No report this week.
Preston Bullants JFC
Tackers White travelled to Heidelberg on a fine if blowy Sunday morning to take on Fitzroy. Despite their coach getting lost, the kids and coach Russ seemed pretty relaxed and organised when coach Dan finally did arrive! It was a special day for the Tackers as the kids wore black armbands in memory for their mate Ollie Caruso’s Pa. They’re a great Bullant’s family the Caruso’s and it was terrific that the kids all got around Ollie.
We’ve played Fitzroy before, they were pretty good, but we’ve improved and we were keen to test ourselves against a good side. The first quarter began with us kicking with the wind and Tomas C continuing his role in the middle, taking the centre ruck taps with confidence. Jonah also had a run in the middle on the back of some great training work. He’s really improving Jonah and did well to get his mitts on it a few times.
Coach Dan spent most of his time in the backline making sure the guys were organised and saw up close the inspirational work of Jayden and Asher. I think between them they laid about 10 tackles in the first term and won a few free kicks to. Awesome work you two. Another highlight was Jayden’s kicking out from full back which was pinpoint and resulted in many marks being taken on half back. In the first term, we got a few goals to which was cool. Joe and Remi got goals – I think, from what I could see! and Zak B was unlucky not to get paid a mark to kick a third.
Going against the wind things got tough, but the centres led by Harry and Louis got to work, bustling, fending off and running, pumping the ball into the forward line. I’m reliably informed that Louis had 5 ‘don’t argues’. Nice work kid.
Harry was particularly good this week and created heaps of run and carry. He never gives up Harry…well done mate. In the third term, we had the wind again, and it was great to see Ollie playing a great brand of footy, getting down low and fighting hard for the ball on the ground. Andrew was also terrific, attacking the ball and driving it forward.
In the last term, the ball was deep in our backline a fair bit again and it was great to see Luca bending down to get the ball and getting his boot to it twice. In one great piece of play he got it out of traffic for Asher to run onto. Well done Luca. It was another great effort from the kids, had a good time, got a few goals and making their parents proud.
They roll into next round under lights on a Friday. It’s gonna be a treat!
After a good break and game against Heidelberg, we were back to training on Friday and we killed it. Everyone was sharp, switched on and focused - Not a footy was dropped (well maybe a couple – but who cares, it was an awesome session). Everyone’s favourite drill; Island Footy was back, with cone races and the competitive one on ones keeping everyone warm.
Again we focussed on pressure footy and second efforts through our line footy game and the team were ready to go for Sunday against Banyule at Banyule. Unfortunately, though, we would be without Ellery with a busted thumb, with everyone else rearing to go.
The instruction to the team was that for the remainder of the season Coach Dave and Assistant Shane will be moving the side around to ensure everyone gets some more game time in areas they may not have had much go in throughout the season, or in areas they believe will help improve a players skill set.
Again we emphasised the team rules, enjoy your footy, loud voices, be in front, stick on your player, don’t be behind the play and importantly have fun.
Michael’s efforts on the training track and his effort on game days earnt him the captaincy this week and the team got behind him and we ran to our positions. Banyule were sort of a few players so again we rotated a few players around so instead of running a four player interchange we could reduce it to two per quarter.
It was neck and neck from the opening bounce until the final siren, and you really couldn’t split the teams in terms of effort and intensity. The game was played at a ferocious pace, everyone got involved in the game, with an amazing amount of intensity, which lifted at each quarter.
Again a fantastic team effort.
Adam was lively in the centre dashing around his opponents taking a bounce here and there Orazio Fantasia like, but importantly disposing the ball quickly giving us great momentum. After coming off the interchange in the second quarter and settling into the centre half back, Alberto used his height well and kicked along down the line to the benefit of our centres. In one exchange he took a fantastic mark from a great kick from Eduardo; sandwiched between two Banyule player’s arms raised, he plucked the ball from the air without flinching.
No hot chocolate insight this week, but Daniel didn’t need it; as he carved up the Banyule turf with his speed, being first to the ball and hard under packs – when he is on HE IS ON!!! Players feel confident when Dan is around them.
Dylan sporting the new hairdo (which will look sensational in next Friday’s game under lights) was sublime. First to the ball, tackling intensity and making great space. Importantly Dylan is mastering the art of being front and centre roving like a star. Eddy Spark again awesome – No nonsense from Ed, hardworking, reliable and his team mates always feel safe around Eddy. Eduardo’s game in the backline was fantastic. He was able to kick out as per instruction and his kicking has really improved with one tailored to precision to Alberto for one of the plays of the day.
The Secret Weapon Ella, another week where her attack on the footy inspired her team mates. As a defender she played on her player backing into the play and putting herself in the play and she played in front of her player as she was asked. – Well done Ella!!!!
Ned, cool, calm, unassuming and I’ll say it again – easy going, but once the footy is in range he transforms into a footy hard man; hard at the footy, at the bottom of every pack, loving the space to run and has those goals insight.
Jack Thomas another super performance. We awarded him with a medal for his efforts in the centre. At each bounce he manned up on a player, was in front and was able to both dispose of the ball quickly and make some hard tackles.
Best game of the year from Kirk. The new hairdo also adding confidence. Two inspirational marks where he backed into the pack were just amazing and earnt him the Banyule medal for the day. Well done Kirk, be confident, your footy has really improved with all your hard work at training!
Lachlan, coming off the interchange in the second quarter moved forward and made some great space, taking some good marks and kicking long - another solid game. Leon again, under packs, first to the ball, darting around the ground with speed (he is so fast his footy boot laces are now tripled knotted to ensure they don’t come off) – Leon is an example of how to play inspirational footy. Leroy, a super effort in the backline, tiger tough every week, moving round and making space. Leroy impresses the coaching staff as he gives 100% each week. Keeping going Leroy!
Super game by Liam. His forward presence just amazing. He has taken his footy to another level. Always attentive and focused – he has an amazing footy brain. The team have a true leader in Liam – well done! The best game of the year for Lucas focused, created space, determined and straight at it. He enabled a number of opportunities out of the backline. We awarded Lucas with a medal for his consistent effort all year.
Oscar is just an inspirational footballer. His effort at the footy is just unbelievable – first effort, second effort, third effort, fourth effort- always in the thick of it, making hard tackles and then breaking free from tackles and kicking long to our advantage.
Mighty Matilda again does everything asked of her. She listens to instructions plays in front and goes hard for the footy. Her kicking has really improved and she is not afraid to get under the packs and fight hard for the footy and pass onto her team mates for the benefit of the team. Michael, a captains effort. Showed great leadership, first at the footy, a loud voice and under packs. His game has gone from strength to strength always supporting the team.
Patrick again leads from the front and has all the attributes of a leader. A dream to coach, he plays a team game, leads by example and brings his team mates into the game. William continues to impress, his game has really improved. His reading of the play has improved and puts himself in the thick of it to the benefit of his teammates. Keep up the great effort Will.
The song was sung loudly and proudly at the end of the game with the team setting up a circle and our captain Michael and medal winners Kirk, Jack and Lucas in the middle of the circle.
Thanks to everyone who assisted on the day its much appreciated by all.
This week was our first home game in at least 5 rounds. We had a few missing this week, including the coach! Luckily a few of the tackers helped us out and Kass stepped up to the coach’s role.
We were up against Macleod again this round. They were pretty scared with the size of PCO, but most of us are!!
The boys played as a great team again this week. They spent a whole lot of time together in the forward line.... Every. Single. One. Of. Them. With Kass asking them to at least try to stay somewhere near their allotted positions! But as they all said, the ball was only in our forward line, so they all wanted to get a touch, who can blame them?
Adam, Boodie and Darcy were feeding off Yusuf and Sids amazing ruck work, kicking the ball long into Omar. Aiden, Owen and Archie were running rings around the defenders. Sam, Jacko and Christian weren’t letting the ball get past the centre square. It was amazing to watch the fantastic teamwork.
The tackers who played Ben P, Lachie, Jamie and Percy stood tall, even when the bigger kids were trying to push them around, they were taking marks, laying bumps and kicking goals.
Lucas had his greatest game of the year, he really took charge this week, which ensured he got BOG. The final score was 75-2,
We’ve got another home game this week, hopefully our form continues...
Round 12 saw Under 10 Red head to Lynden Park to play the Camberwell Sharks. It was great to not be buffeted by wind and rain – almost perfect conditions for football.
To sum up it really was a game of 2 halves for the boys. Our inability to start strong compounding to mean the sharks jumped us by 15 points. Their attacking pressure was difficult to contain. Roman smothered the ball beautifully, Archie and Shep attacked the ball and were desperate to move the ball to our attacking line. The houses in the Camberwell area may be very well kept but the oval we played on was quite below par. Between the curve of the oval and the umpiring that made us think we were invisible it was hard for our boys to put anything on the scoreboard. Camberwell looked bigger and cleaner and could move the ball directly to their forward. The half time score saw us with a deficit of 5 goals 1 point. The effort from the boys was not being rewarded. The intensity had definitely moved – we were after some strong efforts in the second half.
The third quarter saw Sonny capitulate with a goal after a lovely set up and we were wondering if the turnaround was to happen as had in previous weeks. With the boys wearing armbands for Sonny’s grandfather it was fitting that Sonny score the first goal. One thing that I notice each week is the support and care the boys show for each other and the chatter that happens at the breaks with the boys willing each other on. The team started to work together with some good marking, kicking and tackling. Tom, Jack, Leon, Sonny, Brock and Archie all were working hard. Zac looked menacing in the forward line and quarter was evenly contested. Camberwell managed 2 goals 2 points to our 1 goal 1 point.
The final quarter was won by the Bullants and the team should be proud of the way they kept trying and held Camberwell scoreless!! Shep kicked a lovely goal and Archie nearly broke the goal post with a kick that deserved a goal!! Roman and Jakob and the Josh’s and Noah’s kept attacking the ball and trying to effect movement to the clear with the ball.
Angela Sergi gets special mention for fulfilling her role as timekeeper under VERY difficult circumstances – you get extra brownie points this week – thanks Ange…
We are nearing the end of the season – our boys have been tested and stretched – I hope they are proud of how they have performed this year as they have not found themselves in an easy draw.
The Bullants were greeted by sunny and pleasant conditions at St Mary’s home ground with a slight northly breeze favouring one end. With the full coaching panel back on deck we were confident that the training during the week focussed on some of the areas where we felt could be improved on from our previous games.
The team had several outs which for the first time meant that we did not have a bench. This would be a big challenge for the boys to play a full four quarters, but they were excited about the opportunity.
Kes and Dom were nominated captains for the day and decided that we would kick with the breeze if we won the toss (which they did).
The boys took to their positions, fresh from having a chat to the coaches on how they should play their positions. Given we had no bench we decided that that they would start off in position they were familiar with, so we had Hamish, Woody and Joe playing key positions in out backline, with Ziggy leading the forward line.
The game started at a frantic pace with the Bullants having a strong start. Venuto was involved in several plays which were leading to opportunities in our forward line, his tackling was something, stopping players much bigger in their tracks. With Ned and Tom applying pressure and using the ball beautifully the Bullants were eventually rewarded for their hard work with a great goal from Kes, who was setup beautifully from some great work by Dom and Venuto further up the field. Our backline was holding its own with Jake and Xavier playing tight on their opponents, however, the backline challenge would come in the 2nd quarter when St Mary’s would have the breeze.
When the siren sounded to end the first quarter we were a goal down after St Mary’s got a couple of late goals after the intensity dropped towards the end of the quarter.
St Marys 2.0.12 Bullants 1.0.6
Dash started in the ruck and with Tommy G and Dom in the middle we started off well again, winning the ball and using our run and carry. Marcus was his usual self, and with some silky skills on display as well as his pressure which bought his teammates into play further up the ground. Azza started to get going and was using his pace nicely the break the lines. Ned was moved onto the wing and with his great reading of the play started to influence the game with highlights being some great intercept marks. Wato was starting to look dangerous, reading the play well and providing some great intercepting and drive. Tommy G provided some special highlights with some very nice marks which had the coaching team cheering from the sidelines.
The wind had started to pick up and was now worth 3 to 4 goals. St Marys to their credit started to use this to their advantage by kicking long and using the space behind our defence to run into. Unfortunately for the Bullants they were able to sneak a couple of goals in this manner, however they could have been much further in front if it wasn’t for the efforts of the Woody, Joe, Hamish, Jake and Xavier. They continually repelled repeat attacks, with Woody and Hamish playing sweeping roles which stopped several certain goals.
The Bullants were tired at half time, but as coaches we were full of praise as they managed to restrict St Marys to only 2 goals for the quarter, and as noted earlier the breeze was worth at least 3 to 4.
St Marys 4.2.26 Bullants 1.0.6
With a talk from the coaching team which reinforced what we wanted to work on (hitting the contest and running and supporting) and using the wind to our advantage the team started the 3rd quarter as they had the 1st and 2nd with great run and pressure.
The backline was easily dealing with St Marys attacks, with Jake completely blanketing his man and providing great drive, it was almost as if Michael Hurley was playing for us. Woody was massive as well applying great pressure and taking some telling marks. With Joe, Xavier and Hamish the Bullants would only give up 1 point in what was a great effort by the back six.
With the drive from the backline the midfield was also getting in on the party with Tom, Venuto, Dom, Dash providing great run and link play which was great to see as this is something that we had been working on for several weeks. Our forwards were also starting to contribute with Callum providing some great leads and link play out of half forward, who along with Kes and Tommy G had St Marys worried. Ziggy was playing the full forward role perfectly, providing great leads and making contests which allowed Willow to get in and under and use his pace to great effect. We were dually rewarded with a goal after Tommy G took a great mark and finished from a tight angle. A special mention goes to Xavier who was involved in a strong contest which stopped a certain St Marys goal, but as a result came off the ground, a brave effort.
St Marys 4.3.27 Bullants 2.4.16
With the final chat to the boys reinforcing the way we wanted them to play they went out and gave it their all. St Marys also come out breathing fire with and with their tails up started to pile on the pressure. They once again used the conditions well and were able to (despite the great effort of the backline) get on top. The Bullants never gave up and the boys had periods where they were able to carry and run, with Tom, Kes, Azza and Dash providing some blistering runs through the middle and the wings which had us in positions to score. Venuto and Ned continued their run and link play on their respective wings and when they didn’t have the ball were helping in the backline. Marcus once again showed his class with clean hands and even cleaner disposal. With Xavier off for the quarter the rejigged forward line relied on Ziggy and Willow, both of whom were involved in great bits of play, with Ziggy taking on 2 St Marys players and dishing off to Tom whose long attempt at goal just missed and Willow applying a great tackle getting a holding the ball free kick.
In the end St Marys were too good, they used the conditions better kicking long with the breeze in the last quarter. Their coach was full of praise for the Bullants highlighting their running as being something which troubled them during the whole game and could not believe that we were on the bottom of the ladder stating that this had been the toughest game St Marys had faced for several weeks. The boys came off ground tired, but should be extremely proud of their efforts.
St Marys 6.7.43 Bullants 2.6.18
|Goal Kickers||Lucas (2), TJ, Samuel, Asher, Caspian|
Round 12 saw the Under 12 Preston Bullants travel to Balwyn Park. The ground surface was in good condition. The wind was a strong northerly favouring the southern end and Balwyn won the toss and kicked with the wind. The Bullants faced the same challenge in respect to the wind for the second week in a row. Balwyn, second on the ladder with 8 wins and Preston, third on the ladder with 7 wins, this game promised to be the game of the round. Kalan Dani played his 50th game on Sunday, what a tremendous achievement at such a young age. Congratulations Kalan!
Coach Pat, as per last week, successfully started Rylan inside Balwyn’s Back 50 metres before the first bounce. This move was again successful as Rylan made good decisions and intercepted opposition forward transition. The forwards applied constant pressure on opponents and the midfield also supported the back six with intense pressure on the ball and the man. The scoreboard for both teams read 2 behinds a piece but it was very much a winning quarter for Preston in terms of the contest.
In the second quarter the game opened up a bit more as the Bullants maintained the advantage with the same strategies as the first quarter. The highly rated Balwyn run and carry game was stopped across the defensive half of the ground and the Bullants “sling shot” forward transition provided scoring opportunities. The scoreboard read Preston 3:5:23 to Balwyn 1:4:10 at the main break. The result was significant given the highly rated Balwyn run and carry game had the potential to open us up and give them an advantage.
In terms of the game the third quarter was the premiership quarter both on the scoreboard and the shape of the game. The scoreboard read Preston 5:5:35 to Balwyn 2:6:18, a productive quarter given we were kicking against the wind. The only negative for the quarter was losing our Ruckman Max with concussion. Max will be sorely missed for round 13 against Bullen Templestowe as he has a mandatory week’s rest. Will led the way with a stellar quarter performance winning many possessions in and under in the heat of the stoppages and with hard running contest to contest.
The final quarter was played like the rest of the game, in good spirit, with both teams giving it 100% effort, however, the Bullants with the help of some good coaching and total team contribution all over the field won convincingly - Preston 6:9:45 to Balwyn 2:6:18.
The team is now well prepared to deliver a team orientated contest regardless of the quality of the opposition. For the second week in a row the team defence, enabled by hard running contest to contest, kept the opposition to 8 scoring shots to Preston 15. The result is a further increase in our percentage from 156.03% to 162.18% an increase of 6.15% which is valuable at this time of the season. We need to take the lessons we have learnt through the experience of practising good habits into this week’s challenge against the top of the ladder team Bulleen Templestowe. The Under 12 Bullant Team is currently playing every game like it is a final and is gaining great experience in doing so. The challenge is to maintain the even spread of team attitude and effort.
The Bullants play the top side Bulleen Templestowe Sunday @ 11:30am at Zwar Park. The experience will further test the development and desire of the team in the three areas of the game:
· We have possession of the ball.
· The opposition have possession of the ball.
· The ball is in dispute.
Scores: Bullants Balwyn
Q1: 0.2.02 0.2.02 (Preston kicked against the wind)
Q2: 3.5.23 1.4.10 (Preston kicked with the wind)
Q3: 5.5.35 2.6.18 (Preston kicked against the wind)
Q4: 6.9.45 2.6.18 (Preston kicked with the wind)
The YJFL Under 12 Green Ladder after Round 12:
TEAM P W L D % POINTS
1 Bulleen Templestowe 12 10 2 0 186.06% 40
2 Balwyn 11 8 3 0 133.99% 32
3 Preston Bullants 12 8 4 0 162.18 % 32
4 Hawthorn Citizens R 12 6 6 0 94.53% 24
5 Brunswick P 12 5 7 0 101.11% 20
6 Warrandyte 12 4 7 1 78.73% 18
7 Canterbury B 12 4 8 0 57.72% 16
8 Hawthorn Citizens N 12 1 10 1 54.94% 6
Today was always going to be our biggest test for the year facing the ladder leaders Beverley Hills. They have only dropped one game for the year, and that was in Gold division at the start of the season. With three games left we need at least one more victory to lock in a top four position. Marianne away on a family holiday not ideal but this opened up opportunities for other players to get some mid field time. Lucy was the first to play alongside Bullant tough nuts Olivia Cotsy, Freya and Caitlin. Our first quarters have been our worst all year and I really emphasised this at training and again pre match. We were on from the opening bounce. The ferocity at the ball and contest was back to our best and flowed on from the victory last week. The backline was standing up under pressure with Libby the speed machine giving the opposition no room to wriggle. Along with Zara and Ella the three of them really are a solid combination across the last line for us. Victoria’s long kicking again a feature early. The wind was blowing straight down the ground from Cramer St and we needed to capitalise early and we did through Freya who ran onto a loose ball and snapped truly. Girls ran from all directions to get around each other and I knew we could match it with the best. Scores at the first break were Preston 1.0.6 to Beverley Hills 0.0.0.
The second quarter saw the wind strengthen and our pressure drop ever so slightly. Our backline was under siege and it was only a matter of time before the opposition scored. Lily was thrown into the midfield to give Lucy a break and Charlotte into the ruck to do the same for Olivia Cotsy. Our forward line was getting cold with most of the play in Beverley Hills forward half. Both Ayva and Ava were fighting hard in the stoppages but it seemed that the ladder leaders were out to prove a point. Erin was behind the ball as spare this quarter to help out the backline but even this had minimal impact. Beverley Hills were flying and all we could do was to try and weather the storm as best we could. Despite our best efforts Beverley Hills flexed their muscles and went into the main break ahead. Scores were Preston 1.0.6 to Beverley Hills 3.3.21. The game was not over but we needed to find something special.
In the rooms at half time I mentioned that we could either roll over and give up or fight this battle out. This team does not know any other way than to keep on fighting and then fight some more. The wind had definitely increased in knots and we knew we had to hit the scoreboard in the third if we were to be any chance at all of causing a major upset. We put faith in our small brigade of little Liv, Gabby and Amelia, who has been battling a heel complaint all year. Their speed has always troubled opposition back lines and I was hoping today would be similar. Funnily enough it was our most courageous mini ant in Freya that did the damage. She combined with Erin to boot her second goal for the game and close the gap on the scoreboard. We knew we needed more and our most dominant player on the day did the job. Erin rarely plays a quiet game and today she was simply superb, booting a pressure goal from a brilliant mark to put us 2 points down at the final change. Good players at any level work on their weakest areas and Erin has improved her kicking to be one of our most reliable. Well done. Had we done enough? Scores at the final change were Preston 3.1.19 to Beverley Hills 3.3.21.
We knew that we needed to play contested football in the last quarter but we also knew we had to be the team that scored into the wind if we were to win. Sienna started the quarter well and her courage does not go unnoticed. At the 7 minute mark we were still 2 points down. 8 minutes of contested football was all that was required. The wind became a factor and the opposition eventually wore us down to score two more goals to our zero. Nothing to be upset about. We now know that we can compete with the top two sides in the competition and if we can get into the finals we are definite contenders. Special mention goes to Freya and Erin today. I wish I had two medals today because they were both warriors for 4 quarters. Freya booting two goals and doing the tough stuff and Erin had a licence to run and that’s exactly what she did. Well done to the entire team. Bring on the finals. Final scores were Preston 3.1.19 to Beverley Hills 5.6.36.
Thanks to Jamie (assistant coach), Leanne, Bek, and Mish for taking on the match day and training roles. Thanks to Marc and Pauline also who ran boundary and water and to the girls who ran water for their teammates. Thanks to Jim for umpire escort duties. It does make my life easier with these roles filled and I know Mish really appreciates it also. Back to some serious training and re load for next week when we welcome back Emma from her overseas vacation.
|Goal Kickers||Joel, Nathan, Josh|
The Preston Bullants were at Preston City Oval for their round 12 clash against Warrandyte, an entertaining match despite the low scores. It was the visitors that got off to a cracking start, kicking their first goal to give themselves an early lead. In response, the Bullants lifted their work rate and shared the ball around well. The boys worked hard to get their first goal of the match through Joel. Phoenix and Caspian set themselves up early for big games, seemingly intercepting balls at will. Mahmoud and Jack were commanding up front, and Jordan was unlucky not to kick the team’s second. Running towards a vacant goal square he was caught just as he was about to get his kick away, both teams locked at a goal each at the quarter-time break.
The Bullants maintained their pressure in the second quarter, Nathan tellingly awarded a free kick for his tackle in the forward line. Having been unlucky with errant shots in previous matches, Nathan had never kicked a goal. And while he was well within range, two 25-metre penalties all but assured he’d finally get his maiden goal – and the boys got around to celebrate. The Bullants did well to play large parts of the second quarter in their forward half. Skipper Phoenix continued to read the play extremely well to chop off opposition kicks, while Lachie and Rufus made it hard for Warrandyte to breach the Bullants’ defensive perimeter. The boys were unable to capitalise on a few set shots, set up by Callum’s desperation to win the ball, and hard running and tackling from Josh and Phoenix.
After the main break, the Bullants refused to let up. Their attack on the ball was constant. The boys worked as a cohesive unit to lock the play forward, and in one clean passage of play from a boundary throw-in, Makaio tapped the ball to Jacob who quickly found Josh with a handball. Ever dangerous up forward, Josh seized the opportunity with a reactive snap at goal. Nathan continued to provided plenty of run through the middle, Caspian kept finding the ball, and Jacob was very close to kicking the team’s fourth when Phoenix pinpointed a pass to him for a gettable shot.
With a three-goal lead heading into the last quarter, the effort levels never waned. Makaio toiled away, and applied a second, third, and fourth efforts in trying win the ball. Ben worked hard in a rare stint up forward, whilst Daniel applied plenty of pressure in defence. Mahmoud imposed himself on every contest he was involved in, with the last quarter a bit of a tussle in the end. With neither team adding to their respective scores, the Preston Bullants emerged victorious, winning by 18 points, and banking four important points in the run home.
|Surrey Park B||Bullants|
A cold but sunny day had us facing Kew at PCO and the pre game warm-up consisted of the girls seeing how much they could lift with the gym equipment. A challenging day was ahead.
Mia H got us kicking to the Preston Market end and the girls were raring to go. Georgia led the way all day and dominated hit outs with Kew hardly getting a clearance. Despite going against the wind, the ball was played in our forward line. Esther played a terrific game up forward, clunking big marks and always enjoying the contest. It was an awesome start as we controlled the play but we were only a goal up at the first change.
In the second quarter, the play was directed in our forward line and Helena played another great game, being involved in most of the goals as well as laying shepherds to help her team mates score. Mia B was like a motorbike on Punt road at peak hour, direct and manoeuvring through traffic. Ruby worked up and down the ground all game and getting the reward by kicking a couple of goals. For the quarter, the girls had ten scoring to none and put themselves 25 points up at the main break.
The game wasn’t finished yet and the girls were keen to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Darci got us going with her trademark contested possessions, trying to take on more than one player. Darci also provided the group with a quality anecdote about a basketball ‘dispute’ at three quarter time. Geelong have Selwood, Ablett and Dangerfield but the Bullants girls have the back three of Zoe, Oceane and Isabella who all played an awesome game. All providing run off half back and sending the ball direct into our forward line as well as not allowing Kew to kick a goal all day. The side continued to kick away and Amelia was crucial at turning the ball over such as laying some big tackles in our forward line and putting more pressure on the Kew backline. At the final change, the girls were 37 points up.
The final term was the best quarter of the day, having ten scoring shots and putting away five goals. Sabrije played one of her best games for the year, getting plenty of contested possessions and never backing away from the contest. Mia H had a tremendous game, getting to every contest and always working to get the ball forward. The girls finished the game strongly and ran out 71 point winners.
It was a pleasing win as everyone played a team orientated role, arrived with the right mindset and gradually got better every quarter. With the three games left, we’re still a side on a mission and going to finish the season strong like our last quarter on the weekend. Keep getting to training with a focus and to improve every session. It’s also important that the girls arrive exactly one hour before the game as it makes the day run smoother.
Thanks to Sofie for her help again and for Ange being runner. Big thanks to Louise, Brendan, David, Danette, Susi, Anna, Olivia, Milly, Ava and Caitlin for helping out and giving up their time.
How fitting that this top of the table clash be played at the home of (YJFL) football. Even though the ground surface itself was not a scratch on PCO and the moundish shape of the oval was at times disorientating with its graduating wing-side slopes. Petty comparisons aside, Bulleen Park is a beautiful setting, sitting as it does in the Yarra River corridor, a stone’s throw from the Bolin Bolin Billabong, with Great River Red Gums and Swamp Paperbark as backdrop and canopy.
This game was the second of a two week litmus test for the Bullants, with a win guaranteeing the golden chance come Finals. The last time these two sides clashed the Bullants scurried home licking their wounds after a 39 point drubbing. On this occasion we would head home down Bell St feeling pretty, pretty good (as Larry David might say) having handed the Boroondara Hawks a 39 point drubbing.
Let me tell you how it all went down.
Apparently on Friday night the captain Maiolo and Henry approached the coaches and presented some ideas on how the Ants might win this one. The coaches soaked it up and on Game Day encouraged the rest of the team to bring idea forward.
The goal the coaches set the team? “We want the W today. The Win. We can’t let Boroondara go into the finals 2-0 against us”. To do this we have to shake things up; keep pushing up the field; press and pressure, make them feel the squeeze; and Voice!
The coaches made two changes to “shake things up”. They put Chambo down back as a loose man in defence and they loaded the centre bounce with heavyweights Stevie and Jack N. Oh, and we kicked against a two goal wind. The shake-up had an impact immediately. Chambo was the difference down back and the Hawks could not penetrate our wall. Jack N imposed himself from the first bounce. His tackle on the boundary was a forewarning to the Hawks of what was coming.
The reward for this hard, fast and clean footy with fierce tackling came surprisingly quickly. Against the Hawks surges the Ants forced the ball deep into our forward line with Sasso getting it to Rhett and Rhett making no mistake. Jack N was the architect of the next run forward. He passed to Rory who found Jackson K in the pocket. He ran off his mark for our second. This was an explosive start, led by Jack N. The Hawks got their first but we countered it when Jackson K won a free 10m from goal. Leo thinking quickly took the advantage and kicked true.
Now the Hawks were angry. They were not expecting the Ants to have three goals on the Board in the First. (Psst, neither were we). The game went up a notch and our backline stood the test. Josh Di Natale’s defensive work was spot on, Chambo was Eddie Everywhere. Sasso tackled a tall timber twice his size and brought him to ground, Johny, back in the Firsts, applied a no surrender tackle, Chilly, Rhett and Jack N exemplified teamwork getting the ball past our back flank, Antho was just excellent, as was Stevie and Henry shut down a Hawks chance with a true defender’s mark.
At Quarter time we didn’t know what to think. The Ants were playing a champion game and had even at this early stage run the Hawks out of the game. The commitment, team work, balance of chance and control and confidence was giving this game something we hadn’t quite expected. But we liked it. Like, a lot.
It got better. The first goal of the Second, I noted in my pad was the play of the day. From a great tackle resulting in a free and then straight on to Rory who marked cleanly. His kick sent the ball straight over the goal umpires head. Then the ball moved from deep in defence, courtesy of Henry, Rory, Jack N and Chico deep into our forward half. Then on the outer wing/flank sheer team pressure on the Hawks completed by a great Rory tackle who kicked it down field where Jack N marked and goaled.
For a ten minute period the Hawks could not break a wall the Ants had built at the 50m mark of the Hawks backline. Could not get past this line! Rory took a beauty. Jackson K marked a Hawks kick out and sends it on to Savvidis. The Hawks kept trying to get the ball past our wall but we kept kicking it deep into our forward. Mostly scoring points. Until the Ants broke the deadlock and three goals were added to the lead.
Stevie booted the shine off the ball into the pocket where inside a scrimmage Jackson K took a chance. The ball sailed high over the posts but the goal umpire was clear – goal. A ripper (says his very objective old man). Then Rory, running deep into the pocket split the big sticks and on the siren Leo, in his very Leo way snuck another to add to the tally. The finest half of footy this team has played this year. They looked impressive, across the field. Scintillating footy, as Damian Howard remarked.
In the Third and with the wind the Hawks came back and hard. They cut our 46 point lead in half. It did take them 10 minutes to score a goal and then they scored two more. It never felt like it was enough to scare the Ants but it was enough to remind the Ants that this is a fiercely competitive and skilled team. We had our moments. Sonza’s quarter! Stevie’s mark! Rhett’s tackle! Matty’s spoil! EJ’s reading of the ball and play! Chilly and Josh not backing down!
If we were in any doubt (we never were) that this was our day it came in the first minute. Sasso’s goal from Sbrissa’s handpass shut down the Hawks. Valensisi’s tackle reminded the Hawks who was who. Green, who had controlled our backline took a couple of fine marks and a great smother. We found a way after a ten minute tussle to force the ball forward where the ever reliable Rory accepted a pass from Chicco. Then he goaled. Minutes later Rory marked again and kicked an even better goal.
Marty had handed the coaching duties over to Nick for this game and Nick did a terrific job. As the coaches said in their wrap-up with the team, “we had a goal, to get the W. We attacked the footy, took our chances, played team centred footy and we achieved what we set out to do”. You can’t ask more than that. Three games shy of the Finals the Bullants have let the competition know that they mean business.
In very cold conditions at Ashburton’s ground in Glen Iris, our boys came up against a very talented opposition.
In addition, we only had 16 boys ready to play with injuries and holidays having an impact on our numbers. Today Miles stepped into the coach’s position as Dave took a well-earned break. Jordy took on the assistant’s role as he recovers from his shoulder injury.
Special thanks goes out to Haydn from Ashburton who lent a hand to help even up the on-field numbers. He was by far our best player for the day!
A dominant display by Ashburton as they had the luxury of 6 players rotating from the bench.
Good to see Suhail make his long-awaited comeback after injury. He played a very serviceable game seeing plenty of action in the back pocket.
Brody played his heart out and looked exciting with his pace. Dylan up back was also solid all day. Bull tried hard to burst through at times. Our rucks were competitive at stoppages, Jack, Tony and Sammy.
Beyond that we really struggled to handle Ashburton’s pace and skill. They piled on goals at will and it looked mostly like a training run from their end.
As Miles said they only way to deal with it is to come to training and work on your skills with your Colts team mates. And get to extra training sessions with the 19s if possible.