Scores: Redbacks 7.7-49 def 3.5-23
On Sunday the U11 Redbacks were lucky to play a home game against Prahran at Halifax Park – a pleasant walk to the ground for quite a few families.
The boys were prepared for another tough game, with the big concern for the coaches being that the Redbacks would again start slowly and have to play catch-up football. Fortunately, the team was switched on from the start.
We all knew that much depended on our running players to get us going and with Mali in the ruck, Connor on a wing, and Hank ruck-roving we got the start we needed. With our backline holding up well led by Ethan and Spencer we were able to hold Prahran to 2 points for the quarter while we scored 2.1-13.
But we knew Prahran would never lie down. They came at us in the second quarter and put pressure on our backline – only to be repelled by Liam and Hayden in the last line of defence. At the same time our hard runners including Chucky and Sammy were breaking away from their opposing midfielders and creating opportunities for our forwards including Will S and Matty. Although Prahran kicked a goal during this quarter to bring their score to 1.2-8, the Redbacks kept the scoreboard ticking over and by half-time were 4.3-27; a lead of 19 points.
At half time the message from the coaches drew on our Team Values. We asked the boys to abandon selfish play for selfless team play. If the boys were to win this game they had to play for each other rather than individual stats.
The third quarter opened well for the Redbacks with Nate getting a lot of the ball on his wing and Max M starting to assert his authority in the forward line. However, despite the messages from the coaches at half-time, the boys spent a lot of the quarter chasing kicks deep in the forward line and leaving us exposed to a Prahran rebound out of their defence. While Max F was doing some great work at full-forward, the rest of the team was caught flat footed in our forward line too many times, thus allowing Prahran to score 2 goals for the quarter while the Redbacks only managed 1 major score.
Although the Redbacks held a 16 point lead at three quarter time the game was not won, and if we stopped running Prahran was capable of coming back strongly.
The last quarter was mostly a tight struggle between the two teams. Declan was doing his job in the backline with some hard tough tackling while Luke was picking up possessions and driving the ball deep into our forward zone. Palts was holding the backline together at full-back, Will C was having his best game of the year at CHB and Caelan was leading the midfield with his ruck work. Even though we were exposed to quick Prahran rebounds we did not pay the price. A highlight for the day was Harro’s game on the wing. His 2-way running showed the way with ‘gut-running’ into the last line of defence coupled with the best run of the game down the wing with 3 or 4 bounces and a penetrating kick into the forward line.
By the end of the game the Redbacks had held Prahran to 3.5-23, and with 2 Redback goals in the last quarter we ran out winners scoring 7.7-49.
What did we learn from the game on Sunday?
3 Things We Can Improve:
1. Too many of our running players are chasing kicks deep in the forward line and leaving us exposed to a rebound out of the opposition’s defence.
2. The boys need to play with controlled aggression and be careful of what they say on the field of play.
3. Our forwards were flat-footed today and did not lead enough. They provide a stationary target that makes it too easy for opposition backs.
3 Things We Did Really Well:
1. Despite a congested forward line and not enough leading, our forwards grafted out a winning score.
2. Some inspirational tackling.
3. Our backline appeared more conscious of the need to pick up a man this week.