Under 7 Black, Round 6

Drummoyne Power U7 Black vs Maroubra Saints

14 May 2016, Heffron Park, Maroubra

This was one game we needed a team bus for – the long haul south of the City meant an early start for the team (and their parents). Fortunately the Indian summer was kind to us with clear skies and a not too frosty welcome to Heffron Park for the clash against the highly fancied Maroubra Saints.

The U7 Blacks were soon warming up with some practice punts through the sticks mixed with an enthusiastic game of full-tackle rugby league. Drills were not required today as the team came together for the 6th game this season, working together like a well-oiled machine, although with Tess out of action for the round it was anyone’s game.

A quick run to the side of the field and back, and a passionate pre-game pep-talk from Coach Mark and the team was ready to play.

In the first term the Power U7 Blacks came out of the blocks fast. Strong in defence and fearsome in attack, Austin D was in the thick of the action, making his mark by covering the entire field from his position in the backs. His defence was superb, with a smother that put a demoralising stop to a certain goal from the Saints. It was Power all the way in the first term, characterised by great marks from Alex V, Austen P and Lachlan, quick disposals to the forwards, and two goals each to Hamish and Alexander G, who were adept at evading the opposition and getting into space to kick those majors.

With the game seemingly in the bag after the first term, the Power eased off the throttle, hoping to cruise home to an easy victory. But the Saints were up for it and came back fighting in the second term with their big #10 kicking goals from all over the place – left, right and centre. Can one kid really cover that much ground? Apparently no, as it was discovered that the Saints took advantage of a two-for-the-price-of-one special on #10 jerseys during the week. Nonetheless, the Power did well to maintain a narrow lead by the end of the term. Tom showed the selectors his good form continues with a number of disposals from centre-field, and we saw Evie make a great run from the backs to put some distance between the ball and the opposition sticks. Akira kicked two of the biggest left foot goals we have seen all season, prompting calls of “right foot” from the sidelines – heaven help the U7 Black’s opponents if Akira gets both feet working!  Austin D’s ongoing all-of-ground defence and Austen P’s attack kept Power in the game, allowing Lachlan to also kick two goals, one awarded just after the siren.

It was clear from Coach Mark’s impassioned plea during the break to “go out there and have some fun” that the third term was going to be a do or die affair. The Saints had the momentum coming out of the second term and they tried to dominate, but the Power’s backs had no bar of it, with Arnaud and Lachlan P relentless in defence making it almost impossible for the Saints to kick majors. Evie and Alex V were almost unstoppable in the ball-up, and Hamish’s clearing runs and kicks put Tom in position to kick three majors late in the term to restore Power’s glory.

A great team effort made it difficult to choose the awards this week. The Coaches Encouragement Award went to Alex V thanks to his solid performance with marks, runs and disposals throughout the game, and the Future Champion Award went to Akira thanks to his sure footed evasion of the opposition and his big left foot snaps.

In the post-match celebrations Coach Mark maintained his usual composure, acknowledging the performance of the team. But as always, with one eye on the future development of these youngsters, he noted two areas they needed to work on during mid-week training: passing, running into space and kicking. (And maths, it would seem.)

Thanks again to Coach Mark, who is doing a fantastic job – the kids clearly get a lot out of it and keep wanting to come back for more – and to all the families who came to support and help out.