Round 12: Strathmore at Raeburn Reserve

This was crucial game to our season. Two massive rivals meeting on a windy day in July, it would be the team that settled in quickest and made sure that the game was played on their terms that would take home the points. With a few key personnel out of the side it was an opportunity for others to step up and play a role for the team: we needed 22 equal contributors on the ground, and even though this was the key message going into the game, it didn’t translate onto the field.

We got off to a good start. By playing the first quarter on our terms we came off at the break in front. But from the sidelines,  something didn’t look right. It wasn’t a day to overuse the football and our fumbles with ball in hand proved costly. We allowed Strathmore too much uncontested possession and when you compared the intent to tackle and apply pressure, they out worked us by far.

Our ball movement was just so unpredictable and our turnovers backwards of centre, both proving costly as Strathmore made us pay for each one. The structures we had in place just weren’t adhered to and consequently,  Strathmore were capitalising on this.

As with all games, though, there were standouts. Jordan Cellini, back in after a couple weeks in the Reserves, was a real benchmark when it came to work-rate, impact and playing your role. Gav Urquhart and Sam Caruso, through the middle, tried keep us in the game. But our inability to stop Strathmore's uncontested possession hurt us in the last quarter and for a second week in a row we faded out to another 40 point loss.

When we talk about players and their form, one key message is that impact can come in a wide variety of ways: tackling, pressure, ball in hand, and actions impact passages of play to help the side during a game. On Saturday we had too few on the park that made their impact in comparison with our opponents who clearly had a team of equal contributors.

Next week: Greenvale at Raeburn Reserve

We have a season defining game against Greenvale ahead of us this week and we will need to find that spark to keep our season going. With two training sessions between, we need to work on the areas that so badly let us down, take the time to reassess and re-group, and prepare for, what will be, another nail biter. As a group, we know that we need to go back to basics and become masters of our craft to ensure what we are doing in training is being implemented come game day. We look forward to the challenge with our backs against the wall - it’s time to stand up, accept the challenge and come out on Saturday ready to play.

Another home game, it will be great to see all our supporters in the red and black getting behind the boys as we push and get back into winning form.

Final score: Pascoe Vale 9.6-60 Strathmore 15.12-102

Goal Kickers: M. Watson 4, L. Hansen, P. Veszpremi, D. Harris, J. Cellini, J. Polizzi
Best Players: S. Caruso, J. Cellini, G. Urquhart, M. Watson, D. Harris, J. Polizzi