To keep up FPS’s barnstorming start to the season, reporting for the first time on all NAB Cup fixtures, here are a few observations on last night’s clash.
Conditions steamy but Pies stone cold
March 10, 2013 by 2 Comments
The game was played in steamy conditions, starting at around 33 degrees and not changing much. It was uncomfortable for spectators so one can only imagine what it was like for players. We played a veritable B-list team, with the absentees more notable than those present – Pendles, Swanny, Travis, Reid, Heater and the injured Ball and Daisy. These are seven of our best ten, with Beamer, Sidey and Jolls rounding off that group in my humble opinion. There were other notable absentees – Harry, Krak, Fas, Toovs, Elliott and the seemingly now perenially injured Didak.
One sentence can sum the game up. First half scrappy but competitive, second half crappy and uncompetitive. I would like to finish there, but will continue.
We had plenty of the ball early in the game, but repeatedly bombed it to our two tall targets Q-Stick and Witts, making it easy for the Lions defenders. Witts didn’t look like catching one up forward the whole night and struggled in the ruck after a couple of decent efforts in the earlier rounds. Beams was outstanding all night, winning lots of contested footy and sneaking forward to have two set shots in the first quarter, and the skipper mopped up in the back half early in the game with aplomb. Of the younger and or newer brigade, Oxley was lively across half-back, Frost continued to show some promise as a big, athletic key defender and Kyle Martin was busy. We led by a point at the first two changes but had not looked either convincing or impressive.
The Lions cut us to ribbons in the second half, moving the ball through harder run and greater precision of delivery and having multiple targets up forward to finish off their good work. Rich was a clear standout as best on ground, one of few on the ground to regularly hit targets. We were a rabble for much of the second half, with Beams and Sidey notable exceptions, and Ben Kennedy having some classy touches. Nathan Brown did a good job defensively in his first hit-out for the season against their superstar Jonno Brown.
At three quarter time, I developed a theory that our lacklustre performance was a master plan to send Carlton to the Queensland heat next weekend. The post-game announcement that the final would be played in Melbourne was as puzzling to me as it was angering to Voss. It would appear that the AFL is keen to meet its quota of staggering decisions early this year. While the Gabba is unavailable, I seem to rememebr that they are ploughing huge amounts of cash into developing the game in south-east Queensland, so go figure why they don’t play the match on the Gold Coast.
The Lions appear to be last season’s Crows, flying in the NAB Cup and obviously trying to take that omentum into the season proper. Time will tell, but they were by far the better team on this occasion.
Finalising my assessment of the Pies’ performamce, in addition to fielding a B-list team, the other factor overlooked by many is that those Pies who backed up from last week had a 6-day break after travelling to Perth and playing in scorching conditions. That can’t have been easy. Our skill level was poor and hopefully can be partly attributed to heat and fatigue.
I would suggest not spending too much time considering this game any further. We move on to play our first game since 1999 at Geelong’s much-renamed stadium. It will be the second biggest sporting event in Geelong next weekend, behind the Head of School Girls regatta on the Barwon River Saturday and Sunday. May we get through that game without injuries and with some firm ideas on what our best line-up is for round one a couple of weeks later, in the traditional Easter Sunday 4.40 timeslot.