We took on Somerville Gold away at Fruit Growers Reserve. Unfortunately, conditions were a bit more akin to the middle of June. While the rain dampened our clothes, it did not hinder our enthusiasm. The strong wind meant that play was focussed up one end. We defended particularly well, while team work and looking out for each other was most evident.
Huntah Miall (aka the extractor) was rewarded for his great leadership and encouragement in the pre-season beach sessions and lived up to the pre-season hype racking up possessions. Down back Flynn Scotland was impenetrable turning defence into attack on multiple occasions. Sam Billing may have developed leather poisoning of the hands as the ball was rarely out of them. Harry Hoadley-Royale was everywhere leading by example and putting his hand up to captain the following week. Zac (Dusty Martin) Obrien was outstanding giving great presence at full forward and nearly kicked the goal of the round from what looked like (and ended up being) an impossible angle.
Henri Saleres was tireless in the ruck often giving us first use with Riley McLeod being someone who consistently made the most of this opportunity. A formidable combination indeed. Cody Scoble managed to save a certain goal and then popped up on the half forward line seconds later. Some say he has the tank of a Gary Ablett. Kane Sherer (aka Mr Fixit) demonstrated his versatility and great courage all day.
All in all it was a fantastic first up team effort with everyone contributing!
Round 2 - Thunder v Somerville Blue
Somerville Blue at home was the first chance to run out of the new digs and we set the standard for what visiting sides can expect. Some of the passages of play from defence to attack that resulted in goals were unbelievable for this time of the year. Finn Cavanagh and Mitch Arscott defied the conventional wisdom that first year players can’t make an impact. They were everywhere and showed the natural instincts associated with the likes of a Scott Pendlebury. Kai Harrison controlled the backline and his kicking was sublime while Ethan Maxwell dominated showing exceptional judgement and balancing defence and attack.
Finn Atkins took them on when he had the ball and we encourage the excitement machine to do that all year. Lachie Condie covered an extraordinary amount of territory and unlucky not to get the goal of the round. Jed McMullin was a tower of strength in the backline, strong in the air and consistently repelling attacks.
Once again however there were no passengers and it really was an amazing team effort. It all goes well for an exciting season!!
Rounds 3 to 7
The weeks have just flown by and suddenly we’re 7 games into the season. We continue to follow our team rules and keep it simple by:
1. having fun
2. encouraging our team mates and being positive
3. running to space when we have the ball
4. finding an opponent when they have the ball and staying on them
The boys are informing us that we are “nailing” the first 2, which are the most important. We are having variable success with the latter 2 team rules, but I’m not really that fussed about that, to be honest. This is because the improvement in skills is noticeable, even on a week to week basis and we will get more consistent as we go. Much of this improvement is attributable to Brett Miall’s and Brad Billing’s continued support at training and on game day. Thank you both!!
Round 3-7 highlights
The journey to Rye saw a goal kicking avalanche as Finn Cavanagh, Finn Atkins and Ethan Maxwell all piled on multiple goals and our backline held firm all day. We played a side that was predominantly made up of under 9s and the difference in size was notable. When Flynn Scotland and Jed McMullin sandwich tackled a young Rye fella half their size, there was a collective holding of breath. They generously decided to let him live and both continued to rack up possessions. Mitchell Arscott in his first year of football led by example with great contest work and would be elevated to captain for the following week as a result.
At Tyabb, that following week had arrived, and we came up against a strong side. While we had suddenly become the hunted, Huntah Miall showed great courage despite being physically compromised and amazingly then backed up to assist the under 11s. Ball magnet Lachie Condie again ran all day across a big ground while Riley McCleod demonstrated skill and poise on multiple occasions.
Against Rosebud, Friday night under lights on the big stage had finally arrived. We knew we had earned this prime time slot and our efforts justified the billing. Harry Hoadley Royale demonstrated why he had finished in the top 5 at the recent district cross country, running all night. Kai Harrison’s sublime skills weren’t impeded at all by the difficult conditions as he entertained the record Friday night crowd at the Thunderdome.
On a cold Sunday morning in Sth Mornington, we had come to play. The “premiership” favourite status of the opposition did not phase us at all. The metaphorical scoreboard belied the closeness of the contest. It was our best performance of the year as the backline held up all day repelling attack after attack. Sam Billing was impenetrable at full back. Zac O’Brien had begged for another go in the ruck and after a solid week on the track had earnt the right. He gave great contest all day and tackled like a man possessed. This tackling was matched only by Henri Saleres who made us all flinch with some bone crushing tackles and put his hand up for captain the next week.
Back at home on a gorgeous Autumn morning the semi local derby against Red Hill was about to unfold. Kane Shearer has been Mr Fixit all year and this week he found himself at fullback, which would turn out to be a busy role. He again showed his class and extraordinary foot skills. Codie Scoble continued to enhance his reputation as “Captain Courageous" rising from the turf having been dumped, to chase and tackle his assailant and win back the football.
The final highlight has been the respect that has been shown to the umpires by all players and parents this season in the under 10s. This is critical. The majority of the umpires are young boys or girls themselves and often this is their first part time job. Sadly, across the league there have been 6 young umpires that have resigned in the last fortnight due to disrespectful behaviour and abuse (from both players and parents). In just a few years’ time, many of our under 10 boys will begin their first part time job, perhaps at Balnarring IGA, local eateries and the like. If we had customers, including adults, yelling abuse at them in these places of employment, we as parents, would not accept this. We must apply the same expectations at our junior footy games. Umpires like all our young footballers, will make mistakes. We accept this. We know that our under 10s will be better footballers as they learn and progress through the age groups. The most accelerated leaning will likely come from their mistakes. We must allow the same opportunities for our young umpires.
Thank you to all under 10 parents for the positive example you have set in this regard!!
This same group of parents have also been fantastic at putting up their hands to assist on game days. With only 16 registered players I realise that this means more being required of a relatively small number. Despite this I know that our fabulous team manager Sam has not had any troubles with volunteers. Thank you.
See you all on Sunday at Pearcedale. With the long weekend the following week and no game as a result, we will have a spell from training and resume on Tuesday the 12th June.
Go Thunder! Stew McMullin