3rd Grade Men’s v Manly 3 June 2023 at Cintra

Result: Glebe 2 lost to Manly 5

Half-time: Glebe 1 Manly 2

Penalty corners: Glebe 2 (1 goal) Manly 2 (no goals)

Penalty Strokes: Manly (1 goal)

Scorers: Darren French field goal

Glebe players: Jacob Warnock, Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Tony Wark, Simon Wark, Paul Jowett, Andrew Cheong, Cameron Johnston, Aiden Najdzion, Darren French, Zane Goodridge, Clayton Herbst, Adam Campano, Ken Wark (coach).

Unavailable: Brad Goodridge

Pre-match prediction:

In 2022 season Manly beat Glebe 4-3 and 2-0. In 2023 Manly sit eighth on the competition table with a win, two draws and three losses from six games. Glebe is tenth on the table with one win and five losses. Manly have a goal difference of -10 compared with Glebe’s goal difference of -23 and Manly have scored eight goals to Glebe’s seven. Looking at last week’s games, Glebe had a 1-8 loss to the UNSW, which was its worst game of the season and Manly had a 1-1 draw with Northern Districts.

The AI prediction is for Manly to win this game 2-0.

On paper the two teams seem well matched. If Glebe plays to its potential, gives the early ball, tackles early and often, reduces the aimless cross and back passing and in defence draws  an opposition player out of the defensive line before passing the ball forward, then a win or draw is well within the team’s reach.

I put the odds of a Glebe win at 7-4 against and a draw at 5-4 against.

Match Report:

The game was played  on a beautiful early winter’s Saturday afternoon, with the sky blue, the sun shining and no wind. Manly were the better team and deserved its win. Glebe had as many circle penetrations and goal scoring opportunities as Manly, the difference being that Manly took its chances and Glebe did not.

Manly started strongly and it was clear from an early stage that they were a skilful, pacey team with good teamwork. For the first ten minutes Manly had the upper hand, exerting considerable pressure on the Glebe defence, and Glebe were struggling to stay in the game. The Glebe defenders were stepping-up into their tackles, making the early tackle and covering well. Manly’s field position was not converted into any real goal scoring opportunities, although the Glebe goalkeeper Jacob Warnock did make one good hand save from a flick from five metres out at an acute angle. Jacob had a competent and efficient game. The five goals that were put past him were well manufactured and scored from very close range.

As the game progressed Glebe settled into its stride and getting the ball out of its own 22 metre area was not such a problem. After the first five minutes when Manly were dominant, the game was played in the midfield, with either team having any real goal scoring opportunities. By the middle of the first quarter Glebe were footing it with Manly and the territory was 50-50. Glebe’s tackling in the first two quarters was good, early, strong and enthusiastic, much improved on last week’s game against the UNSW. With four minutes remaining in the first quarter good teamwork resulted in the ball being passed to a Glebe forward positioned close to the backline 4 metres out from the Manly goal. Despite the poor angle the Glebe forward shot for goal, with the ball hitting the sideboard. A pass across the face of the Manly goal would have been a much better option.

The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe o Manly 0.

Two minutes into the second quarter Glebe mounted an attack from 35 metres out from the Manly backline five metres in from the right-hand sideline. Paul Jowett passed a quick ball to Tony Wark positioned close to the backline, who then passed to Zane Goodridge, two metres from the backline two metres from the lefthand goal post.  Zane’s push shot from a reasonably acute angle went just wide of the goal. This was an excellent scoring opportunity for Glebe to score, but it was not to be.

Five minutes into the second quarter Clayton Herbst picked off a Manly fullback on the Manly 30 metre area with a deft tackle. He ran into the circle with the ball where he was illegally tackled by a Manly player and a Glebe’s first of two penalty corners for the game was awarded. The corner was perfectly executed with a Clayton Herbst pushout, a Paul Jowett stick stop and a Chris Farrugia hit. The ball travelled at speed past the Manly goal keeper’s left pad to hit the backboard. Glebe 1 Manly 0.

Two minutes later Manly counterattacked out of defence down its left-wing. The Glebe defence were caught short and a Manly forward travelled with the ball into the Glebe circle. He was pushed a few metres to the left of the right-hand goal post by the Glebe cover defence, and his angle was being reduced with every step he took. Jacob Warnock wisely stayed in his goal. A Glebe defender in desperation left his feet in a dive tackle and just touched the Manly defender, with a penalty stroke being awarded. My estimate was the Manly forward had a 1 in 10 chance of scoring if left to his own devices. The attempted tackle was ill conceived. Manly scored from the stroke, Glebe 1 Manly 2, which was the half-time score.

Glebe defenders were still overusing the back pass, the side pass and the pass from the sideline to centre-half when he was closely marked and under pressure. The defenders need to run forward with the ball until an opposition player comes forward to tackle them and then hit or push the ball forward into the space vacated by the advancing opposition player. If in doubt smash the ball towards the corner flag.

A couple of the Glebe defenders were effectively using the big hit out of defence. This tactic sometimes gave the Glebe forwards the ball with room to move and often cleared dangerous Manly attacking sorties. In the middle of the third quarter a Manly forward ran 60 metres from his own 25 metre area, broke through  three or four Glebe tackles to stride into the Glebe circle, where a scramble ensued. A Manly had a shot at goal, which was well saved by Jacob, but the ball rebounded to the Manly forward who was successful with his second attempt. Glebe 1 Manly 3.

One minute after the third Manly goal. Glebe put together a good passing movement to see Tony Wark with the ball on the right wing, two metres from the backline. He hit the ball across the face of the Manly goal, but no Glebe forward were positioned well enough to deflect the ball into the Manly goal. This was a golden opportunity that went begging. The Glebe forwards need to position themselves better to be able to deflect the ball driven across the face of the goal into the net.

Nine minutes into the third quarter Andrew Cheong who was a dynamo for Glebe at centre-half, made an attacking run into the Manly 25 metres area. He was dispossessed and a Manly player ran over 60 metres down the middle of the field, beating around five Glebe tacklers with a combination of skill, lucky bounces and good fortune to enter the Glebe circle. His shot at goal from five metres out went past Jacob Warnock’s leg pad into the goal, Glebe 1 Manly 4.

Glebe’s tackling had dropped off in the third quarter. Players were not stepping into tackles, making early tackles and being strong on the tackle. Glebe players were allowing the Manly forwards to run with the ball and get up to operating speed before tackling them, by which time the Manly forwards were much harder to tackle. In the third quarter the speed and accuracy of the Glebe passes had deteriorated and the speed with which the free hits were taken had dropped, allowing the Manly defence time to reorganise before the free hit was taken. The Glebe team’s trapping of the ball was poor at times. Some players could not reliably stop the ball. The ball has to be watched onto the stick with full concentration and the stick upright to cover a bounce if the ball is bobbling in its trajectory.

Some of the Glebe forwards were running sideways with the ball and not recognising what options they had to pass. The one-out, solo, hero runs should be eliminated. Reading the game, knowing where your team mates are and being able to deliver an early pass to a teammate in space and in a better position needs improvement in some of our forwards.

Eleven minutes into the third quarter Glebe attacked the Manly circle and were awarded its second and last penalty corner. It was well executed but Chris Farrugia hit the ball wide of the goal. Three minutes later Manly had delivered an overhead 40 metres to a Manly forward 30 metres behind the closest Glebe marker. This was a woeful lapse of concentration by the Glebe defence. Jacob Warnock was able to tackle the Manly forward mid-circle, but conceded a penalty corner in the process. From the ensuing flick from the corner Jacob made a confident hand save. The score at the end of the third quarter was Glebe 1 Manly 4.

The way the game had gone for the first three quarters, it seemed very unlikely that Glebe was going to win or draw the game. The three-goal margin seemed too much of an obstacle. Glebe had had some excellent chances that had gone begging. The team creates enough chances, but  goal craft and circle craft are the team’s two biggest problems. During the game territory was a 50-50 split and the penalty corners were two each. It was a fast, open game, interesting to watch.

Most of Manly’s goals had come from quick counterattacks. They were a pacy team. Simon Wark and Andrew Cheong for the most part, kept the middle of the field under tight control. Zane Goodridge, Cameron Johnston, Sam Bagley and Aiden Najdzion covered a lot of ground during the game. Their cover defending was excellent. Adam Campano was efficient and effective in the backs. He reads the game well and throws a good pass.

In the fourth quarter the Glebe players fitness seemed to be a factor, with the back tackling and commitment to the tackle dropping-off. This let the Manly forwards run with the ball, when a robust, early tackle would have nipped the Manly attacking raid in the bud. Three minutes into the fourth quarter Manly made a break down its left-hand side from well inside its own half, using polished passing and fast running, with the final pass penetrating the Glebe circle. A Manly forward shot from five metres, which was well saved by Jacob, but again the rebound fell favourably for the Manly forward who slap-hit it into the goal, Glebe 1 Manly 5. This was the best, most well-constructed of the five Manly goals.

With three minutes remaining in the game Adam Campano had the ball on half-way trapped against the sideline by two Manly players. He manoeuvred the ball past these Manly players and passed to Tony Wark on the sideline 40 metres out from the Manly backline. Tony quickly passed to Darren French inside the Manly circle. Darren took a couple of attempts, but eventually flicked the ball past the Manly goalkeeper with a high flick, Glebe 2 Manly 5. In the final minutes Glebe had another couple of promising sorties into the Manly circle and were coming home strongly. A couple of attacking overheads were particularly effective.

The final score in an entertaining, fast, open game was Glebe 2 Manly 5.

There is no game next week, it being the King’s birthday and the senior men’s NSW Hockey Championship. Third grade’s next game is on 17 June 2023 at Cintra Turf, Concord at 12.30 pom against Macquarie University. Enjoy the long weekend.

Harry Wark

Report on the Glebe v Manly Third Grade game played 12.30 hours, 3 June 2023 at the Cintra Turf, Concord.