Round 1 saw us host Norwood at home. It’s always exciting to see what a new group can do on the opening day of the season. Our trial form had been positive overall and there was good competition for spots which is what it should be like at this level. We have good experience in our squad this year and this resulted in only 6 players making their U18 debut which is a low number comparatively. Charlie Haysman, Anthony Munkara, Judd Hansen, Sam Brooks, Jackson Allen and Ben Excell came in for their first U18 games.
The first half was probably what you’d expect a round 1 match to be like. Two teams super-eager to impress, a little bit of a crazy game at times that was played at high speed. This resulted in passages from both sides that looked impressive, as well as some moments that we’d like back. After a hesitant start we were able to settle and work our way in to the match. We were competing well at stoppage, saw a lot of the ball in our forward half and had good looks at goal, but kicked inaccurately with 3.10 on the board at half-time.
Despite trailing by 18 points at the main break, we were playing reasonable football. Inaccuracy in front of goal combined with two goals conceded in the last minute of the half meant what should have been an even game wasn’t, largely due to Norwood taking their chances better than us. All of the key indicators suggested it was an even match and we didn’t need to make wholesale positional changes.
What we did need to do was tidy up both our entries inside 50 and then our ability to react on turnover and ensure we were accountable when Norwood had the ball. In the first half Norwood were able to move the ball quickly from one end to the other, in the second half we defended this better and were more proactive in the way we set ourselves up behind the ball.
Overall, our second half was excellent. I was pleased with the way the group kept working even though things didn’t go their way early in the game. They stuck to the task, adjusted to our key messages and ran the game out extremely well. 11 goals in the second half was a good outcome in the end.
Kobe Ryan returned from a senior pre-season and excelled with 30 disposals, Anthony Munkara was elusive in front of goal in his West Adelaide debt with 4 goals, whilst Jackson Allen proved a difficult match-up for the Norwood forwards. Overall an even team contribution that got our season off to a positive start.
This week coming we head to Unley to face Sturt who were impressive in their opening game. We look forward to the challenge and will work hard during the week to ensure it’s a great game. With our women and senior sides playing later in the day at home, why not start your day at 10am at Unley? See you there!
Best: Kobe Ryan, Anthony Munkara, Jackson Allen, Charlie Haysman, Jameson Whitbourne, Tyson Coe, Judd Hansen
Goals: Anthony Munkara (4), Harrison Barker, Judd Hansen, Tom Scully, Liam Westdijk (2), Kobe Ryan, Jameson Whitbourne (1)
Talent Manager & U18 Coach