A Message in a Battle
Canada Bay Cannons U13-2 v Pennant Hills Demons
Ern Holmes Oval
Match report by Coach Stephen, pics via Sonia
After three weeks off, the away game against the Pennant Hills Demons felt like the start of a new season. With school holidays all over the Cannons were back at full strength and the coaches urged all the players to send a clear message to the rest of the competition. That the Cannons will be a force to be reckoned with at the pointy end of the season!
Winning the toss gave the Cannons the opportunity to capitalize on the strong breeze, but it was the Demons who won the first ruck contest and placed immediate pressure on the Cannons back line. The Demons had plenty of height and plenty of self belief with their leg speed and ball movement looking impressive early. With only one spot separating them on the ladder the Cannons would most certainly be in for a tough battle!
It took a couple of minutes to settle in, perhaps the legacy of three weeks off footy, but slowly and surely the Cannons started to find their groove! Mounting pressure from the midfield kept the ball locked in the forward 50 and it was only a matter of time before the scoreboard started ticking over. The gusty breeze made kicking difficult but the Cannons started building momentum until a ball lost in the bushes meant valuable wind assisted playing time ticked away.
Against the breeze in the second quarter was always going to be much harder but this is exactly when the Cannons decided to send a message to the competition – that they can play smarter footy. Several of the boys had watched the Giants/St. Kilda game together and perhaps this inspired them as they linked together handball chains to run the ball out of defence and into attack.
The team motto is the coach’s “PET” expression. “ ..every Player….every Effort… every Time” and this was never more evident than in that second quarter. It was ferocious tackling, dedicated second efforts but most significantly it was the teamwork that impressed. The Cannons were at time clinical when they moved the ball down the field, running in waves, shepherding and placing immense pressure on the Demons. Led by Jayden the backs were solid in defence with Killa and Matt P consistently beating their opponents to the ball and repelling any sniff of a comeback.
By half time the Cannons had extended their lead and were brimming with confidence. That confidence, coupled with the strong breeze, allowed the Cannons to seal the game in the third quarter and put the result beyond doubt. At ¾ time the coaches swapped the team around and gave the players a simple message. “Go out there and impress us with what you can do”. Max accepted the challenge with a great cameo in the centre and reliable backman Eathn relished his opportunity down forward slotting a beauty of a goal.
It was an overall team effort but there were a few standouts. Daniel usually has a significant height advantage in the ruck but they breed them tall at Penno pushing Dan to unveil another level of speed and agility to dominate the ruck contests. His second efforts were outstanding – it’s not often you see ruck man roving their own work! The midfield was electric with Coops and Damo combining everywhere on the ground and amassing possessions seemingly at will. JB and Woody were solid up forward, particularly overhead, and Jack’s roving goals were a highlight. Jye’s second efforts made this game his best for the season and Fraser should take a lot of confidence from a display of outrunning and outmarking his opponent.
There was plenty of flair with Husky’s “checkside banana from deep in the pocket” contender for goal of the year as well as JA’s trademark candy selling and evasive turns. Mattie B, fired up after an early free kick for holding the ball, provided another reliable in and under gutsy contribution.
It is a very exciting time for the Cannons as players continue to develop. Stewie is back from injury finding peak fitness at exactly the right time of the year and Lachie’s workrate increases each week. Mattie G’s precision kicks out of defence are as reliable as Dallas’s overhead marks and all show clear evidence of how well the skill level has developed.
As a unit the Cannons show a grittiness and commitment in every contest and although the next few weeks will present challenges for the Cannons, no doubt they will battle it out and send an ominous message to the rest of the competition: The Cannons mean business!