U15-2 semi-final match report

There was nothing normal about season 2020.

Training and games took place under a myriad of restrictions and (spoiler alert) for the Cannons 15/2s the season was bookended with losses to the Penshurst Panthers. Without the silverware in the trophy cabinet, the last game of the season was always going to finish with a tinge of regret, but missing the opportunity for a fourth consecutive Grand Final appearance further added to the disappointment. There was a palpable sense of “what if” evident by all late on Sunday afternoon.

In his pre- game address Coach Paul had talked about resilience and intensity. In what later proved to be Nostradamus like foresight he spoke about the peaks and troughs of tempo footy and about showing heart when things weren’t going well.  What nobody predicted though was how the boggy and slippery ground would make running hard and keeping your feet even harder. Max’s injury kept him sidelined and the heavy ground negated the impact that speedsters, Rameez and Elliot would normally have.

No one could foresee that the ball would never quite seem to bounce our way or that the Cannons would be unable to start with the intensity that finals demand. After the heroics of the previous week the Cannons were off to a sluggish start and that meant catch up footy.

It was perhaps fitting that Stewy, the softly spoken, slightly built winger who undergoes a superhero transformation as soon as he straps on the head gear, would kick the Cannons first goal after a trademark gather, run, and step. If things went to script this would have been the turning point that sprung the Cannons into life, but Penshurst were quick to respond and regain the momentum.

The typically outspoken Woody did his best to fire up the Cannons at each break and no one could question the commitment at the loose ball shown by Kipp, Luka and Dallas. Husky’s tackling was ferocious and Killa never stopped running but the Cannons couldn’t convert on the scoreboard and it felt that the game and the season were slipping away during the third quarter.

The flukey breeze meant plenty of kicks missed their targets and Penshurst were simply better with the second efforts on the loose ball. Lachie, Eathn and Cruisey provided plenty of run out of the back line so there was always a sense that the Cannons would find their rhythm and when JA moved forward and started snapping goals from all over the place in the last quarter (including a magnificent left foot across the body) there was a sense that the improbable could still happen. Although the Cannons finished full of run, Penshurst didn’t forget the epic battle the last time these two met and defended resolutely to finish on the right side of the scoreboard and deservedly qualified for the Grand Final.

It was not the finish that many had foreseen but there were several predictable sights. Coops always gives 100% and his work rate again was outstanding. Never one to rely solely on talent or natural ability he covered every inch of St Luke’s in a tireless game long effort. Riggers rolled his ankle prior to the game but there was no way he wouldn’t take the field and give 100%. His towering height and athleticism are evident but so too now his tackling and second efforts. Damo doesn’t say much electing instead to let his actions do the talking. He was everywhere during the game and his never-ending commitment has become his trademark.

In a game that started under clouds and finished in full sun, there were other constants that remained. Broadie is the smallest player in the team but his diminutive stature belies his courage. JB’s physical strength, his vice like overhead marking and his team first attitude also again on show. Perhaps though it was Mattie G who personified the character of the team. Although not known for his speed he chased and hassled all day. He was strong in the one on one contests, put his body on the line, and never gave up.

The Cannons 15/2s comprise a mix of characters and personalities who have worked together in unusual times to have fun and play footy. We as parents encourage them to play so they can feel the adrenaline of competitiveness, reap the benefit of fitness, enjoy the experience of camaraderie,……… and spend less time fighting with their siblings. (the inevitable reduction in screen time just another bonus)!

Footy is not about winning or losing, it’s about creating memories and experiences.  Its understanding that the pain of a convincing loss is equally as important as the elation of a close victory. It’s about attitude and commitment and working together to help your teammates to bring out the best in yourself. It’s not about being the best but being the best you can be.

Season 2020 was not defined by the last game but should be remembered as a season that saw improvement, enjoyment, sportsmanship and courage in the face of adversity. If this team of developing young men stick together and all come back next year, then I can confidently predict they will enjoy another great season.

  • Stephen Grech. Photo gallery by Sonia.

For a full wrap-up of the U15-2 season in photos, please visit our SmugMug gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U15/2 v St Ives

Round Two, aka The Big Wet

St Lukes, Sunday 26 June 2020

There is nothing like getting comfortable with a good book on a cold and rainy Sunday, and for the parents of Cannons 15/2s this Sunday was no different… that is,  it was nothing like getting comfortable.

St Lukes was the venue, St Ives were the opponents, the heavens opened, and the rain was biblical!

It was weather better suited to ark building than football and the hellish scenario was made worse with injury and illness further depleting the already limited numbers. It would be a test of courage and commitment as coach Paul urged the 16 available boys to work together and have faith in each other.

The ground was soft but the Cannons brought a hardness to the opening bounce and the constant rain was a great leveller of skills and speed. It was obvious in the first quarter that this game was going to be a hard fought slog in the wet. The slippery ball was hard to handle, the wet jumpers made tackling nearly impossible, and the constant rain meant scoring a goal would require divine intervention.

Coach Paul had asked for extra effort from all the players. He asked them to push that little bit harder to impact a contest and affect a spoil. To stick close to their opponent and ensure every possession was hard earned. To follow up when the ball went to ground and maintain the pressure. The Cannons courageously fought the David and Goliath battle but ultimately 16:22 is not an even contest and the weight of numbers caused the floodgates to open with the Saints eventually running away convincing and deserving winners.

Despite the gloomy skies there were plenty of bright moments. The reuniting of the successful midfield combination of Big Riggers and Cooper coupled with Eathn’s trademark ferocity allowed plenty of first ball use. Fighting against a flooded defence, the second efforts of forwards JB and Woody in conditions that didn’t suit big men was encouraging as was the contribution from debutant Adrian who was unlucky not to pick up a goal with his first kick of the game. Husky and Kipper adapted to the conditions well and applied great forward pressure  as did Broadie who was perfectly at home down at water level where the ball spent most of the day.

Courage was on show watching Lachie fearlessly contesting against a player that towered over him and again with Texas ferociously tackling on the far wing even when the game was done.  Max’s determination and commitment didn’t stop even after he was pounded into the ground in a contest.  Rising star Rameez proved last week’s stellar performance was no fluke with another outstanding all round game.

The Cannons backmen can all hold their heads high. Killa ensured his opponent had no influence on the game and Cruisey’s charge at the ball and at the start of the second half was rebound footy at its best.  Grechie was consistent and reliable all day and ended the day on a high somehow marking an incoming torpedo, a feat that would have been impressive in the dry and was nothing short of miraculous in the conditions.

At the end of the game the rainwater on the ground reflected the scoreboard but the scoreboard did not reflect the game. The Cannons were courageous and determined and their effort cannot be questioned. They are weathering a storm of injuries but the forecast looks bright so keep the faith!

 

Match reporter: Stephen Grech

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

Under 15s Round 7 v Moore Park, May 26

Look under F in some dictionaries and you’ll find this definition of footy: “A bunch of mates having fun, working hard together, putting their bodies on the line for each other, sharing with each other, helping each other out, running all day for each other, never giving up, just so they can all achieve the same goal together. And then they burst into song.”

Our boys obviously read the right dictionary, applying that definition perfectly on Sunday as everyone contributed to a gutsy and thrilling one point win against a Moore Park team that beat them by 50 points only the week before.

There was a fair bit of skill involved in the win, but there was also a lot of the physical side Tony has been emphasising so much.

It was Ozy’s run from 20 metres to put on a shepherd, Manfred’s 40m chase which forced a fumble and allowed Johnno to lay a fierce front-on tackle, Andrew’s second and third efforts to bump and tackle, it was Tank’s desperate lunge and punch from behind, Nic’s hip and shoulder, Sam F’s bump which gave Joey room to run, Paddy throwing himself head first into a pack to clear the ball and keep it in our forward line in the dying minutes.

The boys might have kept their cool in those dying minutes, but it was tense on the other side of the boundary as the clock ran down.

After a dominant third quarter in which we kicked three goals to one, we took a seven point lead and a lot of confidence into three-quarter time.

Tenacious X put us further ahead early in the final term when he still managed to get boot to ball while horizontal and mid-air after being scragged and flung to the ground. He ended up on his backside, but the ball ended up through the big sticks and we were 13 points up and, apparently, in control.

But, as Moore Park do, they kept fighting and responded well with a couple of goals to get to within two points and set up an exciting final two minutes. It was desperate stuff as the boys threw themselves at the footy and into packs and tackles. Nic’s brave mark in defence cut off a potential match stealing entry and we took control, ferociously keeping the ball on our forward flank for the final minute or so to claim a great victory.

It was a brilliant all-round team effort, starting in defence with not just the aerial skills of Alex, Johnno and Sam F but the tenacity of Tommo and Andrew who constantly rebounded as the first line of attack.

Fin’s poise on the wing is remarkable, calmly picking the ball up off his toes as opponents bear down on him before he steps around them with ease and sends the ball back our way, while Will creates a contest every time he’s near the footy.

Cooky’s skills and footy smarts just get more impressive each week, highlighted by his clever flick over the back, turn and gather and his combination with Sam W up forward is proving very productive.

Sam’s progress is great to watch and he is becoming our main man up forward, backing up last week’s two goals with another pair this week, with his lethal combination of strong  marking and a rare ability to beat a man or three with a little jink and step.

Damo was a classy addition and he’s welcome to back up from the u14s any time.

And it wasn’t just the kids who worked together and helped each other out. Thanks to all the parents who volunteered for duty and ensured the whole match day ran smoothly. Thankfully, the grown-ups didn’t burst into song at the end.

 

CANADA BAY 5.5.35 Goals: Sam 2, Cooky 1, Alex 1, Xavier 1

MOORE PARK 5.4.34

350 Games: Joshua Lee

U12 Youth Girls: Round 9

U12 Youth Girls v Glebe

Round 9, Jubilee Oval

Match report by Ian; pics by Ronika
The Cannons were treated to a glorious winter morning at Jubilee Park to take on the Greyhounds. This week Tamara was responsible for running duties nursing a broken finger, but otherwise Cannons had a full complement of players. White picket fences, glinting sunshine against the backdrop of ANZAC bridge all become secondary when the game got underway. 

The first quarter was a fierce contest, with plenty of hard running and physicality. The ever reliable Molly put the Cannons first goal on the board after the Greyhounds snuck away to an early lead. The balance of play started to even out with some mighty tackling from Skye and a few scything runs from India brushing aside would be tacklers. Ruby as always, dominating the ruck and collecting plenty of loose ball around the ground. Molly eventually evened the scores with another booming goal to finish the quarter.

The second quarter was a true spectacle with the Cannons playing some of their best footy this year!! India again breaking free from the congestion and Molly showing incredible poise banging the ball long towards the Cannons goal. In one passage, Molly fetched her own kick 3 times! The Cannons dominance continued and India snapped a smart goal over her shoulder in the goal square. Hannah followed up with a high mark and kicked truly later in quarter. Lucy and Sienna made some telling intercepts and made some big tackles to keep the Greyhounds from scoring. The Cannons went forward again late in the quarter with India marking 25 metres from goal. She did her best Ben Brown impression after the siren, but fell just short.

The Cannons lost the momentum in the third quarter, with a few decisions going against them. They stuck at it, with Lila in particular fighting against the odds to tackle a player almost twice her height! Eventually, the Cannons started to push the ball forward and Hannah again kicked a lovely goal. Ruby, started to have more influence around the ground and Katie started breaking the big packs open with her speed and strength. 

The Cannons went into the final quarter with a two goal deficit and were implored by the coach to run, run and RUN!!! Katie continued her fearless attack on the football with Skye shepherding her pathway out of defence. Sienna made a couple of goal opportunities with her clever evasive skills in the forward line, but still, all the effort wasn’t showing on the scoreboard. Katie again broke free of the back half with another bullocking run and long kick. India swooped onto the loose ball and went on a long run down the outer flank, with three perfect bounces! 

Suddenly the momentum had changed. Niamh joined Katie and the Cannons backline became a fortress, with big tackles and relentless running from both players. The ball zipped forward for the Cannons and Cationa kicked her first goal that made it 5 points the difference – with players rushing from everywhere to celebrate. The Cannons confidence was bubbling now and the ball was continuously rushing forward. Molly eventually launched a banana kick through for a goal and put the Cannons in front for the first time in the game. Unfortunately though, the Cannons had to battle the increasingly blustery wind, and when the rub of the green was with the Greyhounds, they were able to add two late goals to seal the game. 

In wrap up, this was definitely the Cannons best game of the year, showing plenty of fight and desire to take the lead in a game deep into the last quarter. Even more impressive, it was a team performance with every player contributing. It’s great to see the girls confidence grow week by week with everyone’s improved kicking skills really on show. Great running and effort for the whole game – well done again, girls!

Cannons News: 16 May 2018

The Mother’s Day issue available online here: Cannons News for 16 May

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Under 12-3 Orange Match Report: Round 3

U12-3 Orange v Manly Bombers

Round 3

It was an early start for all, light rain but the sun magically appeared at kick-off.

Coach Anthony gathers the full team of 20 and receives attention and respect from the huddle, 16 on the field with four on the bench already gives us an advantage, with the Bombers – in their impressive retro style uniform of black and red – mustering only 16 for the holiday round.

In a daring but brilliant tactical move Anthony places Alex H as ruck and the ball is out to Toby. It’s a scrappy start but the boys settle after five minutes and show their skill with an excellent long kick from Mikhail, and strong defence from Denver and Jackson. At the five minute mark, the smiles turn on as Lucca gives the mighty Cannons the first goal, followed by Mikhail and Alex H with 16 second to run.

The constant call by Anthony to “Man Up” is heeded at least 10% of the time, which for 12 year olds is impressive.

2nd quarter: Cooper and Toby give the Bombers a fright, with Russell keeping the Cannons possession alive. The Assistant Coach and runner implores the team to not expect the ball to be kicked 50metres and to move closer. An excellent kick and mark by Hamish leads to a gaol by Cooper. The sideline banter is “run, run, run, don’t bunch up”. By the end of the second quarter, residents overlooking the beautiful Drummoyne Oval are calling their sleepy occupants out with “you’ve gotta come and watch these boys play”.

3rd quarter: The steady stream of jets overhead tilt their wings to give the 1st class passengers a better view of the game, and this distraction gives Manly an edge with our weaker defence and the 1st Bombers’ goal. The Cannons come back with a strong whole team effort, including Mikhail getting knocked down by the Bombers ‘Big Unit’ but he’s straight up again to regain the ball and kick away. Damian kicks the only Cannons goal for the quarter.

4th quarter: The quarter starts with a clear lead and domination by Cannons, this continues during the rest of the game and leaves the team, parents and cheerleaders happy with a dominating win: 39 to 18.

Before we leave the ground, just in time to miss the coffee set blocking Victoria Rd at 10am, the mighty Cannons song is sung with gusto which has been the only difficult thing for me personally as I had just mastered the first verse of the junior club song. Change is seldom easy.