Match report vs La Trobe University AFC
Saturday morning started off full of hope with round one finally here after seven months of pain after losing the elimination final to La Trobe Uni. The footy gods saw it fit to allow us the opportunity for redemption straight off the bat as we were for t
The season opener was a rematch of 2016’s elimination final which saw La Trobe come away with the chocolates by 3 points with a sausage that even Saba would have been happy kicking with 30 seconds to go. The bloods regrouped over the summer focusing on changing their game style to a run and carry offence to help break games open. The side had six debutants, mostly coming from the junior ranks and Marchy’s message to the group was to play team oriented football and out pressure them at the contest.
Unfortunately, we lost the toss and had to kick against a five goal breeze in the first an we didn’t make use of our early midfield dominance from young Marchy who was getting his hands on everything. La Trobe kicked a few cheap ones that came from our lack of match practice and skipped out to a seven goal lead at the first break. It was fairly clear that the difference between the two sides was touch as the students were clean with the footy in hand and made the right decisions while the bloods fumbled around and missed opportunities.
The second quarter saw the districts make inroads into the margin with a few majors from hammer and Jamie’s sausage on the half time siren started a minor melee. The half time break saw a few senior blokes being pulled aside in an effort to motivate and focus on leading the young group which was looking for guidance. The wheels started to fall off in the third as several injuries reduced rotations which left key players stuck on the bench. The weather started to mirror our mood as dark clouds started to roll across the ground. The final stanza saw a sprinkle of rain and very dark conditions and even with a few blokes dropping back we couldn’t stop the run from La Trobe who thoroughly deserved a 123 point win.
The boys reverted back to their old ways once the pressure was on which saw self-oriented football without rewarding teammates for hard running. The boys lacked a bit of mongrel which can be a problem for young sides but the result on the scoreboard looked much worse than how the boys played. La Trobe were much better across the board and they’re a well-coached team that played consistent footy with the help of four practice matches under their belt in the preseason. That’s the standard the boys have to get to, to be competitive with the better teams this season.
It’ll take too long to list the blokes who had stinkers so we’ll just name the better players this week which were the young fellas in Harry Rothwell, Marchy, Louis and Jamie. Next up after Easter we are away at Canterbury who had a solid win over Richmond Centrals so no doubt that’ll be a tough test as we look for our first win.
The magoos rooms before the game was filled with nervous excitement as no less than eight players were making their debut for the senior club. Robbo unusually won the toss and kicked with the breeze which was too much for the Texan as he pulled up lame from the run on to the ground and couldn’t take part in the season opener. The undermanned bloods fought hard but were unable to capitalise on the breeze which saw the trobers run the ball with confidence and kick four majors. It was great to see all the senior players at the scoobies huddle after the first quarter which would be great to see for the rest of the year.
The districts responded well in the second, improving their work rate and intensity around the pill. Chris Whitty, on debut was sharking all the ruck taps and giving us first use but our lack of touch brought us undone as La Trobe were clearly in better nick. We managed to hold the students to four sausages with the wind which could have been more if not for old man Berms holding up the fort. The challenge for the start of the third was to get on the scoreboard which we achieved through Whitty but that was all we could accomplish. Again we restricted the students to four goals but we were starting to run out of legs as the heat and massive ground took its toll.
The emphasis for the last was to not get blown out of the water and we threw a few extras behind the ball to restrict the onslaught. This however was not successful as La Trobe came home with a wet sail, banging thru eight majors to give them a resounding 119 point win. It was a tough day for the districts but this Bloodman found a few positives with first gamer and under 17, Kurtis Macaulay, playing a blinder in the number 20. There were excellent displays from Whitty and Scanlan in their first game for the club along with most of the juniors. Bermas was again fantastic as the general in the backline, crashing packs both on and off the field and teeing up teammates for scoring opportunities. The twos look forward to the return of half the side for the next game against Canterbury who we touched up last year and they struggled last week against Richmond.