Under 14-2 storms into the finals

It was a bizarre weekend in the AFL. On Friday night Giants and the Hawks played in wind, rain and snow. On Saturday a wasteful Kangaroos team kicked only only goal for the game while just down the road the Bulldogs kicked 21 unanswered goals.

It was cold and windy on Sunday at Wagener Oval when the first placed Cannons played the hard charging 2ndplaced Magpies in the final round before finals. At the pointy end of the season coaches want their teams fit and ready but due to school commitments the Cannons would be without the defensive strength of Grechie and the blistering pace from Max. Kip’s skills would be missed due to concussion management and when JA pulled up sore in the warm up, the cold shiver that ran through the coaches was due to more than just the icy wind that was cutting across the oval.

With only 16 fit players, the challenge was simple – every player had to play their role in the team and work together.

It didn’t take long for the Cannons to show why they are ladder leaders with every player demonstrating exactly why this team is where it is. Coops ability to read the play and his perfect timing allowed him to rove the pack and kick the opening goal, followed not long after by a trademark scrubber goal by Jack. As he always does, JB stood tall and took a strong overhead mark giving the Magpies defence plenty of headaches as did Woody who added a great smother to his highlights reel. Texas seemed to relish the captaincy being lively across the half forward line and after a breakout game a few weeks ago, Lachy continues to get better each week. The freezing cold seemed to suit Husky who put in a season best performance taking mark of the week, laying a couple of beautiful shepherds and adding to his ever increasing tally of goals.

The midfield was simply outstanding. The Big Riggers put in another performance that reinforces the view that he is the best ruckman in the competition. Broady carved through the midfield with intensity and ferocity against players literally double his size. Stewy was unstoppable twisting and turning like a wind vane in cyclone and celebrated with a well earned goal late in the game. Generally taller players tend to lack the pace and ground skills of the smaller players but each week  Elliot proves this wrong……he is strong in the air and on the ground and never stops running.  Damo played his usual high possession game but in more of a defensive role where he delighted the coaches by kicking accurately off both sides of his body.

Despite the wind, the defence were impenetrable. Jayden controlled the half back line, and Killa put on a marking display. Cruisey ran the ball seemingly effortlessly out of defence before the mandatory long bomb,  but it was Eathn’s run down tackle right in front of the coaches box that brought the biggest cheer and typified the commitment shown by all the defenders.

The Cannons finish the season three wins clear at the top of the table. After back to back grand final losses there is a hunger evident and they have demonstrated they are skilful, determined and committed. Strange things happen can happen in football but if these boys retain their attitude and work ethic, it will the rest of the competition that will be blown away!

U15 Rd 13 v Forest, July 28

Cooky for coach! We tipped it – Andrew joins the list of caretaker coaches this year to mastermind a rousing win in their first game in charge.

But, humbly deflecting the mounting campaign to make it a full time appointment, Andrew declared “it was the players who did it”.

Indeed, they did. So, enough about Andrew.

A few weeks after Forest beat them by a significant margin, our Cannons were still stinging and wanted to make amends and did so in magnificent style, showing their character with a massive turnaround to record a stirring seven goal win on Forest’s brand new synthetic surface.

It was built on the one percenters – there were boys putting their body on the line, there were shepherds, there were gang tackles, there was always someone there to help, there were young men supporting each other, running past for the handball, there were powerful leads honoured by precise passes and finished off with strong marking.

Then there was the spectacular – six of the best from Super Sukkar and Fin’s over the shoulder snap on the boundary.

We had every aspect of footy covered, and did it for a full four quarters.

Manfred set the tone early with a big hit in the opening minute and backed up with more of the same seconds later. He again attacked the footy shortly after that, releasing the ball to Archie who sent it to Joey who burned off the defence and set up Alex for a classy goal to open the scoring. It summed up the way they played for the rest of the day.

Fin set up Joey for the first of his six goals late in the first quarter and the favour was returned after the break when Joey roved beautifully off the pack.

Another crumbing goal to Joey and we’d converted a two point deficit at quarter time to a four point lead at the main break. But it was a period of a few minutes in the second quarter that showed the boys’ intent – Manfred held his ground for a gutsy mark, Tommo then laid a crunching tackle, Archie’s shepherd was just as fierce, as was Johnno’s, Tank threw himself into a marking contest and Paddy won a very hard ball. Keep that up and the game was ours.

They did and it was.

We won the match in the premiership quarter with four unanswered goals, three to Joey, all created by the physical intent which continued immediately after halftime. Andrew G and Johnno opened the third quarter with a team tackle, while Mala continued his brilliant season with his hard running at the footy and penetrating passes to leading forwards.

We moved the ball at pace and with great skill, with X’s arrival giving us another dimension and a link man on the wing, while Sam F, Johnno and Andrew repeatedly repelled any Forest venture forward.

We continued to work together and a three-man tackle on our forward flank ended up with Ben M’s first goal and a five goal lead at three quarter time.

With a comfortable lead going into the final quarter, there may have been room for complacency but with a win in sight, the boys were having none of it. As Forest threatened early, Paddy, then Brayden, then Sam, then Tank all threw themselves into the contest with desperate defence to keep them out, send the ball our way through Will and on to Ben who showed why the recruiters chased hard to get him in the mid-season draft with a strong mark and goal to seal the win.

Then Fin placed a very tasty cherry on top of a well iced cake with his goal-of-the-year in front of the exclusive Ladies Stand.

Carpet burns on the boys’ knees were a telling souvenir of a satisfying day’s work.

And to finish off a great day, Geelong smacked the Swans!

CANADA BAY Goals: Joey 6, Fin 2, Ben 2, Alex 1

Round 9 CBC U15s v Forest, June 16

We picked the right week to play on plastic.

As Sydney copped a drenching and grounds were under water, we had the luxury of the ELS Hall synthetic surface, although there were envious looks at the kids trudging off the lower oval covered in mud.

While we love a bit of mud footy, the good surface contributed to a cracking high scoring game of to and fro, but we just ran out of legs in the end.
It allowed the lads to again show their maturing skills – Alex, Nic and Andrew in the air, Archie gobbling up gifts from the opposition ruckman, Joey’s speed and dare, while the boys also showed plenty of grunt and backed each other up when things got physical.

After allowing Forest to skip away with the first few goals, we woke up and took control of the game to kick the next four goals and hold a handy lead.

We’d been threatening for a while until Sam F gathered a Forest clearance on the wall and loaded up to goal from just inside the 50m and put us on the scoreboard.

Tommo was tough in defence with his fierce tackling and rebound and Manfred was taking the game on, with a penetrating run and bounce through the middle to send the ball deep into our forward line.

With the momentum our way, we carried on in the second quarter, as Archie won a hard ball in the middle and kicked long to the goal square where Joey crumbed off the pack for the first of his two goals in the term.

Andrew and Sam combined with strength and smarts in defence, while Ozy came into his own on the wing with tackles and shepherds, taking marks and delivering clever kicks to teammates.

Paddy combined a hard ball get with some fancy footwork around the boundary line to set up Alex’s first goal, while Nic started the next in the back pocket. His dash out of defence found Alex who kicked to a pack on the forward flank where Joey again pounced on the crumbs and sped away with a bounce to goal on the run and all of a sudden we were 12 points up.

To Forest’s credit, they hit back with a pair of goals to lead by one point at half time.

It went goal for goal in a ripping third quarter as Andrew and Archie provided the drive and Alex finished off with the class for a pair of goals. AOur Cannons stepped up for each other and kept the margin to two points as the three quarter time siren loomed until Forest snuck a late goal in to take an eight point lead into the final break.

We started the final quarter on top as tough physical stuff from Tommo in defence set up Joey who combined with Paddy and then Finn to centre the ball to X and we were back to within two points.

But again, the momentum swung the other way and Forest clawed their way back on top, taking advantage of having a couple of kids on the bench and just finished off too fresh and with three goals to claim a 19-point win.

The good news is, we have another crack at them in a fortnight.

CANADA BAY 7.10.52 Goals: Alex 3, Joey 2, Sam F 1, Xavier 1
FOREST 10.11.71