After some injuries in Round 6, it was pleasing to have Jade Cleeland back in the League team after strong performances in the Development team. It was also great to have another debutant in Hamish Ellem. Originally from NSW, Hamish joined the Club in preseason and has shown some really positive signs in the Development team. We came into the game wanting to improve on the previous week’s showing, with increased work rate and adherence to structures. Overall I thought offensively our first quarter was very good. We made good decisions with our possessed ball and found marks in our F50.
Unfortunately I thought we defended poorly. I thought we lacked composure in B50 and some errant handballs led to goals, whilst we were sloppy in locating our direct opponent when the ball came in B50 quickly. You simply cant do this against quality opponents. I thought our 2nd quarter was our best for the day. We won the clearances and had more F50 entries and scoring opportunities. Just two goals from six scoring shots (four set shots) was costly. Trailing by four goals at half time, I was confident that if we maintained our defensive intent we could close the gap over the final two quarters. We started the third quarter well and had five F50 entries in the first five minutes. Again we didn’t capitalize, due to poor skills. We held sway for another five minutes but unfortunately fell away from here. Norwood scored six unanswered goals. Our restarts were of biggest concern. Not only could we not get first use of the ball, we could not lay a tackle. This was the first time for the season that we were outsmarted here and we will learn from this. We went down 13 to 2 at restarts for the quarter. Our general pressure dropped as well- just 10 x 1%ers for the quarter (shepherds, tackles, smothers, hard chases, spoils). We aim for 25 per quarter. The last quarter was much more even. We were able to produce some very good offensive movement and scores, which is not always the case when you are down by a large margin, however we again struggled to curtail the oppositions scoring. Norwood’s very good foot skills exposed our inconsistent defensive intent. We simply needed to be at our defensive best for every play to force more turnovers or at least slow the opposition down. Overall, I was pleased that we were resilient in the final term after a poor showing in the third.
The final margin was 67 points however with a your squad, we continue to look for positives and signs of development. I thought both Jade and Hamish had solid performances. Riley Thilthorpe played as our lead ruckman and had some strong moments against a quality opponent. Aaron Anderson played a strong contested game across half-back and Lyndon Hupfeld held strong at full back (after playing all previous games up forward). Kaine Stevens was the best of our mids and Murray Waite had some great moments. Most pleasing for Murray is his finishing in front of goal.
Each week we are challenged by a particular area of our game that doesn’t reach the standard we set. This week I thought our skills were well below expectations and it proved costly on turnover. But there was also enough top end ball movement to reaffirm we are on the right track. Consistency presents as the defining challenge for the group.