Round 5 Wrap & Round 6 Preview
It was pleasing to get the points against Richmond on Saturday and particularly because of the way we played. The processes we worked on during the pre-season are starting to translate into how we play on match day. Besides the final 15 minutes, when the Tigers kicked some late goals, we had a really strong defensive game and were able to kick goals after forcing turnovers.
We’ve got a lot of new faces in the team and wins like that inspire them to play bigger roles. The more confidence guys like Cory Gregson, Jed Bews, Shane Kersten and Darcy Lang build, the longer we will be in the contest and the more games we will win.
A big test awaits us on Friday night against the in-form Magpies, but we can’t wait for the challenge. We’ve seen a lot of them on TV this year and I’ve been impressed with their ball movement and ability to win the contested ball. Our midfield will have to be on song to prevent them from getting the ball inside 50.
It’s our first match under lights for the season and we relish playing on the big stage. It’s not a foreign experience for us, the majority of our games in 2014 were at night, but for the younger players there’s some things to get used to. The ball is often a little dewy to start with, there’s the glare of the lights and it’s tricky to know when to sleep or what to eat during the day. The only downside of playing a night game is that you don’t get to sleep until 3AM the next morning because the adrenaline is still running!
We are likely to get some experienced players back this week, which will help. However, one guy that won’t be out there for a couple of matches is James Kelly. It’s the sort of injury you wouldn’t wish on anyone, but he’s handled it pretty well and his sense of humour is still alive. He’s been getting some pretty clever/cheeky text messages and social media post.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Steve Johnson delivers against Collingwood. He’s not in the form he’d like to be, but it won’t take long for things to turn for him and it’s not through a lack of effort on the training track. He’s a competitor and a player you want out there by your side because he can do anything.