Round 5: Greenvale at Greenvale Recreation Reserve
On Saturday we headed north, knowing we would be facing conditions in Greenvale similar to our last visit there with a dominant wind blowing down one end of the ground. We expected that Greenvale would be confident after a big win in the grand final replay the week prior and with a dangerous midfield/ruck combination and the less than ideal weather, this was going to be our biggest test and a battle till the end.
Throughout the week we planned for these exact weather conditions, identifying the scenarios we may come across and focusing on limiting the impact the wind could have on the game. Greenvale won the toss and selected to take the advantage in the first quarter.
With our plans in place and our playing group on the same page, we got off to the ideal start. Jason Blakemore, in for his first game for Pascoe Vale, got his hands dirty feeding the ball out of the mud to Ben Ross who was then able to clear the ball deep inside 50 straight down the throat of Matty Watson for the first goal of the game. We had all the momentum early, kicking the first four goals, but costly turnovers and a silly free kick in our defensive 50 eroded our lead. With both sides kicking truly it was one goal the difference come quarter time with an opportunity for us to capitalise having the wind in the second.
We played into Greenvale’s hands in the second quarter blazing away with footy in hand and not using the width of such a big ground to kick start our attack. To Greenvale’s credit they kept us on their preferred side of the ground and like we did to them they didn’t allow us to use the wind to our advantage.
The third quarter was going to be the test: they had the wind advantage and we had to defend as a team. The back line held up their end of the bargain with Greenvale dominating the inside 50s and missing some critical set shots. But with Luke Foster cutting off everything that came in and Patty Vezspremi playing as the spare and impacting the attack, we were able to stem the flow and keep it at a level playing field with both sides kicking just the two goals for the quarter. This was a huge win for us to come out of both the first and third quarters only conceding the five goals.
The last quarter we had the momentum back and you could feel that a couple more goals would finally break the back of the game. The first 10 minutes was played in tight with repeat stoppages on the Greenvale clubhouse side of the ground. We managed to get the ball inside 50 and the defensive line kept it locked in until a crafty goal from a boundary throw by Jake Polizzi came at the twelve and a half minute mark. Greenvale didn’t give up and it wasn’t until the last eight minutes that we finally broke them and finished off the game.
This was a huge game for our season and keeping in touch with the top sides we now have to keep this form going forward. One key message we took out of Saturday was that a game plan and talent only gets you part of the way - if this team comes prepared to play with effort and desire then we can really shake up this competition.
Next week: Essendon Doutta Stars
We come up against Essendon Doutta stars this week and while their form this season might suggest that they are not the side they were last year, we have to make sure we come prepared for a hard fought game. What i said above applies equally to them - if they come with that desire to outwork us then we are in for a tough day.
Training this week will again have a huge emphasis on our ball movement and making the ground big when we have possession. The other area of focus has been on when we don’t have the ball, with our location and team defense limiting the time the opposition has the ball in their hands. If we can hone in and master this one facet of the game then the final score will take care of itself. We now have a huge month of footy ahead of us so be great to see everyone down at Raeburn reserve to help us bring home our first win at home.