Match Report 9 May 2015 Rnd 5 Bendigo v Melb Uni
On Saturday, the Warhawks travelled to Parkville to battle Melbourne University under threatening skies and a prediction of showers. However, they never came, and we even had some sun to shoot with in the third quarter.
Uni had a predominantly-youthful 16 to start, Bendigo had 13.
Bendigo got the opening goal through Alex Orr, as he shrugged a couple of Uni players, drove in and shot. It was to be our last for the half, and Uni had possession for much of the first half, with good ball and player movement, with the usual wide feeder finding cuts, though on this occasion, he was well held by Dion Griffin, who made his life very uncomfortable. The Uni side had many shots, but were kept mainly to longer ones (some very wild), through solid defence from the Warhawks defence, and great goal-keeping from Gino Iuliano. They were only able to score four times for the first two quarters.
With the score at 4 – 1 at half time, Uni continued to keep the pressure on the Warhawk defence, many of whom were beginning feel their age decidedly. At the other end, Bendigo were better able to hold the ball, but tired midfielders were not always able to get into position or move quickly, and possession was lost through players finding themselves with no outlet pass. The Uni backs were fast and slick with long sticks and punished any lapses. As often happens with the Bendigo side in these circumstances, there is pressure to rush to get a goal on the board and defenders run the ball down, take on too many opposition and shoot before the forwards have time to even back the shot, rather than moving the ball through the lines to clear, passing off and allowing the attack to set up and run what we practise.
In the third quarter, Bendigo finally scored off a good set-up and some great passing and shooting, only to have the goal disallowed through a technical refereeing issue. Shortly afterwards, they scored when John Webb fed from behind goal to a cutting Ian Lock, who deftly caressed the ball past the goalie. Uni continued to dominate possession and set up for shots, many of which were off the mark, but managed another 5 for the half. The final score was 9 – 2.
Votes were awarded to Mark “Wookie Reader (3 club and 1 Association) for defence under immense pressure. Alex Orr got two club votes and Steve Nunn was awarded one.
In the end Uni were more numerous, younger, more skilful, fitter and faster than Bendigo, and with a full bench and a coach to run it, and plays that they stuck to, if they’d only shot straight, the final margin would have been a lot worse. It was another frustrating afternoon: our centres were winning face-offs, but we were still not getting possession. The Bendigo defence that played on Saturday is a great outfit and can hold out most teams in our division, but our clearing still lets us down. Our forward structure still breaks down too easily when stick work is put under pressure and players aren’t on the same page with our set plays, and when defenders and midfielders bypass it in a desperate attempt to score, the resultant 1 or 2 goals will never be enough to win a game. The great frustration was that the Uni goalie was not very good (we all watched him dropping and missing while being warmed up), and if we’d been able to even steady our play enough to take long shots on him, we could have scored reasonably easily.
Next week, onwards and upwards and at home to Malvern.