While round 18 presented us with the opportunity to finish the regular season on top of the table, our only focus was to get all parts of our game back to a level we had been working towards since the beginning of January. The starting point of that was our team defence, with strong focus on our pressure on the ball and our ability to make it hard for the opposition to move the ball with any fluency. If we get this right, the rest of the game will follow and pleasingly that was the case by the end of the day. We can take great confidence from this performance into the next and most important part of the season.
South Adelaide was always going to start the game with lots of energy and passion, with several players retiring and this being their last game for the season. They certainly did that, and for a large part of the first half, they made it difficult for us with some clean and fluent ball movement. Equally they were getting the better of us around contest which has been a strong area over the season for us. Like last week, we were able to be efficient with our opportunities which allowed us to stay slightly in front in the game, even though it felt the other way for most part. It set up for a good encounter heading into the second half.
After a tight beginning to the third quarter, our energy defensively went to a level we have expected over the season, and it allowed us to play the game in our forward half of the ground for long periods. As we have been able to do consistently over the season, once we get the game looking like this, we are able to put really strong pressure on the scoreboard, and this was certainly the case throughout the second half. We had set ourselves some targets coming into the game, and with our intensity and relentless pressure throughout, we were able to stay strong on them. To only concede ten points against in the second half was extremely pleasing – this area is no doubt key over the next few weeks. All in all, a strong effort and solid result.
Our reserves group played an outstanding game against another finals contender, running out 118-point winners. They continue to play at a consistent brand of football with great contributors all over the ground. Great credit to the entire group, it can be really frustrating when they are playing at such a high level without necessarily seeing the reward for that effort in selection. Without doubt there are several guys that are playing at a league level standard week after week. We have been impressed with how they keep getting to work at every session and continue to strive to improve. It is a great position for the club to be in and we look forward to watching the rest of the season play out for this group.
With both grades finishing the season on top of the table – a great result for the club – we head into a bye weekend in the first week of finals. We will take the opportunity to get stuck into some solid training and fine tuning in preparation of what is ahead in the next few weeks. We have been blessed with the support we have had throughout the season, and we can’t wait to get out and play in front of all our supporters in the best time of the year to be playing.
Congratulations to Lachie Hosie on winning the Ken Farmer Medal as the leading goal kicker in the competition. A great reward for an outstanding season to date.
Go the Bays!
– Darren Reeves, Senior Coach
Goal kickers: L. McBean (4), M. Allen (3), L. Hosie (2), L. Reynolds (2), C. Lyons, B. Searle, B. Stretch
Best Players: Matthew Allen, Liam McBean, Corey Lyons, Brodie Newman, Billy Stretch