On a glorious morning that offered perfect conditions for footie, Team Menzel travelled up to North Curl Curl to face the Manly Hornets.
We were a little disjointed in the first term, mainly because we weren’t using our secret weapon, the handball, as much much as we could have. At the first term break, Coach David gave a rousing team talk which had the desired effect. Soon after, the Cats rediscovered their mojo and started playing their usual possession based brand of attacking football. In the second term, the O’Dowd brothers had a goal fest as their team mates got them the ball in good scoring positions. From this point on, the game flowed nicely as all the Cats contributed and played what was one of our best matches of the season so far.
We’ve now got a well deserved two week break for the school holidays. We’re back at Blackman Park on Sunday 16 July for a match against the Pittwater Tigers that starts at 8 am. That day we also have our team photos, so it’s a day not to be missed!
Our team focus as players and supporters seems to be leaning more towards the scoreboard, the umpires and opposition rather than the reason we play footy – which is to have fun. We always want to test ourselves against others but the true test is against ourselves as we push our own individual and team skills to improve each week. We can’t control the scoreboard, the umpires or the opposition, we can only influence each of them but the way we play. When we focus on playing footy, doing our job within the team each quarter – that is when we play good footy, have fun, and generally get the result we want on the scoreboard too!
Respect is another key foundation of our club. We encourage our players to respect themselves, the opposition, the officials and their coaches. We had Schoey sent off for 15 mins this week for sticking his finger up and swearing at an opposition player. This type of behaviour is not acceptable on the field or off for that matter. The AFL did not take further action regarding the incident but as a club we will impose sanctions on any player who does not adhere to our code of conduct.
When it came to the game itself, our team should be proud at the way they hung in and toughed out a difficult game. The opposition turned us around regularly with clean kicks that found moving targets. It’s a skill we need to continue to work on as we tend to win the ball at the contest but don’t control our disposal well and as a result turn it over too often to an opposition waiting to capitalise on our mistakes. We need to look for open players left, right, forward and back as we normally have a couple of options at least where players have made space but are not noticed. We then kick into a pack, which draws more players onto the ball and gives our opposition loose players to capitalise on a kick out from all the mess!
Max, Lachlan and James were standouts this week with their work rate and Will Z and Lucas had their best games of the season. Joey, Daniel, Cooper and Jaeden also pushed hard and were instrumental in turning the ball over and spearheading our attack.
Everyone played well and should have enjoyed the game. If they didn’t then we are doing something wrong and as coach I need to make some changes to the way we work. If only the winning team enjoys playing footy then only half the players involved in AFL each week are having fun – and that’s not what foot is about. I am incredibly proud of our team and love coaching them. I hope every player is as proud of their performance and effort and is enjoying their footy as much as I am as their coach!
That said, I don’t want them slackening of over the holidays. Even if formal training is less regular, players should be working on their kicking and marking at home or at the park – and don’t forget some fitness work too!
The U12YGs played their best team game of the season vs NW Lightning. Although we don’t officially score, with fun of the game being the most important thing, it was exiting to know we were winning all the way through until a final goal from the opposition evened the score.
There were still smiles all round at the end showing that the game was enjoyed by all the players.
The key thing that impressed me most was the team work and leadership, shown through effective running, passing and marking all the way up the field where a number of girls all made attempts to score goals, some successful and others not so. This was teamwork at its best, and testament to listening and practicing at training, where there were many plays that involved the ball being passed and kicked between 3 or 4 girls all the way to the forwards.
It made me so proud as coach to see how the whole team has come together, and how the skills have lifted across the board. Special standouts this week, were Lexie P and Elin who took successful marks in the forwards from a number of plays.
Crack defensive effort was shown by Zoe who returned with force this week. Some great tackling by Catie, Elin, Olive, Isabel and Charlotte showed that there is less to fear about tackling than previously thought, and that when all the team combine well in their tackling effort it helps us to regain the ball and control of play more often. It is more fun to be attacking with the ball and attempting goals, balanced with defending than to be always defending.
There was a great combination in the first three quarters across the centres with Annabel, Lily D and Emma, showing leadership by looking for who they could pass or kick to once they had evaded the defence.
Lily S was showing her confidence with some great independent runs, and bounces, and magnificent follow through kicks to the forwards. Izzy and Charlie D were as tenacious as ever also contributing to many of the successful plays. Ducky was there as always reaching for the ball, and I can see a huge future in marking the ball for her.
Great to see Isso supporting on the sidelines with her sore ankle from gymnastics. Hope also to have Charlie G back soon.
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