Courage under fire. That’s how I’d explain our performance on the weekend in one sentence. It’s been months since we’ve finished a game with 22 fit men but we continually choose not to give up – and Saturday was no different in an honourable 18 point loss to the ladder leaders.
After a frenetic opening exchange in which Terrigal dominated on the scoreboard, two serious injuries – Liam Gibson (elbow) and Mattie Vukovich (broken arm) – suffered late in the opening quarter served to show us what we’re made of.
After sneaking forward and jagging himself a clever goal to pull us back within a kick after Terrigal had relentlessly peppered our goals, Mattie Vukovich, a shining light all season for us down back, was yet again repelling another attack when he suffered a horrific arm break that held the game up for about 20 minutes.
Visibly shaken, and down two men, the maturity of the group that Bilks had highlighted after our win last weekend again came to the fore as we refused to let what happened fragment us.
Galvanised, our men battled manfully into the second quarter, epitomised by Simon O’Brien getting one of his many centre clearances for the day in a BOG performance and then following up his own kick to gather the crumbs and kick an important goal just before half time that kept us in the hunt but worryingly they had more than double our scoring shots.
If we battled manfully immediately after losing Gibbo and Vuko, our second half was Herculean. Our regular engine room of O’Brien, Marcus DeLeur, Bryce Graetz and Tim Keys kept us in the game with their stoppage and clearance work in the third quarter – with Mick Ryan the main benefactor kicking two of his three goals for the day – but we still went into the last break 21 points down.
We outscored them marginally in the last quarter with Izaac Hughes finally getting some reward for effort with two goals as we matched them on the scoreboard across a goal-for-goal second half.
We knew we had to be at our best to beat them and we didn’t shy away from that. On the flip side, we wanted to make them play their best footy if they were going to beat us – and that we did. Our forward entries weren’t as efficient as what they could have been so we weren’t at our best in that area but we made them work really hard for their goals with our pressure which probably explained their inaccuracy and that was pleasing.
O’Brien picked up our Duke Hotel Coach’s Best and Players’ Player while Keys nabbed the Ironbark Hill 1%er Award for his effort to battle through the second half half-blind after a nasty poke in the eye. Some say he was fully blind by the time he left Argyle House at 3am!
Post match cans went to Ryan for his game-high three goals, Hughes for his relentless work rate and Daniel Robson who was lively again up forward with his pressure and creativity.
We continue to produce no matter who is in our side week to week and even though we lost we take great heart in our attitude to remain in the hunt in the face of great adversity.
We wish Vuko a swift recovery and thank Toby Machart’s father – who was at the game by chance – for his medical work at the scene. We will await news of Gibbo’s elbow after scans this week.
We’ll regroup this week and look forward to welcoming Nelson Bay to the nest for the first time on Saturday.
Cardiff: 9.11 – 65
Terrigal Avoca: 11.17 – 83
Goals: M. Ryan 3, I. Hughes 2, J. Lennon, A. Wivell, S. O’Brien, M. Vukovich
Best Players: S. O’Brien, M. Ryan, B. Graetz, T. Keys, M. DeLeur, D. Robson
This week the birds nestle down into the comfortable surrounds of their nest and prepare to take on Terrigal / Avoca Panthers. This is a great opportunity to see where we are at as we sit on equal points on the ladder.
We once again focussed on starting well and start well we did. The birds dominated from the get-go and if not for a few wayward shots on goal would have had a big lead at the first break. However, we still lead 2 / 5 / 17 to 0 /0 /0.
The second quarter followed a similar path as we dominated field position and even when Terrigal did go forward, they were repelled by some stoic defence led by Matisse but ably supported by all defenders.
Half time score 4/6/30 to 0/0/0.
The third quarter we still hold strong and continue to make life hard for the Panthers. The mids dominated, the backs held strong and the forwards did what they had to do.
We go into the last break 6/8/44 to 0/0/0.
Not much changed in the last as we still maintain our effort and discipline and eventually run out winners in a dominant performance. A great result for our birds who continue to play for each other week in week out. It’s a pleasure to coach this amazing footy team.
Cardiff: 7.9 – 51
Terrigal Avoca: 1.2 – 8
Goals: H. Wright 3, A. Cooksley, B. Morten, S. Ranken, C. Russell
Best Players: M. Coram-Parker, A. McRae, N. Walker, B. Morten, K. Moffatt, E. Hieke
Cardiff: 4.4 – 28
Terrigal Avoca: 11.15 – 81
Goals: H. O’Neill, P. Bleus, S. Pierce, J. Ryan
Best Players: Not supploed
Game Day Photos courtesy of Geoff Robinson