RD8 '18: Demons vs Wildcats (Men's Prem)
Frank "Frank" Caldow | 12.07.18
Wandsworth Demons 8.5.53 def by West London Wildcats 10.5.65
Coming off a record 17 changes, the Prems faced the return leg against rivals West London Wildcats. The game was a dead rubber with both teams already confirmed for a Semi-Final showdown in 3 weeks, but playing on our home deck and where the grand final would be played we wanted to make sure we continued to play a winning brand of football.
The first term was fiercely competitive with both teams battling for the early ascendancy. It was a real arm wrestle early but a couple of moments of brilliance from Wests saw them go into the first break 4 goals to 1 up. The message was simple, we needed to work our way into the game by winning more 50/50 balls at source and spread harder we would get the ball forward and give ourselves more scoring opportunities. Unfortunately the quarter didn't go to plan, with Wests midfield dominating, kicking 3 goals to zip to see them lead by 6 and a bit goals at the main change.
At halftime with the tails between our legs we were at risk of the margain being blown right out. The challenge was put to the playing group that right now they were all over us physically and mentally, and if we rolled over they would have a clear advantage going into the Semi Final in 3 weeks time. With this we went back to basics, man on man football for each individual to beat their direct opponent at every contest. To the boys credit they responded in the best possible way, completely dominating the midfield possession and having the bulk of the quarter played in our half, creating scoring opportunities and kicking our way back into the game to be down by 13 points at the final change.
The last quarter was hotly contested and after a couple of really good passages of play clawed our way back to within a kick, the game was right in the balance. As we drew close to the end of the match an ill disciplined chat back to the umpires saw 2 goals awarded to Wests and the game killed off. It was a valuable lesson for our team to learn and across the whole club that going into finals there needs to be no talkback or even discussions with the umpires as in doing so you risk giving away valuable free kicks that can turn the game.
After a slow start it was a fantastic effort by the boys to claw their way back after half time to play a half of football that we know we are capable of.
Best: F.Eaton, B.Irving, H.Phillips, N.Dundon, M.Soon
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