MPL & MPLR Match Reports Rounds 11-14
Apologies for the delay in getting these match reports out, have been overseas for the past couple weeks. We now return to regular programming.
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Round 11 - Camberwell v Mentone
2PM 29th June, Matlock Reserve
Second plays sixteenth: with Mentone having a 11 – 0 record, 8 goals for and 45 against. Hmmm....Will’s pre-match address was simple. He clearly set the game plan and expectations, asked for an increased effort and respect for the opposition. After all, we had no idea how Mentone would play today and as a sports journo once said “you play the team, not their past performance”.
I suspect this was a very frustrating match for players and coaches. Well, at least for Camberwell. Just check out the stats. Yes, it was a win (4-1) but I can imagine that the players (and coaches) will not be happy with the result based on our domination for almost 68 minutes.
Let’s face it, we were “all over” Mentone. In our defence we transferred the ball well. Even though Mentone played a couple of high strikers at times, we had them covered. Well, most of the time. Mentone’s early goal at the Q1 10-minute mark was simply an aberration – an unfortunate deflection from the inside of GB’s pad. Apart from that, we held possession for the majority of the game. We were patient, marked tight with constant head checking and keying in. Our mids were running well and distribution was quick, accurate and early. Our strikers worked hard with constant movement up front and we had numerous circle entries and shots on goal. The final result - 2 field goals and 2 PC conversions.
And what did Mentone bring to the game? An outstanding keeper in Scott Boucher who, yet again, held us to a respectable score. A couple of his saves in Q1 would easily have been goals with most other GK’s. The Mentone boys played a defensive game in that they flooded their backline (when we were in attack) with all 11 players either in the circle or behind the 25-yard line. The crowded circle made it harder for our forwards to find each other or take a shot. The congestion in the circle meant that we were always being tackled.
We did take the 3 points and I guess we should be happy with that. A week off from training and hockey will give us a chance to rejuvenate and prepare for the run into the pointy end of the season. Have a relaxing break guys.
Derek Vanden Driesen
Round 14 - Camberwell v KBH
2PM 27th July, Elgar Park
Facing up against another bottom four team, with goal difference becoming increasingly close and important, it was important that Camberwell come out of the gate firing to help our ladder position and psychology coming into finals. KBH made that very difficult.
Dictating play from the begging of the match, we were doing a good job moving the ball around the park and into our attack. Our defensive line was not being tested too much, but were providing the foundation we needed as we earned the right to go forward. KBH were playing numbers behind the ball though, and though we were getting the ball into our attack alright, we were finding it difficult to do any damage with it.
A scoreless first quarter was frustrating but not the end of the world, the game was entirely under our control, we just needed to do something more substantial in front of goal. Finally in the 18th minute, Langy opened our account with a nice goal after successfully beating the keeper. Seven minutes later and another one had us 2-0 up and slightly more comfortable.
As the second half wore on frustration grew, KBH’s parking of the bus was turning the game into a stodgy mess, slowing everything down and clearing balls straight back into our high-pressing defence’s hands. Our strikers were finding it increasingly difficult in the circle to achieve anything worthwhile, and KBH keeper Tom Scott was doing too well in the net for us to be throwing easy ones in it’s general direction.
Finally after half an hour or so, a short corner deflected in by James Forsyth brought the lead to 3-0. A nice bump to the score, but we were still completely bound in the attacking D. With no meaningful breaks out of defence from KBH, it meant we were playing almost the entire game in our attacking half. Anything that came out was swiftly sent back in by Tom Davies, Frosty or any of our other defencive line, but it was hard to feel that it wasn’t for nothing at points. KBH were desperately hanging on with 11 players in their defensive D to a 3-0 deficit, and we couldn’t get any more goals on the board.
This week we take on MCC at home on Sunday in a livestream round at 3:30PM. Come down with some rainbow colours to support Pride Cup Round.
Round 14 - CHC v KBH 8 - 0 Win
12:30PM 27th July, Elgar Park
Four weeks ago we set an ambitious target of not conceding a goal in our next four games. As the last of those games drew to a close on Saturday, it was mission accomplished. As one of our strikers, I would also like to note that we have scored 36 goals in that month as well. With that block of games now behind us, our finals campaign essentially gets underway. We now play 4 of the top 6 teams in our run to finals.
The vibes of our group were slightly strange this weekend, perhaps some were already thinking ahead to the trivia night, and as we walked onto the ground it was mentioned that the warm up was a bit like herding cats. We wanted to start strong and really bring the heat to KBH in the first quarter. Unfortunately we didn’t do that to the level that we wanted. Without Josh Moore lining up alongside me our forward line, we have had to classify James’ (Ross and Dean) as members of the old brigade. There was some first class babysitting taking place on Saturday as we found Liam Henderson unmarked in the circle twice in the first half and scoring two of his less mercurial goals of the season. Tip for opponents: Don’t leave Liam free in the circle, he is very, very good!
Our style was good, our execution was pretty good but not perfect. As is our mantra, we wanted continual improvement. As this game wore on we continued to play it on our terms - the ball movement was slick and we gave KBH very few opportunities outside their counter attacks. Finishing in the circle was strong, although I do owe James Van Den Driesen an apology for successfully defending his goal bound attempt.
The last four games have placed us in a really good position leading into the last month of the season and finals. We sit second at the moment, just one point off top and with a healthy goal difference. There is a real sense of excitement amongst all of us that in the next few weeks we get to play some really strong opposition. We feel that we have built a strong game style and are ready to test ourselves against the other top sides.
It does feel a bit like the AFL with our floating fixture for this week’s clash with MCC, also a 2018 Grand Final Rematch, still to be locked in. Wherever we do play them this week’s game is sure to be a tough one, but the boys are prepared and looking forward to seeing how we stack up against some tougher teams. Until next time.
Round 11 - Camberwell v Mentone
6 - 0 Win
12:30PM 29th June, Matlock Reserve
Mentone came into our house boasting 0 points to this stage of the season (we are at Round 12). We were intent on making sure that number didn’t change at our expense. The team focus was on bringing our brand of hockey to the table early to ensure no signs of complacency were creeping in given next week’s bye.
In our pre-match chat we set the agenda for not just this week but the next month, when we play a few sides that are lower on the ladder. Our pre-game message was as good as it has been and we took the field full of confidence that we would step up. The first quarter didn’t go exactly to plan. Our execution was a bit off, frequently halting our attack. As always, Bill was very measured at quarter time although he did mention that he could fly off the handle about some very poor skill errors (yours truly would have been public enemy #1). Instead, Bill opted to encourage us to make sure we got the basics right and earn the right to break the game open.
The game broke. Led by controlled aggression all over the ground, sharp ball movement and a Langy double and topped off with a little bit of razzle from Liam Henderson we put 4 past Mentone in a blistering period during the second quarter. It was the type of hockey we want to play - everyone doing what was required and nobody trying to play for themselves. Unfortunately our third quarter was much closer to the first than the second. The rain started and Mentone seemed to be trying to stay warm by all standing together in their defensive 25 making it very difficult for us to create chances. At one stage the Mentone full back told us that he ‘had enough damage for today’. So they basically “packed up” and played for a 4-0 loss.
In the last quarter it was going to be up to us to implement our style and create opportunities where we could. There were a few chances that came our way, some we took (2 goals) and some we didn’t. This was not a bad performance but we will embrace our mantra of continuous improvement and enjoy a week off before locking back in for the last few rounds of the home and away season.
Round 12 - Camberwell v Powerhouse
9 - 0 Win
12:30PM 13th July, Matlock Reserve
I think it is best that before every person who walks through the doors to CHC hears this from the man himself, I will describe what happened:
As the fourth quarter began, Langy was given the instruction that he was only to play a couple of minutes and then he was “done” due to doubling up in PL. The moment of the match, and likely the season to date (much to the dismay of every player in the PL/PLR squad) was about to unfold. Ed was standing over a 16 yard hit, our front half was completely open. With one of his renowned overheads, Ed launched the ball towards our goal. Langy chased it down, and from that moment we could all see what our audacious striker was going to attempt. The Powerhouse keeper came out but didn’t quite make the contest and Langy calmly one touch lobbed it over his head wheeling away, both arms raised in triumph above his head as the ball bounced into the goal.
Back to the start. Refreshed after a week off and raring to go, we descended on Matlock for the primetime 12:30 slot on Saturday afternoon. Having set some ambitious goals as a group before our previous game we were intent to make sure that we brought our style and didn’t just coast by to a comfortable result. As has happened a couple of times this season it took us a little while to get on the board but once we did it was clear that this game was only going to end one way.
3-0 at half time and after a short delay due to some wild weather, it was important for us to keep up the quality of our performance and make sure we weren’t letting “good be the enemy of great.” As a group we were aggressive and well organized. A number of goal scorers including Joey Gooden’s first ever two goal game for the club, meant that we didn’t let our game slip and we carried on with a strong outing as we continue our run towards finals.
Overall a performance that we were happy with and the signs are good for the PLR group. It was great to have a couple of new faces in the group for this week. Lachlan Dreher (maybe not so new a face) and Ben Clague was welcomed for his first game - and didn’t miss a beat looking very comfortable fitting into the defensive group.
The late game next week against Brunswick will keep us on our toes and gives us another opportunity to continue our improvement for season 2019.
Round 13 - Camberwell v Brunswick
13 - 0 Win
5PM 20th July, Brunswick Secondary College
All star team = All star result. This week’s team looked seriously formidable as we rolled into Brunswick, much to the delight of our north side brigade. The sun was shining but it was soon to disappear and give way to the bright lights as we put on a show worthy for those who stuck around to watch.
This week’s address from Bill featured a startling lack of sporting analogies and references but focused on the fact that attitude was the key today. Do the “team thing” first and earn the right to reap rewards. It was pretty clear that if we played our style then Brunswick would happen to be the team that were unfortunate enough to be standing in our way. They fought pretty well in the first quarter, where the pattern we are trying to break held firm, a few errors close to goal and we only managed 1 goal for the first stanza.
We were happy with the brand we played in the first quarter and wanted to make sure we executed to a higher level for the remainder of the match. Spoiler, we won 13-0 so clearly we improved our execution and most importantly kept a clean sheet for the third week in a row. We really brought the hunt this week and Brunswick were really struggling to get the ball into their front half with any meaning. On the other hand any time we had the ball we managed to use it very well. We had spoken about getting the ball to the fat side when we turned it over and Steve Unkles showing all his nous was drifting into the middle and having and absolute party in there. His marker was nowhere to be seen, that is the sort of experience years of PL hockey will give you. In all honesty I don’t know what the score was at half time, but for the sake of the story let’s say it was 5-0. The real fun was going to happen in the second half.
Often we say that our preseason is hard, our fitness sessions with Richie are hard and we train harder than the other teams. All of these things are true and we do tend to see the benefits of this in the later stages of games. The only thing that might have stood in our way of a big second half was ourselves. It can be easy to go away from our “team first” mantra when goals are coming with some frequency but I can say with confidence that this group is much more concerned at the end result than we are with who gets the individual rewards. We continued to play the style that we would be happy to take to a final, and it showed that it is a style that is productive but also very fun to play a part in. The flood gates opened up a little bit in the second half and predominantly the final quarter and apart from a small number of examples we played the right way to the end.
13 goals doesn’t happen every day, so that was pleasing but as a group we set a goal to keep four clean sheets in a row and as we approach the last of those games next week that goal is within sight. Team hockey is good hockey and that is what PLR are constantly striving for. On to the next one.