Our Round 15 clash shaped up to be a game with finals-like intensity. North Adelaide have played some solid football over the last month, and also saw the return of important players into their team. Needless to say, they are a strong contender coming into the last part of the season.
From the start it was a fierce battle around the contest, as we had expected, and there was a back-and-forth, free-flowing battle once the ball got outside into space. While we certainly were not comfortable with how the game was looking, we were thrilled with how we were holding up defensively. As they have been all season, our back line group were exceptional from start to finish, and that was particularly important through the first half of the game. Into a reasonable breeze against in the first quarter, we were able to grab a couple of opportunities and take the lead at quarter time.
The second quarter played out much the same, with some rain and slippery conditions making things a little more difficult. We went into half time with a similar advantage and understanding we had some work to do into the second half.
One of the big positives in our season to date has been our ability to play the game in our forward half of the ground for long periods and eventually seeing this turn into scoreboard reward. The game felt like this for most of the second half, but as good teams do, North Adelaide never let us get a real advantage on the scoreboard. While we felt we had some good control around the contest and in the game, it remained a tight battle at three quarter time.
Our last quarter was really pleasing in how we were able to keep responding to challenges that were thrown at us. The big take away from a coaching perspective is I felt we were getting stronger the longer the game went. We do have a lot of work to do in some areas still, but we were strong in a lot of the key areas of the game. A strong result in the end to walk away with a five-goal win.
Our Reserves team remains two games clear on top of the table with another convincing performance over four quarters. Both offensively and defensively, the group continue to impress and can respond to any challenges that are thrown their way. As mentioned over the last few weeks, it is not just by chance – the group has been very impressive with how they continue to prepare and go about their work week to week. Again, we had several really strong performers over the day and look forward to watching them continue on their way.
We head into a bye week now, which has come at a great time for everyone. We get the opportunity to get some recovery into some players and get stuck into some growth areas leading into the last three weeks of the minor round season, with a lot to play for through that period. We look forward to seeing all our supporters at Alberton Oval in a fortnight for our Round 16 clash with Port Adelaide.
– Darren Reeves, Senior Coach
Goal kickers: Lachie Hosie (3), Luke Reynolds (3), Billy Stretch (2), Matt Allen, James Bell, Liam McBean
Best Players: Max Proud, Brett Turner, James Bell, Toby Pink, Luke Reynolds, Matt Allen