Round 16 saw the Development team take on the Eagles in what was an important match for both teams, with the winner cementing their position within the 5.
Whilst we had lost the previous 4 games, our reviews of each game clearly showed our ability to win our own football could not be questioned. Week after week we are winning the disposal and clearance stats and breaking even in terms of our Inside 50 entries. This suggests our inability to control possession of the ball, decision making when in control of the ball and subsequently our skill execution by both foot and hand, are letting us down and all were a strong focus in the lead up to this game.
The first quarter saw us kick into a 3-4 goal breeze and unfortunately we were beaten early around the ball, in particular at stoppage, with poor structures seeing the Eagles kick the first 3 goals of the game in the opening 7 minutes.
We made some adjustments in our midfield following the opening 3 goals and we were able to gain control of the ball, whilst slowing the Eagles ball movement and forcing turnovers. Will Gutsche opened the scoring for us before another Eagles goal saw us 3 goals down at quarter time.
Our backline held up well under immense early pressure, with I/50 count at the break 4 (W) – 15 (E), however, following the opening 7 minutes, we were able to get our hands on the football having more disposals for the quarter. Again, our efficiency and decision making during the quarter hurt us.
The general feel at the break was barring the opening 7 minutes, we had worked ourselves back into the game and a big second quarter awaited.
We had real dominance throughout the second quarter, but yet again, our inability to be efficient with the ball saw us turn the ball over numerous times and this, along with our poor goal kicking, saw the Eagles be able to extend their lead at the main break, even though we had 3 more shots on goal for the quarter (W – 2.6 / E – 4.1).
The third quarter was disappointing with the Eagles outscoring us 5.4 to 0.0. This quarter saw us unable to apply pressure to the Eagles who controlled the ball for much of the quarter and when we were able to gain possession, our decision making at times was not to the standard we expect of each other. We overused the ball by hand which put our team mates into trouble, whilst the Eagles were direct with there ball movement allowing them to score freely.
At 3 qtr time the message to the players was that we needed to run the game out and not roll over as a strong finish to this game would hold us in good stead for the next game. The boys responded with a really strong performance having 7 shots on goal to the Eagles 2 and outscoring them 3.4 to 1.1. This was on the back of a higher work rate by our players who applied strong pressure when we didn’t have the ball and in turn, were able to then control the ball in forward transition. Again our goal kicking let us down, however, it was a strong final quarter performance which we can now take into our all important game against Glenelg this week.
Our review of the game again showed we had more disposals than the Eagles, won clearance count and hit outs, yet, were beaten comfortably. We have highlighted to the players that our efficiency level is down which is caused by the oppositions pressure, yet the opposition’s efficiency when playing us is quite high. This is on the back of our pressure when we don’t have the ball not being to standard and is an area we will focus on this week.
Some of our better players in the game were Aaron Anderson who was strong in the clinches, Angus Rana who was the dominant ruckmen on the ground and Jonty Inglis who continues his improvement as a small running back.
We continue to have great belief in this group and the boys are aware of the deficiencies in our game which we are continuing to focus on and work on. This week against Glenelg is an Elimination Final for the development team, with the winner of this game having a strong hold on the final 5 spot. We look forward to the challenge / excitement a finals like game will bring and I am confident our boys will be ready for the fight. See you there!!!
Josh Ramsey – Reserves Coach