Down in numbers, but never down in spirit, the Cannons put up one of their gutsiest efforts of the year as they once again pushed Pennant Hills to the limit.
Never giving up, ignoring the odds, perfect kicking for goal and a beautiful winter’s day were all ingredients for a good day out. Just a pity my sausage was overcooked.
While Penno had a six man bench, we were stretched on a warm day with all 14 kids taking the field on a long and dusty Ern Holmes Oval designed for 18 adults. Onballers Ben, Paddy and Nic ran all day without change and were as competitive at the end of four quarters as they were at the start of the day.
From the outset, our backline was under the pump, but Will, Blake, Sam and Liam combined with force to repel repeated entries and pressure the Penno forwards into kicking six consecutive behinds before they could finally find the goals.
Jack was back after recovering from yet another injury setback and took no time to settle right in. Starting in defence, he quickly tested his arm with a strong clearing punch from behind, ran hard and straight and kicked with penetration. He then moved into the middle where he added a few shimmies to his straight running to bamboozle would be tacklers and set up teammates further afield.
After withstanding the early pressure, the Cannons turned the momentum late in the first quarter and, having gone into the break three goals down, assumed complete control in the second term.
Thea was playing her usual creative linking game on the wing and combined with Nic and Paddy whose precision pass was well marked by Ben. The tireless ruckman went back to convert the set shot and we were on the scoreboard and making our charge.
Brayden moved to defence and helped keep Penno scoreless for the quarter, while Joey and Finlay gave us plenty of drive through the middle.
Two clever goals to Jonno, one set up by a beautiful tap from Ben to Archie, and there was only six points in it at halftime.
Penno’s fresh legs allowed them to use the wide open spaces in the third term and they shut us out with three unanswered goals.
But, as we’ve come to expect from these kids, heads didn’t drop. They just looked up, saw a challenge and threw themselves back into the contest.
Thea and Jack ran through the middle, Paddy and Ben were running all over the ground, Nic was taking them on, Archie was tackling them, Will was relentless at the footy and we were back in the game.
Liam moved up forward and was just as effective as he was in defence, always creating a contest and kicked a smart goal when he roved off the pack to snap truly and kept our perfect goalkicking record intact.
Against all odds, the Cannons once again showed great spirit to stay in the contest, finish the game off strongly and do themselves proud.
CANADA BAY 4.0.24 Goals: Jonno 2, Ben 1, Liam 1.
PENNANT HILLS 7.9.51