With Andrew Bradley out due to health and safety protocols, Saturday saw us unveil our 12th debutant for the season in Cooper Beecken. This in turn lead to us having the youngest team we have fielded in a number of years. It was exciting to have a debutant, two second-gamers and a third-gamer play together on the weekend and they all acquitted themselves well. It paves the way for an exciting future at the club.
With West coming off their first win of the season last week and having played some good footy over the previous 5-6 weeks, we knew it was going to be a dour contest and that’s how it turned out. Our first and third quarters were a little disappointing, with West winning the contest and getting their hands on the ball first. Couple that with a few of our poor errors, we fed their energy and they made the most of their opportunities. With West crowding our forward line, we were unable to make the most of our early entries. While we rectified it during the quarter, some costly errors allowed West to go into quarter time with a slight lead.
After the break we addressed a few things with our structure and our midfield started to get on top. Corey Lyons had five clearances in the quarter, and we dominated the ball in our forward half with 16 to five inside 50 entries. Brady Searle continued some good midfield form and made the most of a couple of chances to kick two goals in the first half.
The third quarter was similar to the first, with both teams having 10 inside 50 entries and six shots on goal. But again our inaccuracy hurt us. We had the chance to put scoreboard pressure on but we were unable to do so. Liam McBean started to get on top and was becoming a real presence around the ground, taking four marks for the quarter.
After addressing a few things at three quarter time we played a good brand of football in the last quarter, winning the contested ball, clearance battle and inside 50 entries. Unfortunately we weren’t as effective as we have been in keeping the ball inside 50 and we didn’t make the most of our chances. This is still an area that we are addressing, and we’re trying to find the right mix to ensure when we have the ball in our forward half for the majority of the game we can capitalise on these chances.
Corey Lyons was instrumental in his return to the team from covid and Alex Martini again kept the opposition small forward to a minimal impact on a game. It was good to see Liam McBean and Luke Reynolds take a number of marks during the game and continue to be damaging inside forward 50. Toby Pink and Max Proud continued their impressive form, taking numerous marks inside D50 and repelling opposition attacks.
We look forward to the bye to regroup and focus on the next block of games, beginning with a big a challenge against North in a couple of weeks time at ACH Group Stadium. Enjoy the week off from SANFL footy and we look forward to seeing you back at the Bay next week.
– Brett Hand, Senior Coach
Goal kickers: M. Allen (2), B. Searle (2), J. Yates (2), L. Hosie, L. McBean, L. Reynolds