The circus has left town.
All is done and dusted.
Everything is packed up.
The proverbial female singer has put the microphone away.
And over the next couple of weeks it’s time to reflect on the season that was and how good they will all be next year.
The U10 Dragons have played their last match together for 2017. Unfortunately they will miss the finals and can now look towards a long off-season. It was a mixed season with dizzying highs and unlucky lows, all the while maintaining their zeal for the game week in and week out. The last match for the Dragons was versing another tough opposition: Whitehill.
Another team Coach MT has had no wins against, yet the Dragons always put in a big effort and make a good contest of it.
Again the game was played in good spirits and the red shirts wished the white shirts good luck in the finals as they were on top of the table coming into this game. Another wonderful Queensland winter’s day was the backdrop for the match and the pitch was fast and dry. However, within the first couple of minutes, the Dragons played slow and wet while Whitehill were on fire having freed their footballing frenzy and flashed to an early lead with a super strike into the top of the net. 0-1.
Not long after it was 0-2.
This score line was not representative of the overall match as Whitehill did not have total possession and the Dragons defended hard and fought for the ball as much as they have all season. However the score represented how well the white shirts converted their chances and how well they shot the ball at goals. Three full-on attacks for three goals. Not even Blackstone’s number one keeper JH14 could stop the fire balls blazing past him. As much as the Dragon defense stepped up, Whitehill spread the ball well and ran really fast, regularly achieving a three on one situation within the 18 yard box. Too good. Most other keepers would have given up and sulked but JH14 brought his A Game and if not for him the half time score would have been 0-12! He parried. He caught. He punched. He ran. He pressured. He booted big. He dived. He was the best player on the ground and was awarded the man-of-the match. Dragons had chances to make a dent in the Whitehill lead but were outplayed by the opposing midfielders and defenders and only had a couple of shots on goal. The killer blow just couldn’t be landed by LB7, JL5 or JCP2, even though they tried their guts out. 0-3 was a flattering score coming into half time for the Dragons, so the fickle football gods fixed the ledger in favour of Whitehill. A penalty (unlucky hand ball) and own goal (after a brilliant burst of defensive play) were scored just before the referee blew the whistle for intermission. 0-5.
The Dragons were all feeling good despite the lopsided score as they knew they were all putting in as best they could and that’s all that Coach MT and the Blackstone Cheer Squad could ask for. With only one reserve for the match all were doing a lot of running and they were slowing down but dug deep to get back into the game.
The second half started with a hiss and a roar and it was game on again. Dragons played great football and with extra coaching and self-belief/confidence to pass the ball to each other in their own half could have challenged Whitehill more. But Whitehill had the Dragons covered and cut down all attacking raids. The Dragon defence was under constant pressure but did not let the White Shirts through for a long time. The back three impressed so much and turned what could have been a dour affair into an enjoyable display of junior football. Whitehill managed two more goals in the second half via quality strikes past the out-stretched arms of JH14 who had almost his best game of the year – almost eclipsing his season high performance against Whitehill in round 7. 0-7.
Another solid Dragon game that against most other opponents would have given them the win.
The Dragons just haven’t been able to play at a consistent level all season and they will rue the fact that they could easily have been a top four team. However, this is what football is about and why we all play it. You learn from your errors or shortcomings and then you train harder and prepare better for next time.
TR11 – again worked his butt off for the whole match, showing great qualities. A team player with a reliable boot and is ready to go to the next level.
HD4 – was told to play in the defensive line but snuck up to left wing during the match and almost scored a goal after a super run for half the field towards the goals. Tried hard again and showed he’s a footballer.
RW3 – used the excuse “I was in hospital and had surgery during the week” and didn’t play, so he yelled encouragement from the sidelines in tandem with his mother. His presence in the midfield was missed and hopefully he plays next season.
CS12 – Coach MT and half the crowd spurred him on during the match and for the most part had a good crack at challenging for the ball and booting the Dragons out of danger. Another couple of steps of pace and some guidance regarding expanded gameplay will see him excel next season.
SF15 – started in the defensive line and was promoted forward to get the ball to the strikers. Made some nice plays but couldn’t get up to top speed. He enjoyed kicking the dirt on the half way line but needed to implement that skill more toward the ball, he he. Tightly marked his opponent in the second half which was a highlight. With one season now under his belt, he will be roaring next year!
JCP2 – another game and another consistent performance. A crowd favourite with his never stop attitude and ability to steal the ball, tackle, sprint and boot it big. With increasing skill levels his x-factor will be duly noticed by talent scouts in seasons to come.
RC9 – after an indifferent training session on the Thursday prior to the match, he looked to be ‘switched-on’ and just wanted to get on with the game so as he could help out the Dragons. And help he did. Another great defensive game with his second half performance probably his best all season.
MT6 – with his first two touches of the ball going astray, he too stepped-up after that and had another solid game. Tackling, passing, challenging, dribbling runs and getting into space were regular occurrences, with his personal game getting better every week.
WM13 – the Whitehill game structure doesn’t suit WM13’s style of midfield play so he had too upgrade and put in extra hard running. For the most part he did. Got some chances to move the ball and didn’t stop until he was puffed and was the last reserve change. Keep up the big effort!
JL5 – the captain was in charge of attack today and in partnership with LB7 got the ball into goal scoring positions. The White shirts were very quick and with another couple yards of pace will compete with all comers next season. A good game that he should be happy with.
LB7 – his reputation proceeds him with the Whitehill coach nominating two defenders to stop him. They were on high alert for the entire match as the Dragon striker ran and ran and ran and jinked and jived, trying to find a way to the goal. Always entertaining to watch with speed to burn. Next year he should be involved with upper grade teams and with some advanced coaching will tear defences apart.
As has been stated previously, it was a season of varied results. Individually, every Dragon played their role for the team – always super efforts every week. Together, the Dragons weren’t cohesive enough or as skilled as other teams and just lacked the last few pieces of the puzzle to win more games. Having interviewed Coach MT after the match, he stated there is no other team he would have wanted to be associated with and the entire squad are special people and showed great sportsmanship and passion throughout the season – no matter what the result was.
They will all grow up to be fine young men.
He also added that once their potential is unlocked, there will be no stopping them!