Finally Round 1 arrived. To say pre-season 2020 was long is an understatement.
Since November the Hawks, both men and women had slogged it out on trails, sand dunes, fields, roads, pools, beaches and gyms. We had trained in groups, solo, and in restricted numbers. Severe smoke hampered our efforts before Christmas, and after the new year, well, it’s been a challenge.
With all that hopefully behind us, our senior team enjoyed the opportunity to run out onto Pasterfield for the first time in 2020. The team comprised a very new look, with only 8 players who played in our final game of 2019 taking the field on Saturday. However, the inclusions were all quality, and played their roles well.
Maitland were just as anxious as we were to get underway, and the first half was a real arm-wrestle. Scores were even at quarter time at two goals apiece. Maitland were working hard right up the ground, pressing the Hawks deep in defence. Scott Pierce offered a strong target across half forward and contributed with two early goals.
The second quarter continued similar to the first, with the Hawks managing three goals to Maitland’s two. While the likes of Vukovic and Delaney were getting their hands on the ball in the midfield, the Hawks were rushed and sloppy with their ball use around the ground. Simple mistakes and misuse hampered promising build ups, however the tide was starting to turn. Some exciting talent has been added to the team, and Mark Spencer showed the class he has displayed on the training track would transfer to match day. His skills came to the fore on the wing, and when given an opportunity in the middle, he proved he can win his own ball just as much as complete a play on the outside.
A three goal lead at ¾ time saw the Hawks growing in confidence. Returning Hawks Chad Mayo and Lachie Price were beginning to feel comfortable and get their hands on the Sherrin. Price’s year in Adelaide was not wasted, and the electric small forward showed why he is so respected amongst his peers, constantly threatening the goals, setting up team mates and applying outstanding pressure in the forward line.
A six-goal-to-one final quarter saw the margin blow out beyond 50 points, with 2019 Maurice Goolagong Medalist Izaac Hughes starting 2020 where he finished 2019 with 5 goals, and young debutante Billy Towers bringing the house down with a clever grubber in the final moments to claim his first senior goal in an impressive debut match. It capped of a good day at the Nest, with all three sides coming away with strong wins.
A special thank you to the committee, both senior and junior, as well as support staff that have worked tirelessly over the past 6 months to ensure the playing and coaching group have been able to concentrate on the footy. It hasn’t been easy, it’s been ever-changing, and you’ve handled it with a quiet determination to overcome each hurdle.
See you at the footy.
So who’d a thought? Round 1 completed in the middle of July.
It’s fair to say that the Birds were ready after what can only be described as a weird preseason. However, a preseason was had and it was a good one. So the Birds burst out of the sheds onto their beloved Nest to take on the Maitland Saints. Despite two late outs we take a very strong side into round 1.
Congratulations to Danika Spamer and Hayley Hawkins on their senior debut this week you both looked very comfortable out there on Saturday. As well as our junior debutants we welcomed Tayla Gregory and Clare Cummings for their debuts . Tayla with five goals on debut was outstanding and Clare was just as impressive through the midfield.
The girls have been working hard on their footy after a very good 2019 season and we reaped the benefit straight away with two goals in the first two minutes. As the game settled down we dominated field position and had several more shots to take a 3/3/21 – 0/0/0 lead to the break.
The second quarter saw the Birds dominate once again and despite Maitland trying hard they couldn’t get past our half back line with Emma the stand out. Mids Clare , Shez , Bronte and Hayley all contributed and pressure forwards Eloise , Danika and Abbey ensured the ball never came out easy , which is one of our main goals this year. A strong quarter and we lead 10/6/66 – 0/0/0.
After the main break we still had the Saints covered and extended our lead. Eva Baily was benefitting from a good preseason with a strong running game and had a real physical presence at the stoppages. Another strong performance across the board and we lead 13/10/88 – 1/0/6.
In the last quarter the Birds superior fitness was starting to show and we went even further in front. It was very pleasing to see how well the girls played and finished the game full of running. Our ruck duo Tayla Grazules and Jodi were strong all day. We really did have an even contribution across the board and if this continues we will have another cracking season in 2020.
Get around us!
Cheers Cooky and Gibbo
After what has to be the longest pre-season ever, we were finally back for round 1 against against a fiery Maitland Saints side.
With the boys eager to get out and just play footy, the lads started off strongly, winning the first handful of clearances thanks to some great tap work from incoming ruckman Dean Janson. A focal point during the off-season was forward entry and it paid dividends with some smart kicks to Andrew Walker at full forward. Brendon Wold was also a welcome addition in back in the side with him strong hands and footy smarts around the ground.
As the game opened up the boys maintained their structures throughout the match clogging up the space making it difficult for Maitland to get any clean ball. Returning player Josh Jolliffe benefited from pressure acts from our forwards and he found himself finishing with a bag of 5 for the day.
As our boys legs got tired, Maitland began their possession game to try and regain control of the match. It was all for naught though as the boys communicated extremely well to set up behind the ball and consistently force turnovers.
Our pressure and communication will play a big part over the next fortnight as the lads look toward taking on challengers Killarney Vale and Warner’s Bay.
Congratulations to our Hawks debutants, Janson, Jordan Martin, Isaac Cocking and Eli Honner who were all important contributors to a fantastic round 1 win. Go Hawks!