A game of two contrasting halves saw us run out comfortable winners against Nelson Bay on Saturday.
After a bright start our radar went completely off in front of goals in the second quarter but we still had a five goal half-time lead thanks to some rock-solid defensive work from Jack Pratt and Hamish Thomson.
Losing Jack Lennon with a shoulder complaint didn’t help our cause up front but Tom Lashlie was generating plenty of run and dash off half back and Declan Hoy-Maroney was busy through the middle so we were getting it in there efficiently enough.
For us to be able to turn things around and come out and kick 11 goals to 3 in the second half says a lot about our persistence and it was Izaac Hughes who probably personified that kicking five of his six goals after generating many opportunities in the first half. Izaac is leading the league goal kicking with 43 majors, 10 ahead of fellow Hawk Jack Lennon, and Mick Ryan is sixth on 22.
We had another debutant on Saturday in Logan Marshall from the Under 17s and he was a cut above with his cleanliness by hand and sure foot skills. He did his job and simply didn’t try to do anything more than what was required whenever he had the ball. He did the basics well all day and also showed his finesse with a beautiful check-side to get himself a goal in the last quarter.
Such was his performance that he earnt himself the enviable trifecta of a post-match can, the Duke Hotel Coach’s Best and Players’ Player! Pratt and Lashlie were our other two can winners.
Our Ironbark Hill 1%er Award went to Regan Bowe who has been a mainstay in our ruck stocks all year with injuries to Griffiths and Keys at various stages and Saturday was no different as he battled manfully against two big bodied Marlins ruckmen.
This Saturday we face Killarney Vale in what shapes as a danger game with them nipping at our heels on the ladder.
Nelson Bay: 4.10 – 34
Goals: I. Hughes 6, M. Ryan 3, M. DeLeur 2, C. Spoor 2, J. Lennon, T. Machart, L. Marshall
Best Players: L. Marshall, T. Lashlie, J. Pratt, D. Hoy-Maroney, R. Bowe, H. Thomson
This week the Birds follow the familiar path down the M1 to the Central Coast to take on the completion leaders Killarney Vale.
A good start and we are the first to go inside fifty and are unlucky not to score first. Our forward set up has been working very well of late , however we found ourselves a bit out of sorts on the much shorter ground. It took a while to adjust and the coach was too slow to address this. As good sides do , the Bombers took full advantage and despite a very competitive first term we go to the first break down 4/3/27 to 0/0/0.
The second quarter was our best. Fierce tackling lead by Allie and Nikki and a significant lift by the backs, Sam K leading the way there with our classy gal Matisse. The bombers had their tails up and were full of running but the Birds show real fight and hold them to a single point for the quarter. We go to the main break 4/4/28 to 1/0/6.
The third quarter was again a really hard-fought affair and we are right in the contest however the Bombers moved the ball quickly and were hard to defend against. They are a fast and skillful team and if you lose concentration for even a moment, they can hit the scoreboard. We work really hard but still trail. 7/7/49 to 2/1/13.
It was similar in the final term. The Bombers were expecting to kick right away with a handy lead but our girls never say die attitude was there for all to see. We keep the home side to just two goals while still attacking ourselves and also hitting the scoreboard. It was a good performance that we can take a lot of positives from. We get back to work and keep looking forward we are a good side in good form so there are more wins in store for the birds as we look to finish our season strongly.
Cardiff: 3.3 – 21
Kilarney Vale: 9.10 – 64
Goals: J. Rheinberger , A. Hawthorne, H. Wright
Best Players: E. Bailey , T. Buckton, E. Clark, A. Cooksley, M. Coram-Parker, K. Elson
This week we headed down to Adelaide St Oval to take on the Bombers. Recent history showed that this was going to be a tough game. Several outs saw some positional changes around the ground as well as the return of Nick Kocon.
Unfortunately, a slow start and some inaccuracy in front of goal didn’t start the game well and went into the 1st break down 3 goals. Pressure around the ball was great, led by Angus and Billy.
The 2nd quarter saw us a lot more competitive around the ground as we clawed back the difference. Caleb moved forward and claimed a goal to get the scoreboard ticking over in our favour thanks to Kocon and Kerian playing up the ground. Our defence moving the ball well from our backline forward. We spoke about the desire to play on quick and move the ball through the corridor and this started to see us get on top of the bombers. We went into the long break down by 10.
The 3rd quarter saw us draw even in the early parts of the quarter thanks to back to back goals from Kocon. That’s where the positives for the quarter ended, with Kilarney Vale take control for a 5-10 min period, kicking the next 4 goals of the quarter. The bombers’ run continued into the last quarter with them kicking another 2 early in the quarter and things didn’t get better for us with Tom Kropp, who was killing it around the ground, breaking his collar bone in a massive hit on the wing. The Bombers hung on to a 6-goal lead for the remainder of the game.
Although we weren’t on the desired side of the ledger, we held our heads high and competed till the final siren. Improved consistency in players and structures will see us competing come finals
Kilarney Vale: 12.11.83
Goals: C. Wivell 2, N. Kocon 2, D. Stewart, K. Cowan
Best Players: A. McGuinness, N. Kocon, M. Kozlik, C. Wivell, M. Kenny, J. Ryan
Game Day Photos courtesy of Geoff Robinson