Round 1: Thunder v Red Hill
Round 2: Thunder v Rye
The Under 17 team has a bit of a different look about it this year following the departure of a number of players who had previously represented Balnarring with distinction over a long period of time.
Fortunately the Club was able to attract 8 new players to the team and we welcome all of these young men and their families to the Thunder.
The team has got off to a great start to the season with solid performances in the first two weeks resulting in very good wins.
Everyone has been impressed at how quickly the boys have gelled and played outstanding team football. There is plenty to look forward to this season.
Round 3: Thunder v Somerville
The Under 17’s got off to a tremendous start on Sunday kicking 6 goals straight to zero in the first quarter, despite it being the first time wintery conditions had been encountered this year. From there unfortunately the game became very scrappy with neither side being able to break away from each other. The boys continued to show great endeavour and eventually we were able to secure another solid win. The win was soured by the injury to Jonah Bam who suffered major ligament damage to his ankle. We wish Jonah all the best for a speedy recovery.
On behalf of the Club I extend our congratulations to the seven boys who represented the MPJFL against the New Zealand national team on Friday 5 May. Every player acquitted themselves extremely well in the showcase exhibition game played under lights at Mt Martha.
A quick note of thanks to all the parents who are providing great assistance in undertaking the large number of duties required each week.
This week we face Beleura in a much-anticipated match where we will need to be at our very best to get the points.
Round 4: Thunder v Beleura
What can I say? Balnarring Thunder U/17 scored a comprehensive victory over Beleura on the weekend in what I hope, is a good reflection of where we might be able to head over the course of the season. We had ten goal-kickers and the fact that Beleura finished the day with 12 "pings at the sticks" themselves, was evidence that this wasn't a walkover and that our guys had to play well over the four quarters.
It's difficult and probably a little unfair to be singling out "best players" from a team that provides such an even contribution across the board, but for the sake of conversation, here are some names; Connor Eardley, Sam Lee-Conway, Liam Reilly, Jett Bauer-Lodge, Joel Brady and Jacob Gniel. I've left out Matthew Gahan and Logan Sandford, even though they kicked ten goals between them (6 and 4 respectively).
We have a long road ahead of us, one week at a time, all that. Am I happy to be involved with this bunch of young men at this club? Dead right I am.
Round 5: Thunder v Pearcedale
A solid 4 quarter effort by the Under 17’s resulted in another strong victory against a very determined Pearcedale team. All players provided a valuable contribution in what was a very even performance. The team currently sits undefeated on top of the ladder and we now will have a big target on our backs for the remainder of the season. A huge game against Mount Martha this week, is followed by two weeks off. Another big thanks to the fantastic group of parents who enthusiastically provide tremendous weekly assistance and support.
Round 6: Thunder v Mt Martha
In extremely cold and wintery conditions, the Under 17’s dominated their opposition and recorded another very strong victory. Unfortunately Joel Brady hobbled off early in the match with what looked like a serious knee injury – we all hope he has escaped any major damage. The team has a bye this week, and with another week off for the Queens Birthday long week-end, the boys will be very fresh for the second half of the season.
Round 7: Thunder BYE
Round 8 Thunder v Red Hill
The Under 17’s started the second half of the season with a comprehensive win on the main oval at Red Hill. The boys remain undefeated and continue to play a very good brand of football – pleasingly all players are making a great contribution to the overall performance of the team. A challenging game against second placed Rye this week – a very good test beckons.
Round 9; Thunder v Rye
Jacob Gniel led the team out for his 100th game, and the boys were really fired up for what promised to be a tough match against a very capable team from Rye. The boys capitalised on early opportunities and were able to take control of the game right from the start to register a comprehensive victory. It was fantastic to have a group of boys from the Under 14 team join our weekly training last week and it was a great chance to have the next generation of Thunder players experience training with us.
Round 10: Thunder v Somerville
The boys continued with their undefeated season albeit after having to outlast a very determined team from Somerville. All of the boys knew they had been in a contest and it again showed how all of our opponents are looking to knock us over. With a few injuries and a couple unavailable because of the school holidays, the upcoming night game against second-placed Beleura promises to be a great contest. My prediction is it will be a very close one and it will go down to the wire!
Round 11: Thunder v Beleura
A top-of-the-table clash under lights at Hastings proved to be an exciting match and the boys survived a very tight game to record a victory over the very accomplished team from Beleura. This was by far the toughest match of the season to date, and all parents and spectators at the game were so proud of the way everyone fought it out to win. There were 4 players from the Under 15s who joined the team this week and it was a great thrill to provide this opportunity to develop the younger boys - each of them stood up to the challenge and played with true Thunder spirit.
Round 12: Thunder v Pearcedale/Baxter
The Under 17’s played our one and only game at the Thunderdome on Sunday which was significant because it was the last time the boys will ever play a match on the ground. This occasion was not lost on many of the parents have who watched their sons start their careers as 8 and 9 year old at Balnarring. In respect to the outcome, the team worked hard to record a solid win against an accomplished outfit from Pearcedale who will play finals football this year. A three quarter time reminder of how to play team football was required and a sharper focus is needed from the boys as we approach the finals.