Heath Decker carried off after his 150th game last week.
Photo courtesy of Sharon Jones Photography.
Our last game against the bitter rival and we were keen to maintain the Des Ryan Cup. The weather conditions were perfect.
We didn’t start well. Norwood were able to transition the ball forward from stoppages and from their half back too easily. Our transition running was not what we wanted and we seemed to be playing ‘bruise free’ footy. Harris started well on the wing and Locco started well intercepting some strong forward thrusts by Norwood. We were down by 21 points at quarter time.
Our intensity at the start of the second lifted. Our on ball group of Whelan, van Unen and Fenton got on top and actually won centre clearances 8-0 for the quarter. Dunne and Sheppard were providing good targets for us at half forward and Griffiths and Wood were also giving us a real presence forward. It was great to have Harry Nolan back and he was doing a great role on Leigh Williams (the competition’s best forward) and kept him goal-less for the day.
We closed the gap but then Norwood kicked a couple late in the quarter to still maintain a handy buffer, but I felt we were much more in the contest and had gained back control of the game.
In the third that continued where we kicked 5 for the quarter. Fenton spent 15 minutes on the bench and our mids still overwhelmed them. We had grabbed back the lead and led by 9 points at 3/4 time.
In the last quarter we got out to a good lead early and had a good opportunity to go 3 1/2 goals up at about the 15 minutes mark but didn’t grab that opportunity and Norwood kept coming. They kicked a couple of goals and were surging late with the ball locked down their end for 7-8 minutes. The scores were level when Michael Locco kicked a long ball into our forward 50 with under a minute to go and Matt Sheppard took an absolute hanger in the middle of the pack. He went back to kick the goal but the ball just missed. Norwood then were able to transition the ball the length of the ground in 15 seconds and had a mark deep in the pocket and one of their players marked and had a shot after the siren to win the game but missed and it ended in a draw.
The game was a very good spectacle and I would think both teams would think they had their chances to seal the win and also both could have easily lost so perhaps a draw was a fair result.
The season didn’t bring what we had hoped. We started well and finished quite well with 3 very strong efforts. The middle part of the season was hard work, but during those hard times we have discovered 3-4 quality young senior players that we might not have, and this will go well for the 2019 season. We have shown we can compete with the very best where we ran Vermont right to the wire twice. We will have a few return from injury after strong pre-seasons and with the addition of 2-3 of the right recruits I am very confident that we can seriously contend in the 1st year of the Premier Division of the EFL next year.
Thanks again to all of our sponsors and supporters for sticking with us during the year. Also, thanks to Lee Robinson and his committee for your support and I am certain the club in on the right track to make a giant leap in 2019.
Goal Kickers: C. Dunne 2, M. Sheppard 2, J. Vanunen 2, D. Wood 2, M. Cullinan, D. Harris, J. Ireland, L. Taylor
Best Players: J. Whelan, J. Vanunen, H. Nolan, M. Locco, J. Sharp, D. Harris
Brett Moyle – Senior Coach
We finished our season playing Norwood away and a strong performance last week.
Although the match did not have any implication to finals, it was important game for the group to
finish the season well and be rewarded for a solid last 4 weeks and year.
We started in 3rd gear unfortunately, which was due I think to the pressure and the run from our
opponent. Dan Wright after a strong season did his hamstring on the first kick of the day which also
did not help the cause. We then lost Jake Hollingsworth with an ankle after a solid start, which
brought out bench down to 3 by quarter time.
At quarter time, we were in the contest, but needed to lift the intensity at the contest and focus on
winning one on one footy.
Our second and third quarters we started to get moving, but we could not get on top of Norwood.
We had a yellow card to Toddy and 2 players coming off with blood rules at differing times – which
meant our bench was down to 1 in patches, something we haven’t had a great deal of this year. We
had stages of footy which were very strong and good movements of the footy, but let ourselves
down at the same time either finishing or turning the footy over.
The last quarter I asked the boys to lift and not let Norwood take the win from us… which they did,
but we couldn’t get the win either. The endeavour, intensity and desire in the last quarter got back
to our level of footy. We were strong at the contest, pushed forward hard and took opportunities in
front of goal. Prahn, Ash Goldsmith, Dan Cox and Max Dymond last quarters where outstanding.
Josh Taratuta had a massive day for us with limited rest and I thought Kaka throughout the entire
day was sensational. We managed to get in front by a goal, and was only an unlucky situation where
Norwood pounced on a turned over footy late and scored a goal brought the scores back even.
The last quarter, Jordy Uricsh was so critical in defence and both Mitch Cullen and Bailey Marshall
The finish was unique, a draw which the seniors also had the same feeling. It is a strange occurrence,
and is disappointing not to win, but at the same time I am very proud of the boys to dig in and leave
nothing in the tank and almost steal the win. It shows a great deal of character, when the result will
not affect the season results, but is critical for the club and our pride.
We now in our last 3 games against Norwood have won 2 and drawn one.
As a group, the season has been good. We have managed 7.5 wins (up from 5 last year), we have
had a number of boys get an opportunity to play senior footy, and barring 2 games earlier in the year
have been very competitive each week, with strong and consistent numbers.
Development is now key for this group. On Saturday and for previous weeks, we had 17 or so 19/20-
year-old players running around in the reserves, which is fantastic. To be competitive each week
against some very experienced and strong teams shows the boys we are up to the required
standard, we just need to continue to develop – both physical and mental and be willing to push for
further improvement. The player’s strength and running will continue to develop, with applications of beetroot and tuna juice. But this will not just happen with time, there needs to be application and desire.
Dave Tucker as our team manager for season has been again fantastic, and I thank him very much
for the effort and time he dedicates each week. Thanks also to Mark Fenton for helping and stepping
into the role for a couple of weeks whilst Dave was away earlier in the season.
Thanks to Dollar (Greg Chambers) for his assistance with coaching and support throughout the season, also to
Glenn Gordon, Rambo, the OC gang (Ray, Dan and Steve) and parents/friends and committee that
have helped throughout the season in several different roles. These are all critical to getting a team
on the park each week and we thank you all very much.
A big thank you to the Lee and the committee again for your support and efforts this year and the
focus effort provided to the reserves group, and to Brett for your continued support and guidance.
Goal Kickers: T. Morgan 2, J. Hollingsworth, P. Nicholson, D. Cox, M. Kakaflikas, J. Cox
Best Players: J. Ursich, P. Nicholson, M. Kakaflikas, M. Cullen, A. Goldsmith, D. Cox, J.Taratuta
Paul O’Callaghan – Reserves Coach
Goal Kickers: P. Dunne 2, A. Glassborow 2, J. Braunthal 2, B. Sandilands 2, J. Bell, E. Sinn, D. Church, C. Williams, W. Lyall, T. Nathan
Best Players: W. Lyall, A. Glassborow, J. Bell, D. Wright, D. Church, J. Braunthal