This week’s game saw the U16’s up against Norwood who historically have been strong at junior level and who so far have had a disappointing start to their season. We expected them to throw everything at us and I was wondering how our team would handle the expectation created after winning their first two games and hoping we showed no sign of complacency. We continued to focus on fast, high intensity football, strong tackling and winning contested ball.
We made FOUR changes for the round bringing in Macx Teague, Kobe Ryan, Nik Gacic all for their first games and Cooper Thomson returning from a break.
I was extremely pleased to see our intensity was very good right from the first bounce and our tackling pressure was excellent. We had plenty of football around the ground with 100 disposals to their 71 in the 1st quarter and dominating contested possession and tackle numbers. We wasted a number of opportunities in front of goal but still managed 4.6 to 2.1.
The 2nd quarter saw us continue the high intensity football and this time hurt Norwood on the scoreboard kicking 5.3 to 0.3 to stretch our lead to 9.9 to 2.4 at the main break.
The 3rd and 4th quarters were very even. Despite winning both quarters we tended to eb and flow with our control of the game, threatening to blow the game apart at times but then lapsing into some periods of poor decision making and skill errors. To Norwood’s credit they fought the game out well kicking 6.4 to our 7.5 in the second half and never letting us completely run away with the game.
Ed Faulkner (19 poss 2 goals), Cade Kennedy (20 poss 11 tackles, 2 goals), Charlie Pridham (27 poss, 2 goals) found plenty of the ball and and Tyrell Sgroi (5 goals) and Hugh Desira (2.0) created opportunities up forward.
Our defense was strong with Jack McArdle, Jackson Roberts, Tyson Coe and Jesse Thackeray rebounding well and Aston Woods and Mitch Hahn again played strong games and competed well in contests.
Another strong win with everyone playing their role, some exciting fast ball movement and skilled football and an even spread of ball getters.
What we consistently see with this squad is that they do not rely on a few individuals but play a team game, willing to share the football and sacrifice their individual statistics for the benefit of the team, something I have rarely seen at junior level.