A great win against the Murray Crays
A great win against very tough foes marked the beginning of the 2021 season. A full President's report to follow.
The stage was set after earlier rounds were washed out, third time lucky they say. The formidable Murray Crays, who were having their first hit out for the year travelled from the sunny, dry and still open plains of Albury-Wodonga to Hughes - windswept, frigid and in places 1 foot deep in mud to face a determined and “fit” looking ACT Masters outfit.
Newly appointed coach BG was the medical sub (to be later replaced by a Stainer cameo) and wasn’t considered in the final squad of 34 willing participants, footy is indeed alive and well in the ACT. The Crays were looking a little thin on the bench with only a handful of players whilst ACT was always in danger of going over its 75 rotation ceiling with the bench looking more like a revolving door at times.
The Cockies started well with Manny the recipient of some great running football to slot the first of the season and set the tone for the day. Despite the 45kmh crosswind coming in from Yarra Glen Drive, the boys were hitting targets like it was a still day and one could have thought that Footy for fun was back as the ball was being moved effortlessly from back to forward with leading targets being hit with precision passes. The ACT boys were fit due to the cleverly designed Footy for fun (a thinly veiled disguise for preseason training) schedule which was running 2 days a week since Christmas and the lead quickly blew out to 4 goals at quarter time.
Big Andy was covering the ground putting teammates into space ably assisted by a “Half a game” cameo from Tuanny, whilst Jono and Moose in the midfield were racking up possessions and provided an abundance of scoring opportunities for rookies Chris Clapton and Geoff Bain who were getting noticed hitting the scoreboard early. New recruit Hoges was letting his footy do the talking as he led a staunch and miserly defence with Jock fitting in nicely at full back, Mal promoted up the field to centre half back who was setting up some great chains of play ably assisted by Tom and Arch who was racking up double digit disposals as the plus 1.
At half time scores resembled roughly a 6 goal margin to the cockies as Manny exited the field courtesy of a rib tickler from an errant knee which somehow slipped through the umpires who were doing an amazing job given the arctic conditions and the pace of many of the cockies forward forays.
Tim was charged with playing the other half of Tuanny’s role in the middle and was in everything winning contested footy and providing clean entries inside 50 to Stu, Bobo and Shorty who were hitting the scoreboard rewarding the repeating inside 50s.
The tackling and pressure was unrelenting and created many goals from turnover, pretty good considering the lack of any tackling or tackle bags for quite some time.
Footy for fun stalwarts Merv, Brad, Brett & Glen were relishing the extra pressure and were imposing themselves on the game, Merv a little too much, and the results were clearly adding scoreboard pressure restricting the Crays from gaining any real momentum.
The experience of Squirts, Lethal and Robbie gave great support contributing to setting up some late goals as younger legs behan to tire. A couple of key highlight in the final quarter included “Defence Al” who plays in attack who had the chance to post an early contender for goal of the year in the final moments doing everything and as the crowd rose to their feet, he unluckily pushed his kick wide, next time Al.
As the pace went out of the game late, Rowan reminded us all what speed looks like as he frantically hit multiple contests laying tackles and carnage behind him to ensure the result was beyond doubt.
The Crays couldn’t get any momentum but will be a different team at home when we visit them on their home dig on Saturday 21st August.
ACT 12.6.78 def Crays 3.3.21
ACT Goals: Chris Clapton 3, Andrew Crossman 3, Eric Bowman 2, Nathan Arch 1, Jono Dean 1, Geoff Bain 1, Simon Mann 1.
Moose, Big Andy, Chris C, Arch, Jono, Heater & Shorty