We knew after a week of rain and games on Norwood Oval that the parade was going to be a slog and we came well prepared for this.
The first quarter was a good indication of the type of game that it was going to be, with 53 tackles laid and numerous repeat stoppages. We struggled to deal with Norwood’s ruck strength and they got on top of the clearance situation during the first quarter. But our defence was resolute and brought some excellent tackling and pressure around the contest, not allowing Norwood any easy forward entries. We managed to level the scores midway through the first term and unfortunately a late goal to Norwood gave them a five point lead at quarter time.
The second quarter was one where a couple of costly errors cost us two goals, but we continued with our great pressure and tackling across the ground with another 54 tackles being made for the quarter. Our midfield managed to gain some ascendancy with Liam McBean moving into the ruck, who used his experience to give our mids first use. We turned an eight clearance deficit at quarter time into a three clearance positive during the second quarter. Luke Partington was getting his hands to the ball and as a collective unit they started to gain some ascendancy. After kicking two behinds from snaps during the first quarter, Lachie Hosie found his range with his set shots and kicked two goals for the quarter. We went into the main break six points behind.
The third quarter was another extremely even quarter in terms of clearance numbers and inside 50s, with both teams having three shots on goal. Lachie kicked his third for the game and we managed to kick 1:2 whilst Norwood managed to kick 0:3. We lifted our pressure around the source, with 37 tackles for the quarter, and we had more of the ball. We had difficulty in finding space inside 50 to add more to the scoreboard, going into third time one point down but with plenty of belief.
The last quarter started with Norwood winning a clearance and unfortunately our backs slipped in the terrible conditions and they scored a goal early on, which put us seven points behind. It was pleasing to see the players regroup and continue to play the wet weather footy we had been playing and not lose their focus, with the ball spending a lot of time inside our forward 50. Eventually Reynolds was able to kick truly for us, narrowing the gap to a point. The next 5-6 minutes were a tough, physical contest and we were unlucky not to have a mark paid to Lachie late in the quarter. From there, Norwood managed to find a way to kick a goal to put them seven points up.
Unfortunately we didn’t walk away with the win but I was pleased with the way we went about the game and with a little bit of luck the result could have been different. This wasn’t to be, so we walk away taking a lot from the game knowing that style of footy is going to hold up against the good teams in the finals. With 144 stoppages and 241 tackles made in the game, we have focussed on recovery this week and getting ourselves prepared to repeat that type of effort again against an improved Central Districts side at ACH Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon at 2:10pm.
– Brett Hand, Senior Coach
Goal kickers: L. Hosie (3), L. Reynolds (2), B. Searle