Round 13: Greenvale at Raeburn Reserve
The importance of this game couldn’t be greater. With the top four becoming tighter and tighter, we needed to have 22 contributors to get the four points and keep our season alive. In for their first games, at an exciting time for the club, came Ben Morgan and Matthew D’Angelo. The feeling you get when you tell young kids that they are playing their first senior game reminds you why you wanted to coach in the first place. There was a great buzz in the rooms while the debutants were handed their first game jumpers and the group set their minds to the task. The message was simple and the side was up and about after a great warm up and ready to go.
The first half was a tight and while both teams had momentum throughout, it was Greenvale that looked on top. Once again our ball movement was letting us down with turnovers and terrible skill execution hurting our attack. We had to work tirelessly when we had ball in hand to score but poor skills and overuse played into the opposition’s hands. It felt that we wasted many forward 50 entries and Greenvale didn’t. Every time they went inside, they looked dangerous and likely to score. Jordan Cellini was again leading by example with his defensive pressure but too many passengers was becoming an issue. Injuries to Lachie Hansen and Giles Guest before half time proved costly and didn’t help with our cause. We were only down by a point on the scoreboard, but being down to two on the bench, making poor decisions and disposal in attack was making a tough day tougher.
While only a point the difference, it was felt that the score was not reflecting the actual game. We required all our players to take the opportunity and stand up, and not just rely on the usual suspects to carry the side to victory. With Giles Guest out for the remainder of the game, the onus fell to Jesse Boyd to give our mids first use and get the game back on or terms. Our ball movement had to be smarter and couldn’t afford to bomb the football inside as their defenders were set up and ready for the attack. Second halves have been strong for us so we knew if we could turn our disposal around then anything was possible.
The third quarter was disappointing - half time messages weren’t adhered to and we butchered the football again. Simple kicks became turnovers and turned attacking opportunities for us into attacking opportunities for them. We missed some crucial chances at goal which could have given us momentum and belief, but unfortunately only gave us disappointment and Greenvale more confidence. They took every opportunity to make us pay for our mistakes.
Four goals down going into the fourth quarter and we got off to a great start kicking the first two goals and regaining little bit of self belief. Jesse Boyd and Sam Caruso worked hard together to try and keep our chances alive. But this belief didn’t stick around for long as Greenvale responded and started to regain the ascendancy. Like most of the game, our attack was falling down and we needed to lower our eyes and hit up the short leads but we were just kicking straight to the opposition struggling to then get the ball back. We managed four goals but so did Greenvale. They took away the four points which is a very bitter pill to swallow. Jesse Boyd was challenged and responded with his best game for the season but not enough of his team mates contributed on the day. Ben Morgan, our sixteen year old first debutant, played like a man and showed some of his older teammates how to attack the football. Matt D’Angelo didn’t look out of place but due to limited entries and skill level coming inside fifty found himself defending rather then getting on the end of some ball in attack.
With a only a few points separating the top four it is becoming harder to break in. We now sit sixth on the ladder and need to win every game to finish the season off and hope some other games can fall in our favour. Either way if we continue to play the way we have been then we don’t deserve to be there come seasons end. We have gone away from what we do well with too many players along for the ride and skill level dropping below par. The best thing is though, and I constantly say this, that we have another opportunity this week to get back on the bus. Having had a week off to freshen up some sore bodies, we must now find that skill and collaboration that saw us run over Aberfeldie. We know we can do it and all in all it all comes down to belief.
Next week: Marby Park
This week with our backs against the wall we come up against top of the ladder, Marby Park. We owe this side after loosing a tight one earlier on in the year. We have to find our confidence and have a great week on the track. We have an opportunity to keep our season alive and will be a great challenge to see where this group is at and if we are willing to put it all on the line. The 22 chosen this week need to remember what they are playing for when they put on their red and black jumper, free themselves of any mental shackles off and remember what makes them the player they are. Let's get the Red and Black Army down to see what is going to be an absolute do or die game.
Final Score: Pascoe Vale 10.4-64 | Greenvale 13.16-94
Goal Kickers: M. Watson 2, K. Hardingham, G. Urquhart, P. Bunn, D. Harris, J. Boyd, B. Morgan, J. Blakemore, M. Ross
Best Players: S. Caruso, J. Boyd, M. Ross, J. Cellini, B. Morgan, K. Hardingham