What a thriller Monday turned out to be. A great game between two sides that demonstrated the Anzac spirit on such a special day for our country. Sam Durdin deservedly won the Bob Quinn Medal for the player that demonstrated the Anzac spirit across all four quarters.
Anzac Day is a special occasion on the SANFL Calendar and to be involved in the game means so much to our club. We spent some time during the week talking about the significance of what the Anzacs were tasked to do on the 25th April in 1915. We also recognised the contribution of all our service men and women in our history. We are grateful for the country we live in and the sacrifices that many young men and women made whilst serving in war.
The opening quarter started with a true arm wrestle as both sides tested out what they were planning to do. There were numerous stoppages in the first 10 minutes of the game with Liam McBean breaking the scoring drought with a goal. We had a lot more of the ball at this stage, and after Jordan Murdoch converted a nice passage of play from our back half with a goal on the run, we started to put some scoreboard pressure on the Eagles. Unfortunately we were unable to capitalise on other opportunities in the quarter, and through a couple of poor errors we allowed the Eagles to kick two goals in the back end of the quarter.
The Eagles adjusted their style in the second quarter and after Staggy kicked an early goal they gained ascendancy in the middle of the ground, winning centre bounce clearances and kicking a few goals to take a 12 point lead halfway through the quarter. Unlike the last couple of games, we were able to stop their momentum and we kicked the last three goals of the quarter, taking a seven point lead into the main break.
The third quarter was a classic contest with both sides playing some tough bruising football. In the latter part of the quarter we managed to kick away, with Lachie Hosie kicking three goals. This saw us go into the last change 19 points clear. Matt Snook won plenty of the ball in the third quarter and Andrew Bradley and Darcy Bailey were providing plenty of drive from our defensive end.
We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the last quarter, with Turner winning a centre bound clearance and Staggy getting the crumb, which he passed off to Luke Partington, who had a shot on goal which would have put us 25 points up. But, footy is a strange game and unfortunately Luke missed his shot and the Eagles took the ball to the other end of the ground and kicked truly, reducing the margin to 14 points. The arm wrestle then continued and the Eagles kept driving the ball inside 50 but our backline, lead by Sam Durdin and Toby Pink, stood strong and repelled them on numerous occasions. Eventually we levelled the scores before Staggy kicked his third of the day to put us back up by a goal with about 10 minutes to play. When they hit the front by a point late in the quarter, it was going to come down to some belief and how well we could implement the plan we had been trying to do for the day. Full credit to the players on the field because there isn’t a lot you can do as a coach when it is this close and with only a few minutes left. With three stoppages in a row, we managed to move the ball out of our D50. Toby Pink read the ball well and kicked the ball inside our fwd 50 twice in a minute to give us a sniff of hitting the front.
What happened next was very pleasing as a coach, with three new players to the squad this year having significant impact on the goal Reid Kuller kicked to hit the front. Cole Gerloff, Riley Holder and Hugh Stagg had a never-say-die attitude and fought and scrapped to keep the ball alive inside 50, tackling the opposition and feeding the ball out to Reid who finished with a classy goal on his left foot.
It was great to see so many people at Woodville Oval to help us remember our Anzacs, with a wonderful pre game ceremony topped off with a quality game of football. We now need to recover well on a short break and prepare ourselves for our next challenge in Port Adelaide on Sunday back home at ACH Group Stadium. Looking forward to seeing another bumper crowd cheering us along.
– Brett Hand, Senior Coach
Goal kickers: L. Hosie (4), H. Stagg (3), R. Kuller (2), N. Leck, L. Partington, L. McBean, J. Murdoch