Darwin Tour – Day 2 Game full wrap up from Howard

April 6, 2017

Day 2 Game, Full report from Howard.

SPC- 17 – 14 – 116– defeated NT U/18 Academy side- 3 – 1 – 19

Goal Kickers: Josh Chatfield 3, Sam Hopper 3, Conor Donohue 2, Aiden Domic 2, Joel O’Connell 2, Scott Carlin, Elliott Lamb, Nick Canny, Jordan Grant, Jai Dodemaide-

Best Players: Tom Morrish, Aiden Domic, Scott Carlin, Noah Wheeler, Josh Chatfield, Jordan Grant, Tom Clark (until injured) Luke Bull

St Patricks College defeated an NT U/18 Academy side by 97 points in the quite surreal surroundings of the beautiful TIO stadium in Darwin. Played under the night sky, in extremely hot, humid conditions, St Patrick’s College adjusted very quickly to the conditions foreign to what we experience back home and played a very disciplined, team first, brand of football that will provide a wonderful backdrop to the season ahead.

Prior to the game the players were asked to reflect upon how privileged they were to be in the Top End, playing with mates who will be friends for life. They were also reminded of the conditions back home, in the middle of winter and to appreciate the game that continues to provide life enriching experiences.

The first half was exceptional with the NT side not entering their inside 30 once during this period. Prior to the game, the coaching panel emphasised the need for pressurised acts inside the forward 50 and it was extremely pleasing that there were 12 pressurised acts during this phase of the game. This Team First philosophy, will be the backdrop of how we will play this year. It was extremely pleasing to see Noah Wheeler centre 4 balls to teammates in better positions in the forward 50 during the first half and this attitude can only make the side stronger.

Our midfield was exceptional all night. Izaac Pertzel and Nick Canny provided Tom Morrish, Scott Carlin, Luke Bull, Noah Wheeler and Joel O’Connell first use of the ball and their foot and hand skills brought the forward into the game.

Aiden Domic and Tom Clark provided real drive from the wing and their run and carry set up several scoring opportunities. We must continue to look inside for the switch as this will become a very important strategy in the way that we structure up.

Leading by over 10 goals at half time, it allowed the coaching staff to throw the team around to provide further opportunities for the playing squad to develop. A real highlight of the game were the two goals kicked by Conor Donohue our Irish student. Conor played as the key deep forward and in the third quarter, he timed his lead to perfection, ran hard and marked the ball in front of his eyes at full pace, a skill that is very difficult, especially never having ever played the game before yesterday. Conor went back and kicked the goal from 40 metres out on a 45 degree angle. It was a terrific brand of football and I am convinced that if Conor and his Irish mate – Leon Young played a season of AFL football, they would become very proficient at the code. They both have the attributes to be very accomplished players. Leon has represented Ireland in soccer whilst also representing Ireland against the Australian U/18 academy side (International Rules) whilst Conor is an All Ireland hurler.-

Our forwards led by Josh Chatfield, Sam Hopper and Jordan Grant led with surety and shared the ball extremely well which was pleasing. Our backs didn’t need to do a lot however their run from defence will become extremely important as we move forward through the season

The game was played in great spirit and thanks must be extended to Wally Gallio (High Performance Manager of the NTAFL) and Jimmy Driscoll (SPC Old Collegian) who is the U/16 & U/18 state coach for their support in organising the game. The game remains a real highlight of our trip.

Congratulations on a wonderful, Team First performance.-

Howard Clark