Floret Pica NAB Cup Week 1

For those either without Foxtel or with a better offer on a warm February night, I offer a few thoughts on the Pies’ opening NAB Cup games.  The Fahey family lounge was full of black and white jumpers as we settled in for the first instalment of the year, this time from the grandiosely named Blacktown International Sports Park.


Although the conditions were quite different, the Saturday night games were of a clearly lower standard and intensity to Friday night’s fare.  In warm humid conditions, our ragtag mix of a few topliners and plenty of wannabes stumbled their way to two victories against ordinary opposition, mainly on the back of surges in effort at the appropriate times by the former category.


In a nutshell, we had plenty of opportunities against the Dogs but struggled to score, and were lacklustre and a little bit fortunate against a very dogged GWS. GWS took a very defensive game style into both their games, clearly trying to avoid early season annihilations.  Their masses of numbers around the ball, and one or two behind it, achieved their required result and nearly brought them victories, but did little for the spectacle of their games.


There were a few positives, particularly among the new and newish players. Yagmoor was impressive as a running defender, readily able to find the ball, although his usage let him down on a few occasions. Marley Williams kicked a couple of nice goals in the first game, prompting me to induce groans all round with my new cry of “Gnarly Marley!”.  Tom Young, who I nicknamed “Soup” again showed the touch of dash and flair that might see him add to last year’s two senior games, albeit that Mick (remember him !) was apparently on him to pay equal attention to his defensive responsibilities. Big Witts didn’t do much, but looks a footballer, combining his enormous size with athleticism, good skills and a healthy dose of aggression we haven’t had in a big bloke since Monkey’s halcyon mid-1990s days.


Some of the other wannabes looked raw and not ready, as could be expected.  It needs to be noted in fairness that it is harder to come in as a newbie to a side full of newbies rather than come in and play around a full complement of established players.  Of the established players, The Shorn Mop was both dashing and solid in both games, Heater was outstanding in the first game, reading and directing the game typically well, Ball very good in the second and Toovs typically solid.  Swanny just wandered around for most of both games, but kicked the goal of the night, being involved three times as we scrubbed the ball forward from a throw-in on the wing to convert from the goal square.  Outstanding hard running.


It was also a positive to get some early footy into some of the blokes who missed a lot of footy last year, including Jolly, Dawes, Toovey and Shaw.  Unfortunately the undoubted lowlight of the night was the potentially season-ending injury to the last of that group, Caff, who had started the night well.  The lack of a midsize marking forward really hurt us in the finals last year, and he was the man I had hoped to fill that slot, as he did so well in 2010. Let’s hope it’s a better outcome than that feared.


The forward line really struggled in both games in the absence of Cloke, Krakouer and Didak (as well as the retired Leroy).  Hopefully Bucks can get the message across to The Beast that he kicks most of his goals on the lead, and while his massive body means he will do lots of attempted pack marking and is important in bringing the ball to ground for others, pack marking is not his strength, and he needs to run harder and get into space, which admittedly was a limited commodity last night.


My first rocket of the year goes to the person(s) responsible for the best players list on the AFL website.  I know it’s only week one of NAB Cup, but in the words of John McEnroe “You cannot be serious.” In the first game they listed Simon Buckley in the best players (as did The Age).  He let his opponent get goal side to kick the Dogs’ first goal and made another critical error.  In a game of two short halves, in my book you need to get a fair but right to make it into the best players list in those circumstances.  GETTING A LOT OF POSSESSIONS DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN BEING ONE OF THE BEST PLAYERS !! To compound their error, in the second game they listed Jonathan Ceglar in the best.  While he did kick a goal (a receive from the goal line from a smart piece of play by Swanny) he barely touched the ball and looked out of place to the extent that one of my mid-game comments to Stork was that he looked like a good back-up….for big Cameron Wood in the twos !


Enough from me.  It’s great that footy is back and I’ve always maintained that a win is a win is a win.  I guess I need a new saying for when we play two games in an evening !!


Floreat Pica




  1. It’s a good thing the Pies were in ‘show no mercy mood’ and were going flat out against those giant young unknowns Steve. If not they may have been a little embarrassed.

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