The last days of Autumn meant Princes Park was bathed is sunshine, and there were as many of the throng in the outer as the traditional grandstand side proved a bit on the chilly side. There was no wind so neither end was favoured. The Hearts had a bye so their encouragement from the outer was certainly vocal and encouraging.
But there was heat certainly on the ground as Williamstown had come to play. There was a bit of niggle amongst the players and there were few easy balls. Loewey made his return to the side with our first goal, but Willy (can’t right Williamstown all the time!) soon answered. We were a bit inaccurate in front of goal so only took a 5 point lead into the first break. Most pundits would consider us the better side around the ground with our midfield led by Nick Gooda, Brede Seccull and Josh Gasparini clearly on top. The fact the visitors had only kicked two goals demonstrated that our defence was on top. Willy had a bit of tall timber up forward, so it had been a good effort in the back 6.
The second half continued in the same vein with the visitors not allowing the Bloods to get their running game going. Delivery into the forward line was haphazard and wasn’t working. Regardless, Jimmy Paul, and Gassy managed to score majors and to highlight the closeness of every contest, the score at half time was 38 apiece. It had the potential to be a nailbiter.
Wardy’s address at the long break was focused on the players continuing to go in hard, head over the footy and the results would come. Willy were expected to continue their close checking approach and the lads were steeled for a big effort in the always important third stanza.
An early goal to Noah Gown showed promise and we were getting on top in the middle. Corey Rich scored 2 goals in the space of 5 minutes after some great delivery from Billy MacKay and Dino. The goal umpire did not have to move as Corey showed his class kicking both from 45 out. All of a sudden the tone of the game changed. Our delivery into the forward line had improved and the backline remained as determined as ever with Aaron Toy, Rayner Seccull and Brodie Steele clearly on top and setting up many advances. Noah Gown was appreciating the improved delivery and his confidence improved, reflected in a couple of strong marks.
So, we had taken the heat out of the game and led by a very handy 34 points at the last change. This lead became a 10 goal victory as we registered 6 goals to 2 in the last quarter. Thommo, Billy MacKay and Durras Seccull appeared on the scoresheet and the Bloods ended up with convincing win in the end. The ability of the boys to withstand the pressure oppositions are putting on them and responding with good wins is a credit to their resolve as a group. We have a long way to go but if this resolve continues, there is plenty of good footy in front of us.
Next week we take on Parkdale, away, so look forward to seeing the boys continue their winning run.
Men's Reserves Match Report
This week against CYMS was a much better result from a developmental perspective for the reserves boys. They would have learned a lot from, yet again leading deep into the third quarter and from only being 9 pts behind at the 20 minute mark of the last quarter. The pleasing difference was that we managed to get 4 pretty even quarters of effort out of the boys.
The game started with us kicking the first goal with Harry driving us forward but we did not really capitalise on his dominance and in the second and big Harry Hunter was getting the ball to Sam Algeri, Sam HK and Matt Charlesworth really regularly. Unlike last week the boys were really switched on for the second quarter and competed hard to cut the margin at half time. The boys as a collective really dug in and chose to compete rather than switch off and have a mental break like the previous week and you could see belief growing. Jordy Johnson was working hard Jordy Hurley was working back behind the footy to help the defence, Jack Grenda, Cooper N and Lorenzo have been quietly getting better every week and have become really reliable down back for us, they are led well by Scotty Ellis there.
Our mids worked really hard both ways after quarter time and although it was pretty even we still felt confident we could get there.
The third quarter was full of opportunity as we got in front and had opportunity to go further in front but to CYMS’s credit they did not allow us and again, on the back of a couple of wasted opportunities and errors where we did not quite recognise the moment as we should of. We lost both Harry Hunt early in the quarter and Jordy Hurley. Huge loss for us. A lot was left to Jackson Arthur when Harry went off and he stuck at it and gave us everything. Bainy was very strong for us and gave his all.
The final quarter started with us trailing by 10 points and they kicked the first goal very quickly but we never gave up and hung in there with them, we competed and never gave up. That being said, there are always reasons why you lose; the instructions at three quarter time to switch the ball and take the game on did not resonate with them until late in the quarter and we were unlucky not to win, we just needed a bit more belief and confidence to execute the game plan. So we need to start talking it, training it and executing it. The level of output between round six to round seven was night and day, the boys discovered they actually are capable of not only competing but being able to have an opportunity to beat good sides that in the past they have suffered heavy losses against. Last week at Uni really set us up because we were able to apply some harsh lessons and we really looked tougher and harder than previous. These young men, as brutal as I can be with some of them are a credit to the footy club, others would have quit and walked away but these young men are of good character they never moan and complain, they just get on with it. Sam Algeri was again by far our best, his effort and leadership for us was crucial, he never stopped and role modelled what he needed to see from his team mates for the whole game.
For this week against Parkdale we will again look to improve, work on our areas for development and make sure we play for 100 minutes of the brand we are building of I understand everyone wants to win but we need to keep working on the right things and the wins will come, we have a plan and we will stick to it.
Under 19's Match Report
On a highly anticipated day for the bloods under 19s, the boys were fired up as we boarded the bus on the way to the St Bernards ground. With the races to look forward to after the game the boys were encouraged by Coach Pop “Traum” to put down the multis and focus on what really mattered. After an enjoyable team bus ride, the boys pulled raring to go and eager to amend the tough loss of the previous week.
The first quarter saw some great efforts from the backline, led by Will Barrie, as well Kirkwood-Scott racking up disposals like a shorter Caleb Daniel. There were also some decent passages through the mid with Tarli Reed and Tom Mcphee working hard, though again the boys struggled to convert which seems to be a reoccurring thing for the team and something we are working on week in and week out. The second quarter was more of the same as many lacklustre forward entries and failed scoring conversion saw the game to be much closer than it ought to be, as the mids seemed to be winning even more of the ball this quarter thanks to some dominant ruckmanship from Stuart Connolly.
Coming into the second half, the boys knew what we had to do and that was to kick goals and thankfully we were finally able to execute, piling on 5 goals to their 1 for the quarter, though still managing 8 points. Mitchy Domann was impressive, owning his flank and repelling the ball back into the forward 50 multiple times. Will Pascua was also impressive from the backline alongside Jay Coleman who let nothing through, making it very difficult for St Bernards to make any sort of a comeback. Thankfully the final quarter saw much better efficiency with 5 goals 1, as Jack Hardeman and Kirkwood-Scott joined in on the party time.
Ultimately, the boys had a great win and ran out the game well, which I think speaks to their improved fitness as well as their good hydration levels for the game. The lads well and truly earnt their after-game reward, being a trip to races, and the boys looked all business coming out of the changerooms, with the exception of Castan Racunica who managed to cut off circulation to his legs. Big thanks to Bonners for organising the trip, the boys had a great time.