Team In Focus
Now THATS the way we want to play!!
Perhaps it was way back last week where this win started. The word is there was a few players who were seen smashing out sprints on their own last week trying to improve their own conditioning, or could it have been a sort of morbid silent protest over our team coming so close in Rounds 1 and 2 but failing to get over the line?
Perhaps it was Thursdays training session where the boys responded admirably to a solid 90 minute session punctuated with hard sprints and contact drills, never for the faint hearted but designed to push the boys to their limits, where every player put heart and soul on the track, competing with vigour and belief that WE needed to turn the tide ourselves, not wait & pray for a change of fortune.
What they served up on Sunday was a powerful display of high intensity pressure cooker football for four quarters. Led by our midfield unit Sam, Luke “Tonka” Yeo, “The Junkyard Dog” Jaxon, and the smooth moving Rolls Royce Caleb Gorman, the boys right across the deck were outstanding from the very first bounce. We knew we were close to the right formula in previous weeks, but we tweaked a few things namely our forward structure, and pleaded with the boys playing inside the forward 50 arc to ratchet up their defensive pressure. In fact we demanded pressure acts all over the ground, with tackle count a key focus point. Our parents will appreciate that in Rounds 1 and 2 we started like a house on fire, smashing out 9 tackles respectively in Q1 in the first two rounds only to finish each game struggling to maintain the rage as we fell away badly.
Yesterday the Weet bix must have been laced with Dynamic Lifter as our boys dominated the first quarter, then went on to win convincingly, importantly running out the game with a wet sail and a truckload of tackles. The pleasing thing was the pressure exerted by the collective group from the first bounce……our opponents didn’t have time and space and our boys were relentless at applying blow torch pressure on the ball carrier. It really was beautiful to watch. The other pleasing thing was to witness what can be achieved when every player shoulders the load evenly….. it was really hard to find a player who didn’t play his role yesterday and the parents should all be very proud of their sons for ripping into this game with category 5 effort and determination.
Sam “Gadget” Daddow is the heart and soul of this football team in so many ways…… Yesterday I watched him bust his ass leading into space, charging forward, demanding reward from the kicker. He called with conviction, he led into smart spots as a forward, he created a vacuum for defenders to move out of the hole, and he acted with discipline and a team first mindset all day. This is a kid who gets to every ground FIRST, he’s practicing his kicking when others are still filling their water bottles at home, he’s not running around seeking back pats and accolades and god knows he’s never going to threaten Andrew Gaff on the possession count neither but he’s so humble, so consistently persistent, so unassuming, but so team focused, that he deserves to be recognized as a champion clubman for the brown and gold.
We had star performers across every line against Palmyra. Our back 6 performed again with great synergy and discipline, with the “quarterback” Patrick Dwyer weaving through holes and racking up the metres gained tally again courtesy of his thumping right foot & technically beautiful kick. Kye, Jack and Flynn were fantastic again just playing good old fashioned straight line footy shutting down their opponents with a minimum of fuss. Matt Cain burst through enemy lines on countless occasions kicking a mix of meteors and mongrels with speed and flair and beat his opponent repeatedly. Aidan, Josh, Rocky, Riley, Lachie – they all played their roles beautifully running both ways, competing, winning contests and working hard. Special mention to Shay O’Sullivan another smooth mover who shimmied and stepped around opponents with great composure yesterday in a confidence building display.
Imagine two African Impalas grazing across the half forward line at Stock Road oval when suddenly a grumpy starving lion comes in for the kill. Imagine the speed at which they’d move to escape the clutches of the advancing lion. That’s what Ethan Stone and Luke Chapman looked like yesterday. When they got a sniff they took off with ball in hand or chasing loose ball and either way they left their opponents chasing in cement boots. The two guns create an interesting proposition when working together in tandem, one that is worth exploring further.
Then down forward we had “the GENERAL” Jackson McManus once again providing a powerful marking presence, kicking another 4 majors with his partner in crime Wesleigh chiming in with two of his own but always lurking dangerously. We had 7 different goalkickers yesterday, we racked up a record tackle count, we nearly doubled their inside 50’s which came on the back of a one-in-all-in, hard-nose blue-collar four-quarter gut-busting team effort and all players should feel mighty proud.
Needless to say the Hawks won by plenty but what’s more important is the statement made to everyone in the district after defeating top of the table Palmyra – don’t write the hawks off just yet.
AMPJFC 13.6.84 d Palmyra 3.6.24 at Melville Reserve, Stock Road
Coach Dave Da Silva