3rd Grade Men’s v Moorebank 1 April 2023 at Cintra

Result: Glebe 1 lost to Moorebank 4

Half-time: Glebe 0 Moorebank 2

Penalty corners: Glebe 1 (1 goal) Moorebank 5 (3 goals)

Scorer: Tony Wark

Glebe players: Jacob Warnock, Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Tony Wark, Simon Wark, Aiden Najdzion, Brad Goodridge, Rob Curlewis, Jamie Travis, Oliver Tordoff, Marley Seebacher, Craig Martin, John Hammond. Ken Wark (coach).

Unavailable players: Paul Jowett, Pat Wark (chronic knee problems), Andrew Cheong (wedding), Adam Campano (right biceps injury)

Pre-match prediction:

On 6 August 2022 Moorebank beat the beat third grade team 6-0 at Moorebank. In that game Moorebank had some fast, fit, skillful players. Moorebank finished fifth on the third-grade ladder in 2022 and Glebe finished second last. Going on last season’s results Moorebank will start favourites to beat us today.

Glebe is starting with a few under 17 players in this team, Oliver Tordoff, Marley Seebacher and Aiden Najdzion, and a player new to Glebe, John Hammond. These players are mixed with long term third graders, complimented by a new coach Ken Wark. Any score under 0-5 will be a good result for us.

Match Report:

It was a showery, overcast day at Cintra, temperature 170C and little wind.

Moorebank started the game strongly with early passing, full use of the width of the field and good teamwork and made several circle penetrations in the first minutes of the game. Glebe managed to hang-on with some grim, determined defence with fullbacks Sam Bagley and Brad Goodridge tackling strongly, and Jacob Warnock in goal making some solid saves with his hand.

It looked if it was going to be a long afternoon for the Glebe team, but Glebe gradually got going gradually found a little breathing space. The back and side passing were overdone by the Glebe players, leaving the team, exposed to Moorebank interceptions and counterattacks. Glebe had its first real chance in the fifth minute of the game when Aiden Najdzion broke down the inside left alley, before passing the ball across the circle to a waiting Tony Wark whose deflection shot just slipped past the left-hand goal post.

Mid-way through the first quarter Moorebank pressured Glebe and the team had trouble getting out of its own half. In the eighth minute of the game Moorebank made a quick break down its left wing, before the ball was passed to an unmarked Moorebank forward who pushed the ball past Glebe goal-keeper Jacob Warnock from close range. Glebe 0 Moorebank 1.

Oliver Tordoff from the Glebe under 17 team was prominent at inside left, with a good turn of pace and a high work rate. Some of the tricks used in the under-17 competition do not work so well against seniors who have many years of hockey under their belt. Overall, Oliver had a good solid game, as did his under 17 teammate Marley Seebacher, who played mostly at left-wing. Marley tried hard all game, tackled strongly and was competitive all game. For his first senior game he did very well.

Some of our running to enable the tackling back of an advancing Moorebank player was sluggish and could be improved.  A bit more grit, determination and enthusiasm in this aspect of the game would definitely improve the team’s performance. Moorebank broke quickly from defence made 3 or 4 circle penetrations that looked dangerous, but halves Chris Farrugia and Robert Curlewis covered well, read the game well and closed down several dangerous looking Moorebank raids on the Glebe goal. One interception of a back- pass required a quality save from Jacob Warnock to prevent Moorebank scoring. The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe 0, Moorebank 1.

Moorebank started the second quarter strongly and had 5-6 unsuccessful raids into the Glebe circle, with 3-4 reasonable shots on goal that either went wide or were well saved by Jacob Warnock. Glebe was under pressure for the first 10 minutes of the second quarter and rarely got out of its own half, but were organising well at the back and in the midfield, closing gaps quickly and scrabbling well.

John Hammond played in the halves and showed that he has a good skill set and is an accomplished hockey player. Some of the Glebe forwards were a bit lazy and did not present themselves to the Glebe defenders for outlet passes. Standing behind opposition players makes it hard for the ball to reach you. The defenders need the forwards to be available, which means that at times the forward needs to run to an unmarked position. The running to an unmarked position in order to make it easy for a defender to find you with a pass was not well developed today.

A feature of today’s game was the ability for the Glebe defence to scramble well and close down gaps quickly. Simon Wark was energetic in the mid-field and made some excellent runs at pace through the mid-field, which put the Moorebank defence at sixes and sevens. With four minutes remaining in the second quarter a Moorebank shot at goal from its first penalty corner of the game was saved by Jacob Warnock but the rebound went high and another penalty corner was awarded. A goal resulted from this corner as the Moorebank drag flicker sent the ball low and fast past Jacob Warner’s left pad.  Glebe 0 Moorebank 2.

Moorebank had 60-65% of the territory in the second quarter and deserved their lead. They were the slightly better team, with more pace, quicker passing and they used the width of the field well. The Glebe team were trying to the best of their ability, but the teamwork was not cohesive, the passing too slow and ponderous, the tackling back not vigorous enough, and the leading by the forwards not of the required standard. The Glebe game plan was to have two high strikers and I thought this tactic worked well. As the team always looked as if it might score from a fast break if the ball managed to find its way upfield quickly. Score at half-time Glebe 0, Moorebank 2.

Moorebank looked a little better than Glebe in the first half and I thought it was going to take a lot for Glebe to get back into the game and give themselves a chance of pulling off a draw or a win.

Glebe started the third quarter well with John Hammond making a penetrating run down the middle, beating several Moorebank players with the ball on his stick and he looked dangerous. Six minutes into the third quarter Moorebank broke down the right wing, before the ball came across the Glebe circle where it caught a Glebe defender’s foot. The ensuing penalty corner hit a Glebe players foot and another penalty corner was awarded. From this fourth Moorebank penalty corner the Moorebank drag flicker found the Glebe net. Glebe 0 v Moorebank 3.

Robert Curlewis was having a good game, energetic, reading the game well, and making it hard for the Moorebank forwards to get past him. Glebe needed a bit more urgency in their game, and needed to lift the tempo if they were going to stage a come-back, but the team’s work rate and running off the ball was a little below par today, perhaps expected for the first game of the season. Moorebank’s teamwork was a bit better than ours and they created the better opportunities to score, although the Glebe defence put the Moorebank forwards under pressure and all Moorebank shots at goal were strongly challenged.  There were no free shots for Moorebank.

With a minute left in the third quarter Aiden Najdzion broke down the left wing, before passing the ball across the Moorebank circle where it caught a Moorebank defender’s foot for Glebe’s first and only penalty corner of the game. From this corner the ball came out slightly awry and Brad had to use his stick work to evade the advancing Moorebank runners, which he did well. At the last gasp, he lost control of the ball, which fortunately fell to Tony Wark 8 metres out from goal who slap hit the ball past the Moorebank goalkeeper, Glebe 1 Moorebank 3, which was the score at the end of three-quarter time.  Glebe was still in the game, with a very outside chance of snatching a draw or win.

The fourth quarter started with Moorebank piling the pressure on the Glebe defence. Sam Bagley’s driven hits down the sideline were good pressure-relieving tactics. The Glebe forwards needed to anticipate this tactic and take the appropriate field position to get on the end of Sam’s hit. Simon Wark had a few pacey runs down the middle of the field that looked as if they might go somewhere, but he often took on one player too many and lost the ball, ending a promising situation.

Midway through the fourth quarter Moorebank broke quickly down the right wing, before passing the ball across the Glebe circle where it caught a Glebe foot. Moorebank were awarded its fifth penalty corner of the game. Moorebank’s initial shot from the penalty corner was well saved by Jacob Warnock, but the rebound fell favourably for a Moorebank forward who slapped it into the Glebe goal Glebe 1 Moorebank 4. Moorebank scored three goals from five penalty corners today and only one field goal.

After this goal Glebe started to string a few pin-point long, wide passes together and the teamwork was looking a lot better. Half Craig Martin threw a few nice overheads that found Glebe players in space. The final 5 minutes Glebe were on top, but it was all a bit late. With 1 minute left in the game Tony Wark broke quickly down the right wing before passing a quick ball to Aiden Najdzion unmarked on the Moorebank penalty spot. Aiden’s tussle with the Moorebank keeper could have gone either way, but in the end the keeper cleared the ball. The final score was Glebe 1 Moorebank 4.

A few times in the game Glebe forwards found themselves with the ball on the Moorebank backline, 5 metres from the righthand goal post. Shots at goal were taken from impossible angles and the Moorebank goalkeeper easily saved them. The much better option would have been to pass the ball back to the penalty stroke spot, or even run the ball to the penalty stroke spot to improve the angle. We squandered a couple of very good scoring opportunities with poor decision making.

The conduct and the behaviour of the team was excellent and the game was played in a good competitive spirit. It was a solid start to the season for the Glebe third grade team and it did a little better than I expected. I am sure the younger members of the team will improve in leaps and bounds as the season progresses. Congratulations Glebe on a wholehearted effort.

After Easter we play Ryde third grade, at 3.30 pm at the Ryde Turf.  Ryde were last season’s third grade premiers. This will be a challenging game, but with better teamwork, more running off the ball, earlier passing of the ball, more energetic back tackling, better anticipation and earlier, more enthusiastic running into spaces by the forwards to make yourself available for the pass from defence, anything is possible.

A couple of the under 17 players who played third grade this afternoon helped out with under-9 and Minkey training this morning at Jubilee Park. Thank you, gentlemen, for helping the Club provide for the coming generation of young Glebe hockey players. Your generosity is appreciated.

Harry Wark