Calder Cannons flex the resilience muscle in NAB League win
Written by Jarryd Barca
The ability to bounce back from – and overcome – adversity is a crucial life quality, even on the footy field.
Calder Cannons backline coach Brad Murphy admitted there were some nervous moments in the Under 18 boys’ Round 3 win over the Western Jets last Saturday when inaccuracy seemed to plague the side.
Calder was able to establish a healthy lead when it scored seven of the opening nine goals of the contest at Highgate Recreation Reserve, until seven of the next 10 went the Jets’ way.
The Cannons registered seven behinds in their final 10 scoring shots of the game when the four points were well and truly in the balance.
A 15-point half-time lead to the home side faded to just three points at the last change of ends and it took nearly 17 minutes for the dominant fourth-quarter Cannons to put through a major, courtesy of Campbell Edwardes.
But luckily they weren’t left to rue their missed chances.
“I’m very proud,” Murphy said post-game.
“It’s very hard when you get a spray like that from the coach (at three-quarter time).
“I was a little bit concerned at three quarter time when scores were only a few points the difference and they had a bit of a wind in the last quarter.
“He (coach Ross Smith) challenged them all at three-quarter time to step up and some players can go introverted, or they can come out of their shell a little bit and I think the boys really came out of their shell (in the final quarter).
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the efforts of the players.
“We had a couple of injuries down so we couldn’t get some rotations happening. Sometimes you just have to play the last quarter on adrenaline and we certainly did, there was a lot of cramping going on but for them to push through and get the result is fantastic.
“I’m very proud and obviously more so going forward, I think it will give them amazing confidence and belief that we can do it no matter the situation in a game.”
It was the team’s first victory in the newly-named NAB League for season 2019 after losing by 109 and 23 points against the Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Charges in Rounds 1 and 2 respectively.
“I think we had to keep it in reality in the first two weeks, we played two of the best sides and we took a lot of confidence probably out of last week more against Oakleigh – we were in front at half time and two points down at three-quarter time against one of the best so we knew our best was going to be good enough,” Murphy said.
“I thought the buy-in and the endeavour from the whole group today was pleasing and the result looked after itself, although we could have kicked a bit straighter, but we had a win.”
Murphy said he was impressed with the entire midfield group against the Jets, as well as youngster Jack Keeping who channeled his inner Jeremy Howe in the final term.
“To see the emergence of young Jack Keeping who’s had seven or eight touches in the last quarter, taking two big hangers – when the game had to be won for a 17-year-old kid to step up in his first year of Under 18 footy that was really impressive as well, but I just thought the whole group were really good on the day,” he said.
The Cannons will look to make it two wins in a row when they fly south to take on the Tasmanian devils on Sunday.
“It’ll be good to get away, I think the bonding you get off an interstate trip is fantastic,” Murphy said.
“If you get a win they’re really great interstate because it doesn’t happen much, so it will be really good for the boys.”