Robins show pluck
Monday, 25th March, 2013
In perfect conditions before a large crowd at Picton Oval, reigning Sunraysia Premiers Wentworth defeated an improved Robin's outfit on Saturday.
The final score, 21.12 (138) to 10.9 (69), did not truly reflect the improved performance of the young West side.
This was echoed around the game from both sides' supporters and coaching staff.
A Wentworth assistant said after the game: "What has happened to you West guys? Two years ago you couldn't even score against us but look at you now."
At quarter time West held a 7 point lead after they had lined up with probably their strongest line-up. It was clear that West were implementing some of the structures that they had been working on during the preseason.
Wentworth's coach, former AFL Western Bulldog and Essendon player Mark Alvey, emphasised to his squad that they did not have much structure and lacked a bit of poise.
These words must have remained in his players minds. During the second quarter they settled into their style of play and punished West when errors and turnovers were quickly made to pay on the scoreboard by the fast moving Wentworth side.
After halftime West gained some composure and held sway with Wentworth on the scoreboard for the third quarter. An interesting move was initiated by West Senior Assistant Coach Colin Tonkin which saw youngster Cohen Pettitt shadowing the experienced Alvey.
Tonkin said "this was for educational purpose and that running with a player such as Alvey allowed young Pettitt to understand what it takes to go to another level".
Throughout the third and final terms it became quite evident that both coaching staff wanted to look at their full squad and experimented with several players out of their normal roles and positions.
After the game West Coach Dale Tonkin said West had "started to implement some of the structures we've been working on during the preseason".
"We had seen our systems actually work. We had mostly our stronger team on in the first quarter and we actually won that first quarter by a couple of goals.
"We rotated everybody and gave everybody an opportunity but we wanted to see what we have learnt and how we have implemented systems we have been working on."
Another positive from the game was Kynan Smith and Nathan Kickett bagging nine goals between them out of a total of ten.
Tonkin added: "That preseason has been excellent this year and that we are way ahead of where we have been the last two years. We designed the preseason around getting endurance and repeat speed, strength and conditioning for the trial game today and the Lightning Cup and preparing for Round One.
"The four blokes that have stood out in the preseason were Nick Agius, Peter Christos, Liam King and Kynan Smith."
Overall it was a solid hit out for both sides as they prepare for the start of their respective seasons. Several observers suggested AFL Broken Hill may want to consider using Picton Oval during the season proper to take away the wear and tear of the Jubilee Oval.
Teams for all grades, seniors through juniors are advised to check BDT for training times.