The Whites this week took on the as yet undefeated Grads Red, missing stalwarts Rob Albetron, Jan Pfitzner and Wez Reid. Obviously though, this opened up a few spots, meaning Ollie Smith guested in after a few weeks in the B’s & Phillip and Dan G were also added to the starting line-up.
Our game was moved at the last minute to the grads oval in front of the now nearly finished clubrooms… This confused a few of the boys, but we were all still ready to hear Steve’s team talk just in time.
The discussion was about passing the ball around, keeping our shape & enjoying ourselves, but once the whistle went I think we’d forgotten about ‘switching on & getting warm’ as we were 1-0 down inside the first minute without getting a touch. That was doubled minutes later from a very good corner & a 3rd went in before 15 minutes had elapsed.
Steve made a couple of positional moves, bringing Darren to a central holding role & getting Ollie and Saber closer together and we finally started to put some passes together. Adi & Eddie were both delivering the ball well from the back to the midfield and James and Dan on the wings finally started to see the ball. But we were struggling with Grads physicality and quick passing in the middle of the ground as Dan, Shiraz and Bobby were bundled off the ball a few times.
What was impressive though was the second efforts & intensity. With the boys chasing back hard and getting into the tackles more as the half went on.
The first half ended at 4-0, which really highlighted Grads dominance of the first 15 minutes & the boys will have to work out a way to get a bit more intensity from kick off.
After the half, Steve swapped Adi for Tomas and later Hamad came on for Dan, the coach Steve replaced former coach James & very late I got a few minutes giving Bobby a rest.
For nearly the entire half the whites out played Grads, as the passing improved & we gained control of the centre of the park – Darren & Bobby were particularly impressive, as were the defensive efforts of Eddie and Tomas.
We managed to create a number of scoring chances – with Hamad, Shiraz & Philip all getting close – but no cigar.
The end result of 5-0 was probably a fair reflection on the game. Whilst our boys had a few good chances to score, we all look a little gun shy in the 18 yard box which allowed Grads players to get in front of the ball negating many of our chances.
On the positive note, the 2nd half was impressive, we played out of defence, moved the ball around well & looked dangerous. Standout performances from Eddie and Saber should give us hope that the younger brigade are ready to stand up.