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!