2018 Season Report – Under 7
The new season saw the return of our core group of seasoned graduates from the 6s and the welcome addition of Blake and Ryan. The big question for coaching staff and players was how big a leap it would be to the 7s. Mark and I got caught by surprise early in the season with the strict enforcement of the no chance rule. In the first two rounds the boys defended grimly on the back of lost balls, off loads going astray and forward passes.
We quickly realised that we would have to ramp up the technical intensity at training focusing on core skill development and simulated game day drills. The rate of improvement reflects how hard we worked at training. Scoring points was never an issue as we cashed in on blinding speed, footwork, powerful running and off loads. The boys have gained a lot of confidence with their defensive skills.
Marley Angelo (The Evader) continued his passion for the fend from the 6s with some serious don’t argues this year. His defensive workload and technique really improved by the end of the season
Johnny Ellis (Geoff Toovey) took us back to the 90s with his zip and footwork, blonde locks and courageous defence. Sadly, moving up end at the end of the year. Best of luck with your future football career Johnny
Ned Glass (The Rover) a keen student of the game he would pop up anywhere to scoop up a loose ball, cover up in defence and break up the defensive line with his speed and evasion
Owen Nable ( Brave Heart) our most fearless defender who inspired the crowd and his team mates in putting his body on the line and his attacking confidence grew on the back of his defensive efforts
Mitchell Swanson (The Dancing Man) easily our top metre eater for the season with his passion for swerving, stepping and covering more ground than the early explorers. A prolific try scorer by season’s end
Callan West (Usain Bolt) as they say you can’t coach speed and boy does this young fella have plenty of that. Saved his best performances for our toughest opponents and kept the scorers busy including six tries in one game
Xavier Williams (The Incredible Hulk) became more aware of his leg drive and power culminating in his Green Haired man of the match performance to round out the season
Blake Rainey (The Smiling Assassin) a debutant and very quick learner. Introduced us to the Blake side step steamrolling his way to numerous tries and a cut down the opposition like an axe with his D
Ryan Hurley (The Enforcer) – another debutant and keen learner, realised by year end what a colossus he is with several barn storming tries and big hits in defence
Coaching the 7s was made easy with the help of parents willing to help at training and on game day. Thanks, to our manager Mark West for the thankless task of managing the team and doubling up by consistently and proactively assisting me with coaching and training drills. Thanks to Pete, Jay, Brook, Nathan and Adam for providing extra support at training and to Tom West for all his awesome photography. A big thankyou also to Greg, Joyce, Mal, Jaq and Foxy for all your help during the season.
Next year we step up to 8 a side and assuming our players return we will have the bare minimum with Johnny moving on. We are looking for at least 3 to 4 more players to field at least one side so please spread the word. Looking forward to the 2019 season.
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.