We have just hit the half way point in the season with eight games down with another eight to play. We find ourselves with six wins and two losses and sitting third on the ladder and about to go into a game with New Norfolk that will decide second spot.
As a reserves coach it is pleasing to see a number of players who started in the reserves go up to seniors and play good football. Brenton ‘Pup’ Allie, Dexter ‘luigi’ Bertoldo, Josh ‘Squish’ Hobden, Scott ‘the Eagle’ Bester, Leigh ‘Ben’s Brother’ Milbourne and Stuart ‘Bro’ Clark have all made the transition flawlessly when the opportunity arrived. A special mention should go to Jimmy ‘the new JM’ Mitchell who as a sixteen year old made his debut for the seniors this year. I would expect in the second half of the year one or two other reserves players will get the call up.
Up forward we have good contributions from a number of players. Jack ‘One Direction’ Anning continues to impress, kicking goals and being elusive. Shaun ‘Head’ Haberfield has given us a target across half forward and Henry ‘H’ Pfeiffer pops up and kicks his couple a game.
Across the mid field we have struggled to win stoppages and be accountable against the better sides. Josh ‘Yonna’ McWilliams has tiredly worked in the ruck. Danny ‘nut’ Wignall has provided us with plenty of drive and Simon ‘Macca’ McCarthy has continually been one of our better players. Matthew ‘Howeller’ Howell continue to improve with every game.
Down back we have held strong on most occasions and Trent ‘Dozer’ Clarke has been solid all year. Providing plenty of run and stopping power.
We need to continually focus on our intensity. When we are up, we are a good running side who wins contested football. But when we get challenged we struggle to respond. We need to find a way to wrestle momentum back our way when it is against us. Individuals need to lift and the leadership blokes need to find it in themselves to produce more efforts, set the scene that we won’t be happy in this type of situation and lead by example.
Moving forward to the second half of the year it will be pleasing to see the return of Dave ‘Caveman’ Wooley, Phil ‘Philphy’ Ashlin and hopefully Michael ‘the Count’ VanBeest returning from injury and Brodie Phillips returning from his sojourn to the USA as a Mormon door knocking missionary. We should also have an influx of senior players returning from injury which should help the reserves side out as they will either come through the reserves or will provide us with players dropping back.
At the start of the year if you said this side will be six and two I would have been very happy with that result, but I believe this side is more than capable of doing better. There is still a lot of improvement in this side and my aim is to get the most out of the players every week.
Round 14 saw the Two Blues take on the Dodges Ferry Sharks on our home turf of Anzac.
The reserves side went into the game bolstered by some handy inclusions from the side that went down to New Norfolk but, we were still aware of the fact that the Sharks were playing some good football and building momentum from their slow start to the season.
We started the game the way that we intended with intensity and lots of run. Our skills were good and we gave our forwards plenty of football. At the first break we held a 21 points lead and got the start we wanted.
This soon came crashing down and when the pressure was put back onto us we started to become undisciplined and unfocused which in turn gave our opponents too many easy goals.
In the second half our attitude, our work rate and our decision making all improved and we bounced back to play some very good football including a last quarter in which we kicked nine goals and kept the Sharks scoreless.
Mick 'Micka' Hemming, Mitch 'Lil' Leale and Mick 'Lofty' Grimsey were solid in defense all game. Our midfielders in Phil 'Philphy' Ashlin and Jeremey 'Jez' Pfeiffer knocked up getting possessions and Dave 'Country' Smith up forward held everything that came his way.
We still have a lot of improvement in us as a team and we need to play four quarters of good football and eliminate the bad quarter that we so often play. This week we play the ladder leaders in Kingborough, and we will need a four quarter effort to knock the Tigers off.
The Lindisfarne reserves side took on Brighton at Anzac Park in what was a crucial game for the side. It was a third versus fourth battle with both teams on the same amount of points and the winner would find a little breathing room in third spot and still give them selves a chance of a top two finish.
We started the game with some good intensity and gave our forward a lot of football but due to the swirling wind, we did not capitalize and kicked a poor 2 goals and 8 points. If we could of made the most of these opportunities we could have had the game well and truly in our grasp.
In the second quarter, Brighton was never going to lie down and they started to wrestle some momentum back their way as we started to play some lazy football. Lucky for us our forwards started to capitalize and we went into the long break with a 16 point lead.
The second half was played much the same as the first but our intensity was back in our game and our tackling pressure was terrific.
Josh McWilliams and Chris Russell were good contributors in the ruck. Chris Turner went about his business in his usual no fuss way. The attack on the football by Mick Grimsey and Phil Ashlin was important for us. Up forward the elusive Mark Rutherford and skillful Henry Pfieffer gave their opponents grief and Jamie Tubb playing a dual role on the ball and up forward showed a huge work rate.
The round 9 clash against a struggling Sorell in the rain on home turf has now consolidated our position in the top four of the ladder. We now sit in third position with a 6-2 win/loss ratio.
In the first rain affected game of the season, it was going to be interesting how the side took to the conditions and from the first bounce we took control of the game. Playing in front and being first to the football and while the ball was reasonable dry and not like a brick our skills especially our delivery into our forward line was excellent.
The majority of the game was played in this fashion apart from our second quarter, where we let ourselves down by not playing to the conditions. We started to become lazy and second to the contest and it showed by the amount of free kicks we gave away.
Simon McCarthy on the wing was in excellent form and relished in the conditions with a heap of quality possessions. Our ruck men and on-ballers dominated the center clearances and were well served by Chris Harper and Andrew Clarke who won the hard ball. Down in defense Stuart Dare playing the full back role was a rock as where Phil Ashlin and Adrian Pennicott. Up forward Mark Rutherford provided a handful for his opponents and Dave Smith kicked another bag of goals.
This weekend we are on the road as we travel down to Cygnet to take on the Port Power. We need to keep our work rate up for the whole game and keep working on our deficiencies to be competitive with the top sides.