot beat a top-level team if you are consistently outworked. I was however content with our defensive structures when the opposition were slowed. This ensured the opposition could not ‘kick through’ our defensives which was a large concern in the round two match.
Trailing by 26 points at the final break, I implored the team to lift their work rate in transition. I felt we had some improvement in this area in the last quarter however it was our defensive structures that ultimately gave way. We were messy with our setups and could not slow the opposition down. This resulted in most of their offensive scoring opportunities beginning from their back 50m. After remaining tight for three quarters in this area, it was disappointing to see us fall away here. We also became too predictable with our ball movement limiting our ability to counterpunch and ultimately enter forward 50m with any speed or fluency. The final result 48 point deficit.
Twice now, North Adelaide have broken down our structures. However, it is important to note that despite being considerably out possessed after quarter time, it wasn’t until late in the game that this occurred. Given the circumstances of the round two result, this is cause for optimism and a sign of development. Importantly, we again learn from this experience and the players will continue to be aware of what their best football looks like. Decision making and skills under pressure will also be a focus going into our next match. As a group, we have continued to improve our training standards in basic skill drills. Our focus for the remainder of the year will be to progress this to ensure improved standards under match play scenarios.
Our better players for the day included Chris Burgess who was extremely impressive in aerial contests in defence, Kenny Karpany who was our most productive small forward and provided endless defensive pressure, and Andre Parrella who was gave the mids first opportunity with his ruck work. A special mention to our two debutants, Lachy Ryan and Isaac Johnson. Both players have been consistent performers at Development level and thoroughly deserved their opportunity. Pleasingly, both displayed sound ball use under pressure and had strong contributions through the midfield.
ROUND 12 STATS AND RECAP ———
FINAL SCORE: NORTH 2.2/ 9.5/ 10.13/ 13.17 (95) | WEST 3.1/ 6.4/ 7.5/ 7.5 (47)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Stevens 27, Schiller 25, I. Johnson, Keough 22, Noble 20, L. Ryan, Hill 17.
GOALS – Stevens, Anderson 2, Karpany, I. Johnson, Wasley-Black.
BEST ON GROUND –
1st – C Burgess | 2nd – A Parrella | 3rd – L Hill | 4th – K Karpanny | 5th – A Anderson | 6th – K Stevens
Best Team Man – Logan Hill
FINAL SCORE: NORTH 4.1/ 7.4/ 12.7/ 16.11 (107) | WEST 4.3/ 5.3/ 7.6/ 8.8 (56)
GOALS – Webb 2, Bates, Jaensch, Hupfeld, Holliday, G Turner 1.
BEST ON GROUND –
1st – T Pillion | 2nd – Z Bates | 3rd – L Peter
The Under 18 and Senior teams will continue to train this week, with a break from games this weekend. We will then take on South Adelaide in a triple header, at Hickinbotham Oval on Saturday July 7th.