A fantastic tackle by Jack Pratt running in off the centre square to sack one of their playmakers at the opening bounce set the tone for a game we saw very much as a danger game.
We were lucky to get the chocolates against Killarney Vale in windy conditions in Round 1 and conditions were no different on Saturday. However with Pratt playing a defensive forward role extremely well from the outset – epitomised by that opening tackle – our boys followed suit and simply didn’t let up with our pressure across the ground.
Despite the swirling and unpredictable wind we managed eight goals to one in the first half with Mick Ryan and Izaac Hughes featuring prominently, Simon O’Brien continuing his rich vein of form, and Zac Metcalfe and Connor Edwards defending strongly down back.
Patty Delaney was in everything as well, taking numerous marks across half forward, laying some fierce tackles and kicking one of our five third quarter goals to have us up by 71 points at the last break – a top effort against a fellow finals contender. He was the second player this season – and the second in two weeks – to complete the post match can, Players’ Player and Duke Hotel Coach’s Best awards trifecta.
Perhaps we thought the job was done as we lost the last quarter one goal to three but I couldn’t fault our effort to compete till the final siren given we had a few wounded soldiers resting on the bench – in particular Hugh O’Neill who had done a sterling job on one of their better on-ballers.
The other two post match can awards were won by Metcalfe who made a welcome return to First Grade with many intercept marks, clean rebounding and his refusal to be beaten one-on-one, and Trent Thompson who rebounded from defence with composure and evasiveness.
The Ironbark Hill 1%er Award went to Jack Pratt who wreaked havoc with their defenders in his defensive forward role and put his head in some uncomfortable situations for the good of the team – but mainly for relocating his own nose back into place after a nasty high shot!
We travel to Singleton this weekend in another crunch game given they’ve recently strung some wins together and are sitting comfortably inside the top six. There’s still a top two spot up for grabs if we continue to win so we’re looking forward to the challenge.
Cardiff: 14.8 – 92
Kilarney Vale: 5.4 – 34
Goals: M. Ryan 3, I. Hughes 3, B. Graetz, S. O”Brien, L. Marshall, P. Delaney, A. Wivell, D. Robson, A. McGuinness, A. Clarke
Best Players: J. Pratt, P. Delaney, Z. Metcalfe, S. O’Brien, H. O”Neill, C. Edwards
This week the Birds return to The Nest as we await the arrival of the Muswellbrook Cats. It was one of the worst days for footy as a howling wind caused havoc with the skills and kept play on the eastern side of the ground for almost the entire game. Boundary throw-ins and ball ups were the order of the day as neither team could shift the ball to the middle of the ground. Boundary umps struggled to get the ball even a reasonable distance in from the boundary from throw-ins as the wind continued to howl. However, after a sluggish start, the birds started to grind away, and despite some committed defence from the Cats, we started to score in the difficult conditions.
By half time the Birds had secured a solid lead over the Cats and went in 4.5-29 to 0.2-2.
We went to the third quarter with a bit more aggression, but, the game was getting very dour in the conditions and therefore wasn’t a great spectacle. As usual, the Birds tried hard but it just really tough conditions. 5.7-37 to 1.2-8
The last quarter we still tried hard to move the ball with a bit of creativity but the wind made it virtually impossible. In a real grind of a game, we played pretty well for the most part and did really well to kick as many goals as we did. We can take a lot from this game as we will no doubt encounter more windy conditions as we head toward what is traditionally the windy season. Final score 7.13-55 to 1.3-9.
Cardiff: 7.13 – 55
Muswellbrook: 1.3 – 9
Goals: H. Wright 3, C. Russell 2, T. Wilks, C. Plancia
Best Players: C. Russell, T. Wilks, M. Coram-Parker, K. Moffatt, H. Wright, S. Vukovich
The Ressies boys were the first to take the field on what turned out to be hugely successful day for the Hawks club. With the first grade injuries stretching the depths charts yet again, the Ressies were forced to ring the changes.
A huge morale lifter with 2 milestone men, Tony Edser playing 100th game and our Vice President, Quinton Davis, finally making his way to his 200th senior appearance meant the Ressies had extra motivation with the chance at securing a finals spot on the line all the boys were keen to get off to a good start.
With a howling breeze across the ground, the first quarter was a very tight affair, with both side going goalless the first 15 minutes of the contest. The Cats certainly has their chances kicking 1.4 in the first, however, this was largely due to the pressure being applied through the middle and down back.
As the second quarter opened up Muswellbrook took advantage kicked the first 4 goals. The Ressies boys unfortunately just couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities going forward.
With the breeze playing a big factor in the ability to execute skills, the Hawks worked hard to stay in the game through the 3rd quarter. Clinton James bagged an important goal going into 3 quarter time.
With the Hawks trailing by 27 points and against the breeze, a monster effort was needed if we were to get the win. A quick goal by Nick Kocon brought the game within reaches. From then Muswellbrook took control, with their fitness proving the difference.
In the end the Ressies boys missed out on making a triple for the day, going down by 26 points. A huge game this weekend against City, will certainly prove a challenge, but one all the boys are looking forward to.
Cardiff: 3.7 – 25
Muswellbrook: 7.9 -51
Goals: C. James, M. Thorley, N. Kocon
Best Players: L. Griffiths, A. Risby, Q. Davis, K. Cowan, C. Beveridge
Game Day Photos courtesy of Geoff Robinson