Today, and for the third time this year, we travelled to Calamvale to play the Leopards. With a position in the finals at stake with a loss today, we knew Calamvale would be a team ready to do everything it needed to claim a win and the game was played by them like that. They seemed ready to attack both the ball and man and for most of the game were much more desperate and harder at the football than us.
It is in games like these that we really need everyone of our players to step up and do there bit for the side and to not take a backward step when you have an opposition who feels there best chance of winning is to apply physical pressure at every opportunity, whether the ball is in the vicinity or not. Unfortunately today we had too many players who were not prepared to put there bodies on the line and totally commit to a contest when it was their turn to. If we, as a team, are able to progress as far as we know we are capable of in the finals, we will need each and every player to make a commitment to their teammates that starting from now, they will be prepared to make all the sacrificial acts it takes to make sure at the end of the games we are able to walk off the ground, win lose or draw, knowing that everything they had was left out on the ground and that when they come off they are left completely exhausted.
And I know this is not in keeping with what I write usually but I just want the players in the side to know that Curtis was physically ill after today's game and could not do anything except sleep on his way home, he had worked so hard today. And believe me, I know only too well we have other players, Ryan, Lachlan, Josh.P, Connor, Ethan, Declan, Mark and Brodie too name a few, who consistently week after week give everything they have to get us a result, but it is the challenge I now throw out to the rest of the group to lift themselves up to that level and at least make sure when it is your turn to go you do so and help us get back to playing the games on our terms, rather than be dictated to by our opposition.
I could quite easily here write about what happened in today's game as a quarter by quarter list but now, as we get closer to the part of the season we all want to be involved in, I feel it is more important that we, as a group, get together and re-assess where we want to go, how far we want to go, and how we, as individuals, plan to do that for the good of the team. That journey will begin as of tomorrow at training so I hope we all can get there to start the journey together.
We have come far to far to let this season slip away from us and for the Tigers under 12's of 2009 it is time to draw the line in the sand and tell the rest of the competition that to get past us it is going to take there absolute best.
We ventured to Everton to play them for the first time this year. Since our last training session of the week on Thursday we asked the players to once again accept some challenges as part of the preparation of the game. We were playing at the dew kicking time of 9.30am on a Sunday morning and as a lot of us know to get the body moving at that time is difficult.
I asked the players to get to bed early and be up at 6.00am to start the body moving and on top of that be at the ground an hour and a half before at 8.00am. We then commenced our warm up in our club uniform walking briskly around the square to ensure we would not start sluggish. The players responded well and although it didn’t show on the scoreboard we had our share of chances but only scored 6 behinds to Everton’s 2 behinds. It was our poor choice making that let us down.
Persistence was a key and a reminder to continue to work and follow the team rules meant sooner or later we would start the scoreboard ticking over through sheer weight of numbers and committed effort. Shuffling the team around and place the evergreen Liam Dawson up forward as a high marking target was always going to make it difficult for Everton to cover. They were already struggling to hold back Pittle and our small brigade.
We managed to hold Everton goalless for the first half and have 4 goals on the board through Liam 1, Pittle with 2 and Jacob 1. This was after some great work on ball by Rosie, Jakey V and Driffo.
The Second half we continued to work as did Everton but we proved to be to strong in most areas especially in the tackling department. We kicked another 2 majors in the 3rd quarter to Everton’s 2 and another 4 goals in the last quarter to Evertons 1 to run out easy winners by 57points.
What is pleasing about this result is we still had a number of players play who have been extremely unwell but were reluctant to give up there spot in the team. As it was we still played one player short.
Great performances by Villot, Dawson, Pittle, Driftman, Martin and Sands who were all on top of their opponents and some great team work at times from Jacob and AJ who had us looking very dangerous when the ball was on the ground up forward.
We come to our last game of the year and only two training sessions left to prepare for it. We set ourselves a goal to win our last game and as many as we can from the last 6. We have won 4 from our last 5 and with one more win to achieve this year we need to make sure we do what we said we were going to do by training hard and continuing with the momentum we have built.
The only thing standing in our way is Alexandra Hills at Redcliffe on Sunday the 16th of August at 12.30pm. Please encourage the players to take into account all that they have learnt, and commit themselves for one more week and weekend. We have been together since January and come so far and achieved so much that it would be shame not to finish the year as we hoped. We had a group of kids unsure of their capabilities but prepared to have a go anyway. What heights could they reach we didn’t know as they hadn’t been pushed hard enough yet. They are only under 14’s and most actually under 13’s.
This will be our final.
See you during the week and on the weekend.
Please ensure we get our money to Jodie for next week’s BBQ and also players a reminder to get in early for the Presentation day tickets because it is getting bigger each year and people will miss out if they do no book as our venue only holds so many.
This weekend’s game saw the U16’s travel down the motorway to take on Mt.Gravatt.
After last weeks nail biting finish, our training this week was geared toward trying to stay focused and to keep our concentration levels at their peak optimum levels in order for us not to suffer the same sort of final minute fade out again.
Coming up against an unknown quantity in regards to how Mt.Gravatt where going to line up, would they play a couple of First Div players? would they forfeit as they did a couple of weeks ago? or would they go all out and try to upset our advancement toward playing finals, by trying to antagonise and draw some undisciplined play from us.
The pre-game address, saw the boys given some food for thought, in regards to how we approach not only this game but our next few weeks and also our lives outside of football in general. As a whole we have been reared or told what foods are good for us, how much water we should drink, avoid alcohol, don’t use drugs, buy correct fitting shoes, etc. But honestly, how often do we consider what we are feeding our ‘Minds’. This big, beautiful, powerful computer relies on us to input quality. Otherwise it is rubbish in - rubbish out. The poem IF written by Rudyard Kipling in 1895 is still relevant today. How could he have known that all these years later?. That’s easy, because our brains haven’t changed. Sure enough we have invented many a new thing, mobile phone plasma Tv’s, Ipod’s etc.. yet our souls are still the same. We still cheat, lie, are weak, are proud, are stupid and at times, just sometimes we can be extraordinary.
So to put all this in football relevance, whilst our game of AFL is now faster, more skilful, while every statistic is recorded, we have forward zones, defensive zones, set plays, all this means very little as the game is still played by boys/men with two arms, two legs and a leather football, as they did 100 years ago.
The boys took to the field with this newly found wisdom and took control of the match early, only to allow them back into the quarter with a couple of late goals toward the end of the first term. The second quarter saw the Tigers step up another level and control the game, although our radar for kicking goals at times went amiss. The second half saw us having the luxury of rotating our players into different positions as we tried a few different things, all to help us continue along our path towards playing finals football. Unfortunately for us midway through the final term we had Jarrod Hayes suffer a severe elbow injury. Seeing the boys huddle around their injured team-mate after the game to sing the club song was quite easily the proudest moment for us as a coaching panel today. Well done boys!