UNDER 13s CANADA BAY CANNONS v FOREST LIONS
Round 15, 6 August
We arrived to the beat of the Bee Gees blaring over the PA and drifting on the wind across the Lionel Watts dust bowl.
And, come the last quarter, the Cannons were Stayin’ Alive, Jive Talkin’ and they could even have been Dancin’.
The last term was about the best quarter of footy the kids have played all year. The scoreboard might not have obliged, but the Cannons certainly dominated a much bigger team placed much higher on the ladder with run and endeavour and their trademark never-say-die attitude.
Trailing by a fair bit at three quarter time, Tony set them a challenge for the final term – to play on at all costs, use their pace and take the game on. If not for a few cruel bounces and long Lions’ arms on the goal line, they could have had their just reward with three or four goals and even a sniff of victory.
But the reward came in just knowing they can play that brand of footy with beautiful results.
They ran the ball the length of the field on several occasions, dancin’ around their bigger opponents. Jonno started one passage of play deep in defence when he quickly played on and the ball swept down the wing via hand and foot through Finlay, Ben C, Liam and Blake into the goal square where one of those cruel bounces denied us the goal of the year.
While the last quarter was inspiring, the first was almost as good, but this time the scoreboard reflected our dominance.
Nic started the game at his usual pace and provided plenty of drive in the middle, Jack was running the ball off the half back flank, Blake was creative on his wing and Jonno, Liam and Hugh combined brilliantly in the forward line.
Jonno’s perfectly weighted kick over the back of the pack for Hugh to mark in the square set up an easy goal and also showed skills and maturity beyond a kid in his first year of footy.
But the play of the day probably came from a defensive effort from Brayden.
As a Lion set off down the wing, Brayden kept chasing and chasing and chasing, pressuring him as he took 12 bounces into the forward line. Brayden’s pressure from behind allowed Ben C to read the situation and time his front on attack perfectly to throw the Forest kid off balance and spray his kick wide. What looked like a certain goal as he streamed forward was foiled by relentless pressure from Brayden and clever defensive work by Ben.
And it enabled us to go into quarter time seven points up.
The Lions dominated the next two quarters, however, and took a hefty lead into the last break.
Even as Forest were hitting the scoreboard in those middle quarters, the Cannons kept working hard and putting in.
Ben M and Paddy again ran on the ball all day on a big, hard and dusty ground and were at every contest, even deep into the final quarter. Ben’s clever tap work gave us plenty of the ball and set up the first goal, while Paddy’s run and gutsy mark ended up with Joey kicking a clever goal in the third quarter.
Will was competitive as always, mopping up and tackling and spoiling our way out of trouble, Archie kept tackling and regularly rebounded out of defence with clearing kicks, while Sam was in and under at the contest.
Blake was taking marks all day on one wing, wheeling around on to his left foot to deliver precision passes to his forwards, while on the other side of the field, Finlay showed off some lovely ball skills and racked up effective possessions.
Liam’s use of his left foot is a continued highlight, while Nic’s crunching shepherd in the second quarter showed he’s as tough as he is skilled.
The overall effort, but that last quarter especially, should give us a lot of momentum and belief going into the final game of the year on Sunday. If we play on quickly, move the ball with pace and keep up those disciplined defensive efforts, we can certainly finish the season on a high.
CANADA BAY 2.7.19 Goals: Hugh, Joey.