On a cold, blustery day at the windswept Basil St., the Under 23’s set out seeking their initial win for season 2022. The day had not really got off to a positive start as the reserves were hit late with injuries, covid and there may have been a hint of “it’s too cold for me” as the wind was gaining momentum and as such the bench was depleted from 5 to 3 rapidly. This was then down to 2 when another player went down with Covid and the luxuries of rotations were quickly abandoned as it was a matter of just hanging on.
Kicking against the breeze in the opening stanza the team played extremely well to restrict the OGGs to a miserly 2 goals and we had a goal of our own through some very quick, but precise ball movement, so the stage was set for the good guys to launch an avalanche of goals in the 2nd.
What started well as we quickly asserted our ascendency over our opponents with Nick Jarvis finding space and leading well to help us wrest the lead from our opponents. That early momentum was halted as they contained our forward forays by dropping back an additional defender and we didn’t react quickly enough to either make him earn his kicks (by smashing him in the contest) or carry the ball that little bit further and get the ball deeper and render him redundant by kicking it over him.
Despite all that at the major break we retreated to the sheds with a slender lead and overall we were happy with the way we had been approaching the game.
To try and keep any potential OGGs lead to a minimum we adopted the loose player across half back and we were relatively comfortable in containing our opponents until ….. an injury to Harry Gustin who was leading the charge from the mids forced changes and the preferred loose man was forced to go and join the fray in the middle.
To the credit of the players we still managed to keep forcing the ball forward and when Charlie Langkau converted a difficult shot into the wind it looked like we had some momentum to bring into the last.
Alas, the visitors (albeit assisted by some very strange decisions from their designated umpire) were able to overrun us in the last as our tired legs and lack of bench was telling.
The players are to be commended for their efforts, but also for their disappointment at watching what was a terrific opportunity slip.
Better players on the day: Matt Courtney, Dan Melissinos, Harry Gustin, Billy Cooke, Alex Stork, Riley Watson, Nick Jarvis (3 goals).
That said we suit up next week and seek a better outcome.
Result: De La 6.3.39 lost to Old Geelong 9.6.60