Under 12 Div 3, Round 4

UNDER 12 Division 3 v Lane Cove Cats

ROUND 4, Sunday May 1

Blackman Park


It really was a ‘David v Goliath’ battle when the winless Div 3 Cannons took on the top of the table Lane Cove Cats in an epic battle at Blackman Park on Sunday.
 
In a game of AFL, every player is regularly expected to step out of his or her comfort zone and do things that we rarely do in everyday life. Taking on a complete stranger and tackling them to the ground in an act of strength and aggression is often a foreign act for many young boys playing Aussie Rules.

Some players come to grips with this quicker than others. It is not about being weak or scared – you’ve got to start somewhere.
 
But, at some point, every one of us will be asked to ‘cross the line’, step out of our comfort zone and into the danger zone.
 
As coaches, our job is to help our young players grow in confidence, build their self-belief, and self-inspire.
 
Pre-game, the coaching group asked six players – Hugh, Ben, Fraz, Luke, Maxy and Jae – for an extra special effort when given the chance to attack the ball. Little did we realise how they would go on to create and provide acts of inspiration.
 
Bolstered by the inclusion of Cooper, JA & Connor and with the reliable Matty & Liam keen to lead from the front, the Cannons went in to the game with easily our most competitive line up against the top of the table Cats.

Right from the first bounce the tone was set by Hugh S., who attacked the footy with his first opportunity, showing the way for his fellow team mates. Hugh’s team-lifting act was quickly followed by Max who used his strength and size in an early battle of strength. The first two quarters were an even tussle with the Cannons going in at half-time nipping at the heels of the Cats. Cooper, JA, Liam ‘The General’ and Matty were playing brilliant footy leading the way for the rest of the team.

Quarter 3 starts. Luke H. – an up and coming footballer a few seasons into his career – was put into a position where he had to put his body on the line and take on three opponents in a contest on the wing.
 
In full view of every parent at the ground, Luke ‘crossed the line’ and stepped out of his comfort zone. Luke could have backed away; he could have erred on the side of caution. The overwhelming situation could have got the better of him – but it didn’t. In what can only be described as a team-lifting act, Luke chose to put his body on the line, take on and beat three boys and win a pivotal dispute…sending the ball into our forward line, resulting in a goal.

A similar act occurred only minutes later, when Jae was presented with the chance to ‘Get or Fret’. At that moment, Jae also chose to ‘cross the line’ It resulted in one ‘hard ball get’ and, at quarter time, as Jae shared his battle scars with his teammates, it was beautiful moment; we all witnessed this young man grow in confidence, right before our eyes.

Ben C., another new player at our club, followed up with yet another memorable effort. Ben bought in, he also ‘crossed the line’, providing even further inspiration for his team.
 
Many pivotal moments occurred in the third quarter. At the time, Luke, Ben & Jae didn’t know it, but they were making investments into our team culture and, in the process, providing acts of inspiration for everyone – players, coaches and parents included.

We were brilliantly led by Cooper, JA, The General, Matty & Connor in the last quarter and the team ran away with what can only be described as one of the great wins in the very short history of the Canada Bay Cannons U12s.

A massive big ‘high five’ to the six boys mentioned above. Each and every one of those players did exactly what was asked of them and the inspiration that they provided added to the improved performance of the team.

A big shout out to Cooper D. who played possibly the best game of footy I have seen any 11-year-old play. Coops, you are a fantastic young man, a brilliant footballer and an inspirational leader. Thanks for the many investments you made in our team and the inspiration you provided everyone.

Big things to come… X-Factor one day you will be tearing games apart, buddy. Keep working at it and those big marks will come. Practice makes perfect.

A great win, boys, and a memorable day for all… plenty more to come!