Round 1: Thunder v South Mornington
Round 2: Thunder v Sorrento
The Under 11’s put in a tremendous effort against South Mornington in their first game of the season, only going down by 11 points after producing a barnstorming final quarter. We did begin the game a bit slowly and the South Mornington side, who looked to me to be a handy outfit, kept scoring while the Thunder players found it impossible to kick a goal. Everyone one was trying and doing their best, but goals were hard to come by and at three-quarter time, Balnarring was still to score a major and South Mornington had six on the scoreboard. However, when it mattered, the Thunder Under 11’s showed amazing resilience and perseverance and ran the game right out, with goals being kicked by Henry, Tayne, Alex and Jordan in the last quarter, while the opposition was well held by our defence. I was totally proud of our team and the way they stuck to the task, just like what we had been working towards in the pre-season. We had a wide spread of contributers, but I want to specifically mention Tahlia, Amy and Meka, who in their first ever games of football, had a real crack and got their hands on the ball. Jake Seymour and Dakota Litchfield kept us in the game when we weren’t scoring and Damon and Eli were definitely amongst our best. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and I hope the kids are too.
Coach- Steve Northcote
Round 3: Thunder v Dromana
The Under 11’s kickstarted the game against Dromana with true gusto setting up the match in the first quarter with five goals - three kicked by Alex and two from Jordan. Dromana kept battling all game, but found our backline difficult to break through. Our solid teamwork and movement of the ball proved too good throughout the rest of the game and we finished up 63 to 3. I would like to put a special shoutout to Tahlia and Amy who are really finding their feet in the team. Amy managed to get on the scoreboard in her third ever game, which was just terrific. Sonny was given the Keep Your Cool award - a well deserved accolade after he bravely copped a falcon in the second quarter. We look forward to meeting Red Hill this Sunday at home.
Round 4: Thunder v Red Hill
The under 11’s had another fantastic game on Sunday against Red Hill at Somers. As we expected Red Hill proved to be full courage and determination, but our team rose to the challenge and won the match with the final scores 5.8.38 to 2.6.18. Jake, Finn and Alex ran the entire game and skilfully carried the ball at real pace. Fletcher should be commended on his role as ruck, winning all challenges and kicking a lovely goal, and Tayne and Hugo constantly dug in and fought for the ball. We look forward to taking on Rosebud on Sunday
Round 5: Thunder v Rosebud
The Under 11’s proved too strong for an inexperience Rosebud side on Sunday winning comfortably 9.6.60 to 0.0.0.
Whilst Rosebud didn’t quite manage to hit the scoreboard, their tackling was impressive and shows promise for this young side.
Damon had a great game both in the backline and forward line where he kicked three goals. Tayne also played extremely well at both ends of the ground, and Angus was consistently ferocious in his tackling of the man. Jay continues to read the play beautifully and on Sunday demonstrated how football smart he has become.
Unfortunately because Balnarring were so dominant, it was rather quiet down the backline, but I don’t expect that to be the case when we take on Rye this Sunday at home. Rye is currently first on the ladder and we are second, so we’ll be looking to dig deep this weekend to reverse that order.
Round 6: Thunder v Rye
The first two quarters of our match against Rye proved to be a tight and exciting contest and at half time the scores were level. Unfortunately, in the third quarter Rye got two goals, whilst we only managed one (kicked by Jake Seymour). In the last quarter Rye snuck in another to finish the game up by 12 points. I really feel that if our boys and girls had lifted a little more as a team we would have had a better result, but I'm also hoping they have learnt some valuable lessons particularly after two relatively easy games leading up to this match. In saying all that, I’d like to congratulate Angus Everist for battling hard and tackling well and Jay Rodwell for again being very involved throughout the game. Damon Collins proved once more to be extremely reliable in the backline with an equally solid performance when we moved him to the forward line. Jake Seymour and Alex Northcote’s pace, pressure and sharp skills were impressive and they were unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions and Fletcher Poll continues to demonstrate what a valuable team player he is. This Sunday we meet Mt Martha Black at Ferrero Reserve. Go Thunder!
Round 7: Thunder v Mt Martha Black
The first quarter of our match against Mt Martha Black on Sunday was possibly the best the team has played. We started the game with complete gusto and the kids' movement of the ball was magic to watch. Eli Cullen made his mark back in the team, after four weeks holiday, playing well in the ruck and scoring a goal. Tayne Boland also scored and at the end of the first quarter we had Mt Martha in a spin. Unfortunately the next two quarters were almost the reverse. We completely lost our momentum and Mt Martha took full advantage of our faded efforts. At the start of the final quarter we sparked up again and Amy Arturi got her ever first goal, which also happened to be her first ever kick in a match! Jordan Nennstiel also hit the scoreboard, but sadly it was too late with the final result 4.4.28 to 9.3.57. Full credit to Damon Collins who stood up to the pressure over and over again and proved what a valuable player he is to the team. Fletcher Poll had a tough contest in the last three quarters as ruck against a very tall opponent, but consistently battled hard. Finn Price was solid in the backline, Angus Everist had a good dig in defence and Alex Northcote and Jake Seymour displayed some great moments as athletic, key forwards. Lots of lessons learnt and some good challenges ahead of us
Round 8: Thunder v South Mornington
There’s no way to sugar coat how I feel about Sunday’s game. It was really tough. Although our team managed to get the first three scoring shots of the contest, we were quickly overwhelmed by a powerful Mornington South who skillfuly spread the ball across the field and kicked exceptionally well. In fairness, the ball did spend a reasonable amount of time down our end and plenty of people watching the game felt the end score didn’t accurately reflect the play. But unfortunately we just didn’t seem to have the ability to convert goals, and Mornington South did. Congratulations to Dakota and Tayne who dug deep and were certainly our most involved players on the field. Moving forward, I would like to encourage my crew to put the past three games behind them, have a good rest this weekend and try to watch plenty of footy in your time off (sorry mums). Next week I look forward to regrouping to take on Sorrento with the positive attitude that I know the boys and girls are very capable of.
Round 9: Thunder v Sorrento
Sunday’s game was another trying one for the under 11’s. We remained close to Sorrento for the first two quarters and in the third quarter, with the scores almost even, we thought a much needed win was in sight. Sadly the final quarter was a disaster, we ran out of steam and Sorrento raced away on the scoreboard. On the positives, Henry Lewis had his best game of the season. When so many of his team mates slowed down, Henry kept up the contest, chasing the opposition and applying great pressure. Tom Hick tackled hard throughout the game and landed a sensational mark. Finn Price also ran the ground well, worked hard when he was on ball, took some great marks and kicked one of our goals. Fletcher Poll was once again tireless in his fight for the ball and consistently tackled well, as did Jay Rodwell. We play Dromana this Sunday at home with some new strategies in place which I hope will convince this talented bunch of kids that if they play as a team, they will start seeing positive results again.
Round 10: Thunder v Dromana
What a much-needed morale booster Sunday was for my under 11’s! Balnarring dominated a less experienced Dromana and I was particularly pleased with the good spread of goal kickers and overall excellent team effort. Special commendation must go to Jake Seymour, Jay Rodwell and Alex Northcote who worked tirelessly throughout the entire match. After securing such a strong lead early in the game, we decided to experiment by moving some players from the backline into the forward. Well done to Max MacGowan and Angus Everist for applying themselves so well in new positions. I would also like to congratulate Billy Willison on scooping up the ball on the goal line and popping it through the posts for his first goal of the season. The jubilation on his face and his fellow team mates was something to be very proud of.
Round 11: Thunder v Red Hill
Sunday’s game against Red Hill at the Chip was a nail biter. It took both teams a while to get on the board and once they did the scores remained close for most of the match. Fortunately Balnarring managed to convert a few extra goals in the fourth quarter, when they needed to, allowing us to secure the contest. Many of the usual suspects in our team worked hard on the ball, but I would particularly like to mention the tireless efforts of Henry Lewis. If everyone shared Henry’s determination, our team would be unstoppable. It was great to see the girls in our team advancing their skills. Tahlia Leadbetter had a great game with some solid marks and kicks, Meka Parker stepped up her involvement tackling and fighting for the ball and Amy Arturi secured another goal. It was also terrific to see Angus Everist realising his potential landing some match saving tackles in the back line. This week we welcome AJ, a new recruit all the way from Western Australia, who will be joining our team while he is living on the Peninsula for the next month.
Round 12: Thunder v Rosebud
Although we were missing a few players on Sunday, due to the game falling in the middle of the school holidays, our team had a polished four-quarter performance against Rosebud. Dakota Litchfield’s efforts were a standout. He was tough at the ball, displayed excellent offense and defence and literally didn’t stop running all day. Both Fletcher Poll and Eli Cullen did a wonderful job in the ruck and consistently won tap outs throughout the morning. Jake Seymour’s silky smooth play, Alex Northcote’s speed and determination at contests, Tayne Boland’s tireless work in the forward line and Jordan Nennstiel’s ability to read the play and take advantage of opportunities that came his way, all contributed to a solid win. A huge shout out to AJ Merry from Fremantle City Dockers who played his Balnarring debut and scored a goal with his particularly impressive boot. We are delighted to have AJ in the team for the next month while he is living on the Peninsula. Over the last few weeks it’s been a pleasure to see the under 11’s continued improvement and I hope the boys and girls can keep up the momentum this weekend when we take on Rye who are the ladder leaders.
Round 13: Thunder v Rye
Boneo turned on a cold, wintery day for us on Sunday creating trying conditions for the Under 11s against a tough Rye team. The first quarter was fantastic and we were really evenly matched, but unfortunately in the second quarter Rye took control of the game and didn’t relinquish it for the rest of the contest. The whole team put in a solid effort, but I actually think the boys and girls were a little intimidated playing the top team and didn’t quite have the confidence on the day to perform their best. Something we can work on. Again, as the game again fell in school holidays, we were missing players which left holes in our field, but credit to players like Jake Seymour, Damon Collins, Fletcher Poll and Eli Cullen who dug deep throughout the morning. Finally I have to say that I was incredibly proud of Balnarring’s performance against an unnecessarily rough and aggressive team. My guys battled hard, but more importantly their conduct and integrity on the field was exemplary.