Under 12 First Semi Final

West Footscray vs Flemington

 

If there is a silver lining to being knocked out of the finals earlier than expected, it is that I get to write my favourite match report of the season. It’s my favourite for two reasons. Firstly, it’s my last for the year (admittedly I dropped the ball on these during the season. I probably owe you a few). Secondly, it’s the one where I get to go over every one of the 21 Roosters that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching this season.

 

  1. Zach: There wouldn’t be a coach anywhere that wouldn’t want Zach in their team. He never complains, always listens and most importantly, never walks off after a game without having given 110%. Zach hit the 50-game milestone in our last match of the season and has seriously stepped up his game to another level this season. His trademark tackling and attack on the ball are now complimented by some serious pace off the mark making him a formidable opponent at either end of the ground. Love the way you play Zach. Keep it up in 2019.

 

  1. Jack: I’ve caught myself more than once this season forgetting that I was coaching, and instead just spectated as Jacko went through opposition defenders as if they were witch’s hats. This season he has had to deal with being tagged (don’t get me started on that) almost every week and has still managed to influence every game he has played. I suspect the tagging will only make him better. 26 goals this season from the midfield and a top 5 finish in the league Best and Fairest (winner yet to be announced. Good luck Jacko!) are testament to another brilliant year.

 

  1. Samuel: Samuel is a beauty. His quiet demeanour belies his approach to the game. Make no mistake folks, Samuel is harder than woodpeckers lips! He played most of the season down back in 2018 as his attack on the ball and willingness to get down and dirty were irreplaceable. I wish I had two of him as when I inserted him into the middle he was fantastic. His goal against the Sharks was his first in a few seasons and went uncelebrated at the time. So much so I wasn’t sure he had scored it! Super dependable and another fine season in the red and white!

 

  1. Murphy: It’s hard to coach your own kids, especially Murf. It’s probably not easy being the coach’s son either. You are guaranteed to see the bench every week! His goal output was down this year, but I also kept count of goal assists in 2018 and when I went through them I realised just how many he had produced. I was happy with that as a coach (and dad) and he, as usual wasn’t overly fussed by it! His field kicking was laser like at times and his hands likewise. His chase and tackle in our final to create our first goal was awesome. Good work again in 2018 Murf!

 

  1. Xavier: This guy needs a new nickname. The wallet doesn’t work anymore as he played a fair chunk of the year in the forward line (car keys?). Xav chalked up game number 50 for the Roosters and easily produced his best football this season. He never avoids a contest, tackles anything he can get his hands on, fights like a mad man to win it on the ground, and this year marked almost everything kicked his way. He became a reliable target down forward and really helped to straighten us up at times. He’s a fierce competitor and a super valuable member of the team. Outstanding year Xavier!

 

  1. Cooper: Cooper was sensational at half back this year and has formed quite the partnership with Mickey and Frank. His ability to read the play, intercept the ball and turn defence into attack is fantastic. His tackling is fearsome and his will to take on players to create attacks for us was invaluable. Like Samuel, I wish we had a couple of him (Bec? Any chance?) as when he was injected into the midfield was a super performer. His game in our final was super impressive considering the pressure we were under all day. Take a bow Coop! Fantastic!

 

  1. Kadin: Brilliant this year on the wing! His ability to find space and open up opposition teams was at times extraordinary. His decision making and skills by hand and foot regularly tore teams apart. Another that figured prominently in goal assists for our team this year. When he wasn’t setting them up he was scoring them. 20 of them to be precise! Another of our 50-game brigade in 2018, Kadin produced his finest year, yet which is quite an achievement considering those that had proceeded this one. Superstar!

 

  1. Sean: After a good season and a half of asking me how close to his 50th he was, Sean finally got there! To cap off that day he also landed his first Heartland Award as well. He was deployed further up the field this season and did a lot of very nice work at half forward. As the season progressed his form line steadily went up. His game in round 14 vs Werribee Districts was brilliant. His field kicking is super reliable, and he also snagged himself 3 goals for the team. Well done on a fine season Sean.

 

  1. Nathaniel: The big dog trotted out for his second season in 2018 and showed significant improvement on last year’s excellent start. His 2 goals this season in no way reflect his valuable contribution to our forward line and the team. His physicality is amazing and consistently used to great effect. His shepherding, tackling and bullocking created many more goals than the 2 he slotted this year and enabled us to pile the pressure on opposition defences. Super valuable down forward and a significant contributor. Well done Nathaniel.

 

  1. Leroy: Amazing season Nugget! I doubt there is a position that Leroy didn’t find himself in at some stage this year. Yet another one I wish I had a few of (Lord knows Kate and Chris are trying!). The harder the game the more prominent Leroy becomes. His attack on the ball, or anyone who dare pick it up is ridiculous! He scored two goals this year and his hard work set up countless more. His game in the final was brilliant. His game the week before at full back saw the competitions leading goal scorer moved off him such was his dominance. Super versatile, frighteningly competitive and always giving 100%. I can’t imagine how he could have had a better year. Phenomenal Leroy!

 

  1. Frank: There is little doubt in my mind that Frankie is the heartbeat of this team. 2017 was outstanding for Frank, and 2018 was even better. The partnership he formed with Cooper and Mickey at half back was an enormous asset for our side. He never takes a backward step, hits the ball at full pace and launched countless attacks from behind the centre. When moved into the middle he was just as damaging. His energy, enthusiasm, commitment and 100% effort contributed to all our wins this season and cost us hundreds in first aid supplies! A truly vital and irreplaceable ingredient in this team. Frankie, I and everyone that watched us, love your work!

 

  1. Yash: A super impressive start to 2018 for Yash was derailed in round 2 thanks to a fractured jaw. He fractured it doing what he does best. Winning the ball for his team and taking the opposition on. To say his absence was felt in his 6 games out would be the understatement of the year. We finally got him back in round 8 against Flemington only for the game to be called off at half time. Finally in round 10 we got to let him rip again! His impact was immediate. His pace is a weapon and his attack on the ball was sensational and undiminished, which is remarkable considering his injury from round 2. His pinch hitting in the ruck is amazing. He consistently beat his opponent regardless of their size and then torched them on the ground. So happy to have you back Yash. You’re a gun. Well done, well done indeed.

 

  1. Mickey: One of the most unassuming members of this team. Also, one of its fiercest competitors. Mickey was an absolute standout at centre half back this season. He was rarely, if ever beaten. He continually beat bigger opponents, tackled superbly and launched counter attacks for our team. The tighter the game, the better he got. His unflappable nature was invaluable in difficult matches and his consistent ability to do the job each week was amazing. His games against Deer Park and Flemington in the final were brilliant. His job in round 14 against Werribee Districts was nothing short of amazing. Every coach in the league would kill for a player as consistently good and reliable as you. Simply amazing year Mickey.

 

  1. Felix: One of the great disappointments this year was that Felix only scored two goals. Purely because he has the greatest goal celebrations in the game! He did however manage to contribute to quite a few goals with his feverish and innovative play. Moving between the half forward line and the engine room, Felix could be found at the bottom of most packs. His energy levels seemed to remain untouched as he flies from one end of the ground to the other for the entire 4 quarters. His trusty left boot is a handy weapon and was responsible for countless forward entries in 2018. I love his endeavour and enthusiasm. Both are infectious. Great year Felix.

 

  1. Vinh: If you looked up dependable in the dictionary, there would probably be a photo of Vinh. When it was time to pick a full back for the season, Vinh was an obvious candidate. His poise under pressure and decision making is as good as I’ve seen in a junior footballer. His attitude and application are right up there as well. Most kids don’t want to play full back, yet he barely raised an eyebrow when I told him that’s where I wanted him. Having him at full back does come at a cost though, as we’d dearly love to have him in the middle as well. His game against Deer Park in the round 5 thriller was sensational at full back. His game against Werribee District in round 14 as a midfielder was equally amazing. Well done on a fantastic and selfless season Vinh, and for eating at least 10 cubic metres of biscuits at our joint before training every Tuesday and Thursday!

 

  1. Elijah-Moon: It was clear to me in the pre-season that E-M was in for a good year. He was super focused and working hard at every training session. Based on his fantastic application at training he was our first captain of the season as reward for his great work and commitment. He had a picnic in round 2 against Sunshine Heights booting 4 and scored his first Heartland for his efforts. He has deadly accurate aim around the big sticks and finished the season with 11 goals. Most pleasing though however was his team play, particularly in the later rounds of the season where he contributed goal assists in almost every game. His final against Flemington was fantastic. One of the big improvers in our side in 2018, well done E-M for a great season.

 

  1. Aaron: I had made up my mind early in the year that I need Aaron in our forward line. I told him, and he was happy about it after spending last year at full back. The problem is that when your squad is so skinny on numbers, you need to move the boys around a fair bit. Because of this Aaron had to play down back against Flemington in round 4. He played an absolute blinder! This gave his coach second thoughts. He is just so good down there! Coupled with Vinh’s usual mid-season trip to Vietnam, Aaron spent far more time down back than either of us would have liked. His will to win the ball for his team is fantastic and will fight hard no matter the situation. His game against Flemington in the rained-out match was brilliant. Terrible conditions look after those that really want the ball and his game that day showed just how hard he was working. Great work again this year Aaron!

 

  1. Javier: I distinctly recall the conversation at pre-season training. “I’m 11” said Javier. “Are you sure?” replied Damian. I must have heard correctly judging by the look of excitement on Coopers face who had been listening in! To say that Javier added an extra dimension to the team an understatement. His presence on the field was enormous. He won hit outs, took marks, laid tackles and kicked goals. That makes you popular with your team mates! I can still see the look on his team mate’s eyes when he tackled big Astin and brought him down at top speed. Team lifting stuff. It has been quite a remarkable first year at the club for Javier who has slotted in perfectly and endeared himself to his team mates with his play. Glad you’re here Javier. Fantastic year!

 

  1. Christian: Just like Kadin on the opposite wing, Christian terrorised opposition sides all year with his run and dare on the wing. His evasive skills in traffic are brilliant and his knack of finding space extraordinary. He covers the ground from one end to the other and constantly provides outlets for his team mates with his game smarts and quick feet. 5 goals were a pretty handy return and his name appeared quite a few times on the goal assist stats as well. His game on the wing against Flemington  was so, so good, particularly given how the game was being played and how hard it was to win the ball. His first season was great, this one even better. I can’t wait to see what you produce next year. Absolutely fantastic year mate.

 

  1. Sasmitha: Now in his second year, I was looking forward to seeing what Sas had for us in 2018. He had always been a good trainer and had showed glimpses in games. From his first appearance at training it was clear he was much more confident and comfortable with his abilities. Playing predominantly as a forward this season, the 2018 Sas was more than handy for the team. He’s super quick off the mark, but his season added a lot of defensive pressure to his game. He fought hard for the ball on the ground and laid tackles to keep the ball in our forward line. One of my highlights of the season was seeing him nonchalantly pluck the ball off a pack and snap his very first goal for the Roosters from 20 metres out. Just as pleasing was seeing  his team mates come from everywhere to  congratulate him. Really good  year Sas. Well done.

 

  1. Weston. Yet another brilliant season from West. His work in the middle is simply outstanding. Poise, decision making beyond his years and skills that will always put a smile on his coach’s dial.  Weston’s positioning around the ground to mop up is a standout in the team. His work in packs equally impressive. At times it was like he and Kadin had some sort of telekinesis going as they moved the ball around and ripped through teams with seemingly little effort. 9 goals for the season was a fantastic return as was the number of goals coming from your assists. He leads the team in this statistic. I’ve run out of superlatives! Weston, sensational……. again.

 

Thanks to all 21 of you for your hard work, enthusiasm and fun for this season. I’ve loved every second of it and am so proud of the way you played this year, the spirit with which you played and team that you have become. You’re quite something!

A huge thanks to Bec for her team management again this year. I, and the whole team love your work and are very grateful for the effort you put in. Byron for slipping into the runner top this season. The hi-viz look  suits you mate! Nick for his work as trainer and help at training. He had quite the initiation with concussions, ambulances and a fractured jaw before we got to round 3! Dan must have run 100 kms this winter as our regular boundary umpire. Thanks so much for your help again. Marke was a regular helper at training and a great sounding post for bouncing ideas off. I really appreciated it. To all of you who helped out in various roles this season, on behalf of the kids and myself, a massive thanks for your efforts. It takes a lot of work to get these boys onto the paddock each week. I’m sure you will all  agree it’s worth every minute of it. We couldn’t do it without you.

Damian

 

Under 14 Roosters versus Werribee elimination final… 5 August 2018 

 

The Wyndhamvale ground was in good nick, the wind wasn’t blowing a dog off its chain, and there were fond memories of Jonathan S’s double-baulk goal at this ground during last year’s final series.  

 

But the last time we played Werribee, they got the jump on us in the first quarter kicking four goals to 0. We outplayed them for the rest of the game.

 

We won the toss and kicked with the wind in the first quarter. Lenny, in classic Lenny fashion, did a late run back in to the rooms… not sure why…mouthguard, toilet stop, checking the Bombers score…? Aaron and Socrates were away, the latter appropriately in Greece. And we heard that Daniel would arrive at quarter time. 

 

Their #7 was in seventh heaven, prominent again early in the game. Werribee played with high intensity and dominated play, kicking two goals in to the wind. Zidane was moved from full back in to the midfield, and immediately had an impact with a mammoth kick that was unfortunately touched by Nathan (who had just switched out of the ruck to full-forward).

Xavier then worked one out to Nathan with a scramble out to Henry for a much-needed goal with the wind. 

 

Samuel H was doing his usual tidy-up work down back, but mention must be made of a left foot torp he unloaded with the wind that seemed to go 65 metres (but probably went about 40).

 

Werribee kicked another goal, despite the protestations by a gaggle of Roosters that it was touched. 

 

Zidane won the next centre break, out to Liam, who made good contact and kicked a much needed goal (almost touched by Nathan again, yikes). But their #7 responded with a superb running goal in to the wind. 

 

Liam, Diesel, Ben and Samuel all linked up, with a down-field free awarded to Henry who narrowly missed the goal. 

 

In the second quarter, Navindu was moved on to #7. Isaac C was competing hard down back, and Luis kicked a very nice drop punt to Nathan, then on to Ben. We were competing well, but Werribee were finding ways to kick goals. Possibly our best play of the day came with an end-to-end passage of play in to the wind, with a classy goal to finish by Xavier.  

 

Hamish had some important touches, and Alex Q some beautiful one hand gathers and strong attacks on the contest. Sam V took some really good marks and competed well. Daniel arrived on cue at quarter time, and almost immediately took a mark.

 

At the half time break, your occasional match reporter sought a bit of colour from the Roosters crowd: “We outplayed them in that quarter,” “whoa, they’ve been honest, all doing their bit,” “fought back well, restricted opposition to one goal with the wind. Bit of overuse in the forward line.”

 

 

Josh’s half time address focused on concerns about their #6, running by himself on the wing, out the back of the contest. 

 

We linked up with a superb chain of handballs at the start of third. Ben, Nathan, Diesel, Henry, snap, point.

 

Zidane then kicked a fantastic goal from outside 50 with the wind. His dad reckons it was 80m…(!)

 

It was a great contest, and Werribee again kicked another goal in to the breeze.

Zidane roosted another one from about 80 (!!) for a point. 

 

Their #3 kicked a fine goal after superb competing by both teams. 

 

Liam hurt his calf, and needed to be carried off, making our job even harder. Josh’s message at 3qt was to make the opposition nervous. Jack F implored the lads to take some risks, run it out of the back line, chip the ball on the 45, and take off. 

 

Stephen took a mark in the goal square, and this is where Sam V’s mum started to find her voice: “Nice high kick, Stephen, nice high kick.” He followed her instructions for a crowd-pleasing goal, but the chatter had already turned to the slight joy for the parents of getting our weekends back. 

 

Samuel H had plenty of practice with his kick-ins, and at one point had to go all Russell Coight in an effort to retrieve the ball from the adjacent swamp. He eventually located the Sherrin, and play resumed. 

 

Repeat entries in to the forward 50 eventually took their toll, with #11 taking a towering mark and pumped it long over our lads heads for a goal. Lenny was able to expertly guide the ball to the safety of the boundary a number of times, Jonathan earned a free kick in front of goal, but then muffed his kick. His dad muttered something about how many flamin’ hours he’d spent teaching Jon’s how to kick. Alex Q had a set shot from 30 for a similarly muffed kick (no muttering from Jonathan’s dad about that one). Then Ben, too, hit the scoreboard in the form of a behind. 

 

Diesel played a superb game, frequently taking marks over much taller opponents, and using his pace and skill. He, too, had to be carried off late in the game, with what looked like an ankle injury. Nathan was his brilliant self all day, with determined ruck work, clean marking and calf-aching running. 

 

In the end, Werribee were the deserved winners, and will make for tough opponents next week. 

 

To the Roosters, a huge thanks to Josh C for stepping in to coach the lads this season, and to Chris C for stepping in as assistant coach after the first couple of games, really giving Josh a great hand. Special thanks to Jack Fitcher who has been involved with the Roosters Juniors for many years now, and has such a good footy brain in his running duties out on the field. Thanks to Con for his formidable umpire escorting, Brionhy for her regular time-keeping, Simon as both water runner and boundary umpire, Rohan for regular goal and boundary umpiring, Arjuna and Michael for helping with various tasks, Dave for umpiring at times and writing match reports on occasions, and everyone for chipping in. The biggest thanks goes to Liza Lakusa as team manager. I asked her if she’d eaten anything when we arrived. “Oh heck no, can’t eat on a day like this, and only had half a coffee!” Still been buzzing from the Swan’s win the night before…? Seriously, Liza, thank you for all your efforts during the season, and the delight you have for seeing these lads grow together as good mates. 

 

Season 2018 done. Go Roosters.