Oslo @ Goteborg 2010

Goteborg oval

Football is a strange game. Our first loss as the Oslo Crows and the first loss by a Norwegian team in quite a while actually almost felt like a win.

It sounds like loser-talk to say that, but there really were a lot of positives to come out of that game of footy.

We played a team who have been training twice a week since February, had 25 players to choose from on the day, had several Australian-born players (like us), and didn’t have to drive four hours to get to the game.

And for much of that game, we matched them.

We had no bench, no time to warm up, and half a team with two or less AFL games on their resume. To do as well as we did is a credit to everyone who played.

It was a tough game of football. Goteborg were well drilled and not afraid to lay a good tackle, bump or shepherd. They were pretty good at running in straight lines at the ball and taking whatever contact that came their way.

It was reasonably skillful too. Compare the number of marks and targets hit in that game to the Karlstad game and there is absolutely no contest. We held onto a lot of marks, kicked with pretty good precision and in the second half, made good space to get onto the end of each other’s passes.

In quarters, here is how I saw it.
First quarter we had a strong wind. Predictably given our preparation and our history of poor starts, we got jumped in the first five minutes. The game was fast and rough, and for the most part, we were beaten to the ball and beaten in the 50/50 contests.

They kicked a few goals and it looked like a long day was ahead of us. To our credit, we regrouped and started to get first to the ball and help each other out. James contested really well in the ruck and our backline of Stoney, Tommy and Flygg did a good job negating Goteborg’s entries into the forward line. The mids and forwards lifted but we were a little disfunctional. We weren’t running for each other or helping each other enough, and the net result was a wasted opportunity to build a lead on the back of the strong breeze.

The second quarter was a real test of character and we passed it with flying colours. Kicking into the breeze, down a man after Vince’s troublesome hamstring flared up, we did a FANTASTIC job. Our midfield lifted, Droughty started presenting himself as a target and marking the ball, and we pushed the ball really well into the wind. Taking it wide to reduce the risks worked well. Roxby and Nicko started to find the ball and we started to kick goals.

The revelation for that quarter was Adrian. For a first gamer he did some outstanding things, not the least of which was his running bouncing dash through the middle that set up a goal. At half time we were down by 16 points, but down another man after Tommy courageously charged into a pack and took a stray shoulder for his trouble. We’re all thankful that you’re on the way to recovery Tommy – that was a very brave effort. It was also Stoney’s best quarter, taking several telling marks as the inexperienced Goteborg forwards struggled to judge the ball.

The third was a good quarter of footy played by rapidly tiring players. Without our bench, we just didn’t have the petrol in the tank to put goals on the board in our last go with the wind behind us. Erik was notable this quarter. He lifted his workrate and started to get his hands on the footy. Flygg, Kristian and Droughty all worked hard. The hard work proved to be fruitless however, and we just weren’t able to push home any advantage on the scoreboard. The wind dropped and Goteborg got on top, spraying balls everywhere but through the goals (23 misses in all on the day!)

The final quarter was less intense. The game was essentially over because we just didn’t have the energy left to peg back what had become a decent sized lead. Every single player on our team ran the game out and kept competing until the very end, and that is something to be proud of. In the end it was around a 35-40 point margin. Goteborg managed 11 goals and what felt like 200 behinds, to Oslo’s 7 goals. A really really good effort on our part, and come August, I am confident we will have the skills and the players to beat these guys in the rematch.

Player notes (feel free to add to these!)
Tommy – Brave. Tried the entire time he was out there. Tackled, chased and competed. Deserved better than to take a (accidental) hit like that.

Roxby – Won a huge amount of the ball and worked very hard. A great example of how to keep getting to the contest and how to get the ball moving forward. Great game.

James – Outstading, possibly our best player. Rucked tirelessly against two opponents and won plenty of ball on ground level. Provided a great physical presence as well. Super effort.

Droughty – on loan from Goteborg and boy was he a handy addition. Marked everything that came his way, used the ball nicely and had some real class about his play.

Viking – another player from Goteborg. Did a decent job and played an honest game of football for us.

Stoney – his best game of football in a good while. Judged the ball well and took a lot of defensive marks and picked up some good possesions. Kept the full forwards relatively quiet. Kick outs were generally long and effective.

Flygg – second gamer, and another really good effort. Got to plenty of contests and took some nice overhead marks when out in space. Was noticably better than his first game, and has learned to improve parts of his game already (picking the ball up instead of kicking off the ground for example)

Erik – Kicked a goal and got better and better as the game went on. Looked a much better player when we got down and got his hands on the ball. Strong at the contest.

Adrian – Super effort for a first game player. Excelled in the close-in contests, used the ball well for someone who hasn’t kicked a footy before, and took some marks around the ground. His running bouncing effort in the second quarter was nothing short of superb. Has good defensive instincts.

Kristian – a welcome addition. Did some good things as a forward and got his hands on the footy more as the game went on. Worked solidly and did his job.

Vince – We’re looking forward to the day that hamstring is healed. In one short period of one game he showed he can be very good at this game. Who knows how the game would have turned out had he been able to play.

Nicko – Has great hands and good body strength. Kicked two (or possibly three) including a great banana kick from a tight angle. Has improved hugely this season and can really play.

(let me know if I missed anyone or anything!)

We now have a well earned break. Let’s have a nice easy week at training and then concentrate on winding up for our games after summer.

Thanks to everyone who played and supported on the day.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s