Canada Bay Cannons v Penshurst
Anzac Day match
25 April 2021
Anzac Day is a significant day with significant meaning. Created to commemorate the 1915 Gallipoli landing, where young men fought hard against the odds, the Anzac spirit has become synonymous with courage, mateship, and never giving up.
On Anzac Day 2021 the Cannons 17/2s travelled far from home to the aptly named Old’s Park to take on Penshurst. The one-minute silence before the game provided an opportunity for the boys to reflect on the sacrifice of our Anzacs.
Perhaps they also were thinking about the daunting task ahead of them on the footy field. Many of the 19 young Cannons are yet to turn 16, but there was no fear in their eyes as they stared down a stronger and more experienced looking opposition.
The young Cannons were under immediate pressure as the well drilled Panthers opened fire on the Cannons goals. Drawing first blood in the very dawn of the game the relentless Panthers reset with another brutal attacking wave allowing them to go “two up” as the Cannons tried to regroup and reassess. The Cannons defence was under constant fire with the machine gun like spray posting 3 goals 3 before the quarter time siren signalled a merciful, albeit temporary, ceasefire.
Coach Mala marshalled his charges. He looked them in the eye and asked for courage and commitment. He spoke calmly asking them to play with intent and to show unquestionable effort. Most importantly he asked them to work together and protect each other.
From here the Cannons regrouped and tried to fight the game on their terms. The defenders dug in, the midfielders ran with intent across the open spaces, and the forwards tried desperately to hit targets. Despite their most heroic efforts, the Cannons were faced with an insurmountable challenge. They were fighting a battle they could not win, and the Panthers were deserving and convincing victors. The final score? Best we forget!
Although defeated, there were winners around the ground. Despite being outsized and outnumbered Stewy and Broady were courageous and committed. Tommo’s fearless attack on the footy was commendable as was Andrew’s persistence and endurance. Max’s second and third efforts were inspiring, and Riggers battled tirelessly all day with extra efforts to shepherd and protect his mates. Perhaps though it was Damo, who gave everything, repeatedly got up after getting hit, and demonstrated a true “never surrender” attitude.
History will record the game as a heavy loss, but Coach Mala urged his troops to see the game as a turning point. A battle hardening that will help the young team to grow, develop and bond together. A defining and significant first step taken on this important and significant day.
- Stephen Grech