Our struggles continued again this week – with yet another bunch of wholesale changes made to the side by circumstance. This did bring exciting opportunities for many debutantes but was equally challenging for the group overall who are still struggling to gel as a team.
Coming into the game itself the mood was off on the day, with energy and intent clearly low from the offset. Once again, I take responsibility for not seeing this issue quickly enough to refocus our pregame. However, our players need to share the responsibility because once the game begins coaches are almost irrelevant – players decide how they respond and act. We were exceedingly loose with our play in the first quarter – playing very local level with our accountability towards the defensive side of the game which allowed North Adelaide to control possession.
Despite this imbalance, we were still largely in the game at the first break, playing objectively poor for our standards. This was a good confidence boost for us as North Adelaide are a consistent side who are pretty much unchanged all year, while we were missing 15 of our starting 22 and still held them. Unfortunately, as had happened on multiple occasions this year, our effort towards the contest dipped for a long portion – conceding a flurried chain of goals against us – largely from turnovers on simple skill executions missed – conceding 10 goals straight to all but end the game.
It must be said that Jett Boxer in his first game in the midfield showed patches of form we had been waiting to see since his return to SANFL level – and off the back of his contested ball-winning and effort alone – brought us back into the contest for a five-minute patch in the third quarter – kicking multiple goals in several minutes.
Alongside him, stalwarts of the side Peter Minervini and Connor Kent battled hard in the midfield to try and drive us back into the contest, while underage Caleb Barton and bottom ager Cody Tape both put in efforts that many top agers could learn from. In the end, our effort was not present in the critical moments of the game, while the load was carried by too few – having 16 of the bottom 22 ranked players on the ground (passengers) weighed us down.
This week we turn our attention to a side we have not seen since the trials in Woodville West Torrens – who are travelling well. Our intent remains unchanged – while results are not everything in the tracking of our success, we know that they do play a key role in how we are perceived outside our four walls. We will be exploring every avenue and approach to get ourselves back to the standard of football we expect of ourselves, which has thus far eluded us all year.
NORWOOD: 1.2 1.4 3.4 6.6 (42)
NORTH ADELAIDE: 2.4 7.7 10.10 17.10 (112)
GOALS: Boxer 3, Kiesau, Joseph, Tape
BEST: Jett Boxer, Peter Minervini, Cody Tape, Connor Kent, Caleb Barton & Will Bowman.