Our lead up to the first game of the season included the announcement of the Under 14s leadership group and thanks to our major sponsor MagnaTech Pool Centre, the revealing of our new jumpers taking place on Friday night. After nominations from the players, the Coaching staff & Manager were pleased to announce the members of our leadership group are Curtis Nicholson, Jared Bond and Ethan Cole. Mark Lynne’s ongoing enthusiasm, dedication and TEAM spirit has been rewarded by him being announced as the Vice Captain and after receiving majority nominations along with the support of the Coaches, our Captain for the 2011 season will be Josh Patching. Congratulations to all five members of the leadership group and please remember your responsibilities and respect the faith your TEAM mates have entrusted you with by wanting you as their leaders.
Prior to our game on Sunday the players were presented with their new jumpers for the first time. Along with it being the much anticipated first game, there was a sense of excitement and nerves from the players. As we ended up one player short on Friday night we welcomed under 13s player Dominic Paino to the group and prepared the TEAM by making sure they focussed on the basics while working with them to understand the need to play to our strengths.
What a start the boys had. A fantastic quarter of football with everyone playing to the structure we wanted and doing the little things that make a big difference. Sheparding assisted in our first 2 goals and plenty of voices around the contests allowed us to gain clearances from all parts of the ground. Plenty of great work from our on ballers and our backline created many opportunities for our forwards to work with.
Quarter time came with much excitement around the group, which is great to see. The challenge is always to make sure you keep that level of play up. A couple of points that could cause us concern were highlighted and the boys were back out there.
The second quarter saw our opponents go defensive with an extra player in their backline. We chose to see how that would work out. Unfortunately we seemed to lose the structure in our play and some seemed to be playing as though they were taking a walk in the park. After such a good start it was disappointing to see our efforts drop off both while we had the footy and more so while we were defending. Our clearances dropped and so did our attack on the footy. This forced a few changes and a few reminders to be sent out.
It was good to see all the leadership group having some impact while Ryan was showing his great ability to get in and get the footy. Jack was playing his role to perfection by shutting his opponent out but also taking the opportunities to go get the footy himself.
Half time came gave me the opportunity to remind the TEAM that the game is not over. Good teams play 4 quarters of competitive, structured and disciplined football. We could not afford to stand back and watch our opponents. We made a few changes to the line up before what seemed to be a shortened half time was over.
The third quarter saw our efforts pick up back to where they were in the first quarter. All over the ground we had players having an impact. Dom took on a key defensive role and totally shut out his opponent and Jack continued to clear our defensive area. Ryan, Curti and Patcho continued to push the footy our way while Connor worked his way into the game and became another running option for us. Ethan & Billy continued to finish off the good work from up the ground by getting the score on the board. Importantly our defensive pressure was lifted so our opponents had no easy possessions.
Three quarter time was again a time to change a few players positions. This will happen as we go through the season. We need to have flexibility within the TEAM and most players will be asked to play in a number of positions. The message was to finish the game off by attacking the contests and ensure we continue on from our 3rd quarter efforts.
The last quarter was a battle. The majority of the quarter was played in our defence area. Our backline players were fantastic. Lead by Bondie playing in a new position for him at full back, Jack continuing his great efforts, Riley enjoying some freedom across half back, the TEAM never allowed our opponents to score. Considering we had made many positional changes and rested a couple of other players who had been playing key roles the last quarter efforts were as important as our great start to the game.
Overall it was a solid start to our season with all players contributing to the win. Now we need to get back to working hard at training to prepare for our next game against Everton this Sunday, Mothers Day, at our home ground.
Thank you to our TEAM helpers and a special thank you to Dominic for filling in for the TEAM.