With the season on the line it was a must win for the Seniors to keep themselves within reach of playing finals in a very close Third Division this year. Venturing up to Chirnside Park was never going to be easy as they had found form over the past weeks and knew how to play their ground. As in the days previous matches the wind would play a major factor in this game. The coach had thrown a few players around in different positions to see if that could combat our inaccuracy in front of goal. We welcomed Kev Clarke back too. The Jets had the wind in the first quarter and a great goal by Rob Savory opened our account and then another in quick succession before Chirnside had scored. The conditions were making it a very scrappy match to watch, with no clear possessions, and plenty of congestion. It was an eight point ball game at quarter time. The second quarter was more of the same with the opposition managing to kick two goals early in the term to take the lead. The boys managed to push the ball up our end with a great goal by Jack Cornwall making it all even with minutes to go, but a goal on the siren by Chirnside Park saw them take in a six point lead at the main break.
It was going to be a make or break third quarter and we had to use the wind to our advantage, which Kev did with a long goal early in the term to even scores again. A great hit out by Jon Wynne to David Knowles with a long kick to Ben Abbruzesse resulted in another and one of the cleanest passages of play all day, to hit the front. Kev featured again with a great mark and long goal to stretch the lead, and a goal by Jono out of the park, which had formed around our forward line, gave us a temporary buffer. But not for long with Chirnside Park being credited with a goal that was hotly disputed by the Jets backline – to inch their way back into the game. They kicked another in quick succession to again even up the scores at the 20 minute mark - and that’s how it was at last break. The wind hadn’t abated so it was going to be a hard quarter kicking against it. Tom Rourke managed to kick a goal not long into the quarter and we were up by five points. Josh Davis was patrolling down back and thwarting most attempts by Chirnside Park to score, along with very reliable defenders Dylan Sverns and Al Pettigrew. David Knowles was trying everything he could to cover for the loss of English and Sindrey, and the Under 19 players Wade Van Leeuwen, Jack MacDonald and Cookie Grierson were holding their own and then some. A highlight of the quarter was a great passage of play out of the backline starting from the running Pettigrew which ended up in the reliable hands of Wade who read the wind beautifully and slotted it through to give us a 15 point lead with only minutes to play. But Chirnside weren’t to be denied, and a quick reply took it down to nine points with seconds to go. They again managed to get it out of the middle in the next passage of play and kick a long ball on the siren which sailed through! But the win was ours by three points. The coach was happy with the character shown by the boys, it was an ugly match in ugly conditions. He made mention of Al Pettigrew’s running off the back and JD’s great performance, also of the whole team’s tackle after tackle. Kev’s crucial goals when needed, and the great last quarter into the wind. Fantastic effort! We just have to keep winning to say in contention.
Chirnside Park 9.9-63
Goal Kickers: K. Clark 3, R. Savory 2, J. Cornwall, B. Abbruzzese, J. Knudsen, T. Rourke, W. Van Leeuwen
Best Players: J. Wynn, J. McDonald, A. Pettigrew, K. Clark, D. Knowles, D. Sverns
It was great to see some familiar faces back from injury in the DSquad last Saturday as they ventured up to Chirnside Park. The ‘gale’ force winds that welcomed us would play a major part in proceedings, with the ‘wind chill’ factor surely near 0! The first quarter was challenging as we were kicking against the wind although the ball was up in our forward line it was points not goals on the scoreboard and we were down by 12 points at the first break. The opposition also found it hard to score against the wind in the second and some persistent football by the squad saw Jake Sherriff – normally playing up back – score a goal and then another from Jordan Gasparini just on the siren of half time to go in just six points down.
It was another tough third quarter but the boys were finally working out how to play against the wind with two goals to Trent Matthews and Lachie Sverns. The conditions were not providing a great spectacle but it was great to see the determination and pressure applied by the Squad in ensuring that they weren’t overrun in that quarter. The scoreboard showed that both teams kicked the same amount that quarter so it was still a six point ball game at the last break. With a sniff of possible victory and the wind in the last, the Jets appeared to have all the play but it was points not goals going on the scoreboard. A goal by Pat Warman saw the Jets finally hit the lead halfway through the quarter. The tempo was upped and the competition fierce as the squad were pressing for their first win in a while. To cap off the quarter a great passage of play with the ball in – back from injury - Nathan Parker’s hands and using the wind with a long kick to Trent Matthews who in turn found Sean Furniss and he kicked the sealer! It was a seven point win to the Jets and the second win for the day. The coach commented after the game that it was a well-deserved win, that the squad and just kept going and going and their hard work in the third quarter against the wind set it up for the win. He urged the boys to keep on training on the track as they have been and more wins would no doubt be just around the corner.
Chirnside Park 5.9-39
Goal Kickers: J. Sherriff, J. Gasparini, P. Warman, T. Matthews, S. Furniss, L. Sverns
Best Players: D. Short, M. Beasley, L. Sverns, J. Sherriff, P. Ferrier, T. Van Der Wal
Upon arrival at Chirnside Park we were greeted by the usual conditions of a strong, cold wind blowing to the far end. We all know that Chirnside play well to those conditions, so we would need to play accordingly and ensure that our normal game style gave us a chance both with, and into, the breeze.
We kicked with the wind to start the game, and not surprisingly the first quarter saw a lot of the play on the scoreboard side of the ground, particularly down at our attacking end. Coach Gary Burleigh had urged the Jets to attack via the top wing, and when Josh Robertson pushed up high onto that side of the ground, then doubled back into attack, he registered a major in the fashion that we planned. We dominated the inside 50’s, but were inaccurate, posting 2 goals 8 behinds. Many of the Jets players defied the conditions to hold onto clean overhead marks, including Cam Osborne, Daniel Robertson and Joel Gosbell. Our lead was 14 points at the first break.
Into the wind in the second quarter we had to work hard with run and carry. Ryan Burleigh exemplified this when he was involved with five possessions in one passage of play from the back pocket to the attacking 50. The celebrities from Fox Footy were top of mind when Henry Ballard’s smothering brought a nomination from Danny Frawley for the Golden Fist Award, then Jason Dunstall was heard screaming his head off when one of our players dribbled a shot at goal that went the wrong side of the post. The wind was so influential that even handballs were being blown off their target, and the game was in the balance at half time as we hung onto a nine point buffer.
Jan Purkis’ half time oranges must have had something special added to them this week, because the Jets really turned it on with a nine goal third term. We sent the cavalry down behind the goals to avoid losing time in the attacking quarter, but when the Team Manager’s clipboard exploded trying to intercept a ball that had just been kicked through the big sticks, I knew it was time to leave it to others to do the physical work. Our pressure at ground level contests improved as players like Jack Lacey, Nathan Amos and Daniel George won hard balls and shared by hand to find players in better positions. Josh Kral’s work-rate was high as he kicked three goals in the term, and Lachie Purkis intercepted a kick in, played on and goaled. The highlight of the quarter saw the Shopping Centre crowd go ape-droppings when Ben Irvine registered a nomination for goal of the year with a snap from an impossible angle in the dead pocket. The Jets held a 59 point margin going into the last change.
Fin Brown’s attack on the ball and superb marking continued right through the four quarters, as did Lachie Inaps’ strong lead-up forward play. The opposition threw the kitchen sink at us, but Connor Van Der Wal and Reuben Brown calmly controlled the defensive half, intercepting and rebounding to allow the Jets to win the quarter, and finish the game ahead by 71 points.
The Under 19’s have been very fortunate in Season 2017 to be surrounded by fabulous helpers, and this week we would like to make special mention of the wonderful Trainers who take care of our lads each week. Tracey and Kira have taped, massaged, strapped, dressed wounds, and been psychological coaches for the players! When required, we have also been assisted by Alan and Sean, who do a terrific job with the seniors. Thank you all for your wonderful work – we are very grateful!
Chirnside Park 4.4-28
Goal Kickers: J. Kral 4, J. Robertson 2, L. Inaps 2, L. Purkis, R. Burleigh, D. Robertson, B. Savage, F. Brown, B. Irvine
Best Players: F. Brown, D. Robertson, R. Burleigh, J. Kral, L. Inaps , R. Brown