It was all happening this week as sixtieths, engagements, babies, fiftieth game milestones, debutants and returns from long injury layoffs had the club vibe up and about.
That we came out and had nine (albeit wayward) scoring shots to one in the first quarter was a testament to that.
We continued on our merry way in the second quarter with some silver service from rucks Regan Bowe and Luke Griffiths, and with Marcus DeLeur also to the fore with two of his three goals we kicked nine and, pleasingly, kept Maitland goalless to be 75 points up at the main break.
The fun was back in our game after two straight losses and the feeling at half time was upbeat. Our three debutants Ben Taylor, Max Kozlik – who was backing up from Reserve Grade that morning – and Under 17 skipper Danyon Blackeby were all contributing really well in a great team performance.
We perhaps got ahead of ourselves because it was two goals apiece in the third with our free-flowing play breaking down across half-forward as it has done when we have struggled this year. Coach Tomlinson, in an uncustomary role at CHF, put his fellow half forwards on notice to take the responsibility for that given our work rate had dropped.
To finish with 11 scoring shots to three in the last quarter was a great momentum builder for next week and by the end of play, our deep two-pronged attack of Izaac Hughes and Mick Ryan had contributed 11 of our 18 goals.
There were various feel-good stories to come out of the game including Under 17 Liam Cathcart’s first senior goal but perhaps none better than the returning trio of Dave Graan – back after a few years away – and Dave O’Donnell and Liam Gibson from injury to earn themselves the post-match cans.
Players’ Player went to DeLeur and ruckman Regan Bowe had arguably his most dominant game for the year to win the Duke Hotel Coach’s Best Award. The Ironbark Hill 1%er Award was won by Angus McGuinness for his courageous mark running back with the flight after a torrid week personally for him. Special mention to Max Kozlik who played Reserves at Warners Bay and then drove to Maitland to make his First Grade debut!
This weekend we have our Indigenous Round at home against Gosford as we look to keep building and cement our spot in third.
Goals: I. Hughes 6, M. Ryan 5, M. DeLeur 3, D. Graan 2, L. Cathcart, A. Risby
Best Players: M. DeLeur, C. Spoor, L. Gibson, R. Bowe, L. Griffiths, D. O’Donnell
This week the mighty birds fly to Meadowie to take on the Port Stephens Power.
The girls started well and before long we hit the score board and pretty well dominated the quarter from then on despite a spirited effort from the Power girls.
4/6/30 to 0/0/0.
The second went pretty much the same way with the Power really putting it to us but our slicker ball movement meant we would go inside fifty on a regular basis and if not for some wayward kicking we could have racked up a score by half time. The usual culprits were on fire with Taylah Wilks on fire and Emma playing her heart out in the un familiar position of ruck.
7/10/52 to 0/0/0
The third quarter was a great opportunity to put the foot down and run away with the game , but the Power had other ideas and made us work extremely hard and ,in fact , kept us goalless for the quarter and kicked one themselves to win the quarter.
7/13/55 to 1/0/6.
A much better performance in the last saw the birds dominate once again and while the Power never gave up , we had a bit too much class in the end to run out winners by 70.
Port Stephens: 1.1-7
Goals: E. Bailey 3, T. Wilks 2, J. Rheinberger , E. Petersen, M. Bailey, S. Vukovich
Best Players: T. Wilks, E. Petersen, E. Hieke, T. Grazules, A. Fardell, J. Rheinberger
The curse of Reserves hit leading into a make or break game. With 13 potential first graders unavailable this week, the Ressies side was left to field an understrength side facing a strengthened Warners Bay outfit.
We managed to field a solid team on paper, however without much consistency and game time together we were off to a shaky start. Some solid defence from our mids and backs so a tightly contested 1st quarter, with much of the play on one side of the ground due to a strong cross breeze. Thanks to some poor accuracy from the Dogs, we went into the 1st break trailing 10-1.
We let ourselves down in the second quarter with poor execution of skills and sloppy defence all over the ground. Warners Bay continued to rebound off their half-back line with ease seeing them put our backs under immense pressure. Unfortunately, we were unable to stem the flow of scoring oppurtunities, with Warners Bay leading at half-time 39-1.
Something sparked following the main break as we came out of the gates looking like a different side. Kenny started us off followed 5 minutes later by Nick before Warners Bay again got one back with seconds left in the quarter, to see them take a 48-13 lead heading into the final quarter.
The final quarter didn’t see much improvement with Warners Bay kicking 4 goals to 1. A disappointing way to be knocked out of finals contention, after only going down to one of the top teams last game due to inaccurate goal kicking. Special mention has to go to Caleb Wivell who was a standout for the day, with great pressure acts and movement of the footy around the ground.
The boys will be looking to turn things around when we return to The Nest for our Indigenous Round and to finish off the season with some good wins.
Warners Bay: 10.12-72
Goals: B. Job, M. Kenny, N. Kocon
Best Players: C. Wivell, N. Kocon, Z. Moore, P. Bleus, H. Thomson, B. Job
Game Day Photos courtesy of Geoff Robinson