U12-3 Orange v Manly Bombers
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.