We came into this week’s game with a focus on our defensive structures, given our poor showing in this area the week before. Our first quarter was competitive and our defensive spread from contest and defensive positioning was very good. This saw us create some strong turnovers in our forward half which lead to goals. Their first goal however came from the ball getting out the back from a kick in which was due to a break down in our structure- something we must not let happen. We continued to pressure the opposition in the second quarter and were winning the contested ball. Numerous holding the ball decisions was a good indicator of our defensive intensity. Importantly, we were also sticking our tackles which meant the opposition had little respite when closed down. Offensively, we were a little off with our crumbing positions, an area of importance against a team with a strong height advantage. Down by four points at half time, I was particularly happy with our third term. We maintained our defensive pressure and as the game started to open up, we found more run from the back half. Adelaide had some good moments and found marks in the F50m however these were in wide positions on the ground, making goal conversion difficult. We went into the final term with a 2 goal lead. We however lost ascendancy in stoppages for the first time on the day. In the first 18 minutes of the final term we lost we lost centre bounces 0 to 5 and all stoppages 1 to 10. Our reaction times dropped and we got caught in between opponents. Meaning, although we tried to apply the same pressure as previous quarters, the opposition were getting their handballs away in tight, resulting in fast forward entries for the opposition. This was extremely disappointing and we need to learn how to maintain our focus in these periods. I was pleased however that we regained the match momentum and pressed late for the win. A little extra composure and better ball use in f50m in the closing few minutes of the game could have seen us find another one or two scores. We finally fell short by six points.
Overall, I could not question our intent and work rate. We improved in deficient areas from the week before and played according to instructions. We were strong at the contest often against bigger bodies. This must however be our base level for the remainder of the year. This hard nosed approach will see us compete against any side in this competition. A full four quarter effort still eludes us. Momentum is a part of football however we need to continue to decrease the impact of opposition momentum in terms of duration and the scoreboard. We are getting closer in this area.
We have a very even contribution on the day. I was really happy with Logan Hill and Errin Wasley-Black in the backline. Logan in particular, improved his kicking efficiency and provided some strong run and carry. I though Nigel Osborn was again important in contested ball and Isaac Johnson added some strong marking to his running game. Nathan Batley showed improvement and was terrific with his one take and attack on the contest. Kaine Stevens again provided strong impact with the ball through the middle of the ground and Hugh Haysman worked tirelessly across half forward. This hard work was rewarded with the three important goals.