On Saturday our Redcliffe Tigers U/14's played in the Grand Final against Alexandra Hills. The build up to the game was exciting and the boys had prepared well. The basic message before the boys ran out was be hard at the contest and work hard in numbers.
Players in position and ball raised, siren sounds and the game was under way. From the first bounce it was all about pressure at the contest with both sides working hard and tackling solidly. The first 5 minutes was a pure battle, with our boys looking strong down back with Mitchell leading the way down there enabling us to get on the attack with quick movement into our forward line with our midfielders in Jack and Kody getting plenty of the footy early. The forwards were working hard, but were failing to hurt the opposition on the scoreboard only scoring a couple of behinds. Our boys seemed to be controlling the game despite its tightness but Alexandra Hills were still looking dangerous when they got the ball over the top of us into space, they too missed a chance leaving us a point up. Again our boys worked hard moving the ball, it wasn't fluent but were making valuable meters and not giving an inch . Finally our boys broke through with a much deserved goal and looked on despite it still being tight . With Eric working hard in the ruck and Kody and Jack on top of their opponents things were well balanced for us, Jai, James and Shannon clearly on top up forward and Kurt and Tommy looking dangerous and Mitchell continuing his dominance across half back with his team mates Matt, Aaron, Keegan and Jordy giving him plenty of support. The game was on and at 1/4 time our boys lead 1.2.8 to 0.2.2. At 1/4 time we let the boys know that it was going to be who worked hardest and to keep up the pressure and that we were defending well.
Second quarter started and it was on again, solid contests, both sides playing hard and working overtime to win the footy. Alexandra Hills started to drive forward a little more but it was Aaron deep and Mitchell across half back that were repelling every attack. We were holding up well but weren't using the ball as well going forward and it was a game played between the 2 half back lines. Then in a huge contest where Mitchell and one of the Alexandra Hills boys attacked the footy with full vigor, it ended up in a head clash, Alexandra Hills boy with a cut to the side of his head and Mitchell ruled out with concussion, a crucial blow to the structure of our team as he had been super up until then. Back to the game, you could sense a change happening. Alexandra Hills were going even harder now and our boys fighting to keep them at bay. Despite the dominance of the opposition late in the quarter we held the lead at half time 1.2.8 to 0.3.3. At half time it was tough love, some reality checks for a few of the boys who needed to lift there intensity at the contest and as a team not to be walked all over and to stand up and give it back and be counted. With Mitchell out of the game, Kody, Aaron, Jai, James and Jack well on top it was time for the other boys to rise even higher. The challenge was put to the boy .
Ball raised and 3rd quarter started and bang it was on again solid contests, both sides tackling hard and every meter gained was like gold. The Alexandra Hills boys were starting to get on top in the middle and they started attacking constantly. They had raised the bar, intensity was on and were getting clearer ball. Amazingly thanks to Aaron down deep and help from Eric, Keegan, Josh, Matty and Stephen ( who was challenged at half time to lift ) we were holding the opposition at bay, also thanks to them missing a few opportunities at goal. Despite all the oppositions dominance of the quarter our boys through Kody and Brady got the ball forward and with Jai, and Tommy working hard with Nick, James and Shannon we were able to get the goal we needed against the run of play to open up a 9 point lead. The boys were fighting hard and the game getting more fierce. Alexandra Hills hit back quickly with a goal and were right back into the game and physically were getting on top of our boys. Our boys lead by Kody, Matty, Brady, Jack and Aaron were defensively working hard late in the quarter and we were able to hold the opposition off and go into the final quarter leading 2.2.14 to 1.6.12. The scoreboard was telling a different story to the game with Alexandra Hills really taking hold of the game but just couldn't put the score on the board, a credit to how hard our boys down back had been working. The message at 3/4 time was to give it all you got, win the contested footy and push hard defensively.
The final quarter started and Kody won the fist clearance and forward we went but thanks to one of the many off bounces for the day the opposition cleared the ball and attack they did. The hits were getting harder and the Alexandra Hills boys were imposing themselves on the game and started to physically brush off tackles and win the 50/50 contests and eventually they broke through our defense and scored the first goal for the term and take the lead for the first time in the game with 8 minutes to go . Could our boys raise another big effort and reply quickly. The Alexandra Hills boys were relentless with there attack at the contest and despite our best efforts we were unable to break them down, with them scoring another late goal to all but seal the game with 3 minutes to go. We rallied but the best we could do was a behind and the final siren sounded. Final scores Redcliffe Tigers 2.3.15 to Alexandra Hills 3.8.26 ....... shattering for the boys....to have lead and hang on all day, to work as hard as they did and to be pipped so close to the end. Take nothing away from the opposition as they too played and worked just as hard as our boys did.
As coaches Adam and I couldn't have been more prouder of the boys in the way they fought the game out, they showed a character that adults would be proud to have. As players a result like this can be used an a learning experience, to taste what its like to be in a Grand Final, to use the pain of a loss as a motivation to push yourselves to new levels. Despite the result you boys were the best side all year but on the day that counted most they got us, be proud of your achievements this season, individually and as a team you developed and improved so much. You were all a pleasure to coach and hope you all enjoyed the season as much as l did. As a coach l too get to learn from the experience of a loss, l go over moves and decisions l made or didn't make, things that worked and didn't work and preparation. Again l thank everyone in the team ( coaching staff and parents included ) and the club for the opportunity to coach these great kids. Rise again next year Tigers....it's only getting better . Thanks Coach