Anyone lucky enough to be in attendance for the Under 18s game on the weekend would have enjoyed watching our boys battle through adversity and come out on top in a come from behind victory.
Trailing for most of the game, a spirited third-quarter comeback and fourth-quarter push allowed us to topple North Adelaide. As has quite often been the case for us this season, we were jumped early by a more efficient finishing side. Dominating the inside 50 count and overall clearance contests in the first term, we found ourselves squandering the football with rushed and shallow entries – resulting in a less than desirable score of one goal six behinds at the first break. While the visitors on less than half the entries had converted four of five shots.
The second quarter produced much of the same, with North taking slight ascendency with the use of the breeze, however to our credit we were able to inflict enough pressure acts (and some luck for good measure) to stem their accuracy going towards the goal. The early signs of our toughness were on show in glimpses even before the main break, as while we were under the hammer, we were able to respond to every scoring drive the Roosters threw at us. The mood at the main break was positive though. In the rooms the boys were focused on the task at hand, knowing full well that we had more than enough ability to take control of the game. While we were getting great returns from our power forward in Jett Boxer (scoring all 3 of our majors to the break) we knew it would take a more balanced team response to mount the comeback. Out of the gates in quarter three, the intent was clear, with us entering the forward fifty within ten seconds for a scoring chance.
Again and again, we peppered the goal face, repeat entries off the back of really strong handball chain dominance across the field started to wear down the opposition’s defence thin. The spark came from multiple game-winners this week (a key growth area from last week’s choke result late) – with Connor Kent really showing his authority in the midfield (and kicking a goal from about 65m out), aided well by Peter Minervini, Grant Catalano and Ben Belperio. Heading into the final term we reduced the deficit by 21 points and now only trailed by a solitary behind. The game was high emotion with both sides desperate to claim the close victory – and it saw tensions run hot. The first fifteen minutes saw score for score matched with nothing separating the sides. It wasn’t until we got the ball deep inside forward fifty finally, that Theo Kortesis and Oliver Stenchlik popped up to get dangerous and score the final two goals deciding the game. A nine-point victory, built from the foundation of a balanced team effort (restricting the Roosters to 1.6 after halftime) and some individual brilliance – this was an exceptional response to our failings only a week prior in similar circumstances.
This was the most pleasing part for us – seeing ourselves learn from our mistakes and grow within a week, really fuelled the belief this group had been missing this year. While the team response was the key to the win, I would be remised not to mention some of the individual brilliance that brought our game together. Peter Minervini and Jett Boxer (both under 190cm) competed as undersized rucks and truly controlled the game with Peter owning the hard balls (4x more than any other player on the ground) and Jett being the leading scorer. Connor Kent returned to our program and regained some of the form he displayed earlier in the year – really controlling the middle of the ground through hard running. While we had team-first role players across every line with Riley Verrall, Louis Joseph and Grant Catalano all continuing their purple patches in the best players.
This week sees us come up against the ladder leaders for the second time in a month – which while the game offers little incentive for us from a ladder point of view, is another great opportunity for us to show our growth as individuals and as a team. If we wish to be the best, we need to beat them, so we will be looking to bring our renewed character and effort to try and spoil Glenelg’s finals run.
NORWOOD: 1.6 3.8 6.13 9.15 (69)
NORTH ADELAIDE: 4.1 7.6 7.8 8.12 (60)
GOALS: Boxer 4, Kortesis 2, Kent, Stenchlik, Catalano,
BEST: Peter Minervini, Connor Kent, Jett Boxer, Louis Joseph, Riley Verrall, Grant Catalano Team First Role Players: Peter Minervini, Louis Joseph, Connor Kent, Riley Verrall, Grant Catalano, Ben Belperio, Josh Dobie, Matt Dnistriansky, Jacob Jones.