Bullant Banter Round 1 2018

Presidents Message

No report this week

Whitlam Malkoun
President
Preston Bullants JFC

Under 9's WHITE Match Report

Tackers White kicked off their 2018 campaign at Preston City Oval on a wintery Melbourne morning. After a well‐attended preseason and practice game the guys were ready to put their hard work into action. The Bullants were playing Fitzroy first up, and it’s fair to say they got the jump on us! Fitzroy had a solid breeze to work with, extracing the ball from the centre and going long. They were playing well and kicked a few goals while we were finding our feet. Our backline was under the pump in the first quarter but their effort was fantastic and didn't give in. Percy, Asher, Remi and Luca were all terrific in the first term in tough circumstances.

The first quarter break came at a good time and we regroupe. the team talked about foccusing on tackling for the second quarter and sure enough the tide began to turn. The the midfield Sammy 'The Hef' Heffernan, Coen 'My Left Foot' Wallis, Louse 'The Extractor' O'Halloran, Mitchell and Jett (nicknames to come) got to work and started to push the ball into our forward line. Andrew's attack on the ball was also impressive....keep up the good work mate! The great thing about our guys is their effort and our midfield worked time and again to give us a chance at goal And what do you know, there was some blue-collar work and a touch of class down in our forward line that turned that midfield grunt into goals. The overall pressureof the forward line was great with young Harry 'the sneak' McLeod showing that he knows exactly where the posts are, bagging a couple for the quarter and four for the game... nice! It's important for all of the kids to know that no one scores a goal by themselves, and Harry was the beneficiary of some great tackling and chasing by his forward line team mates including Benjamin, Zach B, Jonah, Caden and Thomas. Good work lads. The rain was falling and the kids were getting wet and cold, but it was great to see smiling faces coming into the half time huddle.

Refreshed, the third term continued in the same vein as the second, with some great work across the ground from our Tackers, and some equally good work by Fitzroy, the game was going goal for goal What a contest! The coach reckons Preson got on top in the third term. Scoring well on the back of some special efforts including The Coach's Highlight for week 1. Jamie Wilson isn't the biggest bloke in our team, but he might be the more tenacious. He always listens at training and tries his hardest on the track. In the third term he chased down the largest of our Fitzroy opponents, his first tackle slipped so he got up and went again pinning the arms of his opponent and climbing him like a tree until the tree toppled over and Jamie got a free for holding the ball. Putting in one, two and three efforts like Jamie did is what wins you the ball and games of footy. Top notch.

In the last quarter it was pretty even with Fitzroy scoring the last couple of goals. Spencer was great on the last line of defence along with Ollie who was filling gaps in the backling really well.

What a great start to the season. All the kids came off happy and we delivered a rousing version of the team song. Stirring stuff!

Next week, St Marys. On the training track we’ll be practicing moving the ball across zones and we’ll find some fun ways to practice our sprinting.

Go Bullants!

Under 9's RED Match Report

For the first game of the year, the Tackers Red were at home to Banyule. Being the first game of the year the boys and girls were ready to go.

A few drills before heading into the rooms for some instructions pre game and the team were focused and were sharp, reciting the time rules.The main emphasis of the day would be to play down the boundary out of defence to our midfield and then to bring the ball into leading forwards. We had practised this drill for about 20 minutes at training on the Friday.

We ran out behind our Captain Jack to our Mantra of “Having Fun” and we all lined up in our positions, with the centres all ready for the ball.

The first quarter was played with allot of spirit. Banyule had some exceptional footballers and our team was great, tackling and kicking long when they could.

Liam, Ella, Dylan, Daniel, Oscar all charged hard at the ball and constantly kicked long to the forwards. Ella was hard at it in the Ruck and owned the ball. Oscar and Daniel were running freely and pushed forward.

Our forwards led by Eddy and Alberto we constantly in the game, with

Eddy asserted his brute strength in pack marks, bringing the ball down for Jack, Ned and Michael to then create havoc as small crumbing forwards.

Our backline with Lachlan, Lucas, Patrick, William and Leroy were playing close to their players and were moving the ball out of the backline in a structured manner.

Eduardo and Adam were outstanding helping Banyule with numbers.

In the second quarter our midfield was boosted with Ellery coming into the middle. He gave us plenty of run. The team again were able to get the ball out of the centre and with some quick forward work.

Alberto and Lachlan assisted Banyule with numbers and got plenty of the ball.

It was a cold wet morning and it was important to have everyone moving, so lots of windmills and jogging on the spot to keep warm.

Banyule were playing strong footy, with constant forward thrusts putting our backline under pressure. With the addition of Leon the defence were again working hard with Leon, William, Lucas and Patrick under packs and running and breaking tackles with brute strength, kicking along the line as instructed. We worked the ball forward kicking goals. Liam was inspirational in the middle. Captain Jack was leading by example in the forward line. The importance pf playing in front was demonstrated by Matilda who marked strongly and goaled. Ned was again creating havoc scoring. The team was very confident at half time.

At half time Assistant Coach Shane was shuffling the board magnets, getting the team in order for the second half.

The third quarter saw William and Eddy assist Banyule with numbers and they too got plenty of the ball. We saw some long goals from the centre with Lucas and Ellery kicking long. Some of the Banyule team were commenting “these were goals of the year”.

The highlight of the quarter was Daniel’s effort to win the ball on one wing beating his opponents, kicking clear and chasing that ball down for 30 metres and beating 2 Banyule opponents again. It was an inspirational piece of play.

The final quarter saw a few changes, with Leon and Jack having a run with Banyule. Banyule were able to score a couple of goals and it reinforced the need to play on your opponent.

The team rallied. Oscar was patrolling the centre well, taking the ball a number of times loading it to the forward line. We saw a fantastic snap by Alberto for a great goal. Arms raised he and the team celebrated their achievements. It was great to see Leroy getting into the game as he with Michael, Eduardo and Adam moving calling loudly and playing tight.

Ned was awarded the Banyule Medal for his efforts.

A fantastic team effort for the first game. The team were able to put into the game structured football from defence to the centre to the forward line. We heard loud voices and were able to understand the importance of playing in both a forward or defensive manner depending on the flow of the game.

The song was sung with Gusto at the end with the team setting up a circle with Captain Jack and Medal winner Ned in the middle.

Thanks to everyone who assisted on the day its much appreciated by all, with special mention to David for his excellent umpiring.

Cheers

Coach Dave

Under 10's WHITE Match Report

Our first game was away at Park Orchards 8.30am on a chilly April morning. Our first game as a team went well. There was a mad rush to fill parent duties, the Team Manager, me, had no idea who anyone was!! We played one player short for the first half, somebody slept in! But other than those couple of hiccups, the team played a great game. Coach Ufouk was very pleased with the way the boys gelled as a team, I'm sure he'll learn everybodies name soon enough! Darcy was adjudged best on ground by his coach. We're all looking forward to a fantastic season

Under 10's RED Match Report

Playing at PCO for our first game of the season it was fabulous to be back playing for the Mighty Bullants… the shoes are clean as are the mouthguards and the excitement in the changeroom was palpable. The weather wasnt exactly our friend as the rain fell and it was pretty cold for small young men! We were a little slow to get started and Brunswick managed to get a couple of points early in the game. With Tom and Brock away we welcomed Oscar, Paddy and Liam from Tackers to help us out.

Josh “Stoj” got a magnificent powerful goal in the second quarter and he was beautifully supported by Sonny, Josh Sergi and Edwin, Leon, Jack and Archie were everywhere. Their tackling, kicking and decision making was fabulous also.

The third quarter saw Brunswick get a goal and it was apparent that the switch to the full pitch was certainly having an impact - we need to keep working on our fitness and endurance - with few on the bench everyone will get a full match each week…

Leon was able to score a second goal for us in the last quarter to cap off a match that allowed our boys to display skill and growth from the off-season. There was plenty of running and contested ball and it felt like the boys were getting used to playing with each other again.

One of the most pleasing things to see is how the boys support each other, celebrate the good things and keep trying even when it is cold and exhausting and the other team has quite a few very tall and big players!

What a great way to start season 2018.

Go Bullants!

Under 11's Match Report
Kew Comets Preston
10.19.79 0.0.0

Having had the privilege of coaching this team for the past 3 years, I was remarkably calm as we prepared for our first foray into Gold division.

Was I happy with our pre-season? No. don’t think there is a coach anywhere that ever has been! Did we need more practice matches? More work on structure? Sure, but we had been here before and these boys have never failed to surprise me yet. We were facing an old foe, Kew Comets who we had proven beatable at the pointy end of last season and somehow this year, the size difference was less apparent. We had played this ground before….what was there to worry about? Sam Auger and Tommy G were nominated Captains for the day for their hard work at training. Winning the toss, they elected to kick “up-hill” on the noticeably sloping ground. With a final “Go Bullants!” we took our positions.

The siren sounded to begin a very long hour of footy…. Perhaps the team was too calm themselves? Maybe thinking that their success last year would somehow just continue…. Whatever the case, The Bullants were without their usual run, there was little genuine desire for the ball and general avoidance of any physical contact with their opponent. The slick, Kew Comets side embarked on what looked like a training drill, finding targets with ease, catching Bullants flat footed and out of position. Despite some desperate individual efforts by Woody and Hamish in defence, Kew cruised to a 5:6:36 lead at QTR time. The Bullants had not only failed to trouble the scorers but rarely looked like getting far enough forward to threaten.

At the break we desperately tried to inspire some attack on the footy, we asked for the “Ball chasing” to stop, to hold positions, stick tackles, work as a team and to run! Unfortunately the instructions didn’t change much at subsequent breaks and by half time I put my note book away….

There were glimpses of the side we know we can be however. Incremental improvements of the course of the game and individuals stepping up left me with hope that the worst was over. We slowed their scoring, stemming the flow each quarter with desperate defence, forcing them wide. Slowly we began to win the ball from the middle and push forward. There were glimmers of hope. Flashes of the run we know we have, got us to within meters of our goals….yet still we could not quite get there. Around the ground individuals lifted their intensity, some desire and pride returning but individual efforts do not make a successful team….the team work was lacking, work off the ball non-existent. The game was done and one of the worst results this team has ever faced….would that be enough to bring their desire back?

Sam, Tommy G, Hamish, Azza, Marcus and Isaac Browne were amongst the best for the Bullants and set the bar for their team mates.

The fancy electronic scoreboard burned far too brightly as we left the field.

At each break I promised them that if they would not run during a game, they certainly would at training! If they did not want to attack the ball and their opponent during the game, then they would at training!

We had work to do.

Special mention to the new players to our team this year. Dash, Wato, Browny and Eden all had good hit outs, train hard and have slotted into our team beautifully. Sorry for the disappointing start to your career as Bullants but welcome to the club!

I am pleased to say that the following Tuesday night a different side turned up to training at Zwar! Tackle-bags were hit hard. Team mates bruised in fierce tackles. Laps were run and sprints were done…and the boys ate it up! Footy is hard work and hard work brings reward. The mighty U11’s will be back.

Always proud Coach. Scott Maddison.

Under 12's Match Report
Preston Bullants Park Orchards
10.8.68 0.0.3

Inspired by Lisa Weightman's silver medal winning performance earlier that day, the U12s took the field against Park Orchards in the season opener.

After a challenging pre-season that began in December, and two practices matches during which the boys showed glimpses of form, the boys were well-prepared despite several players being unavailable. We welcomed seven new players into our team (Henry, David, Robert, Caspian, Finn, Harrison, Nathan), who are all great kids and valuable inclusions into our team. After strong performances on the training track, Jaxsyn and Samuel were appointed captain and vice captain, respectively. Jaxsyn won the toss and elected to kick 'downhill'.

In the first quarter, the boys worked well as a team and carried out what has been practiced during pre-season training. The boys played in front, ran and spread and shared the football when we had possession and tackled well when the opposition had possession. By quarter time the Bullants had kicked six goals, while the opposition were goalless. There were many highlights, with Harrison kicking his first goal for the club one of them!

In the second quarter, with Park Orchards kicking to the scoring end, our defence worked admirably to keep the opposition goalless. The backline worked were as a group, with the midfield also getting down to help defend.

At half time, Pat reinforced the key messages to the boys: play in front; tackle and shepherd; and 'get to the well' to help out your teammates. The boys followed this advice and continued to extend their lead on the scoreboard. In the final quarter, the boys continued their strong team-based performance, eventually running out 65 point winners (10-8-68 to 0-3-3).

It was a great start to the season and a confidence builder for the U12s. While it was an all round team performance, Jaxsyn and Samuel were both excellent as leaders, Max was great after moving into the midfield after half-time, Jude and Thomas H were ever-reliable in the backline, Will was consistent across all four quarters, Rylan gave us first use of the ball in the ruck, and the list goes on. The leading goalkickers were Robert, who kicked two goals in his first match for the club (well done Robert!), and Grady who also kicked two goals as a very effective half forward.

After the game the boys sang the song with gusto, with all first game players being in the middle of the circle. Luckily for those parents there was no Gatorade around, as I'm sure their teammates would have taken great delight in showering them with it!

Go Bullants!

Under 13's GIRLS Match Report
Preston Bullants Camberwell Sharks
11.9.75 0.0.0

The footy gods must know when the season is starting because they turn the heat off and turn the wind and rain on. There was great anticipation in the air for game one. After an enormous pre-season campaign the team is fitter and faster than the same time last year. Our training has intensified with the girls understanding structures, positions and rotations, and all of the girls have shown massive improvement and commitment. Before the game Victoria was named captain for the season and Freya the vice-captain. Both girls were thrilled with their appointments.

The first quarter saw us dominate an inexperienced Camberwell side. Charlotte owned the forward fifty and with Freya winning the contested ball in the centre we found ourselves comfortably in front by quarter time. Hailey, in her first game for the club, was involved with our first goal by shooting out a brilliant handball to Ella. Other strong performers were Erin and Victoria, both rebounding from half back. The score at quarter time was Bullants 3.3.21 to Sharks 0.0.0.

The second quarter saw us turn up the heat even more with Ayva B. having her best game for the club to date. She was involved nearly every time we went forward, and kicked one of the goals of the day. Not bad for a girl that couldn’t kick last year. Freya continued to carve it up in the middle with help from Marianne and Caitlin. Another first gamer, Lucy, was also influential and gathered possessions inside the forward fifty. Sian moved from full back to full forward and impacted the scoreboard straight away with a terrific goal. A great start by the girls and a just reward for a gruelling pre-season. The score at the main break was Bullants 5.3.33 to Sharks 0.0.0.

In the third quarter Camberwell persisted with having three extra girls in defence, which meant we had to work incredibly hard for our goals. Our forward line looked more like a rugby scrum than a functioning AFL set up. The quarter started off slowly but built into one for the ages. Milly was moved into the middle and it did not take her long to gather possessions and hit the scoreboard. She could do no wrong, booting two goals in quick succession and setting up another for Charlotte in the space of 5 minutes. Libby also got her hands on the footy and booted a beauty of her own. Olivia worked tirelessly in the ruck and Zara was crucial in her unfamiliar role as ruck rover. By three quarter time the game was well and truly ours after we booted 4 goals for the term. Scores at the final change were Bullants 9.4.58 to Sharks 0.0.0.

With most of the game played in our forward half we rotated our backline players up forward, which saw Lily score a great goal, and Victoria also hitting the scoreboard. Ava M. was also solid in attack and was involved in a couple of goal assists. The girls worked hard right up until the final siren and kicked 2 goals 5 behinds for the term. Our system was solid all day and we ran away 11.9.75 to 0.0.0. A fantastic first up result, and I couldn’t have been prouder.

Thanks to Jamie, and the ever reliable Leanne and Bek for your match day roles. Thanks Mish for all that you do, and for keeping me informed and in check.

George Cotsonis

Under 13's Match Report
Preston Bullants Fitzroy
6.4.40 1.2.8
Goal Kickers Phoenix 2, Dion, Josh, Mo, Seb

Playing away against Fitzroy, the under 13’s handy pre-season form continued with a great first up win in wet and windy conditions. New recruits Max, Jordan, Daniel and Caspian (Capper) all made fantastic debuts for the mighty Bullants, and showed they will add even more depth to the Under 13’s squad.

Captain Phoenix set the tone early winning the first few clearances, and the Bullants started the game clearly having the better of contested possession. The first 5 minutes were played entirely in the Bullants half, with Liam showing class and poise to break free from the early congestion to kick the first goal of the season. Dion followed up shortly after, with an opportunistic goal off the ground for the Bullants second, following some great run and carry and a penetrating deep kick from Phoenix. Dion went on to impress throughout the first quarter, and was ably supported in the forward line by Coen’s tackle pressure. First quarter highlights also included Nater’s relentless attack on the ball, Capper’s link up play, Jordan’s pressure acts and Daniel’s superior reading of the play down back.

The Bullants continued in controlling the game in the second term. Taking a turn in the ruck, Rufus made his presence felt with his attack on the ball and physicality. Josh snapped another goal for the Bullants, after beautifully crumbing a set shot which landed at the top of the square. Fitzroy responded after being awarded a free kick within range, before Phoenix hit back with a classy running goal on his left.

The attack on the ball and defensive pressure continued after half time, and the coaches instructions were played out perfectly. Across the board, the Bullants worked harder for longer and maintained their positioning and structure. The boy’s footy smarts are now a real feature – recognising when to shepherd for a team mate rather than take possession, short handballs to setting up team mates, encouragement and communication on field – were all features throughout the day. Nater and Phoenix continually surged the ball forward, splitting packs and where they couldn’t take clean possession – pushed the play deeper and deeper into the Bullants forward half.

It was difficult conditions for key forwards, however Mo still managed a special moment, with a powerful trademark snap into a difficult cross breeze to register the Bullant’s 5th major. Dion set up a Seb mark in the goal square for another, after Seb pushed back hard into open space.

By the last quarter the rain and wind had really settled in, and it was just congested, scappy football. Declan and Seb were fantastic taking turns in the ruck, ensuring the mids had a decent first look. The backline also stood tall, only allowing a solitary behind from Fitzroy despite the Lions kicking with the better of the wind, with Brodie, Harry and Daniel all leading the way.

Great effort by all the boys, and congrats again to Max, Jordan, Daniel and Capper for fantastic Bullants debuts!

Under 14's Match Report
Hawthorn Citizens Preston Bullants
0.0.1 14.23.107

 Season 2018 has finally come and the boys could not have been more prepared and ready to go then they were as they faced the Hawthorn Citizens in the round 1 opener. After a great pre-season filled with new experiences, a new coach, growth and bonding the result of 107 - 1 showed a new found commitment and endeavour.

The first quarter against we battled against the wind the boys came out of the blocks hard leading by 45 points at the quarter break. The second quarter saw the structure fall down as we got flustered and over excited with our lead increasing. After the half time break the boys were able to stay composed and make sense of how we wanted to play, sticking to our structures and playing our game taking our lead further.

Finally they didn’t stop their pressure around the ball and inside 50 increased and drove the game all the way home to win by 106 points.

The boys still have a lot of work to do with the chance of being promoted to brown division, however nothing will stand in the way of the 27 boys that are playing in the U14’s Preston Bullants side in 2018.

Round 2 we will find ourselves playing beverly hills looking to take another win, early in the season and forge our presence in the competition.

Under 15's Match Report
Beverley Hills Bullants
7.6-48 7.8-50

A new year and a fresh start for the boys. Not coaching before, I felt a strong sense of anticipation of how the group will perform on game day. Going in with a fresh set of eyes I was keeping an eye out for how well the boys stuck to team rules and who had listen the best at training. It turned out to be a tight contest all game, despite Beverly Hills controlling the scoreboard for majority of the day.

Our first quarter was rusty and not much mental transitioning from offence to defence was happening which made it harder for us to control the momentum of the game. Nonetheless, we found ourselves ahead at the first change with plenty of work to do around the contest.

Both the second and third quarter were played pretty much on the back foot as Beverly Hills controlled the possession and dictated the flow of the game. They provided plenty of run off half-back and this proved difficult to match as the opposition did have some impressive players. However, with bouts of over-the-top ball movement, we were able to score the odd goal or tow to keep ourselves in the game and within arm’s reach. Standouts were Allister’s run off the wing and the strength of Pantelis in the forward line – which went unmatched all game.

At the final change, we remain behind like we had been since early in the second. But, something about the game felt good – I knew we were a good chance to win. Sometimes football is a mental game more so than physical and I implored the boys to just focus on going hard for the football and getting first hands on it. I could sense that the boys were frustrated they could not make enough of a scoreboard impact when trying valiantly to stay in the game.

From the opening bounce of the last quarter, I got my first taste of how it is to feel proud as a coach. The boys listened; every player went in and attacked the loose ball without apprehension and the game started to be played on our terms.

Brilliant last quarter effort from Ben who provided plenty of forward pressure which lead to opposition turnovers and ultimately repeat forward 50 entries. We started to link up well across the ground and I could sense that the boys got a sniff early and went for it. Strong defensive play from Billy R created a roadblock for the opposition who did to score a goal in the last quarter to our three. Despite the 19-point deficit and three-quarter time, we won by two.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the game was the old lesson that football demands four quarters of effort – nothing less. Whilst the win was achieved, it is naïve to expect that all games can be won with just one outstanding quarter.

I believe the game was a good result from all angles. We could recognise improvements areas of our game but still came out on top with a less-than-par standard performance for the most part.

Youth GIRLS Match Report
Preston Bullants Whitehorse Colts
1.1.7 12.12.84

Round 1 always brings nerves and excitement for players, coaches and parents involved. The girls fielded a team of thirteen meaning their fitness and capabilities was going to be tested against Whitehorse Colts, who also had four on the bench.

The first half was a fiercely fought contest with our tackling and attack on the ball superb. The midfield did everything by providing options in the forward line as well as working back in defence to help.

In the second half it was evident that fatigue was setting in. Despite this the girls willed themselves to every contest and made the opposition earn every possession. Even though the backline was put under lots of pressure and scored on heavily, they continued to try and work the ball out. When the ball was moved out, the forward line always tried to keep the ball in front and create a scoring opportunity.

Although we didn’t have a win, the girls didn’t complain and remained positive throughout the entire match. There was signficiant improvement shown since the West Preston match and plenty of positives to take out from Sunday’s game.

Thanks to all the parents that helped out and Sofie for organising the designated roles. Also thanks to Ange who helped out as runner/assistant coach.

Come to training with the aim to improve and learn every session! Keep persisting and you’ll get the rewards!

GO BULLANTS!

Simon O’Connell

Colts 1 Match Report
Greythorn Preston Bullants
11.5.71 5.9.39

In an enthusiastic start, the Colts1 played through a number of rain showers in the first quarter making controlling the ball difficult. The team controlled the first half of the quarter but missed their opportunities scoring a number of behinds. The team pressed and pressured Greythorn but found themselves scored against the run of play due to turnovers and space created due to the press.Jimmy Manias was getting alot of the ball, with Stevie Hadj competing hard in the ruck.

The frantic pace of the game continued into the second quarter with good movement through the wings: Jackson Tierney and Stefan Valensisi and some good movement off the half back with Henry Vear and Mathew Chilcott. As the ball became heavier both teams started to slow with the handling became more awkward, with Greythorn playing the better of the conditions scoring and ending the first half three goals in front.

The Colts again started the quarter well with James Sonza taking his chances. Jack Nicolo was swung both into the ruck and full forward to attempt to out match the opposition. Matthew Mailo was a driving force from full back with great intercept, run and carry, whilst Nic Savvidis competed well at half back during the third. Rory Howard had a number of telling marks going forward and whilst the team looked threatening it could not bridge the gap that Greythorn had established in the first half.

The last quarter was a replay of the third with the Colts pressuring, moving the ball repeatedly into its forward 50 with continued rebounds from solid contributions from Josh Di Natalie and Rhett Aminde who was thrown behind the ball. Zac Ray continued to present but the conditions weren’t favourable for the forwards.

The key reflection on the game was playing to the conditions. The soggy, heavy conditions made moving and controlling the ball awkward. Greythorn taking the points 11.5.71 to Preston Colts1 5.9.39. The team showed signs it will be competitive and will be better for the experience.

Colts 2 Match Report
Bulleen Preston Bullants
8.17.65 2.6.18

Before we take a look at the game itself it is worth noting a few points. This team is made up of the U15s side that has started its first of two seasons playing Colts. The team is also made up of existing Colts players and new players to the Bullants. In effect, this is the first game (apart from the scratch match with the Roosters a few weeks back) these young men have played as a team. For the U15s coming into Colts there would have to be a bit of a shock of the new to it. While the team has seen players come and go over the last 8 years, this game is the first time they have played with an equal number of “new” players. This was always going to have an impact once the siren sounded to start the game and the ball was bounced.

That is not to imply the team was not ready to go. In the warm up drills before the game you could feel the energy, nervous as it was. Don’t you just love the start of another footy season? The anticipation was rising as the team gathered to run out onto the mighty Preston City Oval. Ted was named captain, that got a warm cheer from the lads. Our coach David had several basic instruction for his charges. Do not let your team-mate down and I want to hear you talking out there.

Bulleen seemed to settle into the game quicker than the Bullants. They were getting to the ball first and had plenty of runners. They were also doing something that the Bullants could well learn from: moving it forward at all costs. At quarter time Bulleen were two goals ahead. And the Bullants had shown some glimpses of the team starting to gel. Tony, at full back was excellent. Brodie, playing his usual greyhound of a game was giving Bulleen some scares. Anton, Max and Jordan likewise were giving it some stick.

Tackle count was David’s point at the huddle. Increase the tackle count! Brandon took the call to heart and with that the intensity lifted. Bulleen were feeling the Bullants pressure. We were working better as a team. For 8 minutes the Bullants controlled the game. It was a very good sign. But we couldn’t turn that into scoreboard pressure and against the run of play Bulleen goaled. Brodie’s efforts were almost willing the team to bigger things. But Bulleen started again to assert their authority and our hard work looked like it would come to nothing. We managed a goal through a good pass from Jack B to Jon who kicked true. Anton marked on the siren but couldn’t convert.

Conditions got tougher in the Third as the rain came down. Bulleen continued to dominate. Jon was taken down in a pretty crude tackle. The Bullants started to find their mojo midway through this quarter. When they gel you can see the spine of a damned good team forming. Jack K was rucking his heart out, keeping us in the hunt. Jordan kept up his best efforts. Jack B worked his guts out.

Now we’re firing! It took three quarters but the Bullants are looking okay. Nicholas was working well up forward. Matty B did the job the coach asked of him. Then Zac goaled. The Bullants lifted. Brodie is literally everywhere. He takes a tap from Jackson K (Rucking, go figure) and runs the ball deep into our forward line.

One play stands out. In a turn over Bulleen run the ball out of our forward line and using the Mary St flank as a navigator head it forward and into their goal square. Meanwhile on the dead side of the oval one player is sprinting down the field from our defence to meet the moment. Jack B gets to the square in time to spoil for a behind (and spoil Bulleen’s party). If the Bullants take anything from this game it is this play. David’s call before the first bounce was “don’t let your team-mates down”. In this one act Jack B showed just what that means. Two more learnings. When the team gelled they played as well as Bulleen (whether that was reflected on the scoreboard or not). And the Bullants looked great when they took the game on. A lot of positives to take from this game.

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