After a great win in Round 4, we had a very positive week going into our match versus South Adelaide. To the players credit they quickly refocused on the upcoming week and trained well. Unfortunately Josh Schiller was not available due to an ankle injury the previous week and Logan Hill was a late withdrawal with a calf strain. We did however welcome back Dallas Willsmore from injury and Hugh Haysman returned to the side for the first time in 2020.
We didn’t have the start we wanted. I thought our work rate was a little off and we took a little while to adjust to the oppositions defensive positioning and running patterns. As a result we were unable to win contested ball in the forward half of the ground or at least, slow the opposition on rebound. This was followed by a couple of costly skill errors in defensive 50m which resulted in goals. We trailed by 20 points a quarter time.
The second quarter was very poor. To be honest, we looked exhausted. We simply couldn’t keep up with the opposition in spread from contest to contest and we looked unsettled in defensive transition. I could sense a level of frustration in our game and our composure gradually slipped.
Our third term saw an improvement in contested ball and work rate. Despite still struggling to score ourselves, we were able to get some repeat F50 entries and pleasingly our persistence paid off late in the quarter with two goals to Brett Turner. This came off the back of some really strong ball use. After being totally outplayed in the first half, I was pleased to break even for the quarter.
With a little momentum going into the final term, we continued to find avenues to goal which had eluded us early in the game. Our small forwards started to impact with crumbs in the mid part of the ground which we turned into fast plays. From here, our tall forwards were able to get 1v1 aerial contests and capitalize. Kicking the final six goals of the game was pleasing.
As with each match, we need to identify key learnings. I felt this was a game where we couldn’t match the oppositions work rate, pressure and most importantly, their game plan/structure. We were down in the first two areas and I am sure we will fix this for our next match. We have reviewed the vision of the match and are determined to better handle the opposition’s defense and ball movement, when we meet again later in the year.
Mitch Duval again provided great defensive presence in just his third game of League football. I also thought fellow defenders Aaron Anderson and Pat Levicki were solid contributors. Jordan Boyle was our most consistent midfielder whilst Brett Turner responded well after half-time.