We started our final home and away game like a house on fire with a seven goal to nil opening term but after quarter time it seemed we had one eye on finals with Wyong kicking 10 goals to nine for the remainder of the game.
Isaac Hughes top scored again with five goals and took out the league goal kicking while Daniel Robson hit the scoreboard as well with three. Robbo also got a post-match can award along with Regan Bowe and Simon O’Brien who combined well in the middle all day. Rat also got the Players’ Player Award.
Tom Lashlie gave enormous drive off half back and is proving a real find there earning himself the Duke Hotel Coach’s Best Award.
Mick Ryan hurt a knee in the first quarter but battled on, and even went back on the ground in the last quarter when we had no-one left on the bench after he’d put the cue in the rack for the day. This selfless act got him the Ironbark Hill 1%er Award.
To not finish off strongly was a bit of a sore point after the game and that shows the expectation our boys have on themselves and each other.
We now have at most three games left for the season – all must-win finals – starting this Saturday against old foe Warners Bay at Maitland for the right to play Newcastle City in next weekend’s Preliminary Final.
Goals: I. Hughes 5, D. Robson 3, P. Delaney 2, M. Ryan, C. Spoor, R. Bowe, N. Tomlinson, D. Hoy-Maroney, S. O’Brien
Best: T. Lashlie, D. Robson, S. O’Brien, R. Bowe, I. Hughes, P. Delaney
Well, that’s it for the home and away matches for 2019. Our first season of footy at our new home ground , and , after sixteen games we won eleven and have been in and around the top teams all year , you would have to say it’s been a successful one.
Our last game was against the Lake Macquarie Dockers who sit one game behind us on the ladder coming into this game and they were talking up their chances of causing an upset. Running into a stiff southerly was always going to be a challenge but we had a plan to run the ball more to gain field position and this was carried out well enough to see The Birds take a handy lead into the first break.
Cardiff 2/1/13 to 0/0/0.
The second quarter was a different story with the breeze at our back and dominating contested footy we were able to go inside fifty much more than our opponents. It was a very disciplined quarter as we resisted the temptation to blaze away with the wind and use our running game to great effect. Our two rucks , Tayla G and Claudia , were in everything and not only dominated the ball ups but proved to be a real hand full when rotating through the forward line. Jodi , Ellise and Hanna were killing it on the wings and Kates move to inside mid was proving a winner playing a tagging role and Abbey , also in the middle , was winning plenty of footy.
Half time 6/2/38 to 1/1/7.
Back into the wind we go in the third and The Birds keep their foot on the peddle and continue to make life difficult for the Dockers. Even if they did get some field position they were no match for our defence and were turned away every time. Lead by Matisse and well supported by Emma , Nic Walker ,Sam K and Liz , our backline was superb.
8/2/50 to 1/1/7.
With a solid lead and the wind at our backs The Birds really started to win more and more of the footy and the score was starting to reflect this as we rammed home five more goals to seal a massive win heading into the finals. I asked the team for a big effort leading into finals and boy did , The birds deliver. We never looked threatened at any stage and can now roll into finals with momentum , confident that our best form is pretty darn good.
It’s been a massive year and we once again introduced many new players to our great game and our wonderful club. It’s a massive effort on behalf of the players who have whole heartedly embraced a team first mentality that has seen many players miss game through our fantastic numbers. It’ now , come finals time that we can see the benefit of a good list as our growing injury toll has reduced our numbers significantly. I look forward to seeing how far we can take this season. We finish our last game at our beloved Nest with a big , much deserved win.
Lake Macquarie: 1.1-7
Goals: C. Russell 3, M. Twyford 2, T. Grazules 2, M. Bailey 2, E. Clark, N. Avis, E. Bailey , E. Petersen
Best: C. Russell, T. Grazules, J. Rheinberger , A. Cooksley, S. Vukovich, E. Hieke
After a difficult and somewhat frustrating season the Ressies boys looked to finish off their Black Diamond Plate strongly as we shaped up against the Dockers. A tough match up was expected, with both teams sitting on the exact same win-loss record (7-8). With the chance to finish our season on high with back to back wins, the boys came out firing.
Two goals inside the first 6 minutes to the Hawks got us off to the perfect start. However the Dockers hit back hard kicking the the next 3, before Nick Kocon’s second goal allowed the boys to take a slim 1 point lead at the first break.
With a hollowing and difficult to navigate breeze, the Hawks were under pump extracting the ball from defence to convert into scoring opportunities. The Dockers took advantage, kicking three goals to two to take the lead. A brilliant individual effort resulted Nick Kocon bagging his third of the match, and the lion himself, Michael Spitzkowsky, got off his Silly Sunday nudie run, after making the most of a 50m penalty. Meaning the boys trailed but only just at the main break
Even with the breeze, the third quarter was a tight affair with the Dockers upping their pressure. Retiree and club stalwart Tony Edser got dangerous around the ground in ruck and kicked a great goal on the run. This was followed up in quick succession by a clever snap from Toby Machart. The only two goals of the term ensured the Hawks would go into the final terms with a lead of 9 points.
Going into the final quarter for the season some positional changes were made to counter the effects of the breeze. After a Docker goal brought the margin back to just 3 points, Cayle Beveridge marked on a tight angle kicking into the breeze. His first shot on goal all year – he calmly went back and slotted his maiden goal for the season. Clutch.
A mobile half back line of Job, Moore and Kocon were outstanding, repelling numerous thrusts forward. Another retiree and Skipper Peter Bleus kicked an outstanding goal and in the process, couldn’t resist taking one more scalp for his career, with a massive hip and shoulder. Jake Lewis was thrown on ball and capitalised on a 50m that brought him to the top of the goal square (boys not confident) and he was able to kick the Hawks third goal for the game. The Ressies boys finished off their season in terrific fashion.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all the players for their efforts and buy-in this season. A massive thank you to my Leadership group Michael Spitzkowsky, Scott Hawthorne and John Ryan.
To our retirees, Damon Rowett, Peter Bleus and Tony Edser – thank you for all you’ve given the club over so many season. Your services both on and off the field have been fantastic and from a playing perspective, it won’t be the same without you. We hope to see you all at future matches and functions.
Lake Macquarie: 7.11-53
Goals: N. Kocon 3, T. Machart 2, J. Lewis, T. Edser, M. Spitzkowsky, C. Beveridge, P. Bleus, B. Job
Best: N. Kocon, D. Stewart, C. Beveridge, T. Edser, B. Job, M. Spitzkowsky
Player’s Player: P. Bleus