Round 15: Avondale Heights at Raeburn Reserve

In football it’s amazing how long a week in between games can actually seem! As we headed out to face Avondale, the vibe around the group just wasn’t anywhere near the intensity it had been just a week before. As i said last week, every game for us now is a prelim final and every team we now face will be doing their best to crush our opportunity.

Even in our our pre-game warm up there was a sense that something was little bit off. My mind kept going back to the same though: we can’t just run through the motions and expect the same result as we had over Marby. Avondale came into the game wanting to be first in and place immense pressure on our ball carrier. They were going to really make us earn our chances to keep our season alive. The ball went up and Avondale had come prepared to play. They played with the type of intensity that we had relished the week before and kicked five goals to just one point in the opening quarter.

That was the rocket we deserved and a big wake up call to make sure we were now ready to go. We all knew that what we just dished up as a playing group was not acceptable and it was down to the 22 on the field to change it. The challenge has been laid down, and it was time to accept it and give it back. There was a strong breeze blowing in our forward direction, which give us an edge we could work with. Our mids started to hit the contest on the fly and grabbed the advantage to get the game onto our terms. Brad Inglis became dangerous up forward, providing options and kicking a crucial goal to shift momentum into our favour.

We came in at the half four points up after a seven goal to one quarter.

Our two most senior players led from the front. Paul Bunn showed his poise down back and Craig Anderson with his well known grunt in the midfield inspired the group to play that brand of football we want to play. As the group found its mojo in second half, our skill level and work rate lifted to pile on nine goals and come away with the win to keep our finals hopes alive.

The post game discussion established that it was no coincidence that we felt flat, as during the week training was flat! We need to make sure that each training session is at a standard with the intent to make sure it flows into the game come Saturday.

We are at the point of the season where we need each and every result to go our way and the responsibility for making this happens lies with the team as a whole. We need to work together as a single body and understand that we are the only ones who can control the way we approach each week - how we train, how we play and how we react to each game and opposition! It is in our hands alone to make sure that our intensity and mindset at training is focussed on driving improvements, building on what we learnt the week before. If we are presented the opportunity to play into September, we need to ensure that this is a consistent brand of football that we have trained all year and believe that our best is as good as the sides currently sitting in the top four. We will not take our opportunity for granted.

Next week: Essendon Doutta Stars at Buckley Park

This week we play Essendon Doutta Stars and they are definitely a team that the ladder position doesn’t do them justice. We need to make sure we bring our best to training and to the game as we can’t rely on flicking the switch after quarter time each week. Let’s bring the Panther army to Buckley Park for another huge game and keep our season alive.

Final score: Pascoe Vale 16.8-104  | Avondale Heights 11.7-74

Goal Kickers: M. Watson 5, B. Inglis 3, J. Polizzi 2, K. Hardingham, J. Cellini, L. Forbes, M. Ross, D. Harris, G. Urquhart
Best Players: C. Anderson, S. Caruso, B. Inglis, M. Watson, P. Bunn

Kyle Hardingham