First Grade – report by Colin Scully
What a match this turned out to be.
Maclean fielded their strongest line up and right from the start they were ready to play fast and physical football.
However Storm were equally pumped for this game and came out quick and scored in the opening 3rdminute of play courtesy of a well controlled through ball to Dan Keam who went one on one with the keeper. Dan kept his cool and dribbled the ball around the keeper to then neatly place the ball in the back of the net. From that moment on both sides contested fiercely for the ball. Yes there were some gaps in our play and yes we gave away too many stupid free kicks but we will continue to learn that discipline can and will either win or lose games. It wasn’t until the 43rd minute of the first half that Maclean scored an equaliser. JK was felled heavily just before half time but battled on however he had to be replaced in the opening minutes of the second half.
A quick change of tactical positional play saw Paul Malith go to the right flank and Marual Mangar go into the mid with Grant. This worked well and both lads did their job. As the game progressed Storm took more control thanks mainly to our fitness. It was evident that Maclean were tiring and hence our lads became more dominant. There were many near misses and if it wasn’t for a number of “Pauly offsides” we could have scored at least another 3-4 goals. Having said that Paul created scoring chances and that is what football is all about. Let’s practice our finishing lads and make sure that we are not denied goal scoring opportunities by ignoring the offside rule. A bit more pressure on the last man would have also meant that we would have scored more goals
Yes there were some odd refereeing decisions which did frustrate players but blowing up at the ref is not on. As I’ve said many times before Yellow cards hurt towards the end of the season. It must be said that Matt Latham and Michael Turner were unfortunate to have received yellow cards for what I thought were legitimate tackles.
Gum Mayak was tormenting the Maclean defence and could have scored a couple of goals if it were not for their keeper. As the game neared full time it was the magic of Gum who scored a cracker of a goal 2 minutes before the whistle sounded – the lads and our supporters were ecstatic as was Gum and all celebrated all on the sideline. Then another quick positional change saw Dan into the mid holding position and that was the end of Maclean – they had nothing in the tank after that.
In summary, we had a number of players unavailable for this game but I must give credit to our replacements especially Daniel Anyrjong and Marual Mangar, both U 17 players, and they did exactly what they were asked to do and neither hesitated in making the hard physical tackles. Well done lads. To Mykel Watson, what can we say to a player who had very little sleep having suffered from food poisoning and knowing that he was dehydrated and weak from being up all night and day – both ends copped a good clean out hey Mykel. To Matt Latham who is a solid right flankman again showed that he will play wherever he is asked to do so for the team - another quality game at left back and only his second time in that role. Dan Keam really stepped up in this game and never stopped running – their defence found it difficult to control a rampaging Dan.
Cheers to our bench that did not play, Scott Tarlinton, Cameron Jones and Jordan Andrews who all had top games in Reserve Grade. We did not have any “fresh” bench players due to the number of players who were not available for this match – this augers well the future as our players return from injury and holidays.
The lads celebrated this victory and dedicated the game to the Lee Winkler who tied the knot and is now a married man – congrats Winks AND to coach Jade Porter who made sure that his good mate Winks didn’t pass out at the alter. Yip Yah lads.
Result - Storm 2 Maclean 1
Man of the Match – so many top performances including Mitch Weeden who was brilliant in goals, Dan and Gum upfront, but it was Grant Scully who was voted by the players for a really solid effort in controlling the middle of the park who was the Man of the Match.
Next Match – Storm V Coffs Tigers at home - The Cove at Korora
Reserve Grade kick off at 12pm
First Grade kick off at 2pm