It was great to have senior coach Nick Hyland at Under 19 training on Monday to help set the tone for the week.
We felt as though the two training sessions this week were really good, however we were once again stretched with player availability.
Our colts team ran out with 19 players and had a terrific win against the Old Xaverians, whilst our golds team begun with 19 and had a competitive first half against Oakleigh before losing 3 key players to injuries, still fighting the game out valiantly. The Blues headed to T H King to take on St Kevins in what would be a significant result in the context of the season. Unfortunately we turned up with only 19 players ourselves, up against 24 opponents which would always present a challenge.
The tone was set in the opening minutes as De La dominated the first part of the game with significant pressure around the midfield, led by Christian Algeri with two perfect tackles leading to free kicks, setting the tone for his best on ground performance. Frustratingly, despite our dominance we couldn’t quite capitalize, missing opportunities going forward with some dropped marks and some poor execution in front of goal leaving us with 1.6 at quarter time trailing St Kevin’s 3.2.
We couldn’t quite keep the momentum going through the second quarter, as St Kevin’s opened the game up and were able to rebound the ball out of our forward 50 quite easily. Our defence really stood up in the second quarter to give us a chance in the game, with some senior heads like Brad Higgins, Jacob Mackinnon and James Harper doing everything they could to give little away.
Going into half time, the scoreboard had us four goals behind, however the game certainly didn’t feel that far away. There was some really positive energy in the rooms, as we had a couple of reinforcements come up from the Colts win at Stradbroke Park. Josh Cumberlidge and Conor O’Meara came in and impacted the second half on the wing and in the back half, a sign of great things to come in the future with both boys still at school.
The opening to the second half was all De La as we got on top in all areas of the game and with speed on the ball, we were able to break the game wide open. The run of Campbell Bedford, teamed with a great inclusion in Jack Forer on the wings was hard to contain for St Kevins and there was all of a sudden some space in the forward half. This allowed our small forwards to get into the game with Sean Kelliher and Tom Richards getting into the game and making significant impacts in the forward half. Being able to turn a 4 goal deficit into a ten point ¾ time lead was a significant turnaround from the group, something that we hadn’t been able to do in similar situations in previous weeks.
Through a terrific third quarter, we had set up a great opportunity to right the wrongs of earlier in the year when St Kevin’s were able to get a hold of us, the last quarter was a bit of a struggle but the incredible efforts right across the field helped get us across the line. Debutant Luke Lyngberg coming off the school premiership earlier in the week and some terrific colts form, largely in the forward half, played a critical role in the ruck in the second half with Ethan Manakis out of the side and Ethan Hele struggling with repeated knocks on the shin. Luke’s competitiveness in the air then translated onto the ground, his foot skills for a big kid also on display all throughout the day, happy to take on the inside 45 kicks and make them regularly. Sean Kelliher was able to put the icing on the cake with an incredible running checkside goal in the final few minutes. The composure of the boys was on display in the final five minutes, St Kevins continued to challenge, getting within a kick on a couple of occasions in the final quarter, however the boys were not to be denied.
This was a true team performance coming off the back of a difficult few weeks, when playing with freedom and bravery, this team is capable of just about anything. Combining the skill that was on display with the competitive edge, our boys showed exactly what they were capable of. A win to be proud of and one that hopefully springboards us into the second half of the season.
Final score: DLS: 11.13.79 def St Kevin’s: 10.10.70
Goal Kickers: Richards 3, Kelliher 3, Algeri 1, Bedford 1, Forer 1, Ho 1, Robinson 1