Featured Article, General News, Juniors

Juniors Round Up: 2024 Round 6

May 31, 2024

Around the Grounds

The showers came in for Round 6, but that didn’t affect any of the kids spirits and all teams were still able to get their games in.

U7 Lions

The U7 Lions started full of energy and excitement for a home game against Pine Hills Anacondas. Our 4th game in a row playing Pine Hills. 

The first half was non-stop. There were really great displays of the skills both teams are developing. The Lions showed they are absorbing the new idea of carrying the ball and the players tried to give options to help out their teammates.

In the second half the players ignored the drizzle, while the supporters got their umbrella out. Great tackling and attacking from Victor and Ethan. Xander showed his strength of carrying the ball down the field. Bob and Milo got in and intercepted passes while Byron and Clara had a quieter game, making sure they supported their team.

The highlight to celebrate from this round is what good sports the Lions are. They continue to show respect to each other and the other team’s players, modelling good behaviour even when a little frustrated.

Player of the Day Awards this week went to Ethan for his attacking and Xander for his ball skills.

U8 Goannas

In a thrilling matchup on a cool, crisp morning, the U8 Goannas clashed with Mitchelton Paris in an absolute nail-biter of a game. Despite facing adversity with several players sidelined due to illness, the Goannas showcased their resilience and determination, pushing themselves to the limit on the field.

Mitchelton asserted their dominance from the opening whistle, striking early to secure a goal within the first two minutes. However, the setback only fuelled the Goannas’ resolve, as they rallied together, determined to make their mark on the game.

The turning point arrived when Felix, unfazed by the early deficit, scored the Goannas’ first goal, injecting energy into his teammates. Buoyed by the momentum shift, the Goannas continued to press forward, relentlessly attacking Mitchelton’s defence.

Their persistence paid off once again as Toby, demonstrating remarkable skill and composure, capitalised on an opportunity to slot home the second goal, drawing the Goannas level and setting the stage for a tense finale.

Despite their valiant efforts, the Goannas fell just short of clinching victory, with Mitchelton ultimately edging ahead to secure a narrow 3-2 win. Nevertheless, the Goannas’ performance was commendable, showcasing grit, determination, and sportsmanship throughout the game.

Liam and Eckard were deservedly awarded Players of the Match honours, recognising their exceptional performances and invaluable contributions to the team’s efforts.

As the season progresses, the Goannas continue to demonstrate their potential and resilience, leaving a lasting impression on the field while prioritising the enjoyment and camaraderie of the game above all else. With each match, they grow stronger, embodying the true spirit of sportsmanship and teamwork.

U8 Chameleons

The Chameleons travelled to Toowong for their week 6 match.  It was the Chameleon’s first game in the rain that led to excitement and scepticism.  Regardless of the weather, the Chameleons played a great game and fought hard to gain and keep possession.  Both teams were putting up a tough attack and strong defence.  The goalies didn’t get any action the first part of the game as the play stayed in the middle.  Towards the end of the first half there were a few goal opportunities from the Chameleons that just missed.  Toowong ended up putting a goal in the back of the net just before half, leaving the half-time score 0-1.  The second half of the game started strong with Elijah’s persistence with shots on goal and finally connecting, bringing the score to 1-1.  Despite a few good saves by Warren, the Toowong team ended up getting 5 more goals leaving the game score 1-6.

Throughout the game, the Chameleons were calling for the ball and looking to support teammates better.  It is evident the passion and heart for the game these kids have.  A few noticeable ways is the way that Freya strongly defends her space, the way Oliver moves the ball forward looking to score, the way Lulu worked to gain position over the other team’s players for throw ins, the way James stopped attackers in the middle, the way Angelica reacts to stop any balls in goal, the way Elijah can dribble around players, and the way that Warren covers players he cuts down passing and shooting options.  And while Isabela was unable to play in this game, it is clear that she has a passion for being on the field with the ball at her feet, intending to score.  The last two players to note the Players of the Week…

Eva and Wyatt earned players of the week this week.  Both players are always ready and willing to jump on the field and help out in any position.  They are amazing team players with great attitudes on and off the field.  They both work hard and try their best.  In trainings, Wyatt is always willing to try the skills and activities and is respectful to his coaches and teammates.  In games, Eva is not intimidated when she is in goal and is willing to try her best on the field.  Way to go Eva and Wyatt, great job!

U9 Hornets

The Hornets played the Gap U9 K2 at home on Saturday. The boys were happy to be back at Westside and had a great warm up with Coaches Brett and Matt. 

The Hornets opened the scoring with a goal to Ned in the first minute. The Gap looked a bit stunned! The play went back and forward for the first half with neither side able to make a break. GK Rowan made some amazing saves. The score going into the break was 1-0 to the Hornets.

Unfortunately, the Gap must have had something more than oranges during the break because they came out firing. They scored 5 goals with the Hornets only able to gain one more, which was an incredible solo goal to Salvi. The final score was 5-2 to the Gap.

Despite the scoreline, the Hornets played a great game. They tried hard to hold their shape and their passing and calling for the ball were much improved from previous weeks. Player of the Day Awards went to Henry and Pierre with the Killer Python award going to Rowan

U10 Falcons

This week, the Falcons were away and up against UQ Yellow. A miserable rainy day certainly didn’t dampen the effort and determination we saw on the field.

UQ Yellow proved to be a formidable opponent leading the attack for most of the game. The Falcons put on a fabulous display in defence, certainly keeping UQ on their toes. As proven by the 2-nil defeat. Woody made some great saves as goalie in the first half and then was just everywhere he needed to be on the field for the second half. A well-deserved Player of the Match.

Also of note, it was very heartwarming to see how the boys encouraged and offered support to each other. The boys can be incredibly proud of the defensive skills and teamwork they showed this game.

U10 Vultures

In an intense clash against Toowong FC, the U10 Vultures showcased their defensive prowess in a hard-fought battle.

Despite the final score of 4-1 in favour of Toowong, the Vultures displayed great resilience and determination.

The defence put up a commendable performance, holding strong against Toowong’s attacking threats.

A notable moment came from Archer, who scored a great first half goal with an assist from Jasper.

The team demonstrated endurance and commitment, running tirelessly until the final whistle.

Despite the defeat, the U10 Vultures showcased great improvement as a team. Coach’s Awards this work went to Archer and Jasper.

Keep up the great work, U10 Vultures!

U11 Dingoes

This week the Dingoes played away and had one of their toughest matches to date against The Gap FC U11 Nice. The boys finally got in a training session this week with super-duper Assistant Coaches Nat & Dave, and were hoping to build upon what they were working on in training. 

The Dingoes displayed all their usual flair as the match got underway. Shots on goal from Joel, TJ, Harlem and Noah were all well saved by the Gap keeper, and the Gap put up an extremely solid defence. Diego, Vinny and Xavier all joined in the attack, and Theo and Daniel held the back line when needed. Even two 

Dingoes penalty shots couldn’t get past the keeper or the Gap’s defence. The score going into the break was 0-0.

After a swift pep talk from Coach Stephen, and a bit of waiting round for the ref, the second half got underway. It was looking to go the way of the first half for the initial 10 minutes, with multiple shots on goal from TJ, who kept up the persistent pressure. His efforts were rewarded with the first goal of the match. The crowd went wild. TJ’s goal was followed quickly with a goal to Noah, off the back of great team play. He did an excellent celebration- JP would have approved!! Noah scored again soon after with a scrambled goal in the box, and in the mayhem we were all asking the same thing…”How did he score that goal??!!” Noah confirmed after the match that he did indeed knock the ball over the line with his butt! 

The Gap had a bit of a comeback in the final few minutes as the Dingoes just ran out of steam. Luckily GK Ben was fresh after a fairly uneventful match for him, and managed to save the balls the Gap sent his way. At the final whistle the score was 3-0 to the Dingoes. The team are thrilled to continue their unbeaten run.

Player of the Day awards went to Daniel, Joel, Ben and Theo, with Noah getting special recognition for what will possibly be the goal of the season!

U12 Blazers

It was a match filled with highs and lows as our beloved Blazers faced off against Pine Hills once again. Despite our team’s valiant efforts, the final scoreline did not swing in our favour.

From the kick-off, both teams exhibited fierce determination. However, Pine Hills managed to secure an early lead with an impressive three goals, putting pressure on the Blazers.

Undeterred by the scoreline, the Blazers fought back with unwavering resolve with Amy scoring a brilliant goal, igniting hope among the team. However, Pine Hills fought back, netting two more goals. But the Blazers refused to back down, as Ema showcased her skills with another goal for the Blazers. Despite the Blazers efforts, Pine Hills secured one final goal, sealing their victory.

While the result may not have been what we hoped for, the spirit, determination and resilience of the Blazers was on show with Sophie, Scarlett, and Freya recognised for their outstanding contributions throughout the match.

We know that with every game, the Blazers grow stronger and more determined than ever before.

U12 Warriors

Home again this week to the Bardon Boys who proved to be a worthy opponent 1st game of the season when they gave us a bit of a flogging and a wake-up call.

But that seems like a lifetime ago and if you’ve been watching, you’ll have noticed the Westside Warriors have come a long way in the short time. 

With that in mind, I for one was expecting a totally different game with a result that went our way – and in the opening minutes it looked like my expectations were spot on.

Within 10 minutes Lennon had already slotted 2 away and Bardon were not looking like the same team who tore us apart on their own field. 

Benson was in goals and Eamon was already commanding the Warriors territory from the Centre Back position.

It wasn’t long though before the away team scored a beauty that definitely perked them up. I have to say though that I think our boys missed the early warning sign. The Warriors had chances, but they just weren’t finding the net; then a strong run into the box from Charlie saw him fend off a couple of defensive challenges before firing the ball past the Bardon Keeper to make it 3-1.

Meanwhile, Remy and Eddie were holding the middle together and Jack, Eamon and Sam were tidying up at the back, but Bardon continued to jockey, and pass, and shoot and tackle and defend just a bit better. They were rewarded with another goal that saw the 1st half finish 3-2 to the home side.

Back on the field after oranges and a pep talk from Coach Riku; Connor had the gloves on, allowing Benson to get front of office. The change brought some good linkups between Benson and Finn, but sadly no goals.

The 2nd half was not what the Grovely supporters were hoping for. The Warriors weren’t playing poorly, but it wasn’t their best performance (not withstanding a great show from Eamon). This week it was the other team who were shining, while the rain seemed to dampen the fire in our Westfield Warriors that we’ve been used to watching burn ferociously in recent performances. 

As the half wore on, the Warriors seemed to wear out and Bardon lapped it up with another 3 goals to see the full-time score finish with a 5-3 loss to the Warriors. 

It wasn’t to be this week.  Maybe it was the dodgy coaching on Tuesday. Or was it those cursed grass green tops (same colour as that adorned by the current top team in Scotland, sometimes known as “the great unwashed” and who shall not be spoken of).

Whatever it was, there’s always lessons in loss and I have no doubt the boys would’ve taken away something that will make them better players and better humans.

U13 Div 2

This was the first week where we were able to train twice, with a few of the boys doing an extra session on Friday. It was great to see the analytics output from the previous games Veo footage. One of the key takeaways showed the number of consecutive passes was low. There were only a few occasions in the 3 – 5 category. On Tuesday we worked on a possession game where teams had to complete 5 passes before they could take a shot on goal, happy to say the boys were able to complete 5 passes or more quite consistently. Another observation from the last game was the number of times we turned over possession after making good runs, but then lost control of the ball subsequently. A dribbling exercise has been incorporated in the warmup to develop close control combined with running at pace.

On Thursday we focused on defence, building up from 1 v 1 to 3 v 3 scenarios. Particular attention was paid to maintaining defensive shape using the principles of Pressure, Cover and Balance. Multiple times we have been caught out on the wing where defensive cover was not present, this has cost us at least 2 goals in the last few weeks. So far, we have not had an issue scoring goals, so we will continue to build our defensive capabilities from the front and the back, in theory this should convert into more winning situations.

On to Round 9.

As most of you are aware, this is the first season for the boys with scores recorded and a league table. Therefore, we conducted pre-match analysis of Northside’s form coming into this one. Having played one more game than us, they had secured 5 wins, 3 losses and 1 draw. They had scored 18 goals vs our 22 (in 7 games), so we expected a close game but felt it was there for the taking. Especially playing at home! It was a 1.30pm kick off, the conditions being much nicer than the prior week’s windy conditions.

Being at home, we spent 10 mins using the whiteboard in the dressing rooms. We covered off the formation, explaining why the triangle shapes and patterns are so important to break lines, and running over the playing out from the back scenarios. Jonah volunteered to go between the sticks for the first half, Jack and Finn were back in action this week.

It was a lively start to the game; Northside came out the blocks aggressively and it was clear to see that they were effective at moving the ball around.  Generally, throughout the match they were on the rougher end of the spectrum compared to other teams, the boys held up well. After the boys weathered the initial storm, the game settled into a pattern where they had more control. The defensive work during the week was clearly paying off and for the most part we kept them at bay. Flynn was having a blinder, winning the ball back and dominating 1 v 1s, he pulled a few tricks out some of us hadn’t seen before!

Flynn broke the deadlock from a spot kick, an absolute top bins’ banger from 20+ yards out. Keeper had no chance, it actually hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the line and back out. Fortunately, we had a linesman for this game who called the goal. The boys kept the pressure on with Sam (team captain) encouraging them to maintain their intensity. Sam has shown great leadership qualities this season and has well deserved the role of team captain, supporting the boys not only in games but in training as well. As a result of the continued pressure, we secured several corner kicks. It wasn’t too long before Jett put his 2 – 0 up with a great left-footed reaction volley following a rebound off the corner. Having adjusted their starting positioning in the last few weeks, they are looking much more dangerous from corners. It was only a handful of minutes later when Dex secured the third goal from a corner, headed towards goal and finally hitting the net following a deflection.

Not everything was going our way, Jonah was forced to make some great saves from distance, but encouragingly the backline wasn’t breached to leave us with 1 v 1 situations with the goalkeeper. A promising half.

Half time 3 – 0 up.

At halftime, we checked in with the boys regarding the physicality of the game and they were ok with it. The main tactical point discussed was the striker positioning. Playing a 4 – 3 – 1, it was reiterated that the striker must stay high up on the defensive line to be an option for long balls and clearances. Too many times in the first half we successfully cleared the ball, but there was no-one in space to challenge for it, so we essentially just gave up possession. Theo went between the sticks in the second half, there was concern about their powerful shots from distance and Theo certainly has the hands to deal with that.

Early in the second half it was safe to say we created the better chances, although we were certainly under more pressure defensively. Jakub and James in particular were defending really well. James is growing in confidence in his new CDM role. At one point he perfectly held up the play on a counterattack, allowing the team to recover and ultimately won the ball back, something we had talked about in training. Definitely a game changer if we can continue to execute this effectively. Jakub was winning nearly all his 1 v 1 battles and coming away with the ball. Jett took a nasty knock down the back of the ankle and had to come off for a short period. Jakub was given a run on the left wing (wing back) and scored an awesome left-footed goal following a great run down the line. Great work.

Jonah is coming on leaps and bounds, having scored a goal last week following a corner, he nearly scored again! Just heading the ball wide from a corner and nearly scored with a great strike from distance with great technique. Finn, consistent as usual, was beating players twice his size and defending well high up the pitch, winning the ball back on multiple occasions. He made a great run beating the defence and to be honest hit the hardest shot we’ve ever seen him hit, unfortunately it hit the post! If he can add that level of power consistently to his game the goals will start to flow for sure.

Jett managed to get himself back onto the pitch following a bit of ice treatment and he managed to get through a few times, he was also unfortunate to get another one. Eli and Jett both had freekicks opportunities during the game and forced their keeper to make good saves. Eli had a tougher day at the office than usual, maybe they did their homework, he was shouldered off the ball multiple times by their defence as he was about to beat the last defender 1 v 1. Very borderline tackles to be honest. One thing he has added to his game is improved combination play and overall awareness and scanning of the pitch, this continued into this game. Jack, Dash and Dex were solid at the back. Dex and Jack had missed the defensive training the prior week, they absorbed the information in the pre-game talk well.

Being 4 – 0 up with 15 minutes to go, the boys lost a bit of concentration. We conceded a goal from a corner, the first this season. This was due to incorrect zonal positioning. This obviously lifted Northside, and it turned out to be a hectic last 15 minutes for the defence. James made numerous winning tackles and important clearances; Theo was called into action making a couple of important saves. It was great to see him off his line to clear a through ball from a counterattack. Northside managed to get another goal with 2 mins to go, but the boys closed out the 4 – 2 win. 

We’ll continue to work on the defensive shape in training as well as the build up patterns of play, the boys are making great progress so far. That’s 6 games unbeaten!

James and Jakub took the Player of the Day awards, James for his great tactical awareness, Jakub for his great defensive work and wing play leading to the 4th goal.

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