Round 9 saw us face South Adelaide for the first time this season in conditions that were going to force a more contested brand of play. Having lost contested ball considerably in Rounds 6 and 7 the group has been focused on maintaining effort in and around the contest, and Saturday’s conditions were the perfect test of this recent focus.
We began the game well hitting our KPI’s and taking the contest to South. Some missed opportunities in front of goal saw us take a 15 point deficit into the first break but our brand of football was strong and more representative of our groups ability.
The quarter time break gave the coaching group an opportunity to reinforce to the players that the most important contest is the next one, as we continue to address the inconsistencies that have plagued our performance over recent weeks. In a sign of growing maturity and development the group continued to attack the contest which drove greater opportunities to move the ball with speed and skill and ultimately saw us reduce our quarter time margin of 15 points to a 4 point deficit at the main break.
A second big downpour in the 3rd quarter slowed the game and made scoring all the more difficult. South were able to add to their lead kicking 3 straight goals to our 2.1. Our work at the contest in the 3rd quarter had dipped slightly but in no way reflected the significant swings we had seen in previous weeks and the players were still confident that their best could get the job done.
The final term was tense and will provide some valuable learning experiences for the group with both teams exchanging goals desperate to be in front at the end of a tight match. Momentum was on our side from the 15 minute mark with the ball staying in our forward half and a couple of rushed attempts on goal missing the mark. With 3 minutes to play a successful snap on goal brought the margin back to 2 points and there was a sense of urgency to get the ball forward at the next centre bounce given the difficulty in scoring in the wet conditions.
Unfortunately, our eagerness to go forward left us exposed at the back of the centre bounce and South were able to go forward with little pressure and find a target inside 50 twice to run away with a 14 point win.
Although the outcome wasn’t desirable the process and consistency of effort was very pleasing to see. While we didn’t walk away with the points our group did walk away with the knowledge that consistent effort will drive performance.
Best: Sam Burbridge, Jordan Brown, Ayden Hodgson, Connor Johns, Kingsley Smith, Lochie Ryan
Goals: Sam Burbridge (3), Noah Baker (2), Finn McArdle, Brock Vandeleur