Chasing the Bush Premiership VII

A 53 point half time lead would be translated to a win right?  Last Saturday was one of the most bizarre games of football I’ve ever played in.

Despite my shaky form, I stayed in the senior side for another week.  After getting over the top side seven days earlier, we were due to battle fifth placed Mypolonga.  Despite an injury plagued club at the moment we were still favoured to win.

Watching the reserves it was finally good to see them win a game and put the result beyond doubt nice and early.  They got the chocolates with a 44 point victory and with several players out, and in 2nd spot we are very well placed.  There is some stiff competition and there is no room to slip but you can’t do much more than win each week and if that keeps happening we can tighten our grip on the double chance.

Another winter’s day in Murray Bridge, another day with 22 degrees and sunshine.  It really it a great town to play footy, I even got a little sunburnt last week against Ramblers.  I was down at Crib Point a few weeks ago and had a training run with the lads there and the ground was soaked and muddy.  Not so here, most grounds are nice and firm and despite a little wind, the conditions are perfect every week.

We were on fire early against Mypo.  A seven goal to two opening term and another 6 goals in the 2nd saw us go into the major break with a 13.2 (80) to 4.3 (27) lead.  I snagged a goal early, even kicked it opposite foot a hardball and handball out by my teammate to me and I slammed it on the foot and it dribbled through.  I managed to get a few touches and when I was in the ruck in the first I set up another goal with a nice pass up forward.  The mark was spilled but good roving saw the ball go through the sticks.

Watching the game you would’ve thought a different side ran out after half time. This was truly one of the more bizarre games of footy I’ve played in my life.  A 53 point buffer was decimated in the 3rd quarter and we went into the final change 4 points down.  I have never seen anything like it.  I started the 3rdquarter in the goalsquare and just watched as our lead was whittled away bit by bit.  It just never stopped, after completely dominating we were dominated in the 3rd and blew a 53 point lead in 30 minutes of football.  We were hammered in the middle, and Mypo were getting to the ball first and getting it forward as quickly as possible and we just never really looked like getting in the game.

Squandering 53 point leads in 30 minutes of football is all to do with mental and not ability.  It’s why footballers should never look at the scoreboard when they play.  “scoreboard is for the fans” according to the coach and he’s right, “if we do what we do well, the rest will take care of itself”.  We probably came out at half time and thought it would keep rolling along.  They came out, had a crack and just played footy and before they knew it were in front.

The last quarter was an arm wrestle and after going 7 points up again with a few minutes to go we looked like we might’ve pinched it back but a rushed behind and late goal saw scores levelled at 16.8 (104) apiece and like dancing with your sister, we were left with the awkward feeling a draw leaves.

For Mypo it was their second consecutive draw, and for us, it undid the good work of beating Ramblers, the top side seven days earlier.

The coach was fairly philosophical after the game and seemed to think we were letting sides score against us a little too easily.  Even games where we have played well, sides have managed to get a run on us and kick several unanswered goals and when you think about it, it made sense.  In round 2 against Jervois we were 10 goals up halfway through the last and won by 4 goals, against Mannum first time round we went 6 goals to zip down after clawing back and winning and against Tailem Bend we allowed them to kick 20.17 despite the fact we kicked 35.8!

Another comment made was probably directed at the players in the side of my calibre and that was the second tier players didn’t stand up when needed.  In the first half we had 16-20 contributors all playing good footy.  In the second half our stars still played well but the second tier players dropped away.

Training was intense as expected, Tuesday we played two 20 minute halves of match practice with an emphasis on slowing the ball up.  There was no time to worry about soreness or injuries, just throw yourself around and avoid the wrath of the coach.  After training I sought some feedback and the coach said I was going OK.  In my five games as a ruck/forward I’d kicked 4 goals and was rucking OK, probably not taking enough grabs but that aside I was OK.  Although after checking in the paper the goal I kicked wasn’t credited to me!  Bloody goal umpires.

The last six games will really give me a good sense of where I’ll be come September.  I reckon at full strength I’ll struggle to hold my spot but I should be thereabouts.  The ressies keep winning so provided I stay fit and in reasonable form I should be September bound.  At the end of the day I’ve played in 7 wins, 2 losses and a draw.  In 2010 I played in 1 win and 15 losses so things are ticking along nicely compared to seasons past.



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