U9 Black vs Western Suburbs Magpies
Round 4, Saturday 5 May, 2018
WH Wagener Oval
Coming off a tough game in the previous week, the battle-scarred U9 Black team was determined to make amends.
The WH Wagener Oval was ready, the sun was out and the boys were there early. The warm up was solid and Coach Mark recapped the prior week, tugging at the hearts of those who felt the pain of defeat. (There’s no scoring in U9, but everyone knows that Junior AFL players are master mathematicians when it comes to their six-times tables.) The boys knew what they needed to do, each committing to give it their all.
Right from the first bounce it was tackle, tackle, tackle. The message had gotten through, and leading the charge was Arnaud – what he lacks in stature he more than makes up for in effort and determination. He is a player reborn.
Grit. It’s what gets you through tough times, and U9 Blacks had plenty of it. Clearing the ball from the rucks (Nathen, Akira and Rohan proving to be deft hands at this), smothering the Pies attempts at clearing kicks (Tom and Dimitri) and wrestling the ball from fierce opposition (Alexander G and Alexander V) laid the foundations for a win and kept the Pies scoreless in two quarters.
Pace. Outrunning your opponent will either win you the ball or save you from eating dirt – both desirable outcomes. And it was again Lachlan, with his incredible turn of speed, with Talan, Luke and Akira who chased down balls and the opposition like cheetahs on a gazelle.
Teamwork. If you don’t have it you won’t win. And today it was there in spades. Austin D and Austen P personified teamwork – they were everywhere today. It didn’t matter what position they were playing, they were there to make the tackle, take the pass and make the mark. Rohan, Luke and Nathen provided great support with a number of possessions and disposals.
Confidence. It could have been a little shaken after the previous week, but you wouldn’t have known it from the way the team played today. The level of confidence was high, none higher than Akira whose mark on the siren in the 3rd term left him with an 80m kick for goal. As he tucked his mouth guard into his sock and lined up the monster kick, you knew this kid was the real deal. Unfortunately, some chewy on his boot and a gale force headwind worked against him today, but his confidence was in no way rocked.
In season 2017, U9 Black was a goal scoring machine, and this match was reminiscent of those days, with 4 goals in total (Dimitri with two, and one each for Talan and Hamish). Throw in a handful of behinds and U9 Black had shaken the monkey of their backs. They are back!