3rd Grade Men’s v Sydney University 12 August 2023 at Lidcombe

Result: Glebe 3 defeated SU 1

Half-time: Glebe 1 SU 0

Penalty corners: Glebe 5 (2 goals) UNSW 3 (1 goal)

Scorers: Lachlan Hall, Darren French and Tony Wark

Glebe players: Clark Foster, Chris Farrugia, , Zane Goodridge, Adam Campano, Aiden Najdzion, Oliver Tordoff, Marley Seebacher, Lachlan Hall, Tony Wark, Darren French, Andrew Cheong, Rob Frew, Liam Crowhurst, Ken Wark (coach), Terry Kelly (manager)

Unavailable players: Cameron Johnston, Sam Bagley (patella fracture), Brad Goodridge (hamstring injury), Simon Wark (knee), Clayton Herbst and Will Brine.

Pre-match prediction and analysis:

Leading into tonight’s game, from their 12 games  Sydney University has won 4, drew 2, and lost 6, scoring 23 goals with 26 against, for a goal difference of -3, and were sitting seventh in the competition table. Glebe has played 13 games for three wins, no draws, and 10 losses, scoring 15 goals for, with 56 goals against and a goal difference of -41, and they sit ninth on the competition ladder out of eleven teams. The goal difference between SU and Glebe was 38.

Working back from this season’s statistics a SU win 3-1 was the AI prediction. The team has quite a few players out, but all thirteen selected in tonight’s team are reasonably good hockey players and my prediction was a 1-2 loss.

Match Report:

Chris Farrugia was given a guard of honour by the second-grade team as he ran onto the field to honour him on his three-hundredth game for the GDHC.

It was a still night, with a temperature of around 13oC. If Glebe wins this game, it would mean that the GDHC had won the 3 men’s games played on the day. It is a long time since Glebe achieved this feat.

Glebe played better tonight as a team, with fewer hero runs, and fewer go-it-yourself, one-out attempts when better options were on offer. There was not much between the two teams, but on balance, Glebe deserved to win, as it had more red-hot goal-scoring opportunities than SU, 55% of the territory, and was awarded 5 penalty corners to SU’s 2.

The game started at a fast pace with Glebe on the attack in the first 3 minutes, pressing deep into SU territory.  In the fourth minute Aiden Najdzion from halfway passed to Tony Wark, who quickly relayed the ball to Oliver Tordoff who ran the ball into the circle where it hit a SU defender’s foot and Glebe was awarded a penalty corner. The lay-off to the left of the battery was employed with the slap shot saved by the SU goalkeeper. A goalmouth scramble ensued but the Glebe attackers were unable to push the ball into the SU goal from a very promising position.

A couple of the Glebe forwards have a bad habit of having to massage the ball, move it a few metres, or caress it from side to side before delivering the pass to an unmarked teammate. The firm, early pass is what is required as it gives the Glebe player more time to get up to operating speed before engaging the defender. Don’t fidget with the ball before passing it.

Seven minutes into the game Oliver Tordoff had a tomahawk shot from the inside right alley which he did not time sweetly and the sharp chance went begging. The midfield of Andrew Cheong, Liam Crowhurst, Marley Seebacher and Darren French were restricting SU’s attacking options and the centre of the field was dominated by Glebe. SU was forced to utilize wide options in attack and the SU forwards found it hard to penetrate the Glebe defence of Chris Farrugia and Adam Campano. For a team that on average lets in over 3 goals per game, Glebe’s defence looked solid.

The game was played mostly in the mid-field with few circle penetrations by either side. From the halfway line a SU player cracked the ball down to a SU forward positioned on the backline three metres outside the Glebe circle, five metres in from the right-hand sideline. The SU forward ran the ball into the Glebe circle and won a penalty corner for his trouble. Glebe defenders need to try to get the tackle on their forestick when an opposition forward runs towards them along the backline. This means moving the feet outside the field of play. Keeping the stick flat on the turf, with the stick out and body back defending the feet is the best way to tackle, but this technique requires footwork. This SU penalty corner came to nothing as the stop was fluffed., The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe 0, SU 0. The first quarter was even stevens, with the territory about 50-50 and circle penetrations about 50-50.

The second quarter started like the first quarter with Glebe pressing forward. Darren French was at times crashing the ball from around halfway up to high-positioned forwards. This was an effective tactic, and at times created excellent goal-scoring opportunities for the forwards. Darren read the game well and picked his moments to employ this tactic.

Aiden Najdzion and Oliver Tordoff, the team’s inside forwards covered a lot of territory in the game, sprinting up and back with speed and enthusiasm. Lachlan Hall and Tony Wark up high provided a target for the defence to aim at and spread the SU defenders out and opened up gaps in the SU midfield. Eight minutes into the second quarter Lachlan Hall intercepted a ball passed forward by a SU fullback 15 metres out from the top of the SU circle. His was an excellent piece of anticipation by Lachlan. After he possessed the ball, he advanced into the SU circle to around the penalty stroke spot. He only had the SU goalkeeper to beat with no one else in sight. Lachlan slap-hit when straight into the SU goalkeeper’s pads. I feel confident Lachlan will use a different option when he is presented with a similar situation in the future.

In the middle of the second quarter, centre-half Andrew Cheong made several incisive runs forward in the middle of the field which broke up the SU defensive pattern and created gaps for the Glebe forwards to exploit. Half Marley Seebacher was strong on the tackle and is improving with every game. Passing the ball earlier and looking for the wide pass as the default option would be tactics Marley might embrace. Chris Farrugia was tackling solidly and was a rock at the back for Glebe. Chris used the crunch ball from the back well tonight. It got the team out of defensive trouble and often the ball found a Glebe high striker with room to move and an excellent attacking situation was created.

Midway through the second quarter, SU started to gain more field position and pressed the Glebe defence, which always looked solid. Occasionally coming out of defence the ball was held up too long by defenders and the early break-away option was frittered away. The early pass was on, but the Glebe defenders at times did not have the vision to see it.

With 5 minutes left in the second quarter, Darren French hit a crash ball 40 metres to Aiden Najdzion, 15 metres out from the SU circle in the inside right position. Aiden hit the ball across to Lachlan Hall situated on the penalty stroke spot. Lachlan could not deflect the ball into the SU goal, but it was an excellently worked attacking move. Two minutes later Chris Farrugia drove a ball from 40 out from the SU backline, 10 metres from the right-hand sideline into the SU circle where it caught a SU player’s foot and Glebe was awarded its second penalty corner.

The penalty corner was well executed, with a fast, accurate press-out, a perfect stop by Oliver Tordoff and a hit by Chris Farrugia. The ball hit a SU runner’s stick and landed at Chris’ feet. Chris had another hit at goal, which was saved by the goalkeeper. The rebound looped high into the air two metres in front of the goal line. Lachlan Hall using an overhead tennis-style slap gently hit the ball into the goal. Glebe 1, SU 0, which was the half-time score.

The Glebe defence was having a good game. They were reading the game well, taking excellent field positions and tackling early. Glebe has got the worst defensive record of the 11 teams in the third-grade competition by far, but it looked solid and well-drilled in tonight’s game. It helped that SU did not have any fast, young forwards to burn off some of our older, slower defenders. Glebe had 53% of the territory in the second quarter.

Second-grade goalkeeper Robert Frew started the third quarter for the team on the right wing. Robert had a good game. He worked hard, covered a lot of territory and showed good touch and judgement. Thank you, Robert, for helping the team out in tonight’s game. Glebe’s discipline was good in tonight’s game, with a solitary green card received for a clumsy tackle. It makes a big difference when the team is fully manned for the full game.

Five minutes into the third quarter a SU forward had a tomahawk shot from the end of the circle in the inside right alley. He struck the ball well, but the Glebe goalkeeper Clark Foster pulled off an excellent save. In the middle of the third quarter, SU had another tomahawk shot from the top of the circle that went just wide of the goal. SU was putting Glebe under pressure and creating scoring opportunities, but the Glebe defence always looked solid. The SU attackers were always under the pressure of a Glebe defender as they lined up the ball to hit it at goal.

Ten minutes into the third quarter Zane Goodridge sprinted downfield towards the SU circle from 45 metres out from the SU backline in the inside right position. He crossed the ball from the right-wing alley, with the ball catching a SU defender’s foot and Glebe was awarded its third penalty corner. From the corner trap the ball was laid off to Darren French on Chris‘ left.  Darren had plenty of room, he advanced the ball a couple of metres before slapping a well-hit ball along the turf into the goal, Glebe 2 SU 0.

The Glebe press was better tonight, with the Glebe forwards tackling higher and earlier than in previous games. This meant that the SU defenders were often under pressure in deep defence and could not pick and choose where they were going to pass the ball.

At times in the middle of the third quarter, the team’s ball trapping was poor, which led to the ball being coughed up to SU. Two minutes before the end of three-quarter time a SU forward advanced along the backline into the Glebe circle and won its second penalty corner. From the ensuing corner the ball was slapped at goal from the corner hitter and the ball found its way between Clark Foster’s legs into the goal. Clark had a good game for Glebe tonight and saved a couple of screamers, but I am sure this goal will give him a few bad dreams. Glebe 2, SU 1. This was the score at the end of three-quarter time.

With the score at 2-1 at the start of the fourth quarter, it was still anyone’s game. There was little between the teams, and guilt-edged goal-scoring opportunities were hard to come by for both teams. The first eight minutes of the fourth quarter were played in midfield with neither team being able to work its way through a crowded midfield.

Seven minutes into the final quarter Glebe won a couple of penalty corners after Zane Goodridge made a penetrating run into the SU circle from 35 metres out from the SU goal in the inside right alley. The SU first runner was getting out very fast which prevented Glebe from getting an effective first hit away. The lay-off to the battery’s right would have been the logical next move, as this would have given Glebe an uncontested position from which to shoot.

In the middle of the quarter, Tony Wark positioned 10 metres inside the SU half read a pass out of defence from a SU defender and picked off his outlet pass. He quickly passed to Lachlan Hall five metres ahead of him on the left wing. Lachlan quickly ran down the left wing, drew a couple of SU defenders to him, and then hit the ball to the top of the SU circle where Tony Wark was in space without a SU in sight. Tony trapped the ball well and with plenty of time to size up his shot whacked the ball past the SU goalkeeper’s right side into the SU goal, Glebe 3, SU 1. This goal gave Glebe a bit of a buffer and a victory seemed likely, but with 8 minutes to play, there was still time for SU to stage a comeback.

SU became a bit more attacking, realizing that to have any chance to salvage a point(s) from the game it needed to attack. The Glebe defence was equal to the task with Oliver Tordoff and Aiden Najdzion covering a lot of ground in cover defence. On a couple of occasions, Glebe defenders took high-risk, low-reward options, which were imprudent considering the circumstances of the game. The best tactic considering the scoreline would have been to keep the ball wide, crowd in behind the ball and reduce opportunities for SU to attack down the middle with the Glebe defence disorganized.

Adam Campano, Andrew Cheong and Liam Crowhurst tackled early and tacked often and closed gaps quickly and effectively. The Glebe forwards intelligently fell back to cover the SU halves who were advancing forwards and counterattacking from deep defence when the chance arose. SU won its third penalty corner with two minutes remaining in the game, but the trap was fumbled and the ball was cleared by Glebe without a shot on the Glebe goal.

In the last 30 seconds of the game, Glebe broke quickly from defence and had the numbers in the SU circle. A Glebe forward, who will remain nameless, took a shot from five metres out from goal and a metre from the backline when he had three Glebe teammates waiting in front of the goal to deflect the ball into the net. Considering the poor angle from which the shot was taken when compared with the alternative of a quick pass across the face of the goal to unmarked teammates three metres out from the face of the goal, this was a poor option.

The final score was Glebe 3, SU 1.

This was a good win for Glebe, outsiders for this game, who in the main played intelligent, committed, hockey. The tactics employed in the last few games have been better and coach Ken Wark’s messages have begun to sink in. The younger brigade seems to be less nervous and frightened to make mistakes than they were a few games ago, and seem to be enjoying themselves playing in the third-grade team. It was good to have a win to celebrate Chris Farrugia’s 300th game.

Congratulations on the victory.


Report on the Glebe v Sydney University Third Grade game played 1830 hours, 12 August  2023 at the Lidcombe Turf, Lidcombe.