U10-4 Red 2018
Coach: Luke McLaughlin
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Assistant Coach: Stewart Denmead
Assistant Coach: David Warwick
Team Manager: Pete Barrett
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Trainer: Richard McCaughey
Trainer: Emma Byrnes
Team Page Editor: James Wolstenholme
Photographer: Merv Louey
4 Ned Duggan-Gross
5 Vincent Khoo
6 Lucien Ihle
7 Jasper Louey
9 Finlay Wolstenholme
10 Tom Croft
11 Harvey Markovic
12 Ziggy Barrett
13 Eamonn McLaughlin
14 Roman Richardson
15 Josh Anagnostou
16 Gabriel Pintos-Lopez
17 Toby Righetti
18 Max Wills
19 Frankie Wright-Smith
20 Lewis Wilson
21 Ash Denmead
22 Will Nicholls
23 Zack Leitmanis
24 Cormac McCaughey
25 Callum Warwick
Lightning Premiership Coach’s Report
Sunday 12 August 2018
Springfield Park West, Box Hill
In the final round for the year we were again on the road, this time to contest the “Lightning Premiership” against the 5 other teams in the Under 10 Red Division, plus a couple of the gun Under 9 teams invited to make up two groups of 4 teams each. Each team would play three group games, with the highest ranked team in each group playing off for the “Lightning Premiership”. After a season of sustained development, we were keen to see how we’d stack up with this shortened format and rules. How were the coaches going to cope with no runner? Would the players go thirsty with no water carriers? And with no 3-quarter time break, when would Janet make the important strategy call to dish out the snakes!
The venue at Springfield Park West oval was on the bigger side of under 10 venues we’d played this year, but our last two wins against the “Tigers” and the “Eagles” were on larger grounds, so there was an air of confidence amongst the team we could run out three games and then see what happened. There also seemed to be a hunger in the group, mainly for the canteen’s hot dogs, but also for a chance to test our improvement against teams we’d met earlier in the season.
The pre-game coach address from Luke pointed out that two 10-minute halves would suit a team that starts well, so the message remained the same as previous weeks, with perhaps more emphasis on the “F-word”: FOCUS! Frankie had the captaincy duties for the day and lead us into our first game against The Camberwell Sharks.
The “Sharks” might have been one of the Under 9 teams but they have already developed some talent, plus must also enjoy their vegetables as they had some astonishing height within the team. Quickly we were on the back foot defending their fast ball movement and slick skills. In a blink of an eye they’d scored a goal, and after a sluggish start we started to get some ball movement with our normal rugged play and attack on the ball. Our midfield also started to get moving with Tom, Ned and Eamonn getting plenty of possessions, but just as we’d got some momentum it was all over, with Camberwell getting over us by the one goal. As further games would show they were a talented outfit, so we took confidence we had matched them for most of the game.
Next up we were against the Glen Iris “Gladiators”. Both our previous encounters had resulted in narrow losses for the Roys. This game proved to be another close encounter, with scoring proving difficult due to desperate defence from both teams. Frankie as captain lead from the front early in the game to leave his player on the backline to even up a contest further up the ground and win the ball, and Roman and Ned ran their legs off in getting back to help our defenders thwart some Gladiators attacks. The game seemed to hang on every contest, every possession, every disposal, with Glen Iris unlucky not to score when an evasive ball bounce eluded four of their unchecked players close to goal, then Zack unluckily couldn’t get the ball to behave for him in our attacking goal square. The glorious uncertainty of football meant at the final siren the scores were all tied up at two points each. A true heart-stopper, more grey hair for the coaches, but another piece of Team 4 history written with our first ever drawn game.
By the time we were ready to line up for our third game against Macleod the other results in our group meant that neither team were chance to contest the “Lightning Premiership”. But we still had 20 minutes of football left for the year and wanted to see it out with a solid effort. Macleod had the same idea, and the start of the game was played at a frantic pace. Fast rebound play characterised the first half, and our players’ legs were getting heavy after a couple of games. On the stroke of half-time Macleod scored a goal to take the lead. In the second half our ‘Roys tried in earnest to arrest the advantage, keeping the ball in our attacking zone, but Macleod kept our forward line congested to stop our usual running game towards goal. Ziggy, Will, Ned, Eamonn and Zack all had snaps under pressure but couldn’t convert. Eamonn got creative and kicked on his left foot, but at the final siren Macleod had hung onto their slim advantage for a deserved win. It wasn’t that long ago that we’d also had our first triumph of the year, and whilst our Roy boys were disappointed, I don’t think they begrudged “The Eagles” winning joy.
So, the season has come to an end. I’m sure I speak for Luke and Dave in having mixed feelings about it: relief that we get our Sunday mornings back, and more time in the work diary on a Monday, but we will really miss seeing the players learn, develop and enjoy playing a team sport each week. In forming this new team from its’ chaotic inception at the intra-club practice game in April, really, we had no idea of how this was all going to work or how it would turn out, but we are extremely proud of how all the players have committed to the team ethos of “Fun, Development and Participation”. The way they’ve bonded, celebrated, and been excited about playing each week has been a great thing to be involved in.
On behalf of the coaches, we would like to thank all the parent helpers who’ve taken on various roles so enthusiastically. The logistics of holding a game each week is enormous and requires a team effort both on and off the ground. Plenty of you have brought along your friends and family to support the team so no matter where we’ve played it’s felt like a home game! Well done! It can’t be left unsaid either that our awesome Team Manager Peter Barrett has run a well-oiled machine to allow the coaches to focus on the football, and Merv’s pictures will make a memorable collection to look back on in years to come.
And if you’re wondering what’s happening with “Fitzy”, well it’s been a big year for the young Lion, and before he starts his pre-season for 2019 he is off for a well-earned end-of-season break, boarding a plane to Bali straight after the last game. His Instagram followers report his mane is already braided and beaded, and his tan is coming along nicely.
So, for one more time this year…GO THE MIGHTY TEAM 4 LIONS!!! And hope to see you all in Under 11s in 2019.
Stew on behalf of Luke and Dave.
Round 14 coach's report - Lions v Macleod Eagles
Sunday 5 August 2018 11:30am
Winsor Reserve, Macleod
In another road trip for the Lions, we travelled to Macleod’s Winsor Reserve (aka the “Eagles Nest”) to take on their fast-improving side. In our last encounter at Alfred Crescent, the Lions broke through for our first win of the season in the wet, but this game was going to be a different affair in the dry, but very windy conditions atop the “Windy Hill” at Macleod. Both teams had 17 players named so today’s game was going to be evenly matched. Three co-captains in Harvey, Tom and Eamonn, added to our stunning run of correct calls as we again won the toss – tails never fails!! The strong breeze didn’t seem to favour either goal, so the boys elected to kick to the top end of the ground.
The first quarter got off to a scrappy start with both teams struggling to adjust to the blustery conditions. Kicking to a target was proving difficult and the ball was often in dispute. The umpire was rewarding players getting to the ball first, so our hard-tackling game was often giving away free kicks. It wasn’t until late in the quarter that we scored our first major with Ash kicking a nice goal across his body from full forward. Macleod quickly answered back with their first goal and could have easily had a second had not Cormac pounced on a dribbling kick in our defensive goal square to clear the ball away. Toby and Ziggy also combined for an interesting defensive move, with Toby lifting Ziggy up for additional height on the goal-line! At quarter-time we held a lucky two 2-point advantage. From the coaches’ box it seemed our players were hanging back from the contest, waiting for a teammate to do the hard work, which was out of character for our lads.
Coach Luke let the boys know about this during the huddle, delivering an old-fashioned “bake”, a genuine “Sunday Roast” about “getting the ball first”. To the boys’ credit they responded and came out a different team in the second quarter – Will grew a foot taller in the ruck, midfielders Tom, Harvey, Roman, Ned and Zack smashed into packs to win the ball, and our forwards kept the space open to allow our running game towards goal. The fast-moving Fitzroy machine kicked into gear, with Ash dobbing his second goal on the run, Harvey getting another in the same way, and Will taking a great mark at half forward to then cleverly allow for the wind with his shot for goal, making it three goals to none in the second quarter.
At the half-time break we had the advantage on the scoreboard, but we knew “The Eagles” would come back strongly on their home turf. With only 17 players to call on, the only player rotation was Lucien into attack and Zack into defence. At the start of the third quarter the wind had picked up, making it even more difficult for the players to control the ball by foot, but Vincent seemed to be playing in different conditions, showing his classy skills by firstly taking a strong mark overhead on the half-forward flank, then later in the quarter kicking his first goal for the Lions with a lovely snap from the pocket. Despite the wind, Macleod held the advantage in the air with some excellent marking which we had no answer for. The wind was making it hard to score at their end with plenty of the ball being blown out of bounds in their forward pocket, and our defence was remaining on task in denying them any easy ball use in their forward half. Toby played a fantastic defensive role in marking one of Macleod’s dangerous forwards and Ziggy was playing a cracking game across half-back, showing he’s just as good down back as he’d been up forward in previous weeks. At three-quarter time we lead by 20 points which we hoped would be enough to hold on.
At the start of the final quarter the wind seemed to have swung to favour our end, and some long direct kicking was creating scoring opportunities. Our midfield players kept up their run, with Tom making a fantastic dash down the wing, taking three bounces in the process…which we sadly learnt was one too many as only two are allowed in under 10s! The run and bounce theme remained though with Eamonn, Will and Ned dashing out of packs during the last quarter. The momentum was with the Lions, with Harvey adding to his goal tally with two in the quarter, his second a fantastic shot allowing for the wind from the far pocket. Ash built on his emerging reputation as a dangerous forward by kicking his third form the same pocket after receiving a slick handball from Lucien.
So, come the final siren we came out victors over the ‘’Eagles’’, but their improvement since our previous encounter was noticeable, and a lesson for our group to continue our own development to remain competitive. We were clearly beaten in the air by their tall players so our marking and spoiling will be on the agenda at our next training session.
For this week’s awards, firstly the coaches would like to point out that ALL the players strived hard towards meeting their individual player objectives, some achieving them and some we’re sure will get them next week. We were also very proud of how the team lifted their effort after quarter-time and got the fast ball movement, aka the ‘’Fitzroy Flair’’ back on the game agenda – well done! Our little furry friend ‘’Fitzy’’ went to Ash this week for his great game at full forward, and two Lionhearts went out, one to Will, for rucking all day and still having the legs to run out of packs and bounce in the last quarter, and Lucien, who though feeling unwell before and during the game, but put the team first by playing out the game and having a hand in two of our goals.
Next week is the final round for the year – the lightning premiership, where we will play three shortened games in a round-robin. We look forward to testing ourselves in this format and against some teams who got the better of us earlier in the season.
Go the mighty Team 4 Lions!
Stewart, on behalf of Luke and Dave
Round 13 coach's report - Lions v Glen Iris Gladiators
Sunday 29 July 2018 11:30 am
Ferrie Oval, Kooyong
The Mighty Team 4 Lions were on the road again this week, travelling to Ferrie Oval in Glen Iris for the second time this season. Our previous encounter against the ‘’Gladiators” was a close affair, the Lions coming back in the last quarter to fall just short of a win, and after our victory over the ‘’Tigers” last week our hopes were high of reversing the result this time.
A strong wind was lashing the diminutive oval, creating a scoring end to the southern end of the ground. Our captain for the day, Cormac, recognised this advantage when he called correctly at the toss, even adding some ‘Fitzroy Flair’ by tossing grass in the air to demonstrate the wind direction.
One of the coaching messages for our forward line this game was to create space through the middle, the avenue to goal, so our players could run forward towards goal and score, which has been one of our strengths this season. Tom got our first goal in this manner, jumping onto a loose ball to convert a goal, then Harvey quickly followed with a kick on the run to score our second. The forward plan was working and all over the ground the boys were sticking to the coaching instructions. We were rewarded with a quarter-time lead of 14 points, keeping the Gladiators scoreless.
Starting into the wind in the second quarter our defence held tight, with our midfield players Zack and Josh picking up plenty of possessions in getting back to defend. Glen Iris were attacking hard but not hitting the scoreboard, and on a rebound attack by the Lions, Jasper picked up a loose ball on our half forward line to put in his entry for goal of the year by dribbling a long kick into the wind through for a major, an amazing kick considering the conditions. This put us three goals in front and our confidence grew, but Glen Iris responded with three quick goals of their own to go into halftime with a one-point lead.
The Gladiators defence held firm in the quarter, thwarting our attacks and congesting the forward area making it difficult to score. They also added a goal into the wind before we finally broke through their defence, with Ash beating his opponent to a loose ball at half forward, then kicking straight over the goal umpire (who happened to be his Grandad Graeme) for his first ever goal for the Lions. At three-quarter time the Gladiators had a four-point advantage, and with the wind in the last quarter it was going to be a real test of the Lions to earn a victory.
Early in the last quarter the game intensified, with both teams displaying desperate efforts to win the ball. The Gladiators though had more poise in some crucial moments, with some excellent marking in their forward line and their midfield outrunning us to get numbers to the ball. They added two more goals to seal a slender victory. The intensity of the game had taken its’ toll on the Lions with Ziggy, Cormac, Vincent and Max all spending time on the bench with injuries in the quarter, so wishing a speedy recovery for you all.
So, despite just missing out against the Gladiators again, after the game their coach noted our improvement and our fearsome tackling reputation. From our coaches’ box we were proud of how the boys fought it out in the last quarter into the wind and with a depleted team due to the injuries. There were also some notable efforts from Will in executing a blind turn to avoid a tackler, Harvey tackling then stealing a ball off an opponent, and Eamonn landing plenty of bone-crunching tackles in the midfield.
‘’Fitzy” this week was earnt by Zack who put in an excellent four-quarter effort in the midfield, and our Lionheart awards went to a couple of our left-foot legends in Josh and Vincent who also put in consistent efforts across the whole game.
Next week it’s our return game against Macleod at the ‘’Eagles Nest”, so let’s hope our boys can repeat their fine effort from earlier in the season. Let’s get behind them once more – it’s the penultimate round in what’s been a great season of Development, Participation and Fun for them all!
Go the mighty Team 4 Lions!!
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave
Round 12 coach's report - Lions v Richmond Tigers
Sunday 22 July 2018 8:30am
Kevin Barlett Oval, Burnley
The Mighty Team 4 Lions travelled to “Tigerland” this week to take on the Richmond Tigers in the battle of the big cats. So far this season we’d contested with Sharks, Eagles and Bull Ants to name a few, but never another big cat…who’d roar the loudest today. Cats are territorial so a home ground advantage could prove crucial. And the large expanses of The Kevin Bartlett Reserve were going to test who could prowl and growl the distance, particularly as we had 18 Lions facing up against 22 Tigers.
After last week’s strong showing the team was confident we could go one better today. The coach’s message was (as always) get the ball first, and for today play directly down the middle on the large ground. Roman had the captaincy role and won the toss, kicking with the slight breeze towards the southern end of the ground.
Quickly it was apparent the Lions were here to play. They took the game on, getting first use of the ball and playing on at every opportunity. The larger ground needed players to run and carry the ball, and Josh ran out of a pack and took a bounce to get the ball moving forward early on, quickly followed by Tom who was showing plenty of run in the midfield. Fin was not to be outdone and performed a couple of great dashes through the half forward line into attack. We hit the scoreboard late in the quarter with some flair from Ziggy, who in shaping up for a set shot for goal, danced around the player on the mark and took off to slot through a fantastic goal. It truly was one for the highlight reel!
At quarter time we held a one-goal lead, and into the wind in the second quarter we were able to create more scoring opportunities with Max unlucky not to add to his goal tally for the year with a couple of near misses. Our midfield was working up and down the ground to help our backline cover the Tiger’s forward moves with Vincent picking up plenty of possessions. But the Tigers clawed back a goal on the stroke of half-time, leaving the Lions with a slender three-point lead at the main break.
The team structure was working well so the coach’s kept the players in the same positions for the third quarter. The sun appeared, and the wind advantage seemed to have faded, so the close margin meant the game was right in the balance. The start of the quarter was tight, with some great tackling from the Lions to keep the ball in our forward half. In a great passage of play, Lucien centred the ball from the forward pocket for Callum to mark, and go back to kick his first goal of the year, followed by wild celebrations. Ned put through a shot on the run late in the quarter, and our backline did a fantastic job in keeping the Tigers scoreless for the quarter. At three-quarter time we had a comfortable margin of 18 points, but the Tigers had the wind in the last, plus fresh players on the bench, so it was still anyone’s game.
Tom Croft had other ideas though, slotting through 2 goals early in the last quarter to put the result beyond doubt, then Eamonn capped off his solid game with a goal as well. The Tigers scored a couple of late goals to peg back the margin but come the final siren it was the Lions roaring their team song loudly in celebration.
Many of the parents have commented on the improvement shown by the team, and from the coaches’ box it has been rewarding to see their development and confidence grow in recent weeks. Josh’s run and bounce, Fin’s dashes and Toby’s left foot kick were just some examples, but this week’s game was a true ‘’team effort” where all the players lifted their game.
Fin picked up Fitzy for the week for his outstanding game, and Tom’s four-quarter performance earnt him the Lionheart Award. We should also acknowledge our backline players for keeping the Tigers scoreless in the first and third quarters, our forward line for wearing their straight kicking boots after half-time (5 goals 3 points for the half), and our midfield for their tireless running on the big ground.
Thanks again to all the parent helpers and supporters. Your vocal support made it feel like a home game and we could sense your pride in the players as they sang the song in the room afterwards.
We look forward to our next game against the Glen Iris Gladiators.
Go the mighty Team 4 Lions!!
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave
Round 11 coach's report - Lions v Preston Bull Ants
Sunday 15 July 2018 10:00 am
Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy
Round 11 saw the return to football for the team after the 2 week school holiday break. This week the boys were to face Preston Bullants, the team who played the wide open spaces of Preston city oval so very well the last time we played them. They played the wide open space so well last time that our boys failed to bother the scoreboard at all! The coaching team went into this game with somewhat of a defensive mindset considering the result of the previous encounter. Conditions were fine but blustery with a strong cold northerly favouring the city end of the ground. We welcomed Vincent back for his first game since the previous time we played Preston and he was the nominated captain for the day. With instructions to go with the wind, Vincent won the toss and we were kicking with the wind. With Preston a player short we had to lend one to them each quarter. This was done so on a volunteer basis and it was a sign of what a great bunch of kids this group is that someone volunteered each quarter. Ziggy, Lewis, Toby and Gabe volunteered for this job. The coaching team reinforced the basics that we have been practising all season about getting the ball first and helping team mates and running hard and the game got underway.
The first quarter showed just how much improvement we have made as a team as we got first use of the ball and kicked away to a 10 point lead at quarter time. Ned was playing with his customary dash and flair and the midfield was really on top for most of the quarter. Harvey and Tom were getting to the ball with pace, Callum was winning the taps and Roman’s attack on the ball could only be described as ferocious. Ziggy lined up with the opposition for the quarter and kicked a point for Preston (Crofty promised him many push ups if he kicked truly- don’t tell the Preston coach…).
The second quarter got underway and the boys faced a stiff challenge into the wind to maintain control of the game. They played an excellent quarter of football, with evidence of collective concentration and attention to the task at hand. The result was that we kicked 2 goals 1 point with some great forward play and teamwork to Preston’s 2 goals and 3 points. In the second quarter all the boys really got into the game, some of the highlights were Cormac’s excellent shepherd for Will who very nearly kicked a great running goal from the hardest pocket, Vincent’s kicking out from full back was spot on and the mids were all looking dangerous and lively, Josh, Toby and Lucien were playing tight defensive roles and Lewis was in charge at full back, and of course Max kicked his first goal!
So we went into the halftime break in front by 8 points, an unusual situation for the team. We discussed what we needed to do in the third quarter and all agreed that we really needed to make the most of the wind to get a buffer before the final quarter. The Bullants must have sensed this and came out from half time with renewed vigour and started to even the contest and managed 1 goal into the wind to our 1 goal with the wind. So we went into ¾ time 11 points up.
At ¾ time the team agreed that we would need a big last quarter effort to hold Preston off. Preston saved their best for last and got right on top with the breeze to pile on 3 goals 2 points to our solitary goal into the wind. I will mention our last goal- a great clearance from the centre and 3 bounces and a goal into the wind- great work from Eamonn. So the mathematicians amongst you all will have worked out that this left us 3 points short for the game, disappointing but what incredible improvement from this team of champs who were so thoroughly thrashed by this team 5 games ago. The Fitzty Award this week went to Will for great leadership and efforts in the forward line- well done, and the Lion Hearted Award went to Fin for his focus in the backline and for very nearly taking a great overhead mark (I’m sure he will clunk the next one).
It was a really positive day for the team today, with everyone contributing to a close and exciting game. I am looking forward to next Sunday already.
Round 10 coach's report - Lions v Camberwell Sharks
Sunday 24 June 2018 11:30am
Lynden Oval, Camberwell (aka “Shark Park’’)
Team 4 had their longest road trip of the year in travelling to take on the Camberwell Sharks at “Shark Park’’. After last week’s cold, wet game it seemed a relative pleasure to be playing on a cool and dry Melbourne day of 12 degrees. Our hopes were high after breaking our winning ‘’duck’’ last week against the Eagles, and with our good showing in the previous encounter against the Sharks.
Ned and Tom were the co-captains and won the toss. kicking with the obvious slope towards the southern end of the ground. With the passing of the winter solstice this week it seems downhill to summer now, so hopefully today it would also be downhill to goal. Quickly Zack hit the scoreboard with a major, his second in two weeks, but as he’d been leant to the Sharks to even up the team numbers he’d put them in front!! Travesty!! As the Sharks celebrated, the Lions remonstrated, but we ask our players to try their best so no hard feelings Zack. Our Lions quickly evened up the ledger with Will kicking a long. long, long, goal from set shot, his first of the year (The Fitzroy of old had a player called ‘’Superboot’’, Bernie Quinlan, who could kick a long way so we’re hoping Will develops the same talent). Harvey put us in front by a slender point late in the quarter in unluckily slamming a shot on the run into the goal post.
The downhill end of the ground had a distinct advantage and the Sharks used their local knowledge in the second quarter by peppering the goals. Our defence kept us hanging into the contest admirably, with Eamonn clearing plenty of loose ball at half back and some desperate efforts from our backline in the last line of defence. At half time the Sharks were on top on the (very fancy electronic) scoreboard but there was still a chance to arrest the momentum with our downhill advantage in the third quarter.
In the second half the Sharks showed some class with great high marking and running to create loose players. Our Lions legs seemed heavy after last week’s stellar effort in the wet, and even with the slope advantage couldn’t convert our efforts onto the scoreboard. Callum wasn’t giving up in the ruck though, giving our players first use of the ball, and he pulled off a great overhead mark on the half-back line to thwart a Sharks attack late in the quarter. Our effort in getting to the ball first had taken toll, with some of our previous ‘’Fitzy’’ recipients, firstly Ned, then Max, succumbing to injury, then Tom sustaining an ankle injury. In the last quarter with the downhill advantage the Sharks were able to run over us and get some late goals. Our highlights were Callum (still) dominating the ruck in giving Ziggy and Jasper (who never gave up running the whole game) first use of the ball, and Eammon pulling off a fantastic chase and tackle to save a certain goal in the dying stages of the quarter.
At the end we’d been beaten on the scoreboard but as the Sharks coach Lyall acknowledged, the Lions had improved from earlier in the season. The game was played in a great spirit and both team’s coaches hope our encounters will create great rivalry in the years to come.
For our team awards, it was great to see Callum’s development in the ruck, earning ‘’Fitzy’’ for his great body use in tap outs. Callum shouldered the ruckwork for the second half, and the way he teamed with the midfield in the last quarter shows have much to look forward to for the rest of the season. Jasper earnt the ‘’Lionheart’’ award for never giving up with his running and chasing.
Thanks again to the parent helpers and supporters for getting behind the team. Enjoy your school holiday break – make some time to get out with your kids to kick/handball/mark/tackle/shepherd/bump (they love the rough stuff!!) and most importantly encourage your Lionhearted lads and lasses to do their best.
See you all at the next outing of the mighty TEAM 4 LIONS!
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave.
Round 9 coach's report - Lions v Macleod Eagles
Sunday 17 June 2018 8:30 am
Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy
Winter well and truly arrived for this week’s game at Alfred Crescent. It was raining cats and dogs as the Lions prepared to take on the Eagles. Players, team helpers and supporters were going to be tested by the wintry conditions, not to mention the parent’s washing machines that would be dealing with the clean-up afterwards.
Harvey and Eamonn were the co-captains and won the toss, kicking with the wind (and rain) to the North Fitzroy end. Our team mantra of ‘’getting to the ball first’’ was going to be more important than ever on a wet day, and we were rewarded for this early with Lucien earning a free kick in front of goal which he converted into his first ever goal for the Lions. Macleod quickly answered with a goal into the wind before Ned kicked truly late in the quarter to give us a slender lead at quarter time.
The team spirit was positive at the quarter-time break, even in the wet and cold conditions, and into the wind in the second quarter the Lions created plenty scoring opportunities by getting the ball moving forward with long direct kicks. Ned again scored a major and Harvey, who was moving well at half forward, quickly added another. Zack also scored, kicking his first goal for the Lions. It was fantastic team effort for the quarter, one of the highlights being a slick chain of handballs involving Callum, Ziggy and Tom on the wing that belied the slippery conditions.
At half-time we retreated to the rooms for some relief from the weather. The cold and wet was starting to bite but the player’s commitment remained strong. After some valiant defeats, the chance of a victory today started to seem real, but as Gabe pointed out in the huddle ‘’we can’t slacken off’’, and in the third quarter the team remained on task. Tom, after showing in the first half he can kick on his right foot as well as his left, added a goal then Ned added to his own tally. These scoring opportunities were being created by some great work in the midfield from Callum, using his size in the ruck and in contests, Ash on the wing kicking long and Toby at half forward creating a marking target.
Gabe and Cormac chased and tackled hard on the backline, and Lewis mopped up in the goal square. As coaches it was rewarding to see the efforts of all our players, especially in slippery conditions, showing they are taking onboard coaching advice and concentrating throughout the game.
As the final quarter started we held a comfortable lead, but the team stuck to the game plan of kicking the ball long. We again scored three goals into the wind as we’d done in the second quarter, and at full time, we’d more than doubled our previous highest score of the year by ending up with 10 goals, AND this time we’d achieved victory, our first for the year, which the boys well and truly revelled in when the siren sounded. They had been building to this for several weeks with their application to development of their footy knowledge and skills. It was a well and truly deserved victory.
In the rooms after the game he team song was sung with plenty of gusto, with the parents joining in the circle. Our new Mascot “Maggie’’ (Fin’s sister) also joined in the festivities. We’re hoping you’re our lucky charm!
In a fantastic overall team effort, any number of players could have been deserving of ‘’Fitzy’’, but there’s only one of him and today Ned was rewarded for applying himself over four quarters and getting the reward for this with his four goals. Our ‘’Lionheart’’ award went to two players who raised their game this week, Callum and Ash. Keep up the good effort!
Thanks again to the parent helpers and supporters for getting behind the team this week. It wasn’t a pleasant day to be outside but I’m sure you all felt proud of how well the team applied themselves in the tough conditions. See you at the next outing, hopefully in nicer weather, of the mighty TEAM 4 LIONS!
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave.
Round 8 coach's report - Lions v Glen Iris Gladiators
Sunday 3 June 2018 12:00 pm
Ferrie Oval, Kooyong
Team 4 travelled south-east today take on the Glen Iris Gladiators at the very compact ‘’Ferrie Oval’’ in Kooyong. On arrival at the ground any fears parents had of getting a decent coffee south of the river were put to rest with the home team having a real coffee machine and barista on hand. The coaches thought they could also use our runner ‘’Crofty’’ to ferry coffees back to the coach’s box, to which he politely declined.
Frivolity aside, importantly, today’s round coincided with the AFL’s indigenous round. Fitzroy continues to have a long association with indigenous players. The first “known aboriginal” player, Joe Johnson played for the Lions on 1904, and in 1935 Fitzroy’s (Pastor) Doug Nicholls, whom this year’s AFL indigenous round is named after, became Victoria’s first Indigenous state representative.
As for our prospects this week, after a couple of tough games where we’d found scoring difficult, the coaches were hopeful of some scoreboard joy on this smaller ground. Coach Luke thought a more open forward line could help this cause, so the forward structure was altered by moving two of our forwards up the ground to create space in the forward half. Along with this, the big pre-game message for the players was to maintain concentration throughout the game.
Frankie and Finlay were the co-captains this week and we won another toss, electing to kick to the city end of the ground back towards Fitzroy (which seems to be theme with the co-captains). Conditions at the very sociable 12pm start time were perfect – glorious sunshine and not a breath of wind greeted the players as they ran onto the ground.
The game got underway and the Roys got a little handball happy, with a few missing their target leading to turnovers. But to the boys’ credit they kept this attacking style of play going and put together a great passage of play on the far wing to transition the ball forward with four perfectly executed handballs. Maybe our coaching drills were starting to pay off!
On the small ground the ball was up and down to each end regularly, but great defence from both teams was preventing any goals. The deadlock was broken by a great display of pressure chasing and tackling in our forward line, with Ned getting onto a loose ball in the 30-metre arc and coolly slotting through a goal for the Roys to take an early lead! One-two-three-four, Fitzroy Lions, we’re on the board! Great celebrations ensued, but this seemed to sting the Gladiators into action, and through some excellent foot passing and marking by their players they pegged back a couple of goals by the end of the quarter. They could have had a few more save for Lewis’ defiant efforts on the last line of defence – he was often outnumbered but not outgunned! Roman took his game to a new level by executing an amazing blind-turn late in the quarter. I guess in a contest involving ‘’Lions’’ and ‘’Gladiators’’, a ‘’Roman’’ would have to be involved! (Readers – apologies for this terrible pun, but too good to pass up IMO!!!)
At quarter-time the mood was buoyant in the team huddle. There was some real belief that they were creating an even contest against the Gladiators. Josh came on from the interchange to give Finlay a spell and set about being a tackling machine early in the quarter. The boys kept up their first quarter momentum by holding the ball in our forward zone for most of the quarter and were rewarded for their hard work when Ned kicked to the ‘’hot spot’’ at the top of our goal square for Ziggy to take a great mark then convert from a set shot. Our midfield ‘’talls’’ of Callum, Gabe and Ash were doing a great job in the ruck against much taller opponents and gave Zack, Jasper and Tom first use of the ball through the middle of the ground.
We went into the half-time break with a small deficit on the scoreboard to the Gladiators, reflecting the closeness of the contest. The pre-game message of ‘’concentration ‘’ was reinforced by the coaches, and the player rotations took place to give our midfield a shot in the forward line, our backs to the midfield, and our forwards reversed their roles to play defence in the backline. What didn’t rotate was our Fruit Sponsor’s selection of oranges for the long break – the ‘’tangy’’ flavour remained from previous weeks, but none of the boys complained which shows that along with their footy skills, their palate is expanding.
There is an old saying in football that ‘’tall players don’t get any shorter as the game gets longer’’, and in the third quarter the Gladiators talls started to assert their height with some great marks around the ground and in front of goal. Through this, the game swung away from our ‘’Lionhearted’’ style of pressure and tackling, and onto the Gladiator style of long kicks and marks.
Three quarter-time came with the Gladiators holding a comfortable, but not insurmountable, lead on the scoreboard. The mood was still upbeat in the Roys huddle, and on the small ground the boys felt there was the opportunity to add to our score and give our supporters something to get excited about. We reflected on our round one last-quarter, where the jelly-snakes helped us power on two goals. Today, Coach Luke also swung some unprecedented rotations with the players…I won’t go into detail as to give away the game plan, but as will be revealed, let’s just call it ‘’Coaching Magic’’.
Right from the bounce it was like the Roys had grown a foot taller and a yard faster. Our rejigged set-up projected the ball forward into our forward line constantly, giving our forwards plenty of chances to score, which they did – Ziggy added to our goal tally with a great shot on the run, and Eamonn showed why he earnt Fitzy in the last game with a great mark (then goal) in the goal square. Despite this scoring flair, our defensive mindset of chasing and tackling remained. From the coach’s box it was hard to pick any player that didn’t lay an effective tackle in the last quarter. It was also encouraging to see our players do the ‘’small things’’, like shepherding and chasing which forced errors by the opposition. In defence our ‘’goalkeeper’’ Lewis kept the Gladiators at bay with some great defending, just as he’d done in the first quarter. It was by far our best quarter of the year on the scoreboard – we’d added three goals, two points to the score and kept the Gladiators to just the one goal. At the final siren we’d also kicked our highest score of the season in 5.3.33, so well done to the boys – another milestone to better in upcoming games.
So how did we do this? Was it the snakes? Was it the ‘’Coaching Magic’’? It was probably a teeny-tiny bit of each, but ultimately, it’s the players out on the ground who make things happen, and today you made the coaches, parents and supporters extremely proud with how you played the game and how you are improving. Keep up your good efforts, we have just hit the half-way point of the season, you’ve learnt so much already so imagine how much further we can go in the coming games.
Coinciding with Fitzroy’s association with indigenous culture and the AFL’s indigenous round, medals were awarded to a player on both teams who demonstrated ENDURANCE, TENACITY, COURAGE, LOYALTY & PRIDE. Our team 4 player to receive this was Ziggy, number 12. Ziggy had a great game today and along with his individual efforts he was a fantastic team voice in offering encouragement to team mates.
‘’Fitzy’’ was awarded to Lewis. Lewis has made a spot for himself in our defensive line up and today showed he has taken onboard coaching advice with his diligent manning up in the backline.
Thanks again to the parent helpers and supporters for getting to the game to support the boys. Your encouragement helps bring out the best efforts in our team. Enjoy your long weekend break and see you at the next outing of the mighty TEAM 4 LIONS!
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave.
Round 7 coach's report - Lions v Hawthorn Citizens
Sunday 27 May 2018 10:00 am
Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy
It’s Round 7, and we could forget about winter being around the corner with today’s forecasted sunshine and warm temperature of 20 degrees being spot on as Team 4 hosted Hawthorn at Alfred Crescent.
The team had trained well during at our Monday session this week, our best session of the year, with our continued focus being on getting to the ball first and competing hard. Last week’s game was a tough one on the big oval at Preston, and pre-game we had lost Ned to a hip injury, Frankie to illness, and our newest recruit Vincent managed to get himself concussed in a game of basketball (isn’t basketball supposed to be non-contact?). He joined us in the coach’s box as our guest assistant coach for the day. There was also an injury cloud over Tom who banged his knee last week, but in true Lionhearted spirit he got himself up and ready to play today so we had 18 players take the field.
Gabe and Max were the co-captains, and Hawthorn made the right call at the toss and elected to kick to the North Fitzroy end of the ground. With the latest team chant of ‘’get the ball’’ still ringing in the player’s ears, the game got off to a scrappy start with every possession being hard fought and the umpire letting the play go by not adjudicating many free kicks or ball ups. The Roys were putting into practice their contested skills well, and it wasn’t until late in the quarter that the talented Hawks were able to break free and score. The Lions put together some promising passages of play, in particular Ziggy, Zack and Harvey being able to string a series of passes along the wing in front of the coach’s area, which is a sure way for players to end up in the coach’s report in doing their best work under the coach’s noses!
At the quarter-time break Coach Luke reinforced the game plan of ‘’get to the ball first’’, but he may have said this a little too loudly as it seemed Hawthorn overheard this instruction and did just that, jumping us at the start of the second quarter in adding some quick goals. They executed their passing and marking in a classy way, but there was always the threat of a Lionhearted tackle coming their way, which our boys have been doing each game, so we were able to withhold some of their attacks throughout the rest of the quarter. Max and Will also took a couple of goal-saving marks in the last line of defence.
At half-time the coaches applied the usual rotation of the backs to the midfield, the midfield to the forward line and the forwards to the backline. The half-time oranges again had some extra tang in them according to the food critics within the team, but it didn’t seem to affect the rate of consumption. By the way we attacked the start of the 3rd quarter it could also be our trump card as the boys held the ball in our forward half for the early part of the quarter, with Jasper unlucky not to score a goal with a shot on the run and Fin having a snap for goal smother by a desperate Hawks defender.
Toby, Ziggy and Eamonn were also working well together at the ball ups with their structure, but the Hawks midfield were aware of this and started to rove our taps and win the ball back towards their goals. The Hawks running was also cutting holes in our defence. The coaches were looking for answers to stop their run, one suggested remedy being to tie the weights holding the coach’s marquee down to the Hawks midfield but deemed not to be in the spirit of Under 10’s football so we stuck to the usual game plan. There were some great chasing and tackling efforts with the umpire rewarding Tom and Eamonn with free kicks for their long chases and tackles late in the quarter.
At the start of the final quarter, despite being well behind on the scoreboard the Lions kept persevering in their effort to get to the ball first and making it a tough contest for the Hawks. It was encouraging to see our players take on the game by running with the ball and ripping it from opponents’ hands in packs. Jasper did a fantastic pick up on the run in the midfield and we were unlucky to score our first goal when Roman was mobbed by four Hawks defenders in our attacking goal square – he might have been able to handle three defenders but four was just too much!
So, another hard-fought game came to an end for Team 4. After the final siren, again the opposition coach acknowledged our tackling and team spirit by playing the game out right to the final siren.
The team awards this week went to Eamonn, who earned ‘’Fitzy’’ by giving his best across four quarters of the game and laying some textbook tackles on much larger opponents. Roman received the ‘’Lionheart’’ award for knowing his individual objective and putting it into play throughout the game.
All-in-all a testing game for the boys playing against a classy team who could score regularly, so good on the Roys for battling it out until right to the end and making the Hawks earn the win. Thanks again to the parent helpers and supporters for getting to the game to support the boys. Each week we see new supporters at the games whether it be family friends, grandparents, uncles, aunties or cousins, which I’m sure offers further encouragement to the boys to give their best out on the ground. So keep spreading the word about the mighty TEAM 4 LIONS!
See you all next game.
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave.
Round 6 coach's report - Lions v Preston Bullants
Sunday 20 May 2018 8:30 am
Preston City Oval, Preston
Words: Coach Stewart
Photographs: Jasper’s dad, Merv
It’s Round 6, and winter is just around the corner, with a cool and grey morning greeting the Team 4 Lions as we travelled to Preston City Oval to play the Preston Bullants. First impressions of the ground on arrival was the size of it – it was massive! The Oval is the home of Carlton’s VFL team “The Northern Blues’’ so it’s full-sized ground, which our boundary umpire Andy Righetti didn’t seem too impressed with as he’d have to run up and down it for an hour! As Coach Luke preaches to the boys “Footy is a running game”, and that includes boundary umpires to, so today we were going to have to run our legs off. Even the changerooms were enormous and it felt like we’d hit the big time with a proper siren and coach’s box.
We welcomed our newest recruit Vincent Khoo to the team for his first game for the Lions. Lucien and Lewis were the co-captains and made the right call at the toss, electing to kick to the southern end, back towards Fitzroy.
The Bullants were a couple of players short today so in the YJFL’s spirit or participation we rotated two of our players onto their team each quarter to even up the teams, which meant every kid got to play a full four quarters of the game. Gabe and Tom donned the Bullants jumpers first up and promised to ‘’try their best’’ against their usual Roys team mates.
The Bullants made the best of their opportunities in the first quarter and had our backline under pressure with some brisk ball movement and excellent marking around the ground. They were also kicking well for goal and added four straight goals for the quarter. Zack and Max were mopping up any loose balls in the backline and Josh, Ziggy and Toby put together a fantastic passage of play through the centre of the ground to move the ball into our forward line.
At the quarter-time break Coach Luke reinforced the game plan of ‘’getting to the ball first’’. The Umpire for the day was doing an excellent job of rewarding the player going for the ball, and even through our tackling pressure was excellent again, the player getting to the ball first and making the play was getting more free kicks than the tackler.
The boys took note of this in the second quarter and put much more pressure onto the Bullants by getting to more contests and being vigorous with their attack on the ball. The ‘’bump bags’’ used at training seem to have paid off as well with a couple of players executing their first bumps of the season. We also saw our newbie Vincent take a couple of fantastic marks on the wing.
At half-time the coaches rotated the backs to the midfield, the midfield to the forward line and the forwards to the backline. Will and Frankie joined the Bullants for the quarter, taking over from Cormac and Lewis.
The half-time oranges apparently had some extra tang today which kept the boys alert throughout the third quarter. Our defensive skills picked up as well, including Max taking a couple of excellent marks deep in the backline and Fin wearing his opponent like a glove by not giving him an inch of ground during the quarter. Harvey was picking up plenty of kicks across the backline and the boys gave the new ‘’huddle’’ strategy a go when kicking out from full-back.
The final quarter showed that a pack of Bullants can have quite a sting, enough to knock over a few Lions, as they pulled away from us with some great marking and ball movement, which is something our players can learn from as they develop their skills. Tom copped a ‘sting’ to his knee so had to come off in the last quarter, so ironically in loaning a couple of players to the opposition we ended up one short at the end of the game!
After the final siren, again the opposition acknowledged they were out-tackled by the Roys and we look forward to working hard on our skills and taking on the Bullants later in the season on our smaller home ground at Alfred Crescent.
The team awards this week went to Max, who earned ‘’Fitzy’’ by showing he’s been listening to coaching advice (as well as taking a couple of great marks on the last line of defence), and Ziggy, who picked up the ‘’Lionheart Award’’ for trying his best across all four quarters.
All-in-all a pretty tough day out for all the boys in playing on the big VFL ground, and playing four quarters, so good on them for sticking it out to the end. Thanks again to the parent helpers and supporters for getting up early on a Sunday morning for the away game and supporting your kids sport.
See you all next game.
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave.
Round 5 coach's report - Lions v Camberwell Sharks
Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy
Words: Coch Stewart
Photographs: Jasper’s dad, Merv
Hello all, with a special call out to all the mums for Mother’s Day!
This week the Team 4 Lions hosted the Camberwell Sharks at home on Mother’s Day. After all the rain during the week we were expecting a wet and muddy outing, but the ground was in fantastic condition and bathed in glorious sunshine during pre-game warm up.
Our most recent ‘’Fitzy’’ recipient, Josh, fell ill before the game so we were down to one player on the bench for the game. Cormack and Ziggy were the co-captains and made the right call of “tails’’ (tails never fails apparently!) to win the toss and kick to the North Fitzroy end with the wind.
This week was our first game after the grading had been sorted out over the first four rounds. Some of our prior opponents were put up a grade and we were moved down a grade, so we were hopeful of a good showing in a more evenly matched competition. In the rooms, Team Manager Pete pumped out the Fitzroy song as the team ran out and the boys were looking ready to play.
Despite kicking into the wind, Camberwell jumped out of the blocks and had three quick goals on the board before our boys settled and got into the swing of proceedings. Lewis was sticking to his pre-game instructions of being ‘goal-keeper’ by stopping a couple of goals on the last line of defence and Ash made a fantastic shepherd in the middle of the ground to allow Tom to run onto a loose ball. Our team effort again was excellent, dominating parts of the quarter with Ned converting our hard work into a fantastic goal in the final minute to keep the score-line close. The Coach’s box was expecting wild celebrations after the goal, but the boys had their ‘game-faces’ on today and quickly got back to their positions ready to go again.
At the quarter-time break Coach Luke reinforced the game plan of ‘’getting to the ball first’’ and it paid off immediately with some excellent ball movement into our forward line that lead a great goal to Ziggy after copping a free kick for a high tackle, and Tom snatching a fantastic mark in between four Sharks players in the forward pocket, which he converted into a goal after a set shot. We had the momentum with our runner Dave Warwick running as hard as the players in delivering coach’s messages to the boys to keep this going – if we could award “Fitzy’’ for pure running distance (and of course if parents were eligible) he would have got close!
The Sharks had the wind, but our backline was manning up well with Harvey kicking cleverly out from full back to Roman on a couple of occasions. A fantastic quarter from the boys, equalling their best score in a quarter this year of two goals.
At half-time the coaches rotated the backs to the midfield, the midfield to the forward line and the forwards to the backline. Toby came off the bench and jumped into the forward line for some fresh legs. Kicking with the wind we created plenty of chances to score, with Tom slotting through his second goal of the game through a shot on the run and Roman unlucky to just miss a goal from the pocket after taking a great mark. The team kept their defensive mindset as well by restricting Camberwell from scoring in the quarter. and at three quarter time the scoreboard reflected the tightness of the contest, with Canterbury just 6 points in front.
During the final quarter the Sharks took their chances with the wind and kicked two quick goals that made it hard for our Lions to peg back the margin despite some good efforts across the ground. Come the final siren we ended up falling just short by those a couple of goals, but there were plenty of positive signs from the game with our Roys equalling our highest goal tally of the year so far with four,and showing they are taking on board the coach’s advice about positioning and structure. Each week it’s encouraging to see the improvement in their application of footy skills.
For the team awards, Jasper’s consistent running efforts in the midfield and backline to get to contests got him ‘’Fitzy’’ for the week, and Zack picked up the ‘’Lionheart Award’’ for giving his best across all four quarters. A shout out to Cormac as well for playing all the game with an injured toe.
And as a special touch for Mother’s Day, in the rooms afterwards the boys got the mums into middle of the team huddle for a resounding rendition of the team song!
Thanks again to the parent helpers and supporters for getting behind the boys each week.
See you all next game.
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave.
Round 4 coach's report - Lions v Canterbury Cobras
Fitzroy Lions v Canterbury Cobras
6 May 2018, 10am at Alfred Crescent, Fitzroy
Words: Coach Stewart
Greetings Parents and Carers,
This week the Team 4 Lions hosted the Canterbury Cobras at home. Perfect weather greeted the teams and Alfred Crescent looked a picture in the autumn sunshine.
For the second week in a row we fielded our full list of 20 Roy Boys. Callum and Josh were the co-captains. Instead of a coin toss to determine which team kicked to what end, a game of rock-paper-scissors took place, which Canterbury won and decided to kick with a slight breeze to the playground end.
Whatever the Roys had for breakfast worked because they came out full of vigour and lived up to the ‘’lionheart’’ name by scrapping hard for every possession during the first quarter. The ball remained in our attacking half for most of the quarter, Tom being unlucky to graze the goal post with a kick on the run for goal. Roman, Toby and Eammon were doing good things with the ball when they had it, but the stand out from the Coach’s box was ALL the boys heaping pressure onto Canterbury when they had the ball, and the backline sticking to their mantra of manning up and organising themselves well. It was by far our best quarter of the year to date and with a bit of luck we could have converted our hard work onto the scoreboard a little more.
At the quarter-time break the team were revved up, and they continued to take their pressure and tackling intensity into second quarter. Canterbury were clearly a good outfit with a few of their taller players starting to get on top of the contest, but our tackling efforts persisted. Eamonn’s chase and tackle to save a certain goal, and Max desperately stopping a couple of scoring opportunities for the Cobras on our last line of defence stood out amongst a solid team effort.
Half-time came and the coaches rotated the backs to the midfield, the midfield to the forward line and the forwards to the backline. Ned and Roman came off the bench and both had an impact with their dash of the half back line. Canterbury’s taller players were picking off marks in both halves of the ground, making it hard for our boys to transition the ball forward, but to our player’s credit they stuck to the game plan of getting to the ball first and making the opposition work hard to win possession. The effort was still fantastic with Zac making a couple of desperate smothers on the wing in front of the coach’s box, and Toby clearing the ball off the half backline so regularly that his kicking boot gave way!
At the 3-quarter time break, whilst the snakes were being distributed, our Trainer Richard quickly put his first aid training to use by taping up Toby’s boot with surgical precision. Our boys will be in good hands if they’re ever injured.
During the final quarter the Cobras started to pull away from us. They were moving the ball quickly and putting the pressure on our backline by keeping the ball in their attacking half. Josh was having a great day out in the backline though and pulled off a desperate chase and tackle in the back pocket to save a certain goal. The Cobras forwards were certainly wary of a Fitzroy jumper chasing them after that! Ziggy also added some flair to the final quarter with a run and bounce towards goal that came agonisingly close to posting a goal.
After the final siren the Canterbury coach acknowledged our Boys tenacity and fight right to the end of the game. Canterbury have won all their games, but they reckon they had to fight their hardest to beat the Roys. This week was also umpire appreciation week and our umpire Tess did an outstanding job of keeping the game flowing and rewarding some excellent marking and tackling during the game.
For the team awards, Josh’s efforts in playing the game out right to the final siren in the backline got him ‘’Fitzy’’ for the week, and Toby picked up the ‘’Lionheart Award’’ (Most Courageous Player) for his consistency over the whole game…some of it on just one functioning boot!
So, after four weeks into the season, as coaches we are noticing improvement in the team with their skills, understanding of positioning, and general game sense, so hats off to the boys for listening to us and putting things into practice during the game. Their effort, and an attitude of never giving up is something we haven’t had to teach so if they keep this up we will go a long way!
Thanks again to the parent helpers and supporters for being there to make the game happen for all the boys.
See you all next week.
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave.
Round 3 Match report from Coach Stewart
Fitzroy 10.4 v Brunswick West
Clifton Park West, Brunswick
Greetings Parents and Carers
This week the Team 4 Lions travelled over to Brunswick to take on the Brunswick West Dragons, the parents appreciating the very sociable start time of 11.30am after last weekend’s early kick-off.
During the week we welcomed our newest recruit Finlay into the team and for the first time this season we fielded our full list of 20 Roy Boys. The enthusiasm amongst the group was high after our good showing last week at home. Pre-game preparation was done out on the ground, including the unveiling of our team goal celebration, the ‘’Floss’’, which we hoped would get a good run during the game.
During the preparation the weather was looking like it could go either way with some wind and intermittent drizzle about. The wind was blowing to the northern end of the ground, which also appeared to be slightly downhill from the centre, so there was a definite advantage to that end. Our captains for the day, Roman and Ash, were right onto this and made the right call of ‘’heads’’ at the toss, electing to kick with the wind in the first quarter.
Right from the first bounce it was clear the Dragons were a well-drilled and highly skilled team. Leading up to the game the coaching group had been given a hint from Ziggy that the Dragons were a good outfit, and they lived up to this reputation. The Roy Boys had their work cut out with our backline under the pump and our midfield scrambling to get numbers back to help them. There were some excellent efforts to repel the Dragon’s attacks on goal, with Ash’s tackling and Tom’s long clearing kicks standing out for the quarter.
The Quarter time siren rang and despite being behind on the scoreboard the boys were still confident of doing well. Lucien and Gabe came on from the bench to add some fresh legs and the team attacked the ball early on to create several opportunities with Ziggy was finding plenty of the ball. On one forward foray, Eamonn took an excellent mark in the left forward pocket, then steadied himself on the set shot to slot through an excellent goal from a 45-degree angle. There was “Flossing” aplenty afterwards: the forwards, the mids, the backs, the interchange…even some parents had a Floss.
Kicking with the wind, the Dragons had plenty of opportunities to score but missed several goals due to the tackling pressure of the Lions. Our backs were also doing well in kicking out to the defensive side of the ground and making the Dragons fight hard for any score.
Half-time came just as the wind and drizzle stopped. The coaches rotated the backs to the midfield, the midfield to the forward line and the forwards to the backline. At the start of the 3rdquarter Callum (in the ruck) and Tom (roving) combined well for some clearances out of the midfield, but with the wind stopped we lost our scoring-end advantage and found it much tougher to keep the Dragons from scoring at their end. Our ‘new’ backline quickly adapted to their roles though with Jasper desperately saving several scores on the last line of defence and Roman dashing off the half back line and pumping a magnificent torpedo into our forward half. And who could forget Frankie’s ‘’gut-busting’’ smother in the goal square to stop a Dragon goal (lucky we had a later start to the game or he could have lost his breakfast!)
By 3-quarter time our boys were looking tired, but once again the arrival of the snakes pepped them up for one more effort in the last quarter. The Dragons must have had the same 3-quarter time diet though as they kept up the pressure on our backline during the fourth quarter. It took some great defensive efforts to save goals, with Cormac smashing into a pack to grab the ball out then clear it with a kick one of the highlights.
So, to wrap up, whilst we were beaten on the scoreboard, the Roy Boys certainly earnt the respect of the Dragons by never giving up and making them earn every score. Tom Croft’s excellent efforts in the backline and midfield were rewarded by receiving the Coach’s award and taking care of Fitzy for the week, and Cormac picked up the Lionheart Award (Most Courageous Player) for throwing himself into many tackles and pack contests during the game.
Thanks again to the parent helpers and supporters for being there to make the game happen for all the boys.
See you all next week.
And long live the ‘’Floss”’
Stewart on behalf of Luke and Dave.
Round 2 Match Report from Coach Luke
Well, round 2 is done and dusted. The boys had a great game at our home ground at Alfred Crescent Oval. Conditions could only be described as perfect; not a breath of wind, warm and light cloud with a wink of sun peeking through. The captains for the day were Jasper and Will.
We formed up for the Anzac Day formalities and paid our respects to servicemen and women in a nice low key ceremony.
It was clear from the first bounce that this was going to be another tough assignment as the boys were outsized and also out helmeted (apart from Cormac).
Surrey Park were moving the ball slickly and quickly set up a couple of goals. Tom and Zack in the midfield were driving the ball forward and our backs were pushing forward led by Harvey and Roman.
The Roy boys were not to be denied and applied great team pressure through great chasing and tackling to ensure that our first goal (kicked this week by Ziggy) was in the first quarter.
In the second quarter the boys scored 2 goals 2 points; their highest quarter score so far and really started to look like an effective team with the defence manning up and the midfield pushing back to help.
Team play and encouragement stood out this quarter with lots of voices and assistance to teammates in accordance with the spirit of Anzac Day.
Will and Toby were getting plenty of the ball and our forwards were looking dangerous, in fact so dangerous we managed two goals, one to Eamonn from a set shot with a great assist from Ziggy and the other a great piece of play from Ned.
Oranges were consumed at halftime and Ash limbered up to come off the bench after suffering a slight strain in the warm-up. Positions were rotated at halftime and the boys took up their new roles with new instructions.
The defence and mids really tightened up in the third quarter and the result was that Surrey Park only managed 3 shots at goal to our 5 shots. Jasper broke through for his first goal and we really could have had a few more but for a bit of luck. We were only just outscored 10 points to 13.
The magic snakes came out again at 3/4 time and we were in dire need as the boys started to run out of legs in the last quarter. The defence was under enormous pressure as Surrey Park moved the ball in numbers down the ground. Max and Lucien, Cormac and Callum all teamed up well to try to stem the Surrey Park tide but, in the end, we were overwhelmed, scoring 2 points to their 2 goals 6 points.
There were some great highlights in the last quarter with some fantastic team play bringing the ball out of the back line and down the wing, finding targets with our kicks.
So, we did not win the game but we had a lot of fun. The focus on fun and flair this week was for goal celebrations. We had four goals so we needed to a bit of celebrating, but I reckon we can raise the bar for next week and get some really funky moves happening post goal.
Harvey took home the inaugural Fitzy award. Hope he has a fun week with Harvey! And Lucien took home the Lionhearted Award – well done to both boys.
For the statisticians amongst you (anyone know Stan from Stradbroke Island?) our opposition this week scored the same score as our opposition from last week, but we more than doubled our score. Good signs!
Thanks again to the parent helper team and TM Pete and especially those who were there at 7.30am to set up.
That’s all from me.
2018 U10-4 Black Round One
Welcome everyone, to the first season of Fitzroy Junior Football Club’s first Under 10 Team 4!
“Day of the snakes”
Words: Pete Barrett
Images: Merv Louey and Dave Warwick
It was on a cold, wet day at Stradbroke Park in Kew East that the Under 10 Team Four boys ran out for the first time as one. The first of four grading matches to start the season, their opposition was the Kew Rovers.
Before the game, there was much excitement in the rooms as Coach Luke and assistants Stew and Dave took the players through their warm-up stretches and pre-game drills.
But really, no one was sure what was going to happen.
The Rovers were one player short so we evened up the numbers and Lewis took the bench in the first quarter. The siren sounded and it was on. All the early play was with the Rovers and our back line was placed under enormous pressure. The Rovers scored early and it became a trend that lasted throughout the rest of the quarter. Fitzroy struggled to get the ball into their forward 50.
At quarter time the coaches took the boys under their wing and reinforced some of the things they had been training at Alfred Crescent. Eamonn took over on the bench and the second quarter was off and running. Fitzroy started improving in kicking and marking but it was all Kew.
By half-time this new team, the Fitzroy Fours, were still yet to score. Jasper’s mum, Janet, conspired with the team manager and, in an unorthodox move, dished out oranges (fruit is usually reserved for three-quarter time); Toby, who had sustained a knock, took over on the bench.
Then, during the third quarter, again, it was all the Rovers in terms of scoring but the Lion spirit was strong – our boys simply wouldn’t give up.
At the final break the Lions were still yet to register a solitary point. Coach Luke’s address at the three-quarter-time huddle was simple, yet, it turned out, effective. “I only want you to try and do one thing this quarter: try and score. Anything. A point, a goal, it doesn’t matter. That is your goal.” Meanwhile, Janet gave each of the boys a two-snake allocation – another unorthodox move when convention says this kind of confectionary is a thing for after the match.
The Day of the Snakes had arrived.
The Lions took to the rain-soaked ground in that last quarter like a different team. Handballs hit their mark, tackles were held and kicking with the wind, the ball sailed again and again into our forward line. Eammon took the honours of scoring Fitzroy Four’s first ever points – six of them, in the form of a goal – after marking on a tight angle.
A great cheer went up around the ground and on-field celebrations were conducted with remarkable flair – even some of the opposition celebrated.
But the Lions weren’t done yet. Another goal and a point lifted spirits, while our strong defence kept the Rovers’ sharp-shooters unable to score another major.
The siren sounded for the end of the match and it felt like the Lions had won. First score, first game and a great future. Well done players, coaches, volunteers and officials.
Was it coach Luke’s inspirational third quarter words that turned around the team’s fortunes? Or was it the pack of $5 Allens snakes (on special at Woolies) supplied at three-quarter-time? Perhaps we’ll never know. But we’ll always remember.
Thanks to Merv, Dave and Ben for taking photos on the day. You can find their work by clicking here.