3rd Grade Men’s v Moorebank 6 August 2022 at Moorebank

Result: Glebe 0 lost to Moorebank 5

Half-time: Glebe 0 Moorebank 3

Penalty corners: Glebe 1 (no goals) Moorebank 5 (one goal)

Scorers: nil

Glebe players: Craig Martin (goal-keeper), Tony Wark, Aiden Najdzion, Dan Palomique, Tom Alexander-Prideaux, Pat Wark, Brad Goodridge, Cameron Johnston, Rob Curlewis, Sid Roache, Sam Bagley, Paul Jowett, Zane Goodridge.

Unavailable players: Simon Wark (Canadian holiday), Clark Foster (second grade), Adam Campano (hamstring), Andrew Cheong (work), Chris Farrugia.

Pre-match prediction:

Moorebank are clinging to 6th spot on the competition table on 20 points, Glebe is second last (10th) on 10 points.  Moorebank have a goal difference of + 17 and Glebe have a goal difference of -9, which would indicate that Moorebank are favourites to win this game. It will be a competitive match and given a good rub of the green Glebe might be able to win it, but we will have to play to our potential to do so. I have had the impression that we have played without much luck in the last few games. Hopefully our luck will change today.

My prediction is that Glebe will lose to Moorebank 1-3.

Match Report:

It was beautiful August Saturday afternoon at Moorebank, ideal for hockey.

Glebe lost 0-5 to a skilful, competent Moorebank team. The game was a lot closer than the score indicates, with Glebe unable to convert the dozen or more excellent goal scoring opportunities it created during the game.

The game started badly for Glebe. We got off on the wrong foot and after six minutes were down 0-3. It was a combination of skilful Moorebank play, poor Glebe concentration and poor reading of the game. In the first quarter Moorebank had 75-80% of the territory and Glebe never really settled into its game. There was much too much soft, poorly directed, telegraphed passing out of defence, which made Moorebank look good, much better than they really were.

When the Glebe defence were under pressure the better option would have been to use the cannon ball parallel to the sideline to gain field position and deny Moorebank the opportunity to mount fast counterattacks, which they did well. The Glebe defence needed to open their shoulders hit the ball wide, pack-in behind the ball and keep tackling. Moorebank’s first goal came within the first 90 seconds of the game. Its second goal came two minutes later, when it scored from its second penalty corner.

Moorebank’s third goal came in the sixth minute and resulted from poor Glebe defending. The ball was allowed to bobble about in front of the Glebe goalkeeper’s pads, when a decisive push parallel to the backline towards the sideline was required.

After the third goal Glebe started to get back into the game and gain more confidence and get more territory. The free-hit taking was too slow and the passes lacked firmness and intent. Our trapping was substandard with many balls edged or missed completely. Glebe got progressively better as the game progressed and towards the end of the quarter it was exerting pressure on the Moorebank defence.

Our forwards were running through tackles at times and were too easily eliminated. Too many hero tackles that did not come off and left the team scrambling to close off Moorebank passing movements. Don’t run through the tackle is the learning point, except if there is a real chance of stealing the ball and the rewards outweigh the risks.

The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe 0 Moorebank 3.

The game was being played at a fast pace and with the warm weather the players fitness and stamina was being tested. Moorebank had several good shots at the Glebe goal early in the second quarter, but were always under pressure from a Glebe defender and the Glebe goalkeeper Craig Martin made some excellent saves. Craig had one early blemish and then played a “blinder”.

The Glebe work rate was good and the tackles became more purposeful and effective. Cameron Johnson ran all game and tackled strongly. Aiden Najdzion did a lot of tackling back from his position as a striker and covered a lot of territory. Aiden took good field position, stayed high and gave the defence a target to aim for. Unfortunately, the Glebe defence were too slow taking the free hits and opportunities to pass to an unmarked Aiden rapidly closed.

At times the Glebe player with the ball was being picked-off by a tackling back Moorebank player because they hung-on to the ball too long and allowed the Moorebank player to effect a tackle, when an earlier pass would have denied the Moorebank player the opportunity to make the tackle. Glebe was playing too much down the middle, we were too narrow and needed to keep the ball wide and then hammer the ball along the sideline. Playing the ball down the middle played into the Moorebank defender’s hands. With a minute remaining in the second quarter Aiden Najdzion had the ball in front of the Moorebank goal, with only the goalkeeper to beat but Aiden’s circle craft let him down. The score at half-time was Glebe 0 Moorebank 3.

The Glebe forwards do not have a lot of circle or goal craft and the team has trouble converting excellent opportunities into goals. The goal scoring opportunities present themselves, but the goals do not follow. Glebe looked good on the quick break and looked dangerous a dozen times in the third quarter only for the final pass to go astray, or a poor option taken on the final pass, or the key player receiving the ball in the circle missing the trap.  The third quarter saw the Glebe team under pressure from the crisp passing Moorebank team who were stringing a dozen passes together probing for a way through the Glebe defence.

Moorebank scored within 90 seconds of starting the third quarter. From the start of play the ball was passed back from the Glebe centre forward to the centre half who passed the ball square looking for a Glebe teammate towards the sideline. A Moorebank player read the pass, intercepted it and a few passes later a Moorebank forward had a tap-in to score. In my view there is no future in taking the ball back deep into our own half from a restart of play after a break. Field position is important and aimless passes 10-15 metres inside your own half in the centre of the field are a recipe for creating attacking opportunities for the opposition.

It was disappointing to see this Moorebank goal go in as it was not outside the realm of possibility that if Glebe scored first in the third quarter and made the score 1-3, then a Glebe come-back was a possibility. At 0-4 this prospect had evaporated. It was a shame for this Moorebank goal to have been scored because of our poor option taking.  Good field position needs to be given more credence by the team, and aimless passing in the middle of the field leaves open the possibility of an opposition intercept.

Sam Bagley, Rob Curlewis, Dan Palomique and Zane Goodridge in the midfield were tackling like men possessed and Moorebank was finding it hard to make headway down the middle of the field. Moorebank had 55% of the territory in this quarter. Again, Glebe’s ball delivery from the halves to the forwards was too slow and ponderous. Some of our players were beating the same Moorebank player four or five times, when an early pass would have eliminated the need to beat him at all.

After conceding this goal Glebe had 4 or 5 excellent goal scoring opportunities which went begging because of poor trapping, poor vision, passes that were too soft and good Moorebank cover defence. The execution of the fundamentals at crucial moments in the game lapsed.

Ten minutes into the third quarter Rob Curlewis on half-way passed an early ball down the left wing to Tony Wark two metres from the Moorebank backline. Tony cracked the ball at pace parallel to the backline two metres out. The ball sizzled across the face of the Moorebank goal without at least two Glebe forwards getting a deflection on the ball. This was a golden opportunity to score, but it was not to be.

In the last two minutes of the third quarter Moorebank mounted a couple of attacking raids into the Glebe circle, which resulted in several shots at goal. Craig Martin, the Glebe goalkeeper pulled off a couple of excellent saves. The score at the end of the third quarter was Glebe 0 Moorebank 4.

Early in the fourth quarter Aiden Najdzion worked the ball down the right wing and along the backline, earning Glebe’s only penalty corner of the game when the ball hit a Moorebank defender’s foot. Brad Goodridge hit the ball from the corner, which was stopped by the Moorebank goalkeeper. The rebound off the goalkeeper’s pads was there for Glebe to pounce on, but as luck would have it the ball bounced favourably for the Moorebank defender and the ball was cleared.

Moorebank looked dangerous on the quick break, but fullbacks Pat Wark and Brad Goodridge put on some excellent tackles to halt these Moorebank raids. Our defence from goal to goal, down the centre of the field was strong all game. Tom Alexander-Prideaux made some penetrating runs from his inside forward position, and on occasions beat several Moorebank defenders with his speed and body-swerve.

Cameron Johnson was a tenacious tackler when he moved to centre half and he had a good, solid, reliable game. He never stopped trying. The whole team never stopped trying, with Glebe working hard and playing with commitment and passion. Paul Jowett had a solid game at right half. He picked up the cadence of the game and his solid hits down the right-hand sideline often turned defence into attack. Paul’s tackling was good.

Five minutes from full-time Glebe made a quick break down the right wing from well inside its own half. Tony Wark received the ball on the Moorebank 22-metre line ran down the right wing, across in front of the backline to within a few metres from the Moorebank goal when he passed the ball to Dan Palomique situated three metres in front of the Moorebank goal. Dan deflected the ball from Tony goalward, but the Moorebank keeper read Tony’s pass and was a metre or so in front of Dan and made a timely save.

This was a golden opportunity missed. Dan did not realise the goalkeeper had left his goal and was so close to him, otherwise he would have selected a different approach to try and score. The ball has to be dragged wide of the goalkeeper before the shot towards goal is delivered. It is second nature for a goalkeeper to keep between the ball and the goal. Firing the ball directly at the goal is often not the best option. It is best not to shoot unless there is a clear line of sight between the ball and the backboard.

With five minutes to play Glebe were putting pressure on the Moorebank and were starting to gain the upper hand. In the last-minute Moorebank broke the right wing and the ball bobbled around between Glebe defenders and Moorebank forwards. A Glebe pass out of defence was intercepted by a Moorebank forward who advanced into the circle and fired the ball from seven metres out in the inside right alley past Craig Martin in goal. Glebe 0 Moorebank 5, which was the final score.

Moorebank were the better team and deserved their victory. Glebe footed it with Moorebank for 63 minutes of the 68-minute game. It was just the first five minutes of the game that let us down, when we fell behind 0-3. We missed too many gilt-edged scoring opportunities and we need to improve our goal craft and our circle craft if we are to have more on field success.

The team copes well with its losses and it is a harmonious, friendly bunch of people.

Next Saturday we play Sydney University at the Lidcombe Turf, Lidcombe, with the game scheduled for 1830 hours on Saturday 13 August 2022. This is the second last game of the year.