They say the true test of Champions is the ability to win, even when they play badly……………….
Prior to kick off, Christian & Bailey Baade Mortimer both dropped out due to illness, Jarod Tuckwood retired several minutes into the game with a very sore knee and Zac Winter bravely limped through the whole game with a bleeding toe. Not the ideal preparation for the game and unfortunately it showed in our performance, or lack of it.
I knew the Shellharbour Coach from previous training courses we had done together and as I expected he had his team very well organised. They defended as a unit and broke on the counter attack very quickly. In the first couple of minutes Shellharbour came closest to opening the score when their striker hit the outside of the post. In fact they went on to hit the woodwork three times before the break. Russell Vale’s one solitary effort on goal came when Riley Hanlon set up Louis Ready to give the Cobras the lead.
On reflection I was too hard on the players at HT………..but then again I’m quick enough to praise and reward them when they do well. In that first half I don’t think I have ever seen us give away the ball so easily, or so often. We played like individuals and not as a team. Offensively we lacked any real conviction in the final third, our midfield never got into the game and defensively at times we looked like Bambi on ice.
Russell Vale did improve slightly in the second half and it wasn’t long after the restart when a Blair Dunn corner reached Riley Hanlon 12 yards out and he rifled his shot into the roof of the net to give the Cobras a 0-2 lead. Shellharbour tried to get back into the game but the Cobras held firm and prevented the home side from creating any clear chances. As the half wore on Russell Vale finally played with some confidence and put together a few good moves but all too often the final pass or the attempted shot never came off.
I don’t judge the players on the score, only their performance. Maybe today was just one of those things, or a reflection of some of the silliness that went on at training last week?………………either way with another game on Monday at least the players only have to wait 48hrs for redemption.