2018 Manly Junior League Under 7
U7’s Match Report – Saturday, 5 May 2018
It was a beautiful Autumn day on Saturday, so what better thing to do, than drive north and chase the sun to Avalon.
There were some nerves heading into the game after the Bulldogs taught us a football lesson in the final game of last season, so there was a continued focus on defence in training again this week. So it was a pleasing result for the coach and manager to see that hard work pay off. And on the back of the strong defence, the attack just flowed, and all of the skills that have been practiced at training are being executed on the field – to quote Hannibal Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together”.
Blake celebrated his birthday in the leading up to the game, and it looked like he still had icing on his fingers with the ball getting stripped off him by the defenders. Training for Blake this week will involve him carrying the ball with two hands! But his trademark hard running style still managed to bend the defensive line, and some beautiful support play saw him net himself a try.
Owen again tackled like a man twice his size. His up-and-in style of defence stops the attackers before they get a chance to build momentum. He copped a couple of knocks getting his head into the wrong position on a couple of occasions, but continued to bounce back up. It is fair to say with Owen not on the field on Saturday, there would have been a few more bulldogs tries. Owen also made some very impressive runs, going the length of the field twice, and scoring himself a try on one of those occasions.
Xavier has finally begun to understand that he is one of the biggest kids in the competition, and is working out how to use that size to create some great go-forward in defence. He also managed a beautiful offload which lead to a try for Ned. Xavier’s defence is also starting to come together, and he is starting to position his body better in defence so that his height is not used against him. He is showing great development over the last couple of weeks.
Marley captained the side this week, and as has been the trend this season, the captain lead them team from the front. Marley had plenty of strong runs, and didn’t shy away from his role defensively. We lose Marley next week as he heads off to Fiji, but he will be back the following week itching to go.
Johnny was again full of energy, always proving hard for the defenders to contain, and I am yet to see him miss a tackle this season. Johnny brings an enthusiasm to the team that lifts the players around him – and that’s a pretty special trait to have.
Ned must have been close to another man of the match performance this week. His 3 tries were a team high, and his cover defence T-bar tackles were proof that he actually is listening at training. In the last quarter, Ned was challenged to stop Avalons attacking weapon, and each time he touched the ball, Ned was all over him like a rash. An inspired effort.
Mitch is another player always full of energy and enthusiasm. While he can get a bit distracted when not in the thick of the action, when it his time to shine – he is off! Always searching for a gap when attacking, when Mitch spots his line, he is off like lightning.
Callan has discovered that he can now run through a defensive line, as well as around it, and once he is into the backfield, he is hard to catch. He is starting to use his shoulder well in defence, and after falling off a tackle late in the game, ha gave chase and managed to bring his opponent down – a nice desperation play. After last weeks’ display of sportsman ship (helping out Beacon Hill when they were short on numbers), he backed it up again this week with an unselfish offload to put Blake away for his birthday try.
And while it was very hard to split them this week, it was Owen’s strong defence that saw him secure this weeks’ Man of the Match.
Adopt a Manly Sea Eagle: Apisai Koroisau
The outstanding hooker is one of the most exciting players at Manly who can create havoc for a tiring defence with his darting runs from dummy half. Api often plays above his small frame and is a very strong defender. A more than capable goal-kicker, Api is highly respected at the Sea Eagles. Off the field, Api enjoys spending time with his family and lists ‘The Temptations’ as one of his favourite artists.