First of all, thanks to all the last minute inclusions for being good sports and chucking the boots on and having a run around in the Magoos... Scotty, Rayn, Kane, Micky Andrews, Jack and the Prez!
We knew it was going to be a tough ask... heading over to West London's home ground for the first game of the season. These guys have been a force in the Magoos for the last eight or so years and look to be setting the benchmark in 2016 as well. Add the "L" plates attached to the jumpers of the two coaches on the sideline, which was made apparent when we lined up with one less player on the field at the beginning of the fourth quarter!
The Raiders came out with a bang from the first whistle and seemed to have an extra number around the contest in the first two quarters. By the third quarter we started to play smarter, more accountable footy. We were more ferocious around the ball, putting pressure on the Raiders which showed with us getting on top, even beating them on the scoreboard for that term. We took our foot off the peddle in the fourth (so the coaches have been told) and the Raiders kept on coming.
The positive to come out of the game was the backline! Mitch Skelly was defending well and was trying to create some offensive plays off the back flank all day, often being sited through the guts and half forward line trying to create a bit of spark. Jesus and Jaeger were both impressive playing lock down roles in the backline against predominantly Aussie forwards. Conor Conor Conor and Sharpley were absolute walls in defence and were rarely beaten all game. Bambi was solid in the ruck and presented as a target when coming out of our defensive 50 and Shaun did a lot of unrewarded running on the wing trying to create an option when the Dees were coming out of defence. Surprise packet of the day was big Walshy! With very little AFL experience he took some solid grabs and looked to be a natural with ball in hand…watch this space for the games to come as he will only keep on getting better!
Although we lost, there was a lot to get out of the game and we will only be more competitive when we meet the Raiders in the second half of the season.
Thanks also to Tez for assisting the coaches in the fourth term and watching over the rotations.