It was a very chilly winter’s morning but numbers were strong and spirits were high. The boys knew Pegs were going to be a difficult challenge and that the score in our last encounter with them was unlikely to be repeated.
Pegs came out firing, desperate for a victory that could put them in the top 4. Bird was firing in the midfield but wasn’t getting much support around the ground. Murray was taking his work rate to new levels, sending the ball inside 50 and still getting back to get a fingertip on the line to save a certain goal seconds later. If it weren’t for a few crucial 1 on 1 victories from Nikitas and other defenders, De La could have found themselves further down then they were at quarter time.
The coach gave the forwards some firm words at quarter time, making it clear that he expected a higher work rate and selflessness on display. Although the scoreboard didn’t reflect this improvement in the second quarter it was clearly evident. Dannanoui started to impact the game, Cumberlidge broke some lines and the usual suspects in the midfield started to bring the heat. Still down at half time, the boys could feel the tide was turning and that if they could keep up the same intensity in the second half, the game was within reach.
The Colts came out hard and really took it to Pegs in the third quarter, Pegs matched it for a while but the sheer amount of clean ball we were able to win allowed us to wear their defence down. Tyquin’s leading patterns were near impossible to defend at times and was able to get some well deserved results. De La taking a 2 goal lead into the final break.
With the game still up for grabs, the Harry Bird show continued. Some unbelievable gut running and silver service being the highlights of what was a 35 disposal, 4 (should have been 5) goal masterclass. Khan also really stepped up in the last quarter, as did the likes of Harper and Irwin. Pegs fighting it out to the end but De La leaving with the victory.
While it was concerning that Pegs were able to dominate such a strong lineup early, what was most impressive was the maturity in which De La answered the challenge and stepped up to the plate. Finding ways to combat the opposition’s strengths and finding ways to exacerbate our own advantages. While the side will likely lose players to higher callings in the coming weeks, the Colts eagerly await the return of core players Pietsch, Sinclair, Loughnan and many more, who are expected to return after the bye.