Team In Focus

Hawks News: Team In Focus

Year 12 round 3

Sunday 16th May 1pm

AMPJFC v South Coogee, Santich Park

It’s amazing what a dose of belief can get you…

Today we turned around a recent 86 point drubbing in a pre season scratch match only 4 weeks ago to record a win for the ages against South Coogee on their home deck, coming from a 16 point deficit at 3 quarter time to power home with 4 goals in the last to claim victory in a pulsating finish. The players were magnificent and ran out the game with wind in their sails, getting on top through the midfield and from that point it was blow torch footy as the brown and gold boys swarmed, locking the ball inside 50 and kicking straight when it counted most.

Many positives came from this game. The boys have now had two barnstorming finishes in the first 3 rounds so our fitness has been relatively impressive. Our prepping pre game was spot on despite losing players this week, in fact we have shot out of the blocks in all three games really well with energy and belief. The rooms today pre game were rocking with a number of foghorn characters revving up the boys, and we went out on a mission to make a statement early. That we did, with two lovely goals in Q1 off the boot of the smooth moving Javia and ‘the Junk Yard Dog’ Jaxon giving the hawks a slender lead a quarter time. The message was clear that the hawks had come to play today and South Coogee must have felt slightly concerned.

In Q2 South Coogee lifted their work rate and won the quarter handsomely kicking 4.4 to 2 goals 1.  We lost a bit of structure and they played a forward zone stacked with players deeper ready to lead into space out front and it worked a treat for them as their midfield group got on top and threaded the ball repeatedly into that space. Angelo kicked a long range missile to keep us in the hunt but they went into half time with a healthy 14 point lead. The feeling was we had squandered a chance to assert ourselves on the game kicking WITH the wind but at no stage did we coaches think we were out of the contest. No real wholesale changes were executed but we knew Q 3 was going to be a massive test with the hawks kicking against the breeze so we needed to fight the next 20 minutes out and apply a hand brake somehow to their momentum. The boys dug deep and we started to wrestle the momentum back our way with some crucial goals to Javia and ‘The Honey Badger’ Caleb coming against the grain of play. It was the quarter which really set us up for an all out assault in the last and the boys eked out a small win, reducing the margin to 14 points at 3 quarter time. It was a lead that still had them in the box seat, but we train for this scenario and shifting gears again with direct ball movement was something we believed was the way to put them under category 5 pressure. Get that right and the hope was their back line would wilt.

After a little adjustment to our hitting spot the ruck combination of ‘Snoop Dog’ Luke Chapman, supported by partner in crime James Sortras, gave our mids first use and those boys worked frenetically in the last to pump in repeat entries and gave our forwards some good ‘looks’. We played to the right areas and the forwards got super busy in applying extra pressure. Frustratingly we  dropped some sitters as balls came in fast and furious but we ground them down through weight of numbers enough to turn the tide and create forward chances that would turn the game our way. Momentum had shifted and suddenly the hawks were ‘up and about’ with all players creating noise, energy and belief for each other knowing that this game today was seriously up for grabs. 

Some of the best wins are the ones when you come from behind and today’s result was a huge reflection on how these boys continue to show character no matter what the situation. They never throw the towel in, they fight til the end and perhaps the gods were smiling on us a bit after going down to Bull Creek in Round one despite having 7 more scoring chances in that game. What matters is we are showing strength of character to never give up and for that we (everyone in the box) are mighty proud.

A special mention to Caleb who kicked multiple goals today when goals were hard to come by.. also we have to ‘wrap’ our Clontarf brothers Angelo and Javia for sharing 4 goals between them. Chappy and James stood up magnificently in the ruck, Jaxon hit the scoreboard again this week and typically played his heart out without any fuss. Riley Jenkins and so many others didn’t chase the highlight reel but played their roles perfectly with conviction and determination. It was a nice even team performance, exactly what we love.

Sometimes there are moments where you just have to shake your head and admit you just witnessed a moment of genius. At one point in todays game, Shay O’Sullivan decided to take a ruck contest in the deep right forward pocket, a moment of smart decision making given our ruckman was further up the ground so Shay says “I’m good enough” and puts his hand up to take the ruck duty. He then punches the ball from the pocked about 6 metres towards the teeth of goal. Whether he had a sixth sense .. who knows, but he tapped it PERFECTLY into the flight path of the Honey Badger who started from the defensive side of the contest, swooped through a stack of players and kicked one of his three magnificent goals today. Shay and Caleb – take a bow for that moment of sublime football. It was Nic Natanui – like! Play of the day. 

Thanks to everyone involved today.. some of you may not have noticed Keith Daddow retrieving balls from behind the goals to save time late in the game, but we did. He’s also the guy who selflessly is in the rooms pre game + in breaks each week working madly applying the liniment and massaging players calves and hamstrings to keep YOUR SONS playing for longer. That’s the sort of attitude which typifies everyone attached to this team – it’s a collective effort and every person from Janine (1st aid) to Elaine (manager who does sooooooooo much behind the scenes) is invested in giving the boys the best environment to play footy.

Coach Dave Da Silva

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