To the many that suscribe to the phrase, "a week is a long time in football", maybe try 3 weeks! Coming off a bye followed by a competition-wide week off effectively meant the Redcliffe Tigers had not played footy for 3 weeks. This less than ideal situation was certainly compounded by the reduced numbers at training and facing the League Leaders, Kedron, on their turf, was always going to be a tough day at the office.
The conditions were perfect and the Tigers looked focused and ready for a massive test, however the game started with Kedron getting first use and Redcliffe almost stunned for 4 or 5 minutes. The Redlegs had their tails up early and the signs looked ominous for the visitors, until we were able to snap out of being second to the ball and produced some great play to produce a couple of majors. At 5 goals to 2 there was no real panic for the Tigers at quarter time, as most of the lead was allowed to happen in the first 5 minutes and for the rest of the term we matched Kedron in most areas.
The second term again saw the homeside on the board early before Redcliffe kicked a couple and started to look a lot better. Unfortunately the Redlegs ran out the half stronger and took a 7 goal lead into the main break. Some positives from the first half for the Black & Golds was the effort put in by the midfield at ground level and the continous efforts made by the under siege backline. The forward line was moving well and creating space but when the delivery is under constant pressure, lace-out passes can be few and far between. The usual suspects in Somers, Kernick, Lee and Kouvaras were giving their all in their attempts to gain momentum but as soon as Kedron were able to use the ball, they did, in a clinical fashion, pin pointing their key forwards and effectively removing our hardworking defenders form the play.
Starting the third quarter there was still some real belief that we may be able to slow our opponent's scoring and sneak a little closer at the final break. This was not the case, the very well-drilled Kedron unit refused to relinquish the ascendancy and were taking more control, making us work even harder for every possession. The second half was extremely disappointing for Coach Kouvaras, not so much in the defecit, more in line with the stark contrast between the 2 sides. The top side proved to us the value of large numbers at training, and what may sound ridiculous, a committed training regiment can be more important than most Saturdays. To validate this statement, the last quarter performance from both teams was inspired. The slick Kedron side with a superior fitness ran the game out as a good side should, handling our challenges and scoring until the final siren. Our side however, while soundly beaten on the day showed extrordinary character when faced with insurmountable circumstances, we fought hard at every contest, remained desperate to gain possession and remained team-orientated. The obvious difference to the coaching staff was the sheer effort the homeside put into their training, giving the coach the necessary tools to implement his strategies, at times lately I believe we haven't afforded our coach the same luxury. Another strange remark if you have read the final scores is that I was impressed with our backline. Backhouse, Davis, Spencer and Kunst were under extrordinary pressure as Kedron had huge numbers of inside 50 entries. I shudder to think of the margin without these players. Amidst what was a dark day on the scoreboard for our club there were some good signs, the form of both Ricky Williams and Aaron Richardson is a real positive going into next week as both had the better of their opponents for 4 quarters.
Looking forward to next week and shiny new attitude to our footy, we host the Local Derby with Pine Rivers at Rothwell Park. This will be a cracker of a match as neither side has much to lose...except pride! These games historically produce good crowds and as an extra vocal majority, this week the Senior Social Club is having its inaugural Past Player's Day. All former Tigers who have represented this proud club are not just welcome, but strongly urged to come down to support the boys, catch up with mates and enjoy some very cheap beer! Can't wait to catch up with some great mates myself and for the players intending on representing the Black & Gold's this weekend...it starts TUESDAY! See you there.