Kicking with the breeze in the first term, our intensity was very good, resulting in two goals from tackle pressure in f50. We were also able to have repeat f50 entries with sound defensive structure behind the ball. We didn’t however use the ball as well as we needed to and played into the oppositions hands by kicking the ball long and high (to where they had the spare man behind the ball). Sometimes this is unavoidable (when kicking under pressure) however we needed to be more brave and change our direction a little more, particularly from stationary balls. We took at 12 point lead into quarter time. Our second quarter was inconsistent. Our good was very good and we had some strong passages of play to score. However our skills were below expectation and we had some lapses with our defensive intent. I could sense a level of frustration and disappointment at half-time (although leading by 9 points) that we weren’t playing as well as we wanted both as a team and individually. In hindsight I should have addressed this more explicitly. Yes, we were not at our best, but winning games is not always about being at your best, rather its about persisting and fighting to the end- maintaining effort and focusing on what’s ahead, not what has happened. The start of the third term was very disappointing. Two easy goals to the opposition on the back of lackluster pressure as stoppages and then followed by poor work rate. Our confidence seem to drop from here and we looked overwhelmed at the contested ball. Too many skills errors, fumbles and missed tackles. Most disappointing was our work rate. We simply didn’t have enough of our midfield pushing back to assist the defence and our forwards could not apply enough pressure to keep the ball in f50. Whilst we regrouped at ¾ time and rallied with the first goal of the last term, the opposition gained a quick reply through a 25m penalty- again another lapse in concentration and a controllable error. Unfortunately again, our heads dropped and we appeared to lack any confidence. We must learn to respond better in these situations. Too many players, including some of our leaders, dropped off in the basics (work rate, skills, one takes, tackles, body language). We looked and played like a team that had given up and had no belief in our ability to turn around an average day. Ultimately, the remainder of the quarter was full of errors and poor decision making.
This matched highlighted a deficiency in three key areas; an ability to consistently do the fundamentals of the game at the required standard for SANFL football, a willingness to live a team-first mentality every moment of the game, and a resilient mindset when challenged. As supporters, please do not think this performance displayed a lack of care for the Club and success. Your players do very much care and have given every bit of energy to the Club over a long period. Rather, what I see is at times a level of despair and lack of confidence which manifests as disappointment. Whilst stopping short of making excuses, given our tough road in recent times, this is perhaps not surprising. But we must and will address this. It is my job to show the players that their hard work is and will pay-off; that they have capacity to win games by simply scrapping and fighting, even if our execution isn’t perfect; that they have the capacity to meet any challenge in-game and respond effectively; and most of all, if they can believe and hold on to a team-first mentality (even when things aren’t going well for themselves) they can always have a contribution.
As supporters, I understand the depths of frustration at seeing our performance. I and the players wear this burden, perhaps more than some of your realise. Every week we are learning and most definitely trying to improve- I can only ask that you take my word on this and to continue to support us when and where you can.