Round 9, June 14

U12s vs Wesburn

Our game against Wesburn was always going to be a test of team strength, four quarter endurance and ferocity at the ball.  Wesburn were one spot higher on the ladder than us at third position and I knew that we needed this win to cement into the boy’s minds that not only can we be competitive against higher ranked teams, but also beat them.  

In the change rooms prior to the start of the game I was disillusioned because the boys appeared distant, tired and flat, however after a work out on the bags and some wrestling the boys were primed. As with the previous week at Emerald, I asked the boys to come out firing on all cylinders and give it 100% from the first ball up and to my absolute joy, they gave 110% and we were rewarded accordingly winning the quarter 3 goals 5 to 0 giving us a healthy lead. However we knew Wesburn would rebound. 

The second quarter was all Wesburn 2 goals 1 to our 0 and the momentum was swinging their way. The third quarter saw Wesburn dominate their forward line whilst our defences started to falter and come undone. Lachlan Boyd for Olinda was the one standout who held strong in Full Back and prevented Wesburn from scoring two goals keeping us in the game and only 3 points ahead at three quarter time. 

With both teams so evenly matched the game was up for grabs.

Wesburn took the lead late into the last quarter and it was imperative that our on ballers moved it as quickly as possible from Wesburns forward line into our forward line. Credit to Azza and Ziggy who ran hard all day and were able to in the dying minutes move the ball into our forward line. With our Forward pocket whippets of Ethan Blenkiron, Ollie Clarke, Xander and Lachy Boyd I knew we were in for a good chance of a sneak goal. 

It was however reassuring when on the siren our ever courageous LJ got a free kick went back for the set shot and sank a 35m composed goal for an Olinda victory. 

To the Boys credit they won the first and last quarter which won them the game. To play and win finals we need to win the 2nd and 3rd quarters as well and the boys recognise this. 

A fantastic team effort, a heart stopping game for all, but importantly a good confidence booster for the boys going into a tough two weeks.

Well done Boys. 

U14s vs Wesburn

The perfect lead in to our game today, with a sensational week on the track and then the ice cool finish by Lach Johnson in the 12s match after the siren, to come from behind and win. I sensed the group were ready today, the whiteboard highlighted our 3 “Key Focuses” as normal, but the one we really drilled was the effort from minute 1 to minute 60, with no drop off in between.

Our start today was exceptional, with our mids really attacking the contests and driving that ball forward repeatedly. With great targets to work toward, we really pressed hard and hit the scoreboard against our more fancied opposition. Some well-constructed and thought out passages of play were on display, and this was yet again backed up by our miserly Back 6 who continue to give nothing to their opponents. Working in to the 2nd Qtr, we seemed to actually pick up the tempo, but despite the heavy amount of Fwd 50 entries and shots on goal, we finished poorly to only kick 2.5 for the term. The positive was the way we brought the ball in, with 2 exchanges between Oakley and Hunter absolutely elite. Unfortunately all 5 behinds were fairly simple shots on goal, and when you couple that with us allowing the Doggies to finally kick their 1st goal just before the siren, we really hadn’t taken the opportunity to put this game beyond doubt. Keeping in mind that Wesburn beat us earlier in the year, and were last year’s U12 Premiers – they are good opposition and we had work to do.

The 3rd & 4th Qtrs took familiar patterns, as we really out ran, out worked, and out tackled our opposition. The work rate of our Half Fwds today was exceptional, in no order but I thought the 2 way running of Pat, Jonty, Cam, Nathan & Teddy was a real highlight. They led strongly, won a lot of ground balls, were creative and worked hard to lock the ball in our forward end. It was terrific to see Darcy go deep forward, take some grabs, kick his first goal and compete so strongly. It was also great to see him go to Full Back in the last term and do a terrific job. The highlight for me today was the 4 Qtr performance of Josh Langer, who did the most brilliant shut down job on Wesburns most influential forward, and with Rielly McGibbony playing such a strong role beside him, the Wesburn boys just couldn’t break us down. Maxy & Josh Meadows also were extremely consistent across the day in their midfield & forward roles.

In the end an 8 goal win was just reward for a “sustained effort across 4 Qtrs”, and to see the boys be able to maintain that effort across the full 60 minutes was very pleasing. We continue to reiterate the group, that there best is good enough to match the top sides, and more than good enough to match the teams around them. We are now in the midst of a long tough season, and although there are a few boys working through some sore spots etc, its been very pleasing to see just how well they are working together. They continue to be enthusiastic, they continue to work hard mid-week with excellent training numbers, and essentially they are creating an environment that is very positive and something that they all want to be a part of. Last weeks “competitive” training session run by our Senior boys no doubt gave some confidence to our players, to know that they can compete physically, and today our boys tackled like lions, attacked the ball without reservation and worked so hard for each other – these boys know they can, they just have to “want” to do it.

Well done boys, supper effort today and yet another opportunity awaits at Healesville next week – where our best effort will no doubt bring a positive result !