The U16s began their 2021 season facing Norwood at Coopers Stadium.
We were determined to start the season with showing we play a highly competitive style of football beginning with being strong at the contest and displaying fast and skillful ball movement.
In warm conditions we began well, leading early in the quarter before Norwood settled and a few skill errors gave Norwood opportunities to capitalise. They went into the first break with a handy lead and we needed to respond.
QT: West 2.3 – 16 to Norwood 5.1 – 31
The 2nd quarter had Norwood initially expand their lead to 23 points halfway through the quarter.
We were really pleased with our capacity to compose ourselves, settle and respond which saw us kick the next 3 goals to win the quarter and enter the main break only 4 points down.
Lukas Zvaigzne on ball, Charlie Haysman and Judd Hansen on the wings were creative and working hard while Will Patton continued to rebound down back. Max Downs was also winning plenty of football and looking dangerous up forward.
Most of the team statistics showed a very even contest which seemed to reflect directly on the scoreboard. We still needed to win more contested ball and dropped marks and some basic skill errors had cost us at vital moments.
HT: West 6.6 – 42 to Norwood 7.4 – 46
The 3rd quarter was an arm wrestle and despite staying with Norwood for most of the quarter saw us concede 3 goals to our 1 to give Norwood a handy 15 point lead at the last break.
West 7.9 – 51 to Norwood 10.6 – 66
We went into the last quarter with a strong belief we could run over Norwood but needed to take advantage of the opportunities we were creating. Despite only managing 9 inside 50’s to Norwood 18 for the quarter we edged our way to within 4 points with under a minute to play.
Unfortunately we were unable to get the ball inside 50 again for a last gasp opportunity and snatch the win and finished with a heartbreaking 4 point loss. Our conversion rate was very good, scoring 10.12 from 36 inside 50’s to Norwood’s 50 but we missed some crucial opportunities dropping marks or fumbling at vital moments.
Despite the loss there were some excellent signs of team play and ball movement. Our contested football needs to be better as we were beaten in this area. Impressive displays by Lukas Zvaigzne 28 disposals (18 contested), Max Downs 26 with (11 contested, 10 marks and 3.2), Charlie Haysman 25, Judd Hansen 21 and Will Patton 19.
We now face the Eagles on Saturday at home who are coming off a convincing 10 goal win against Centrals. This will be an important match to hopefully kick start our season.
Final scores: West 10.12 – 72 lost to Norwood 11.12 – 76
Best players: Lukas Zvaigzne, Max Downs, Charlie Haysman, Will Patton, Judd Hansen
Goal Kickers: M. Downs 3, J. Hansen, McKenzie 2, Haysman, Hilton, Jesson 1