Round 9: A Bird in the Hand
Although the Cannons had comprehensively beaten the Magpies earlier in the season, the context of this, the final round of the home and away season, promised this game would be a test for the 15/2s.
Wests had everything to play for needing a win to make finals and give them the opportunity for back to back premierships.
The Cannons were guaranteed a finals berth, but a win would secure a top two finish.
Taking a cautious approach with injuries meant two late withdrawals so it was 18 Cannons who took to Wagener Oval against a determined looking Wests team with 22 names on the team sheet.
Coach Paul’s pregame address was in front of an surreal quietness from the Cannons. The usual joking and banter were absent, replaced instead with a steely determination that reflected the importance of the contest.
For the past few weeks the Cannons have dominated the first quarter but this week it was Wests who made the early statement. As Magpies notoriously do, they flew and swooped leaving the Cannons, like startled cyclists in spring, distracted and constantly looking over the shoulders for the squawking and flapping black and white birds. The Magpies kicked 2 goals 2 in the first quarter during which time the Cannons didn’t trouble the scorers.
Coach Paul was measured at quarter time. He didn’t ruffle feathers but made it pretty clear to the forwards that they needed to lift. The hard work done in the defence and midfield had gone unrewarded and players needed to be accountable.
It is not every day that young and impressionable 15 year olds will actually pay attention and listen, but that is precisely what the Cannons did. With increased intensity the Cannons took to the field in the second quarter and turned the game around backflipping the contest in a performance worthy of a gymnastic medal. They piled on 4 straight goals in a polished display of controlled possession footy to go into the main break with a 4 point lead. That intensity continued into the third quarter and the straight shooting Cannons had clearly found their range slotting through another 3 goals.
The final quarter proved to be a test of endurance as the September heat and lack of fresh legs on the bench worked in the Magpies’ favour. The Cannons showed true grit and defended doggedly conceding only one goal to hang on to a thrilling and well deserved 7 point win.
It was a season defining performance from the entire team and one where they clearly played with pride and determination. The Cannons were focussed on winning the footy and never once questioned umpiring decisions or let their concentration lapse. Killa, in a new role up forward, was inspirational on the lead as was Dallas as he played his season best game. He marked strongly and when his eagle eye spotted loose men up forward he was able to deliver to them with pin-point precision. A season best performance too, from Broadie, who was like a persistent Noisy Minor bird bravely putting himself in front of the big bodied Magpies. Woody is well known as a larrikin, but he left the galah at the gate and put in a mature all round performance and great goal kicking display at full forward. Kip and Luka were the pigeons feeding on the crumbs and maintaining the forward pressure. JB copped one on the beak and shed blood for his team while Stewy finished the game like a flamingo – only able to stand on one leg!
All over the ground there were stand out performances. Max, Rameez and Elliot all imitated the Peregrine Falcon with astounding speed while Lachie proved again that hard work gets rewards. Like a budgie released from his cage he darted everywhere delivering another outstanding performance running off the back line.
The back line were under tremendous pressure all game, particularly in the last quarter, but they held firm. Eathn continues to mature as a player getting on with the job and letting his actions do the talking. Like a canary in a coalmine he recognises the danger early and takes action. Cruisey was first to the ball and adapted the old adage “the early bird catches the advantage”… although I am sure he also caught a few worms while down on the ground in the heat of it too! Grechie, as he does each week, was calling instructions from the back line. He parroted the coach’s words to ensure they kept their shape and structure preventing the Magpies from ever scavenging an easy goal.
In any game the midfield is like a nest. It is the centre of any flock’s existence and its where all plans are hatched. All season Damo, Coops and Riggers have worked together to defend the nest, flying in formation all over the ground with a work rate second to none. They protected and defended each other and precisely delivered a constant supply of tasty morsels to the hungry mouths of chirping forwards.
The home and away season is now finished and the Cannons are perched comfortably in a well deserved second spot on the ladder. Coach Paul could not be more proud of this flock of players as they have accepted responsibility in the jobs they have been given. The return of seven straight goals a fitting reflection of the selfless play demonstrated by choosing the best options to goals.
The Cannons have found the right time to hit top form and proudly display the colours of their plumage. They are flying magnificent in formation and look ready to swoop for the first week of the finals!
- Stephen Grech
Canada Bay Cannons v Pennant Hills
Nothing was going to stop these lads playing their last game for the Cannons.
Dodgy ankles, tweaked hamstrings, broken fingers. Pain was no barrier when it came to properly putting an end to an era.
After starting his footy with the Drummoyne under 6s, Cam was determined to finish off his junior career on the field. So, with a couple of rolls of tape wrapped around his ankle, the co-captain sprinted on to St Luke’s and played his typical physical game, including an obligatory impossible shot for goal from the boundary. He limped off.
Louis joined the Cannons in the under 12s and, after ruling himself out with a hamstring strain on Thursday, ruled himself back in on Friday to close this chapter of a stellar career with two typically team lifting goals. In fact, our only goals for the night.
And, even in his first season with the Cannons, Jordan understood the significance of the occasion and also ruled himself back in hours before the bounce, borrowing what tape was left after Cam was finished with it to protect his busted fingers.
That was the sort of spirit that drove the Cannons this year. And it was that sort of heart that took it up to Pennant Hills on Friday, especially in the second half.
Or perhaps it just was the prospect of playing under coach Harry.
But there were also some fully fit lads who bade farewell to the Cannons last Friday night. Wriggles has come all the way from the Drummoyne under 7s and his 162nd game on Friday would have been among his best as he used his pace and balance to repeatedly outwit Penno.
It was nice to see the boys’ under 7s coach Nick Angelos there on Friday night to bookend their careers.
“I saw their first game, so thought I’d come and watch their last,” Nick said.
And he was very generous in his praise when asked if they’d improved.
“At least they can kick over the man on the mark now,” he enthused.
Anton and Pat have been with us since the under 9s and have both racked up a century of quality games, including plenty this year, and Friday was no exception.
Sadly, we lost the Buck to injury mid-season and sorely missed the reliable rock solid defence he developed in his 84 games since his debut for the Concord under 11s.
Matt and Jake rejoined us this year after a few years out and both made significant contributions all season.
In only his second season of footy, Jacko’s leadership shone so brightly, he was named captain and he again led fearlessly on Friday night, throwing himself into the contest and occasionally a teammate’s knee.
Our newbies were wonderful assets in their one and only seasons with the Cannons, Liam and Ellis have taken to the game like naturals and finished off as they’ve played all year – physical, tough, skilful and crucial cogs in leading the non-stop effort against Pennant Hills. And a couple of cameo appearances from Luca late in the season left us wondering how good he would have been with a full season behind him.
We needed that non-stop effort from everyone on Friday as the interchange gate became an interchange turnstile with each injury. Regardless of the physical toll, we kept them goalless and quiet in the third quarter and had a spirited bunch of wounded warriors finish off the game.
It was probably an appropriate way to end the weird season 2020 – ins and outs during the week kept us guessing, plenty of injuries on the night and a gutsy display from a bunch of good mates and good humans.
- Paul Mulvey
Round 8 – The Girls Did Us Proud
A match against the top of the table Ramsgate RSL provided the girls with an opportunity to show how far they’ve come since their Round 3 match up, and the team delivered.
In a match that gave the defence a chance to show what they were made of, every player stood up and contributed to the improved performance and they all deserve recognition!
Clara – Never gave up in defence with desperation tackles and worked really hard to clear the ball out at every opportunity.
Espy – Didn’t get many chances at full forward, but was ready every time she was given a chance.
Marlie – A player of the match performance, taking marks, tackling, running and showing absolutely no fear against their big forwards.
Ivy E – Was working hard in the middle of the field with some great tackles and plenty of hard runs in traffic.
Edie – A tireless work ethic, fearless smothering of opposition kicks and a constant option in attack, another solid game.
Audrey – Everyone knows the quality of Audrey’s runs and her multiple big runs led to almost all of our attacking opportunities in this match!
Amy – Leading the way for our girls in a rough and tumble match while covering the whole field, she managed to smother multiple free kicks in the second half as well as score our only point of the match.
Cristina – The team’s rock in defence was taking marks on the goal line, tipping the ball out to save behinds, making strong runs, clearance kicks and tackling all day.
Shannon – Smart positioning out wide helped our attack to spread out and create better opportunities with her disposals.
Haylee – Did plenty of work providing leading runs and options for clearances out of defence and putting her big boot to work but also managed to take a goal line mark to save a goal in the third quarter.
Bella – Got given an opportunity in the middle of the park in the 4th quarter and gave it her all with strong runs and fought through an injury late never giving up.
Ivy P.B. – Had flawless awareness and positioning in defence to save three certain goals on the line but also managed to chase down and tackle countless players through the while match.
Sofia – Played the best game I’ve seen from her, set off by a fantastic mark in the first quarter that lead to confident play for the rest of the game.
Ivy T – Never stopped chasing and was always looking to close the gap between the forwards and midfield to help our attack.
The scoreline may not indicate it, but this tough game was the best our defence has ever been and if we get another change against these girls in the finals, we will be even better again!
- Match report by Adam
Round 8: Something different
For the past three years, the first Sunday in September has meant that Cannons families skipped through the mandatory Fathers’ Day ritual of cold toast and unwrapping novelty socks in bed to focus on a Grand Final. 2020 has been so unpredictable, disruptive and just plain different, that this first Sunday in September was never going to be the same as the others!
It was Round 8 and the Cannons 15/2s found themselves travelling to Alan Davidson Oval to play Glebe-Newtown. The Cannons have already played every other team in the competition twice this year but this was the first time these two teams would meet in 2020. Two weeks away from finals and the boys find themselves facing a new opponent for the first time! Mmmm… that’s different!
Things looked different on the field too. Glebe-Newtown is a joint venture so their grey and red jumpers were new in this division and the Cannons line looked different. Reliable backman Grechie lined up in at full forward while goal kicking machine JB stood smiling in the backline.
Amidst all these differences though, Rigger’s domination of the ruck proved to be constant providing first use for the Cannons midfield. Glebe-Newtown play with real intensity. Possession in the first quarter was a fairly even match but the Cannons were able to use their forward entries more effectively and found themselves a couple of goals ahead at the first break.
At quarter time, Coach Paul pointed out a lack of talk left the Cannons unaware of options or impending tackles. They were working hard but not efficiently. What he said clearly made a difference as the execution in the second quarter was much better. As the game progressed the Cannons defence stayed strong and the forwards and mids demonstrated much better movement.
Some positional changes at the break but things still looked pretty different with regular forward Woody enjoying the text book defenders “fist first” approach at centre half back. Eathn has been known to get fired up on the field but he was a portrait of discipline, and that discipline was rewarded.
Keen observers of the Cannons will have also noted some differences in the team over the duration of the season. One striking difference is the number of players with genuine pace! Rameez, Max, Elliot and Stewy all demonstrated their blistering speed at various stages in the game running down, and from, their opponents.
Compared to the start of the season the Cannons physical intensity and commitment is also different. It was a tough contest with plenty of heat and a couple of blood rules for good measure. Broadie is the smallest player on the team but his shoulder left a massive dent in the turf after a bone crunching tackle. He showed enormous ticker however to return to the field after a brief rest and lay bone crunching tackles of his own. Similarly, Kipp only had eyes for the ball and went in hard. Even late in the game when the result was beyond doubt, Killa and Cruisey would not concede anything and Lachy’s four quarter effort was his best game all year.
At the other end of the ground, Husky’s forward pressure was excellent and Luka looked delighted when his persistence resulted in a magnificent crumber’s goal. Their smiles however couldn’t eclipse Dallas who marked on the 50 right on the final siren. His magnificent long range goal after the siren will make a massive difference to his confidence at that range.
As they always do, the midfield were the hardest workers. It makes all the difference to a defender when you have a mobile midfield target and equally all the difference to a forward when the delivery into the forward line is pin point. Damo’s work rate was second to none and Cooper had the ball on a string has he covered pretty well every inch of the ground.
The team has gelled well and the way they work together as a team is making all the difference. The Cannons have never played in the second week of September before so every week from here will be something new. The focus now has to be on a strong performance next week to secure a top two spot and that will make all the difference come finals.
- Stephen Grech
Canada Bay Cannons v Miranda Bombers, St Luke’s Oval
Quarter one began with Amy getting a successful shot at goal. Audrey demonstrated great running through the centre. Marlie and Cristina also demonstrated great running with the ball and some clever kicks in the mix. Zara provided a quick kick and set up a great goal for Edie. Superb team work.
Second quarter saw Ivy P have a great pick up and a selfless handball to Esperanza led to a goal for the Cannons. Amy and Cristina dominated with their kicks from defence through to the midfield into the forward line. Eperanza put on a burst of speed and after quite a lengthy run scored a goal.
Quarter three saw Cristina score the mark of the day while facing a now blazing sun and this was most special given the ball impacted her face first. Very brave. Ivy E had a fabulous pick up, ran with this and scored a delightful goal. The Cannons really started to demonstrate good skills with Amy having two amazing runs with two bounces between. Marlie showed her fantastic sheparding skills and Cristina was outstanding with her pickups and kicking throughout defence. Amy scored an awesome goal 50m out. Cristina and Amy spotted each other well and transitioned play from the backline into the forwards.
The final quarter saw Edie beautifully tackle and steal the ball on the wing and handball into the forward line for great field position. Ivy P had some lovely runs throughout midfield and Hayley had a lovely goal out of the pack. This team has improved throughout the season and it was great to see happy faces after the match.
A little alliteration…
Friday night football involves my second favourite “f” word so I was as reved as a red neck at Republican rally when the 15/2s lined up against Willoughby Mosman at St Lukes for fantastic Friday night footy!
There was a flicker of fear as regular ruckman Riggers revealed he was a late withdrawal due to a training injury the night before. It would be hard to find feet to fill his size sixteen shoes!
Coach Paul had asked the boys to make an early statement so, just as they have done over the past couple of weeks, the Cannons controlled the centre clearances and flew fast into the forward fifty for the first goal. It was the first of a flurry of goals that placed the Cannons comfortably in front at the quarter time break.
The Swans were somewhat startled but started the second strongly and steadied the ship. The scoring slowed but the committed Cannons continued clinically and were comfortably in control at half time. In the third term the tempo tempered and the Cannons closed out the contest.
The fourth was a formality so Coach Paul decided to mix things up throwing Cruisey and Grechie into the mids. Bringing the bored back men up with Broadie meant we had a midfield of Matties causing mayhem in the middle. Woody went on to work hard in the ruck while Elliot eased effortlessly past opponents and excited everyone with a couple of entertaining goals on the run.
Again the mercurial Max was magical and Luka leapt and lunged at every ball. Husky’s hassle was a highlight and Lachie left opponents languishing. Kips kept kicking, Rameez ran riot and Stewy’s speed was stunning. Eathn’s exceptional effort evident until injury ended his night.
Whether with jaw like grip or just juggling, JB marked everything that came his way and Dallas darted, dodged and delivered in front of goal. Continually and consistently Coops controlled the clearances, Damo’s dominated with deliberate delivery around the ground and JA was just awesome judging a tight angle perfectly, for a great goal late in the game! Just reward for a polished performance.
Coach Paul was pleased with the performance but presented a poignant point. The focus from here forth will be on my favourite ever f word… Finals!
- Stephen Grech