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|Coaches Blog Round 11|
A good day for the club upon our return after the double bye, where 12 points were banked even though I didn’t think we played our best footy in any grade!
The colts closed out the game by 23 points in tough conditions. They may as well have played in torrential rain given the state of the oval! It was incredibly dewy and the deck didn’t dry out until 3rd quarter time which meant any sort of clean ball handling or high skill level was made impossible.
It was great to see Greggy Ottaviano return after 12 months out with an ACL! He played very well and kicked an excellent goal which made us all happy! Xavier also played a number of first gamers and all acquitted themselves extremely well. I thought Oscar Matthews was again right up there in the best and he continues to come on and he was supported well by Huntley and Rodereda who played with good energy. The win puts the kids 3 games clear plus percentage in the finals and a great chance to push for a double chance, so the future looks bright.
Our reserves boys overcame a slow start to remain in the top 5 and extend their winning streak to 3. Jason Daniels returned off his ACL to play a half and he added a real spark up forward. We look forward to him pushing on now and putting his hand up for selection in the near future. Wityk was outstanding up forward and ended with 3 snaggers and 9 marks. “Truck” McKay is warming up since his return and had 26 and 7 tackles and Warrick Wilson had 24 even though he was heavily tagged in the second half. John Armstrong continues to take strides forward having 8 marks at center half forward and Troy Yukich was outstanding in the ruck and around the ground. Tom Smirk showed great leadership all day too and ended with 23 disposals.
It’s coming together nicely for this group as players coming off big breaks build their form. Brayden Hackett’s return off a horrific work incident was another encouraging sign. Hopefully he or one of the boys sees this and puts up a photo of the injury for those that like a bit of gore! He’s a lucky boy to be playing footy at all, and the fall off a ladder could have ended badly for him and us!
At senior level I was very happy with the way we started off an extended break! It’s always hard to get going after a week off, but 21 days felt like an eternity so to put 5 on the board early was a great show of maturity! It was led by Ellard’s intensity early and the boys followed! Dave’s ability to throw his head where it is likely to receive contact is incredible, and he’s a serious asset to our team.
Rodge got going early and maintained intensity all day to end with 24 touches and 4 goals and he was well supported by Banners and Jesse Manton up front. Jesse hasn’t played with us since the 2014 elimination final but added life to our forward line and was a strong contributor. Riggio played with power through the mids and was well supported by Blight, Turner and Cipro and we were able to control the strength of Jones and Tropiano from the opposition. Big Jake Nuich bounced back to excellent competitive form and had 18 touches and 7 marks to go with some great ruckwork.
Down back Ugle, Ames and Notte were superb and Alex Howard had 12 marks and 17 touches in his 100th game to be in our best couple!
In the end we won by 33 points to leave us 3rd with a 6 and 3 record. We know we have a lot of work to do to compete against the best in the competition, so we’ll keep working hard to make that a reality.