3rd Grade Men’s v UNSW 5 August 2023 at Olympic Park

Result: Glebe 1 lost to UNSW 3

Half-time: Glebe 1 UNSW 2

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

Scorer: Lachlan Hall

Glebe players: Clark Foster, Chris Farrugia, Cameron Johnston, Zane Goodridge, Adam Campano, Aiden Najdzion, Oliver Tordoff, Marley Seebacher, Lachlan Hall, Tony Wark, Clayton Herbst, Darren French, Andrew Cheong, Will Brine, Ken Wark (coach), Terry Kelly (manager)

Unavailable players Sam Bagley (patella fracture), Brad Goodridge (hamstring injury), Simon Wark (knee).

Pre-match prediction and analysis:

The team played UNSW on 27 May 2023, at the Daceyville synthetic turf, Daceyville and lost 8-1. UNSW was awarded ten penalty corners from which they scored two goals and one penalty stroke from which they scored.

UNSW is on top of the competition table, on goal difference, and is on equal points with Moorebank and Ryde, having a record of nine wins, and three losses from 12 games. Glebe is third last on the competition table with three wins and nine losses from 12 games. UNSW has a goal difference of +20 and Glebe has a goal difference of -39. On the goal difference record the goal difference between the teams from twelve games is 59. Using the goal difference parameter as a guide, UNSW should win the game by six goals.

For this game, despite the injury list, Glebe has as good a team as it has fielded during the 2023 season and I expect the game to be hard-fought. Fewer one-out-hero-runs, more early passing, quicker taking of our free hits, earlier tackling, less aimless back and side passing and better circle craft would improve the team’s performance.

My prediction is a 1-5 loss.

Match Report:

Today’s game was the best the team has played in many weeks. Glebe was competitive and was well in the contest up until the final six minutes. Six minutes from full time was when UNSW scored its third goal from its fifth penalty corner of the game.

The weather was cloudy, the temperature, 190C, but fortunately no rain fell during the game.

The players told me that the UNSW team had several of its better performers from when Glebe played UNSW in May 2023 absent for today’s game. In today’s game, Glebe received no cards from the umpires for the first time in many games. In the first round, Glebe had one ten-minute yellow, two five-minute yellows, and several green cards, which meant the team played the first-round game against the UNSW with ten men for about half the game. Even allowing for better team disciple today and weaker opposition, the quality of the team’s play today was substantially improved from the last round, which is why my predicted score of a 1-5 loss was two goals off the money.

Glebe started the game in a confident fashion, spent the first few minutes in the UNSW half, and moved the ball around well. With Aiden Najdzion in full flight running towards the UNSW circle, he was ankle tapped by a UNSW defender and Glebe was awarded a penalty corner. The push-out was inaccurate and the corner reverted to plan B. Oliver Tordoff trapped the ball and pushed it to Chris Farrugia whose hit for goal was stopped by the UNSW goalkeeper. Lachlan Hall was on hand to slap the rebound from the goalkeeper’s pads into the goal, Glebe 1 UNSW 0. This was a good start for Glebe.

Today, Glebe was passing early, throwing the pass, and taking the field position to get the return pass. The Glebe forwards appreciated the early ball as they had time to receive the ball and get into stride before they were confronted by the UNSW defenders. Glebe made several excellent quick breaks from defence and was using the full width of the field well. Andrew Cheong was controlling the midfield and when the opportunities arose dashed forward with the ball on his stick. It was end-to-end hockey with the territory being 50-50.

Ten minutes into the game Clayton Herbst broke from halfway before passing to Zane Goodridge 25 metres from the UNSW goal. Zane was ankle tapped just outside the UNSW circle and Glebe was awarded its second penalty corner. From the corner stop the ball was laid off to the left of the battery, to Darren French whose hard push was well saved by the UNSW goalkeeper.  Glebe was passing early,  creating holes in the UNSW defence and looked dangerous on several occasions.

In the last minute of the first quarter, Glebe was coming out of defence and a pass delivered by a Glebe defender was intercepted by a UNSW forward at full stretch, thirty metres out from the Glebe goal. It was a good read by the UNSW forward. After trapping the ball, the UNSW forward delivered it quickly to two unmarked teammates on top of the Glebe circle. Glebe goalkeeper Clark Foster was confronted with two UNSW forwards and no Glebe support to help him. Inevitably, UNSW scored. It was disappointing to have coughed up this goal on the stroke of quarter time. The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe 1, UNSW 1. The territory in the first quarter was 50-50 and Glebe was looking sharp and focused.

Three minutes into the second quarter the UNSW put together a series of long penetrating passes from one side of the field to the other, before finding an unmarked UNSW forward in the inside right alley at the top of the Glebe circle.  This forward hit a tomahawk shot like a rocket and the ball whistled past Clark Foister’s ear into the goal, Glebe 1 UNSW 2. This was a well-constructed goal.

Aiden Najdzion, Oliver Tordoff and Zane Goodridge were covering a lot of territory in the midfield and tackling well.  This limited UNSW’s options in the middle of the field. Cameron Johnston was having a good game at right half with his early tackling and well-directed ball distribution. Will Brine was playing with more confidence today and was using his hard hit to good effect. His driven, crash balls into the circle looking for a forward to deflect the ball into the UNSW goal were particularly effective, as were his hard hits parallel to the sideline from deep defence.

Adam Campano at fullback was playing with skill, finesse, and confidence. He tackled strongly and his ball distribution from defence was excellent. Six minutes from the end of the second quarter the UNSW received its first penalty corner after a Glebe defender swung and missed the ball in the Glebe circle desperately trying to clear away the ball after Clark Foster saved a UNSW shot on goal. From the UNSW penalty corner, Clark made another good save. UNSW received a second penalty corner two minutes from the end of the second quarter after a Glebe defender missed a relatively simple trap and the ball hit his foot. The penalty corner variation was easily defused by a vigilant Glebe defence.

In the last minutes of the first half, UNSW was applying pressure on the Glebe goal and it was only determined, desperate defence by the Glebe backs that prevented them from scoring. One particular tackle by Will Brine, where he seemed to reach three or more metres out, at full stretch, was goal-saving. The score at the end of the first half was Glebe 1 UNSW 2. The UNSW had 55% of the territory in the second quarter and had around seven circle penetrations to Glebe’s three.

Early in the third quarter Glebe made several excellent attacking breaks and looked as if they could score on several occasions. The forwards were enjoying the extra space they had today, resulting from the early ball delivery from the defence. With this extra space, they could get the ball under control and get up to operating speed before engaging the UNSW defenders.

Glebe forwards Tony Wark, Clayton Herbst and Lachlan Hall looked dangerous on occasions, making long probing runs from deep defence and passing the ball much more accurately and earlier than in previous games. The teamwork in the forwards was better today. The game oscillated from end to end quickly. It was an open, free-flowing match. Seven minutes into the third quarter UNSW worked the ball quickly from defence to the top of the Glebe circle where one of its forwards had a tomahawk shot from the inside left alley, while under pressure from a Glebe defender., Clark Foster made a good save.

Glebe was making good use of the width of the field and keeping the ball wide, which was creating gaps in the middle of the field which the forwards were exploiting. UNSW won two penalty corners towards the end of the third quarter which were well defended by Glebe, with first-runner Aiden Najdzion copping a full-throated hit on the foot, from the second of these two corners. After a five-minute break, Aiden came back full of running.  Glebe won its third penalty corner in the last minute of the third quarter. Unfortunately, the trap was missed and the plan B option although initially looking promising came to nothing as Tony Wark was well tackled by the UNSW defenders. The score at the end of the third quarter was Glebe 1 UNSW 2.

Glebe looked as if it could score a goal and although they were down by one goal at three-quarter time, they were very much still in the game, with a realistic prospect of a draw. The UNSW had 60% of the territory in the final quarter and for long periods applied considerable pressure on the Glebe defence. The Glebe defence scrambled well, tackled relentlessly, took good field position, and did not cough up any careless ball. There were very few aimless cross-field or back passes and very few cross-field, hero runs. The Glebe defence was tight. Marley Seebacher tackled well, ran hard and his cover defence saved the day on several occasions. He is improving with every game and he is gaining more confidence in his own ability.

The ball frequently went from one end of the field to the other. Six minutes from full-time UNSW drove the ball into the Glebe circle from 35 metres out. A hit-and-hope style manoeuvre.  The ball caught a Glebe defender’s foot and UNSW was awarded its fifth penalty corner. From this well-executed penalty corner, the striker cracked the ball just inside the right-hand post, past the Glebe postie, with the ball thundering into the backboard. Glebe 1 UNSW 3. This UNSW goal effectively killed off any chance of Glebe drawing or winning the game.

With three minutes remaining in the game, Tony Wark ran down the left wing and delivered a hard push across the face of the UNSW goalmouth. It was a great opportunity for Glebe, but unfortunately, there was no Glebe forward at the penalty stroke spot to deflect the ball into the UNSW goal. This was an opportunity missed. In the dying moments of the game, Darren French tried a couple of crash balls into the UNSW circle to good effect. These well-directed hits did not find a Glebe teammate’s stick, but they were good options and looked dangerous. The final score was Glebe 1 UNSW 3.

Glebe played well today. The game plan was smart and well executed, and there was determination and commitment. One small criticism is that at times players needed to look up and assess their options, as on occasions better-passing alternates were on offer. The UNSW third grade is a good team, on top of the third-grade competition ladder, and to extend them to the limit was an excellent performance. Congratulations on your efforts.

Next Saturday 11 August 2023, third grade plays Sydney University at the Lidcombe Synthetic Turf, with the hit-off time of 6.30 pm.


Report on the Glebe v UNSW Third Grade game played 1530 hours, 5 August  2023 at the Olympic Pitch, Homebush