Round 3 – Match Report – Bentleigh vs. Endeavour Hills Football Club (1)
Played at Bentleigh Reserve
After a solid effort to start to commence our season we had a day full of fun celebrating women’s day and then prepared for our biggest test against last years runners up Endeavor Hills. Based on previous results East Brighton proved our form was reasonable however the Hills were looming as the early favorites for the flag. We went into the game confident feeling we would no doubt be competitive but could also cause an upset by beating them.
Our Wednesday session was in good spirits however we were sloppy. We were not as in tune as we have been and at times it was very frustrating. The Thursday session was better but again not ideal due to my work commitments making me late and a lot of players missing, many, with excuses but some without. Thanks to Deano for taking training until I arrived.
Heading into a potentially season defining game it was not an ideal lead up.
Team selection was difficult, but we made decisions that were based on our selection criteria.
Nush was left out due to work commitments, she had to leave just after half time so we decided it was best for her to not play, Emma Turner was available however she was not aware of team selections for Sandringham Dragons by our team selection on Thursday night so when teams were announced and she was available for us although we were tempted it was decided that availability for games must be notified by Thursday evening . Others missed out due unavailability and due to training attendance however the unluckiest player was Alicia who we decided would benefit the most from watching the game as she is new to the game.
Tilly and Sienna were to make their debut for Bentleigh and in football in general.
Our pre-game planning was also not ideal, again I was forced to come later than I wanted due to work commitments however many players also did not arrive on the time specified to be at games which is 50 minutes prior at the latest. After coaches address and our pre-game warm up, we were set to go.
We got off to an ideal start when Christa scored a great snap shot to give our first goal for the game. We looked dangerous and were serving it up to the opposition but were not getting reward for effort constantly being defended deep on our forward line. We looked faster, we had better passages of play but were falling apart in our forward line. Endeavor Hills punished our inefficiency in our forward line by kicking a goal on the rebound with another near miss deep in the quarter which put them in front by a point at the quarters end.
Heading in at quarter time we felt that we could beat them, there was no doubt we were competitive however we just couldn’t put the score on the board.
Stacy started the game strongly as to did Shannon in the ruck. Lily and Emma were getting plenty of the ball and Christa was looking dangerous up forward. Zoe was giving us target up forward and Jordy was also in the thick of the action. Tara continued her great form from round 1 and Tilly playing her 1st game of football showed she is a fantastic prospect for the future.
The 2nd quarter took off where the 1st quarters last few minutes ended. We had an early chance when Zoe took a great mark but could only manage a point. Unfortunately, whilst we were wasteful with ball in hand The Hills were opposite. They took their chances and although we may have looked like the better team in general play, they put scoreboard pressure which was deflating.
We lost our voice and failed to communicate which was easily evidenced by confusing moments where we didn’t have players competing when it was time for them to go, shepherding for each other but no one taking the initiative to take the ball. In comparison The Hills showed they are a very good team, their kicking game chipping the ball around with a purpose was a lesson for us who were playing without any purpose and kicking it one dimensional down the line without looking lateral. We were very unpredictable and not linking as well as we could. The opposition made the most of errors and we were giving away a lot of free kicks for high tackles. In short, they were playing a smart brand with good team work whereas we were trying hard, looking good but unable to make a dint into the scoreboard finally trailing by 15 points at half time.
Tara again was solid in defense and Jules made an impact in defense as well. Catty started getting herself into the game and Lily was trying to influence the game, but we were unable to find a way constantly falling down deep in our forward line where they were able to rebound time and time again.
There were numerous occasions players created an option heading into forward line but because we were not looking laterally and not playing with conviction, we missed these options and continued to bomb the ball into packs..
It was a disappointing half as we just couldn’t make the most of our opportunities.
Going into the main change we also had injury concerns with Jaclyn suffering a leg injury and Christa also struggling with a hurt foot.
We regrouped at half time and we felt we were in the game, but we spoke about the warning signs and needed to correct our inefficiency if we were to get back into the game.
Unfortunately, we were unable to make any inroads against the opposition and in fact fell further behind. It was frustrating to say the least with The Hills rebounding from another failed forward thrust and kicked their 4th goal for the day. After most of the next 5 to 8 minutes being in our forward half the Hills did it again by kicking another major against the grain. We continued to kick to packs without any purpose and were just simply ineffective. We kept having stoppages 35 out from goal but continued to butcher the ball by kicking it to packs or to them without any leads or movement in the forward line.
It was a frustrating quarter as we tried so hard to win the ball and get it to our forward line repeatedly only to see it rebound by simply making poor decisions up forward.
The opposition started getting their tails up were playing as a team and playing smart footy and we were not playing like individuals who were not in sync. Lily was throwing herself around trying to inspire the team and was being battered by the opposition. Rhiannon and Lauren were holding up the back line well. Nat went into the Ruck and Shannon to half back where she repelled the ball from defense on numerous occasions.
Tilly who was playing a great debut game was given the role of playing against the oppositions best forward which was a massive asking for her first game, but we felt this would be an ideal test for her, Emily got green carded throughout the quarter and Erin looked to be having a major issue with her knee.
Up to that point injuries started being a concern, they were a very physical side and making us feel it.
By the end of the quarter we made it very difficult if not impossible to win a game.
The scoreboard was not a good indication of how close the game was, but the Hills went into 3 quarter time with a commanding 28-point lead.
We went into the huddle at 3 quarter time feeling frustrating and looking a bit deflated. It was important for us to finish strong. We wanted to outscore the opposition and show ourselves that we were capable.
We finished the game reasonably well; our aim was to outscore them, and we achieved this by outscoring them by 1 point. Again, we peppered around the goals but couldn’t find a way through the big sticks, Lily kicked a point and so did Emma M but Zoe took a great mark in the dying minutes of the game to finish the game with a well-deserved goal.
Final scores were 42 to 15 The Hills way which on face value looks like a comfortable win however we can take a lot away from the game.
We had some major outs which will make us stronger next time around, we had enough opportunities to win the game but simply were not up to it purely because we didn’t play as a team whereas they did. We suffered a lot of injuries throughout the game which made things difficult for us but ultimately, I feel the better, more efficient team won the game. They played to their strengths and played with a purpose whereas it was clear we did not.
It is apparent that umpires give free kicks for any incidental or touch decisions, so we need to get better with our tacking and getting in the back of the opposition. Our reaction time is also a bit concerning as on many occasions when we are in position to be first for the ball, we end up letting the opposition get it first, we need to understand when its our time to go we go without hesitation.
All in all I felt we showed enough to indicate we have the potential to be a force to contend with this year. I felt we had more of the play in our forward half, but we continue to make poor decisions and congest our forward line and kick to packs instead of using our weapons. If you won’t make the distance then don’t have a shot, pass a short kick even if it is side ways to a player that will make the distance. It is a team sport; it doesn’t matter who ultimately kicks the goal if it is a player in the Bentleigh outfit. We train for a lot of things in a game but are not always putting it in to our games.
On a positive note the opposition were only able to score 42 points for the game which is not a high score and if we fix up our game and kick with purpose instead of bombing and sharing the ball a bit more, we can beat them 2nd time around.
Finally, I want to make mention of some efforts that were worthy of praise, I felt Tilly played n exceptional 1st game both in winning the ball but also is shutting down a good Opposition player who was having a major influence on the game. I also felt Zoe competed well and Shannon showed she is not one-dimensional playing at center half back in 2nd half. I also though Rhiannon played a solid game in defense. It was also very encouraging to see Stacy getting plenty of the ball and looks to be on her way to becoming a great player for us. I thought our on ballers (Lily and Emma) played very well but disposal efficiency could improve by kicking with a purpose.
All in all, we don’t like to lose but sometimes you can learn more from a defeat like this than what we can learn from winning.
Lets all get to training and work on a few things and get back to winning.