Sometimes you walk away from a game knowing you’ve missed an opportunity, and this was one of those days. We knew that Sturt would be a tough opponent following their round 1 big win over South at Noarlunga. Both sides had changes (some forced) which will be the case for the majority of the season. Pleasingly we were able to see five young men make their U18 debuts. Congratulations to Jedd Ryan, Tyler Quinn, Padrick O’Donoghue, Max Downs and Charlie Kitto who came into the side.
Our first quarter was disappointing as we failed to finish off our hard work and Sturt were good enough to make us pay at the other end on the back of some good transition play on their behalf. After trailing by 5 goals early in the second quarter we were able to keep things even from there on and trailed by 23 points at half-time.
At half-time the mood was quite calm. We knew we were a long way off our best and the focus was on what adjustments we could make to try and get ourselves back in to the game. Without giving too much away, we needed to convert our clearance numbers in to more inside 50’s and create more chances at goal. The boys adjusted really well to some mid-game changes and carried them out well in the second half.
We will always expect that the boys keep digging in when things aren’t working for them, and this group showed great character to make a push late in the third quarter. Tom Scully got on a roll with 3 goals in 5 minutes, we got better quality clearances and entries, and our forward pressure lifted immensely. We trailed by 7 points at the last change.
The final quarter was a high scoring affair. Ultimately we kicked the last couple of goals to get within 5 points, and could have stolen the win at the end had we made a few better decisions with the football. Ultimately this would have been a steal though as Sturt were the better side from the outset. We showed tremendous grit and determination to stay in the game and the boys know their best footy is good enough, we just need to play it for longer.
Tom Scully finished the game with 6 goals straight, Harrison Barker contributed with 3 of his own goals, and Tyson Coe had 27 disposals and 13 clearances. Kobe Ryan had 26 disposals and 9 tackles, Harry Barnett was the dominant ruckman on the ground and Charlie Haysman was classy with the ball.
We sit 1-1 after two matches and look forward to another challenge this week against Central. We are at home at 1:45pm with the U16’s before us at 11:30am. It was great to see a lot of Bloods support at Unley for this game and we appreciate the efforts of everyone involved. The boys will train well during the week as we look to bounce back.
Best: Tom Scully, Harrison Barker, Tyson Coe, Kobe Ryan, Harry Barnett, Charlie Haysman
Goals: Tom Scully (6), Harrison Barker (3), Anthony Munkara, Max Downs (2), Tyler Quinn, Kobe Ryan (1)
Talent Manager & U18 Coach