Having the ability to work from home some days during school holidays, it dawned on me more than ever how much fun the kids have when their mates come over to hang out and spend time together. Working away in my office, I can clearly hear my sons and their mates laughing and stirring each other as they go for glory in a 3 on 3 basketball match. No sooner have they finished all sweaty and stinky, they commence a round of 4 square (or downball back in my days!). On and on it goes before retreating inside for a session of AFL active on the PS4.
Sound familiar? It should. Especially seeing that we all have kids and know how much mayhem can be caused from day to day at home let alone over an entire 2-week period, unless you are lucky enough to get away of course. So where am I going with this opening segment? How is it related to the Mighty Preston Bullants?
You see, it is all about the kids. Nothing more, certainly nothing less. Me, as President, when I am approached by someone offering something to the club by way of service or sponsorship etc, the very first thing I think of which helps me make a decision of sorts is, how does this benefit our children and their families/members? The thing is, THEY (the kids) come and want to be part of something fun with their friends/mates. THEY want to have a laugh both on field and off. THEY want to learn and be in a safe environment. THEY want to be part of something special that they will remember for their entire lives.
They, they, they and they. See what I mean? It is about the kids and we as parents/guardians want exactly what they want. To be safe, to have fun, to create life long memories, to be active and above all to let them be kids and let them learn along the way. Pretty simple when you think about it.
During our coaching interviews before the start of the season, a range of questions are posed to all applicants from 4 very different people being the coaching panel, who then have to make a decision as to which candidate would be best suited to the role of coach for that particular group. After a solid robust discussion, the decision is made. We as a panel firmly believe in all our coaches appointed. We also ensure they have the right skill set for the role; we provide courses to assist and compliment the appointed coaches and throughout the season conduct further training sessions such as the recent Master Kicking Class, as well as the current ongoing mid-season review. We will continue to pour resources into our coaches to ensure our children are given every opportunity to develop themselves and be the best they can be when they get an opportunity to run out with their mates and create those very memories.
It is often the parent on this side of the fence who gets their frustrations up and more often than not vents it loudly. We as a club, and as per the instructions to the coaches during the interviews, look well past the scoreboard and more into the development of the children. I personally couldn’t care less if we are down on any scoreboard by any margin let alone 100 point plus. To see the kids out there giving it their all and doing the best they can, while they learn and develop that very skill set we are in charge of helping them with, is all I watch.
A good example I remember a couple of years ago was when a team got done by 110-point odd, and after the coach’s address post match was completed the only thing on little Johnnie's mind was that he wanted a hot dog and maybe a bag of chips. Couldn’t give a hoot about the scoreboard or otherwise, just wanted to carry on with the afternoon and get ready for school on Monday. Yet on Tuesday night at training a couple of parents I was standing with still couldn’t believe the score line! Really? I didn’t realise this was about you was my thinking, yet little Johnnie had moved on within 4 mins of the coach’s post-match address.
Think about it for a minute. Think about how you react when the chips are down and stop and think before you act - for a lot of people are watching, let alone other siblings of the players who may be in attendance with you. I do understand we play a passionate game but that said, it certainly isn’t an excuse to carry on and run the risk of looking like a fool, let alone any other measure the ground manager has the authority to conduct. Here within my report is a ripper sign that we have all seen from ground to ground in our travels and I want to thank the individual who sent it to me, as I promised this mother that I would put it into my next report. Look at it and please remember it, for all we want is to ensure we lead by example and support our children's aspirations and for them to be the best they can be irrespective of ability or otherwise.
Go the Mighty Preston Bullants!!
Preston Bullants JFC
Congratulations to Sonny Caruso, Tackers White, who contributed to a wonderful team effort in Round 10. Coach Paul remarked on the Under 9s team playing a united game, using many opportunities to involve every player in the game. Sonny Caruso was singled out for his selfless performance - using his own goal-kicking opportunities to look for team mates to pass the ball on to, giving other kids the chance to kick a goal. Well done mate!
What a morning we woke too! Freezing cold, ice on the ground and a little sunshine.
The boys once again came out firing and were keeping warm by having lots of the ball. In fact, they didn't want to give it up, so they used it to work on their skills.
The teamwork was amazing! It was great watching these kids work together as a unit and bring everyone into the game. Every player had the opportunity of a couple of kicks, handballs or tackles. A couple of things Sonny did was amazing. He was selfless and trying to get his teamates goals when he could've kicked them himself! Well done mate!
Well done kids. Have a great break and I'll see you next Wednesday!
Round 10 Preston Bullants v Macleod Eagles at Zwar Reserve
To say the conditions were cold was a total understatement. The temperature gauge in the mighty cruiser displayed 2 below zero. Zwar Reserve was covered in ice as if it was tundra. Definition of tundra: “a vast, flat, treeless Arctic region of Europe, Asia and North America in which the subsoil is permanently frozen". Yep, Zwar = Tundra. As we warmed up before the game, crunching ice was heard under foot. The boys were focused despite the conditions and knew a consistent four quarter performance was needed today if we were to walk away singing the song. It was Leon’s last game, before he and his family take on the Australian outback, and he was absolutely sublime in the midfield. The Stoj, who had been quiet over the past three weeks, came alive up forward booting two first quarter goals in a display that Plugger Lockett would have been proud of. It was game on as Macleod rallied. This was shaping up as the game of the season.
The ice was slowly receding and the game jumped up a gear in the second quarter. The Bullants went on a scoring frenzy, only to be matched by a Macleod team that just would not go away. Roman was linking well with Leon in the middle and the ball was being pumped into the forward zone regularly. Eddy and Aiden were also up and about as Ruben, Lachy and Daniel all kicked majors in the second quarter. The entire forward line was functioning well by leading into space, drawing opponents out wide, and sharing it cleverly by foot. Take note Nathan! Forward coaching 101. By half time the game was building into an arm wrestle and I had the feeling the best was still to come.
The third quarter saw the Eagles control the midfield battle and our backline got a bit of a work out. Sid, Jackson and Lucas all started getting into the game. The tackling across the group was a feature. Macleod was very clean with the football and hit the scoreboard with three majors for the term. Our boys made the most of limited opportunities to kick two goals in the third quarter, with Lach and stablemate Darcy doing the damage up forward and Lach having his best game so far in Bullant colors. Well done Lobster. By now the ice had well and truly melted to reveal the real Zwar. So far 13 goals had been scored between the two teams up to three quarter time. Well done to both sides in producing an enthralling and quick moving contest.
As is fast becoming a Bullant tradition the three quarter time address was delivered with gusto, with Dave, Steve and Mark shuffling the board around while I pumped up the players. The boys had their best training session for the year on Friday and they definitely brought the positive energy into the game. The final quarter started in a flurry with both sides attacking the goals. Macleod were much cleaner going forward. Scores were very close when Archie slotted a magnificent goal on an angle to seal the result. His celebration was a good one and his team mates got around him. At the end of the game both teams had scored 8 goals apiece, a fantastic team effort by both clubs. The match was played in the right spirit and was the best game we have been involved in to this date. Roman was awarded the opposition medal for his determination and courage. I had asked Roman to stick on his opponent at the start of the game and he took it seriously. After the siren had sounded Steve had to remove his son from the Eagles huddle. Legendary commitment Roman, and really well done to our boys. Enjoy the week off.
See you all at training.
Leaving before the sun was even up I drove the gun trio of O’Neill, Carelli and Maddison through deserted streets, the frost on the side of the road getting thicker as we got closer to Park Orchards. Worried about my passengers in the back seat (sleep-over, late night and too much chocolate!), the conditions and our opponent, (who coaches around the traps said were the team to beat), and 5 Bullants players out due to school holidays..…I wasn’t feeling too confident. Still in partial darkness, we arrived at the skating rink that was to be our field of play. An inch of frost blanketed the ground and the temperature gauges in parents' cars ranged from -4 to -1 degrees as they began to arrive. The mood around the kids was worrying too. For some it was exciting as they ran around in the frost, for others, disbelief to almost fear that we were really going to play in these conditions. For all of us, ridiculously cold. The “warm-up” was the exact opposite. Cold fingers wouldn’t come out of jumpers, no-one wanted to mark or handball…it was hard work. No amount of encouragement could get them switched on…after a few minutes of cruel “ground ball pick-ups” I drilled a kick at the next Bullant in line…the now frozen ball hitting my foot like a brick…poor kids. Too late now to turn back!… and then we saw our opponents. For size, some wouldn’t be out of place in U13’s! I jokingly asked the opposition coach if I could see some I.D. for them….he’d heard it all before and advised that most drive themselves to the game.
With Hamish & Tommy G nominated Captains we retired to the rooms where the Coach banged on for a few minutes about how the conditions were the same for everyone, how the Bullants were tougher, how we didn’t come all this way not to go out and give it a real crack…I wasn’t sure they believed it. Not sure I did either. And then eighteen 10 year old boys hit the frozen ground and taught me (and themselves) another lesson.
The first quarter was tough going, no doubt. But we got in and had a real crack. It wasn’t pretty, hard to hold marks but battle on they did. The Sharks too came out hard and had plenty of attack but our backline lead by Tommy G held tight and limited them to only 3 behinds. In the middle, Hamish, Dom and Tom lead by example and got plenty of the ball moving our way. They were well supported by Ned and Harry running the wings, marking and tackling strongly. Andre started taking marks across half forward and it wasn’t long before we had scoring opportunities through the hard work of Tamer, Willo, Jerry, Azza and Cameron. We won the quarter. The first quarter. A rarity for us but there it was…
Sharks 0:3:3 to Bullants 1:4:10
And so the lesson was underway. Upbeat Bullants jogging into the huddle, belief and determination on their faces. They had taken to the ground uncertain that they could play in the conditions and proved to themselves that they could. On the bench, Issy and Woody stood up. If their team mates could do this, it wasn’t going to be without them. I have never been so proud of two boys bringing themselves back from a dark place to play the games of their lives. All around the ground players lifted and inspired those around them. Frost forgotten, the Bullants played some of their best footy for the season. All over the ground, examples of what they had learned were on display. Ball held high overhead while being tackled. Solid tackles and bumps. Shepherding. Strong overhead marks. Running to best position. Hitting targets....but it was the work rate that was most impressive. Everyone ran hard and did not let up. At half time the Sharks had hit back to come to within 2 points yet the Bullants looked stronger. At ¾ time we had regained a 14 point break and still looked confident. In the final term, the Sharks threw everything they had at us. 3 quick goals could have seen them run over us but the Bullants would not allow it. Hamish, Ned, Tom and Callum worked tirelessly all over the ground, helping out defensively then bobbing up in the forward line minutes later. Woody was given the job on #17, a big player who was looking dangerous, and shut him down with several cracking tackles. In the end, a 7 point win to the Bullants but so much more than that.
So much of what we do is less about football and more about shaping the boys and girls in our care. Self-belief. Team work. Leadership. Confidence. Work ethic. Pride. No better example of these attributes that what the U10 Bullants showed today. Every player on the ground did their best for their team mates and for their club. In the context of our season, this win, this game, was enormous.
Proud Coach as always. Scott.
|Preston Bullants||Richmond Y|
The Under 11 Preston Bullants’ welcomed Richmond to a chilly Zwar Park on Sunday. Another champ in our ranks clocked up his 50th game in the YJFL.... congratulations Jude! What an achievement!
Due to the school holidays, unfortunately Richmond were unable to field a minimum side so they were forced to forfeit, allowing our Under 11's to walk away with the 4 points. The Bullants were disappointed not to be given the opportunity to play and earn their 4 points. A testament to the strong characters the coaching team are building in this team.
Both teams were keen to play a practice match with 14 a side. Both teams performed very well and many were given opportunities to play in positions that were out of their comfort zone. A huge thank you to Grady, Asher and Thomas H for willingly donning the Tigers jumper for a quarter to even up the numbers, great spirit boys!
The Under 11's finished the day with a sad farewell to Samuel who is off on a family holiday for the remainder of the season. Samuel, you will most certainly be missed.
We are going to make the most of the week off this week with a solid training session on Wednesday night, a practice match on Sunday with the Under 12's and a post-match talk from our very own Bullants supporter, Lisa Weightman. Lisa is a 3 time Olympic marathon runner and commonwealth games medallist. She recently moved to third fastest Australian marathoner, running 2hr25min15sec at the London marathon, making her a Gold Coast Commonwealth Games medal contender.
We are looking forward to hearing about Lisa's experiences, her guidance on what it takes to become the best at our chosen sport and having a chat with her over a sausage or 2. She will have just completed a 30km training session, so she is sure to be hungry!
|Goal Kickers||Coen 2, Remy, Ben, Josh, Mahmoud, Jack, Joel|
In what was a freezing, early Sunday morning match at Beverley Road Oval, the Preston Bullants prevailed against a determined Banyule O, winning an exciting encounter that was up for grabs at three-quarter time.
With the dewy conditions leaving parts of the oval slick with ice, it was a wet and slippery start to the game, both sides struggling to get clean hands on the ball. Fumbles permeated throughout the ground as players tried to take possession, and were mostly unsuccessful, until a great bit of teamwork through a chain of kicks that started with Joel and eventually ended with Remy that set up the Bullants’ first goal. Both players showed intent early with their attack on the ball, and likewise, the defensive set-up with Lachie, Lucas and in particular Rufus, who took a strong, contested intercept mark to rebound off half-back, offered plenty of support.
The Bullants were keen to help each other out, and in a great passage of play, Coen and Mahmoud laid a block each for their running teammate, to allow the ball to progress forward, ultimately setting up Mahmoud for a shot on goal after the siren, converting for the Bullants’ fourth goal of the quarter.
In comparison, the second quarter proved to be a low-scoring one, Banyule O unlucky not to get their first with an early shot at goal hitting the post. Nathan’s gut running at an elusive bouncing ball, tapping it forward for half the length of the ground, set up Jack for the only goal of the quarter. Another goal beckoned, through some great forward pressure from Harry late in the quarter, which gave Josh an opportunity to add another major late in the quarter, but unfortunately saw quick snap at goal miss for a behind. Even so, the Bullants went into half-time with a commanding 28-point lead.
Having somewhat had their way in the first half, the Bullants seemed to have switched off a bit, perhaps expecting more of the same when play resumed. Banyule O, however, had other ideas, opening the scoring for the second half, and kicking the next three, to make it four unanswered goals. Another goal which was judged by the goal umpire as having been touched, would have had Banyule O in front at three-quarter time, but instead had to be content reducing the margin to just three points ahead of the final quarter. Regardless, it was a wakeup call for the Bullants, the result now in the balance with one quarter of footy to go.
After registering just a solitary behind in the third quarter, the Bullants needed avenues to score, and the boys really stood up. Joel, who had been prolific all day, scored a goal to generate a slim buffer, before Coen kicked two-in-a-row, both results of supportive teammates in Jesse, who laid a desperate shepherd for Coen’s first, and Seb R who had dropped a mark, but kept his feet and followed up to ensure the ball kept moving forward. The three goal to one advantage in the final quarter proved to be decisive, with the Bullants winning by 16 points.
|Preston Bullants||Kew Rovers|
No report this week.
|Goal Kickers||Serge and Samuel A|
Congratulations to Steven Tatsiokas on celebrating his well deserved 50 games milestone.
After coming off another win against Whitehorse Colts in the last round, our boys arrived ready for the challenge against the Banyule Bears, a side we’ve played twice last year and had competed strongly against.
With the game upon, Banyule as expected came out strong and was hitting our backline heavily with their forward movement for the first half and to the credit of our backline they refused to give up and defended with their lives. Jordan and Felix once again were all over the ball, while Kristian, Lachlan and Jet had stand out performances all day in defence. Unfortunately the first two quarters saw the Bullants not really reading the play and left us asking ourselves, where were our boys second efforts? And who actually wanted the ball? There was no denying that our boys wanted the ball, however they just weren’t working as a team, which purely came down to there being no communication.
One great highlight from the first half was a play involving Jack Beker where he had no choice but to take on 3 Banyule players on his own. Throughout this play he did not loose control of the ball and his movement was fantastic ducking and weaving through the opposition. It illustrated that all our boys have the skill to compete against any side in Brown division. We just need to talk and work as a team.
The second half saw a much better performance from our boys and we equally matched Banyule with our scoring shots. We began to control the play more by working together. Marcus was putting his body on the line with his dives for the ball, tackles and marks, it was quite the display. The big change in this half that we lacked in the first was we wanted the ball more than the opposition. Again, when we play as a team and support each other nothing can stop us and this was a comment that came from the opposition after the game. A great example of this was a particular play which saw the ball move from deep in the backline by Jet to Nick to Lachlan M to Steven and to Samuel A, all the way into our forward line.
If we can take anything from this game HARD WORK and TEAM WORK go hand in hand, as shown in our last half of the game and although we may have lost the game we left knowing that we all worked hard as a team in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Our job now is to enter Round 11 with this mindset and come out with guns blazing, ready to work hard and as a Team for four quarters.
Go Bullants, Coach Matt
|Preston Bullants||St Mary's B|
No report this week.
No report this week.
|Surrey Park||Preston Bullants|
After two wins in a row, the girls were able to test themselves against their top of the ladder opponent, Surrey Park. It was to be a great opportunity to see how much they had improved, after playing Surrey Park in one of their initial games of the season, and receiving a rather brave but heavy loss.
The final scores showed that the girls had improved significantly. If my maths is correct, the final scores showed that they had improved about 33% on their first clash with Surrey Park. There were stages in the second quarter when Preston were the dominant team. Indicative of this, being a difference of only two goals with about 5 minutes to go before half time.
The girls were able to score a goal in each quarter, which again shows their ability to run out each game to its very end, no matter what appears to be the imminent result. A couple of lapses of concentration just before half time, and after the major break, proved costly, especially against a talented team who were able to kick several relatively easy goals, which in the end, flattered their score line.
The girls know that Sunday’s game was about putting in place tactics and improving skills and fitness for the final four games of the season, in which they will play opponents of a similar quality and experience as themselves. Overall, their performance was very pleasing and if they can bring the same attitude to their upcoming matches, they should be very competitive.
Again thank you to all the parents who offered their services on Sunday, and completed roles that allowed the girls to play.
|Preston Bullants||Macleod 1|
Round 10 saw the Colts 1 team play their last home game at Zwar Park for the year, up against Macleod. After winning the toss and kicking with the breeze, Macleod kicked the first three goals of the match, all due to poor turnovers by us Ants. The opposition continued their running game and moved the ball well into the breeze during the second quarter, leading at half time by 20 points. An improvement in work rate, disposals and decision making in the second half lead to a great turnaround by the boys. We kicked two important goals into the wind and reduced the margin to just 15 points at the last change. Momentum had swung. One thing these boys have developed throughout the year is a sense of belief. This came to the fore as the last twenty minutes was played in our forward half of the ground. Five last quarter goals gave us the result we were after, and a place on top of the ladder. Jack Sammartino and Tyson Lowe were again instrumental in the win. Other notables were Tom Hallebone in the ruck, Julian DeNapoli in defence and Mo Merhi who played his best game for the year. LWM continued his excellent year with another consistent game. Special mention must be given to a group of boys who filled the breach for us this week. James 'skipper' Scattolin, Adrian Vella, Stevie Hadj and Nick Savvidis all played their role and contributed to getting the four points.
Well done, lads! Time to knock off Parkside, me thinks.
|Cambwerwell Ashburton||Preston Bullants|