Two steps forward and one step back was very much the outcome of our efforts this past week against West Adelaide. Coming off a disorganised effort against Glenelg, we were diligent in assessing our issues regarding our shape around the contest and how much ball-watching was taking us out of the method we need.
Arriving at Hisense Stadium the mood within the group seemed positive and determined. Our aim at the very least was to show growth in key areas and beyond.
Unfortunately, West Adelaide was able to jump to an early lead off the back of dominance at the centre bounce – with no rucks we struggled to compete well enough at ground level with our defensive actions. However, the group rallied and started to show some glimpses of the dangerous fast-moving football we can produce and matched the goals of the opposition – albeit all in counterattack.
Coming out of the first break the momentum of the game shifted – as while we were unable to make many inroads at the centre stoppage, our spread in general play allowed us plenty of chances on the counterattack – which we uncharacteristically scored on quite efficiently. At our best, we were able to streak together five unanswered goals, with Jett Boxer kicking three in a row himself and Ned Carey an ominous target (if only a little costly in his missed opportunities).
Heading into the third term we held a 17-point lead on the second-placed side and the boys were really energized by what they had accomplished. Knowing that West would come out strongly after the break, as they had every quarter, the boys were under surge, however inaccurate finishing from West kept the gap at the same rough position. In what was likely the critical moments of the match, we pressed for five minutes mid-way into the quarter – counter-attacking with speed but coughed up simple skills – firing shots at goal but all missing the final skill execution or the one preceding.
West was then able to gain ascendancy from these missed opportunities as they piled on five unanswered scores. As can tend to happen in these games, the emotions ran hot in the final five minutes and we had every chance to pull out a miraculous save, however three misses in the final minutes allowed West to play a possession game and run the clock out. While it was pleasing to see us improve in our shape and scoring issues from the previous week, we were once again undone by our off the ball work – with a massive disparity between the effort in offence and that in defence. The boys were extremely disappointed to let this one slip, however, after we embraced our positives we reflected strongly and know that the game was lost well before the final few minutes – and cannot rely on just emotion alone at this level.
While it was great to see some of our stalwarts return to form, they had been missing such as Riley Verrall rebounding strongly out of defence, Louis Joseph playing a brilliant defensive team first game and Matt Dnistriansky trying to set us up. The best result was to see our youngest squad members lead once again in their example of endeavour and attitude – Jaidyn Mead and Grant Catalano clear standouts. This week we host a North Adelaide side in a true test to see if our desperation to improve our faults from last week’s game is enough to match the Roosters desperation to make finals. It should be a great contest so be sure to come down and watch the club’s future down at Coopers Stadium Saturday at 11:00am (while the seniors have a bye).
NORWOOD: 3.2 6.3 11.4 12.7 (79)
WEST ADELAIDE: 3.3 5.8 7.11 12.16 (88)
GOALS: Carey 3, Boxer 3, Rahui 2, Blacker 2, Dnistriansky, Nayda
BEST: Riley Verrall, Matthew Dnistriansky, Louis Joseph, Jaiydn Mead, Grant Catalano, Oliver Stenchlik. Team First Role Players: Riley Verrall, Peter Minervini, Louis Joseph, Grant Catalano, Oliver Stenchlik, Ned Carey, Oskar De Luca