Scores: St Peters 11.11-77 def Redbacks 2.0-12

On Sunday, after the SMJFL regrading, the U11 Redbacks had a home game against St Peters Orange. We had not seen this team before so we didn’t know what to expect. However, we soon found out that St Peters Orange would make us pay if we didn’t bring our best game to Widdop Oval.

From the first bounce we were under pressure, and while Redback mids including Chucky, Caelan and Palts tried their hardest, St Peters totally dominated and repeatedly cleared the ball out of the centre into their forward line. We were ‘shell-shocked’, and our defenders were constantly seeing the ball coming towards them. In the backline, Hayden, Max F and Declan were doing everything possible to stem the flow, but by quarter time the difference between the two teams was obvious – St Peters had scored 6.1-37 to the Redbacks 0.

There were a lot of disheartened boys coming into to the huddle at quarter time, so the first thing we wanted was for them to lift their heads, put that quarter behind them, and to show their supporters that they would not give up.

The second quarter started well for us, with Hank and Harro getting more of the ball in the midfield, and our forwards including Nate and Matty presenting themselves as goal scoring options. At the same time, our backs had decided they were going to ‘hold the line’, with Ethan, Connor and Liam letting everyone at the ground know that St Peters would not be allowed another 6 goal quarter. By half time, scores were St Peters 8.4-52 to Redbacks 0, and the opposition had been held to 2.3-15 for the quarter.

The atmosphere in the rooms at half time was down-beat, as the Redbacks had not been in a situation like this all year. All we could do was re-group, forget about the first half, and concentrate on what we do well – hard tackling and quick movement of the ball.

Something seemed to click and the boys looked a lot better in the third quarter. Luke and Mali were creating problems for the opposition in our forward line, Sam W was a loose man in St Peters’ hotspot, and Will S and Hugo were both doing some nice things on their respective wings. While the scoreboard was not kind to us and we remained scoreless at three-quarter time, St Peters only added 1.4-10 to bring their total score to 9.8-62.

At three-quarter time it was again up to the coaches to lift the boys and ask for a big last quarter effort. We were looking for goals to light up the scoreboard so we could take something from the game. It was a good start to the last quarter. Will C was holding up the backline, Sam R was giving us plenty of run on his wing, while Max M and Spencer both scored majors in the last quarter. It was a great team effort that allowed us to score 2.0-12 to St Peters 2.3-15 in the last quarter. Final scores St Peters 11.11-77 def Redbacks 2.0-12. St Peters was obviously the best team on the day and gave the Redbacks a football lesson.

What did we learn from the game on Sunday?
3 Things We Can Improve:
1. The Redbacks have suffered from slow starts on several occasions this year. Allowing quality opposition to kick 6 goals in the first quarter lost us the game.
2. Players across the ground fell into some of their bad habits when under pressure – particularly a failure to pick up their men.
3. Poor decision making hampered us today. Kicking to Redbacks who were outnumbered, handballing to team-mates in a bad position and rucks and rovers failing to communicate and work together.

3 Things We Did Really Well:
1. The Redbacks are gaining a reputation as a team that doesn’t quit.
2. Some inspirational tackling from some players that could be followed by others.
3. The names on the scoresheet showed us that goal kicking is not limited to a select few.

Best Players:

Goal Scorers: