Round 13 saw us host Old Haileybury at home. After a disappointing loss the previous week, we were looking to respond and register our first win since round 7. We had a positive week on the track and we felt we prepared really well for this encounter.
As expected, the start of the game was hotly contested. For the first 5 minutes, both teams cracked in hard around the ball and it was a real arm wrestle. We had field position however we could capitalise on our work. Some sloppy defensive transition saw us concede the first goal of the game. From that point on, we felt like we controlled the first quarter. Our quick, instinctive ball movement, opened up the front half of the ground and allowed us to generate shots on goal. 4.4 to Old Haileybury 2.3 saw us take a small advantage into the first break.
Our second quarter was some of the best footy we’ve played all year. Our midfield took control around stoppages which allowed us to play the game in our front half. Again our ball movement was slick and we spread the ground making it difficult to defend. On top of that was our excellent pressure we put on the opposition anytime they gained control of the ball. All of this lead to us registering 6 goals to 2, which gave us a handy 38 point lead at half time.
At halftime the players were challenged to reset and start again. We were doing a lot right and we felt if we started the third well and absorb what Haileybury would throw at us, it would hold us in good stead. Unfortunately we started the quarter poorly. Our intensity around the ball dropped, we lost clearance, and couldn’t get our hands on the ball. To Haileybury’s credit, they lifted their intensity and really put the heat on us. We gave away some sloppy free kicks and were on the back foot. We conceded 4 goals, whilst failing to register a major ourselves, resulting in lead being reduced to 12 points at the final break.
The rain had set in for the final quarter, which made it hard to handle and control the ball. The players were challenged to still take the game on and play with the freedom that had given us the lead at the final break. Our midfield really lifted in the last quarter and we controlled stoppages which allowed us to lock the ball inside 50 for large portions of the quarter. Our defence held strong and were able to combat Haileybury’s forward entries. In a low scoring final quarter, we kicked one crucial goal to the opposition 2, which saw us hold on for a 9 point win.
A really well deserved win for our group, who have maintained a positive outlook despite results not going our way the last 5 weeks. I couldn’t be prouder of the way our group stuck together, showed resilience and executed a game plan against quality opposition. We have a week off next weekend, before we prepare for a huge clash with Fitzroy at home.