Our last match of the season saw us face a red hot Norwood side who have played extremely well over the past 6 weeks. We knew we had to redeem ourselves and put in a better effort than our first meeting back in Round 4 where we were totally outplayed from the opening bounce. It was an emotional lead up to the game with Logan Hill announcing his retirement from SANFL, giving the boys extra motivation to send off a champion of this football club with a win.
1st half – Both teams brought the intensity early, every contest seemed like a battle. l felt we handballed the football way too much which invited Norwood’s pressure game. Once this occurred, it was hard to produce clean sequences. Our defenders were really strong in their 1v1’s and continued to play bold, we looked dangerous when going inside 50 but just weren’t able to generate enough of them. During Half time we spoke our focuses and what was needed to pull out a win, we were confident to execute our gameplan so for us coaches we were excited for what the 2nd half had in store.
2nd half –Our handball to kick ratio was much better, meaning we were kicking the football more than we were handballing. This helps gain territory and plays to our forwards strengths. The pleasing aspect was we weren’t playing our best but were only down by 2 goals going into the final quarter. Our last few weeks have given us confidence we can finish off games strong and out run the opposition. Our last quarter was fantastic, tackling pressure was elite and ball movement was calm and crisp. Nick Steele kicked a great goal from outside 50 around 23-minute mark to put us in front, from there the focus was gaining repeated stoppages and holding on for the last 2 minutes. We had great plays from Jordan Boyle and Tom Morrish giving us possession. When the siren sounded there was so much excitement, the players have really deserved the wins they have received.
Joel Stevens was our best player on the day, his clearance work and tackle pressure was crucial. Hamish Hartlett and Patrick Fairlie also were outstanding with 14 and 12 tackles a piece. Oscar Steene held his own against another quality ruckman. This will do wonders for his development and his composure and competitiveness was sensational. Backline was strong all game in their 1v1’s, staying calm under pressure and generating offense setting up attacks. Cooper Patterson played his first SANFL League match and performed very well, Tom Rundle competed really well and Tom Keough provided great leadership and experience. Sam May has been fantastic since returning, and Jordan Boyle, Tom Morrish have been sparks this year with the way they set up attacks from our defensive 50.
Josh Gore was very lively up forward, while Hamish Ellem and Jono Beech did very well bringing the ball to ground and not losing their respective marking contests. Nick Steele used his endurance all game and is a hard match up for opposing teams and Blair Rubock provided a lot of tackling pressure which we ask for when the footy is at ground level.
This season we had 21 debutants and our young players got more games under their belt. They will only continue to get better, the future of the West Adelaide Football Club is very exciting. Our Reserves are in the finals, please get behind them and show us much support as possible. Time and date will be announced very soon.
Best Players: Joel Stevens, Josh Gore, Hamish Hartlett
Goals: Jono Beech, Mitch Maguire (2), Hamish Ellem, Josh Gore, Lachie Squire, Nick Steele (1)
Senior Coach, Brad Gotch