Having lost our past two outings, Saturday’s match was extremely important. Although finals remain a possibility, as we have done all season, we remained focussed on executing our game plan and improving on areas of weakness from the previous weeks.
Kicking with the wind in the first term, I thought our ball movement was very good and importantly we didn’t blaze away. We took six marks inside our forward 50m which is a great return however our set shots were poor resulting in 1.5 for the quarter. Importantly, we were also able to trap Port Adelaide in our forward 50 for extended periods which was a focus pre-match, limiting Port to just six inside 50m entries for the quarter. We also won the stoppages 7 to 6 for the quarter however I did feel Port had more effective clearances with more players spreading from the contest. We looked to address this at quarter time.
The second quarter was an even affair. Both teams scored four goals and I thought our rebound and run from b50m was very good. I felt our defensive pressure however was inconsistent and far from the ruthless defensive approach we aspire to. In short, I felt we could have done more to force opposition turnovers.
Our third quarter was pleasing. All key components of our game were in place: defensive pressure, run from our backs, movement in our forward line and good skill execution. Eleven scoring shots from 16 entries for the quarter was a great result, whilst limiting the opposition to just one behind. No doubt this quarter set up the win. Given our inconsistent 3rd quarters this season, this was a really pleasing turnaround.
Our form continued into the final term and after kicking the first two goals of the quarter, the lead had stretched to 58 points at the ten minute mark. Given our momentum, to have the last five goals scored against us, was disappointing. We dropped away in many areas. We lost every restart for the next ten minutes and did not lay a tackle at any of these. We simply could not get our hands on the ball. When we did, we turned the ball over three times in the middle of the ground and we gave away four free kicks. Towards the end of the quarter our defensive pressure and defensive setups both fell away. A disappointing end to the game however I remained pleased with the win and in particular the player’s efforts in the third quarter. A common challenge for teams in our game is to play at their best for long periods. This is certainly our challenge. If we keep aspiring and working to achieve this, limiting the length of the down periods, I have no doubt there will be much more success at Westies.
Jono Beech was a standout with seven goals. He used his smart game sense to find space inside 50m and his goal kicking was very accurate. Overall our backline was solid. Agostino, Wasley-Black and Hill provided good contests and rebound. Our mids were out possessed by their direct opponents however possession total is only one indicator of a mids contribution. I thought Kaine Stevens was offensively very good and Tom Keough again used the ball well and applied some strong defensive pressure. I was also very pleased with Izak Rankine’s contribution. Playing a little further up the ground, I felt he was very clever in congested play and also worked hard to pressure the opposition. Overall, we had many strong contributors on the day.
We have a week off this week however our Development team will be playing Glenelg on Friday night. I am sure they would appreciate your support in what is a very important game in preparation for finals.