3rd Grade Men’s v Northern Districts 22 July 2023 at Pennant Hills Park

Result: Glebe 2 beat Northern Districts 1

Half-time: Glebe 1 Northern Districts 1

Penalty corners: Glebe 6 (2 goals) Northern Districts 2 (0 goals)

Scorers: Clayton Herbst, Aiden Najdzion

Glebe players: Clark Foster, Chris Farrugia, Andrew Cheong, Jamie Travis, Cameron Johnston, Zane Goodridge, Adam Campano, Simon Wark, Aiden Najdzion, Oliver Tordoff, Marley Seebacher, Lachlan Hall, Clayton Herbst. Ken Wark (coach).

Unavailable players: Tony Wark and Paul Jowett(both overseas), Sam Bagley, Brad Goodridge (hamstring injury), Darren French, Will Brine.

Pre-match prediction and analysis:

Last round, on 15 July 2023, Northern Districts (ND) had a 1-3 loss to UNSU, and Glebe had a 1-7 loss to Ryde. When Glebe played UNSW on 27 May 2023, it had a 1-8 loss. On 20 May 2023, Glebe had a 1-0 win against ND at Cintra in a game that I thought was a 50-50 affair.

ND in 11 games has had no wins, 4 draws, and 7 losses. It has scored 12 goals, conceded 37, has a goal difference of -25, and sits last in the competition table on 4 points. From 10 games Glebe has had 2 wins and 8 losses, scored 12 goals, conceded 47 goals, has a goal difference of -35, and has a tenuous hold on third last in the competition table on 6 points.

On a goal difference assessment, and its competitive performance last week against the UNSW, ND should win this game 1-0. With my rose-coloured glasses on, I predict a 1-1 draw.

Glebe needs to pass the ball earlier, firmer and more accurately, read the game better, keep the ball wide, minimize the aimless back and side passing, tackle early and often, run straight with the ball and not sideways, and keep up the good running-out on defending corners.

Match Report:

The game was played on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with the sun shining, the temperature 20oC, and little wind. The resident kookaburras were keeping a watchful eye on proceedings, swooping down to pinch the odd bread roll here and there.

Glebe was slightly the better team today, particularly in the second half, and deserved its victory, although ND had two penalty corners in the last two minutes of the game which were tense minutes for the Maroons.

From the hit off Glebe went on the attack and was pressuring the ND defence with some excellent team hockey. This early pressure led to a Glebe penalty corner in the third minute of the game. Clayton Herbst push-out and Oliver Tordoff’s stop were excellent and the hit at goal was well-struck by Chris Farrugia. The ND goalkeeper made the initial save, but the ball deflected to Zane Goodridge, who passed to Clayton Herbst 4 metres out from the goalpost on the goalkeeper’s left-hand side. Clayton slapped the ball into the ND goal, Glebe 1 ND 0.

The Glebe team were using the sideline well, using the full width of the field with Cameron Johnston throwing the occasional probing overhead. In the main, the ball was being kept out of the centre, a tactic that was working well.  After about 7-8 minutes ND began to get more field position and exert some pressure on the Glebe defence. It was a free-flowing game, with the ball moving rapidly from end to end. Inside right Jamie Travis used the crash ball into the ND circle from 15 metres out astutely and created several goal-scoring opportunities for Glebe.

After a period of Glebe pressure, Zane Goodridge eight metres out from the ND circle threw an excellent early pass to Clayton Herbst who had only the goalkeeper to beat but hit the ball wide of the goal. Glebe had 5% of the territory in the first quarter and was playing good hockey, although there was little in standard between the two teams. By keeping the ball wide, gaps started to appear in the ND mid-field which Glebe forwards Simon Wark, Zane Goodridge and Aiden Najdzion began to exploit. The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe 1-ND 0.

The second quarter started at a fast pace with the ball moving quickly from end to end. Three minutes into the second quarter ND broke quickly and found an unmarked forward at the top of the circle in the inside left position, 5 metres off centre. This forward took the ball to his tomahawk side and shot for the goal. The ball was struck perfectly and whistled past Glebe goalkeeper Clark Foster, along the surface of the turf at high speed. Glebe 1-ND 1.

A few minutes later Oliver Tordoff ran with the ball from halfway along the righthand sideline, before transferring the ball up to Lachlan Hall who ran the ball along the backline into the circle where it found a ND player’s foot and a penalty corner was awarded. The Glebe penalty corner was not executed well, although Chris Farrugia did get a sharp shot away which was saved by the ND goalkeeper.  From the quickly taken 16-yeard hit ND mounted a rapid counter-attack with 4 ND attackers and three Glebe defenders, which looked very dangerous. The Glebe defenders, Adam Campano and Cameron Johnston aligned themselves perfectly and the ND final pass went over the backline.

Glebe was much too slow in taking its free hits and allowed the ND defence to perfectly position themselves before taking the hit. Free hits need to be taken faster when the gaps are still there. The middle part of the second quarter was even with neither team able to create any dangerous circle penetrations. Seven minutes into the second quarter a ND forward had a quick, sharp tomahawk shot from 7 metres out, which was confidently saved by Clarke Foster.

ND looked at its most dangerous on the quick counterattack. They rarely penetrated the Glebe defence when the defence was positioned and set. ND had a few quick breaks which looked dangerous for Glebe. A couple of the ND forwards were speedy and caused Glebe a few problems. Ten minutes into the second quarter after a quick break ND passed the ball to a  forward positioned in the inside left position on top of the circle. The forward took a tomahawk shot that he hit sweetly, but Clark Foster made a good save.

Simon Wark, Aiden Najdzion and Jamie Travis were covering a lot of ground in mid-field and closed down a lot of the attempts that ND made to transition from defence to attack. These players made some excellent runs in the midfield but need to run straight, not across the field, to give the ball to a teammate in a better position a bit earlier, then run to the field position to receive the return pass. In the second quarter, Glebe did not have many circle penetrations and shots on the ND goal. The game, which was played from end to end was hard fought, with neither team gaining the ascendancy. The score at half-time was Glebe 1-ND 1. The second quarter was about 50-50 for territory, with ND having slightly more circle le penetrations than Glebe.

Adam Campano had a solid game at the back. He reads the game well, takes excellent field position, has an excellent tackle, and his ball distribution is probably the best in the team. The high strikers Clayton Herbst, Jamie Travis and Lachlan Hall were always dangerous when they were in full flight and in the third quarter began to create more excellent scoring opportunities. Their harassment of the ND backs was constant and effective. Some players’ option-taking left a bit to be desired, running too far with the ball when an early pass to a teammate upfield would have been a better option.

Six minutes into the third quarter Glebe ran the ball across the ND backline into the circle where it hit a ND foot and Glebe was awarded a penalty corner. The pushout was hard and fast, but bobbled at the wrong moment and jumped over Oliver Tordoff’s stick. The ball went directly to a ND forward standing on the halfway line. Glebe had three players back and ND had five players running forward. The Glebe backs Marley Seebacher, Adam Campano and Cameron Johnston took excellent field positions, cutting off ND passing options and making excellent tackles. It was a great piece of defence.

Eight minutes into the quarter Glebe forward Lachlan Hall had a tomahawk shot at goal from five metres out, after excellent lead-up work by the Glebe forwards. With only the goalie to beat, Lachlan hit the shot wide of the goal. Ten minutes into the third quarter after a quick break away a ND forward received the ball in the inside left alley on the top of the Glebe circle. Clark Foster made a good save and the ball was cleared. Cameron Johnston threw a few beautiful overheads down the righthand sideline. It was an effective attacking and defensive weapon.

Close to the end of the third quarter Oliver Tordoff ran the ball 50 metres down the righthand sideline from Glebe’s 22-metre line, before passing the ball to Lachlan Hall who ran the ball into the ND circle where it hit a ND player’s foot and Glebe were awarded its fourth penalty corner. The corner execution was poor and no goal-scoring opportunity ensued. A couple of Glebe’s forwards tended to run with the ball across the field, instead of running it straight. Sideway running is rarely a good option. The third quarter was reasonably even, although Glebe probably had the more real goal-scoring opportunities. At the end of the third quarter, the score was Glebe 1-ND1.

Heading into the fourth quarter it was impossible to be confident about who would win the game. Glebe had used the sidelines effectively and had good width in its game. From the sideline hits Marley Seebacher was hitting the ball down the line if he had no other obvious options available to him, which was a good tactic. The infield pass in defence from the sideline often opens the defence up, if the pass is intercepted or goes astray.

Three minutes into the fourth quarter Glebe moved the ball quickly down the righthand sideline to Clayton Herbst, who ran the ball along the ND backline into the circle, where the ball hit an ND’s players foot, and Glebe’s fifth penalty corner was awarded. From this corner, Chris Farrugia hit the ball well, but the initial shot was saved by the goalkeeper. The rebound fell to Clayton Herbst who shot for the goal and again the ball hit the goalkeeper’s pads before this time rebounded to Aiden Najdzion. Aiden wound up and hit the ball past the ND goalkeeper from three metres out, Glebe 2 ND 1.

The Glebe forwards were playing well and stringing four or five passes together in good team passing raids into the ND circle. Six minutes into the final quarter Clayton Herbst made a fabulous intercept from a ND cross-field pass and ran the ball into the ND circle creating a one-on-one with the ND goalkeeper. Clayton’s shot went wide of the goal. Glebe had seven or eight guilt-edged goal-scoring chances in the fourth quarter without even getting the ball on target. All missing the goal, some by a wide margin, others were close run things.

ND realised that it needed to up its game to level the score and its efforts were lifted, but the Glebe midfield of Simon Wark, Zane Goodridge, Aiden Najdzion and Marley Seebacher were hard to get past. One failing of the Glebe midfield was that it too often retreated from the ball carrier and allowed him to get up to operating speed when the early tackle would have been a much better option.

With six minutes to go Glebe’s Jamie Travis had the ball, broke quickly from defence with Lachlan Hall and Clayton Herbst running into good field positions in advance of the ball.  The ND defenders hung off Jamie who decide to go it alone, which was a reasonable option under the circumstances and he advanced into the ND circle where he evaded several ND would-be tacklers to shoot for a goal. Jamie showed good circle craft and with only the goalkeeper to beat Jamie’s shot was topped, travelled slowly and went wide of the goal.

With four minutes to play Glebe was awarded its sixth penalty corner which was well defended by ND. Glebe had 4-5 excellent goal-scoring opportunities in the last 5 minutes of the quarter but had no luck putting the ball into the ND goal. Glebe should have made more of the many excellent scoring opportunities it created in the fourth quarter.

ND made one last desperate attacking raid into the Glebe territory, made a circle penetration and the ball found a Glebe player’s foot and was awarded its first penalty corner of the game. The penalty corner was the lay-off to the battery’s left option, but Glebe’s defence managed to defend the lay-off, but the ball hit a Glebe player’s foot and another penalty corner was awarded. The Glebe runners were out quickly and prevented ND from having a clear shot at goal and the ball was cleared out of the circle.

The final 90 seconds were tense, with Chris Farrugia twice crunching the ball along the sideline and over the ND backline, to wind down the clock. Glebe managed to hang on for its third win of the 2023 season. Glebe missed a lot of excellent goal-scoring opportunities in the last quarter and with better shooting would have won by a more comfortable margin. The final score was Glebe 2 defeated ND 1. Congratulations on the win. It was hard fought but deserved.

I thought the umpires did a good job in this game.

It was good to see Sam Bagley at the game. Sam had his knee in a brace. He received a hard-hit ball to the knee against Saint George about a month ago, which fractured his patella. He will be out for the rest of the 2023 season.

Next week Glebe third grade plays Moorebank, with the game starting at 12.30 pm, on the Cathy Flack field at Moorebank. Moorebank is on top of the third-grade competition ladder, or very close to it, so this will be a hard game for the team. The third-grade team is starting to play some good hockey and the wide style of play has stiffened up our defence and created more gaps in the middle of the field for us to exploit.


Report on the Glebe v Northern Districts Third Grade game played 1230 hours, 22 July 2023 at the Pennant Hills Park, Synthetic Turf