AFL Round 3 vs Cranbrook

1ST XVIII

Trinity 1st XVIII had a tough fixture on the weekend, losing to an in-form Cranbrook side. Trinity’s performance was compounded from several key players being unavailable after a last minute ground and time change. Hence, the team’s morale was questioned leading into the game, but that failed to forestall a tremendous effort in the first half, with the team piling on numerous points to only be trailing by one at the half-time siren. Necessity is the mother of invention, and these late outs provided an opportunity for five Year 10 players to make their first-grade debut, after showing good form in the lower age level. Unfortunately, fatigue kicked in during the second half, with Cranbrook taking advantage of Trinity’s depleted forces, creating an unassailable lead in the third quarter. However, Trinity fought on to defend their pride, restricting their opponents to a minimal margin in the final term. 

Matthew Robertson (12Du) won the first of many hit outs for the day, regularly feeding our rampant on-ball brigade who capitalised with multiple forward-fifty entries in the opening quarter. He was the dominant ruckman on the ground showing great discipline and deft touch to regularly find our midfielders around contests, and rucked unchanged all day in a Herculean effort. The midfielders of Alan Weston (12Ta), Nicholas Enno (12Hi) and Sam Waddington (11Mu) were on fire early, winning possessions at will and regularly making the opposition look foolish with their superior agility and ability to run defensively and apply pressure. Unfortunately, they also had to go unchanged for large portions of the game, and ran out of legs in the second half due to their increased workload from last week.

A dynamic threat in the second half was Ben Orr (11Ho), involving himself in many contested marks, and coming close on several occasions to open his goalkicking account for 2021. His mere presence brought fear into the eyes of his opponents, allowing his teammates to thrive around him, with Oscar Ballantine (12Hi) kicking his first CAS goal with a juggling kick out of mid-air, deep in the forward pocket, which defied physics to make the impossible angle a reality.

Youngster Nicholas Adland (10Ke) followed up and kicked a left-foot bomb from 50 metres out, joining a very exclusive club of individuals who have kicked a goal on debut with their first kick in Open-Age football. He nearly backed this up with two goals in the opening quarter, but was denied by a deflection off the goalpost, which would have capped off an excellent debut where we won several possessions and applied significant pressure to his much older and bigger opposition.

Our backline was bolstered by the inclusion of Harrison Ryan (10Ta) and Liam Wingrave (10Ar), who showed experience and composure well beyond their years, to regularly stop the Cranbrook offensive moves. Both had regular periods of repeat efforts, showing the desperation needed to play at this level, and bodes well for the 1sts in the years to come. Jack Gully (10WH) and James Moore (10Ta) were sent forward and provided a good contest, despite limited opportunities in the first half, with both showing strong running patterns and awareness to transition back into defence.

Key forward Brodie Fortescue (12Ta) was hoping to bounce back and return to the goalkicking list, but unfortunately was just denied by a stern breeze that did not agree with the ball’s original trajectory. He did, however, provide multiple contested marking opportunities and showed flashes of elusiveness to put teammates into open space with slick handballs. As always, he was well complemented by our key defensive player, Emmanuel Grogan (12Fo), who repelled numerous Cranbrook raids and cleared our lines with defensive kicks and several bounces as he dashed out of defence.

Best on field goes to Theo Christian (12He) who won multiple contested possessions on his wing, while regularly providing an outlet and using his elite speed to burst away from the opposition and send us into attack, setting up several chances at goal. He backed this up with multiple chase down tackles and smothers when we did not have the ball, regularly lifting his teammates with his acts of desperation.

Although the result on the weekend was undoubtedly disappointing, this will not stop Trinity from pursuing their dream of winning their first match in years as they take on a strong Barker outfit next week. Training this week will be relentless, with a focus on working the ball backwards and running behind the contest to support players under pressure.

Score: Cranbrook 15.14.104 def Trinity 3.7.25

Goals: N. Adland, O. Ballantine-Jones, S. Darling

Bests: T. Christian, M. Robertson, N. Enno, E. Grogan, N. Adland, L. Wingrave

Emmanuel Grogan (12Fo) | Backline Captain


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