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Warriors defeat Orang Eire - Saturday 9th March

Match ReportsThe eagerly awaited opener between the Warriors and the Orang Eire was always going to be a tough one. Smarting from the drubbings of the previous year, the Irish had put in another solid pre-season and posed a genuine threat. In bright, sunny conditions, the Warriors put those ambitions to sleep. A.Kaminsky and J.Sinclair’s one-two opening punch saw the latter score an over while Sinclair made a tackle shortly after that K.Stocks pounced on for the first under of the match. S.Lawson, the badgering midfielder, led the next attack and shuffled a handball to the running Buma who also posted an over. And minutes later, after a desperate attempt by the Irish, the Warriors defence fed Buma again whose perfect pass found J.Flanagan at centre-half forward. Sadly, he pulled it to the right for a behind. An Irish counter-attack got as far as a half-back and it was P.McCalman and S.Di Grigorio who thwarted two attempts, saw the ball to the midfielders, who provided young debutant C.Kilpatrick with a brilliant low finish for another over. The Irish appeared as ineffective as an ashtray on Andy Lee’s Harley until a rare foray forward allowed them to sneak an unlucky under. P.Woods was taking big marks up at half-forward and helped Prez B.Simpson to a valuable over as the Irish replied with a measley point. J.Mosel, busy at the back, produced a fine pass for Kaminsky who steered an over through. S.Job and Simpson were combining well with M.Coombes to give Flanagan another set shot from the pocket. Uncharacteristically, the skipper pulled it left again. Points were exchanged after that but midfield stalemate was broken by the call for the first break.

First Quarter Warriors: 2.4.3.27 to Orang Eire 1.0.2.8

Buoyed by the break, the poor-in-numbers Irish seemed obsessed with breaking the Warriors’ defensive wall with probing attacks but ran into McCalman and Simpson’s energetic mop-ups. The midfielders weren’t as successful and the Irish surprised with another running shot that yielded an over. Credit must go to Job, Lawson and Kaminsky who collected more kicks than Jackie Chan’s movie opponents. Big men J.Welsh and Coombes combined for a shot that went wide but Mosel found L.Laughlin with a perfect pass. The latter booted well and truly. J.Winter was excelling at the defensive switches and when he found D’Oliveiro with a long bouncer, the latter found Flanagan on the lead. A set shot was expected but the handball to a running Buma yielded a kick out-of-bounds, sadly. Kilpatrick, however was wowing the crowd with his speed (and still only 14 years old!) and fed Stocks with another behind. P.Owens then combined with Coombes and gave M.O’Brien his first over. The Warriors were steadily gaining but couldn’t capitalize, despite driving kicks by the likes of Lawson and Welsh.

Second Quarter: Warriors 2.6.4.34 to Orang Eire 1.1.2.11

With coach Phil Lee deeming the lead to be unconvincing, it was the Warriors now that started dictating. Snakes off-loaded to Kilpatrick in the middle and the latter’s first-to-the ball bravery yielded a free. The Irish countered on the far wing only to see Lawson and J.Drummond clear convincingly. O’Brien and Kaminsky got Welsh in the pocket but the latter only managed a point. His second set shot minutes later merely doubled his points tally. The Orang Eire responded with a piece of brilliant running link-ups and their wiry forwards stunned the Warriors with a goal against the run of play, but not without controversy. The question was asked if it was touched off the goal-line? No, according to Coach Lee who officiated (how about that for a conflict of interest). O’Brien and Simpson partnered well to reply with a low goal and the Irish seemed miffed to have their hard work cancelled out so early. An unlucky Irish point was then followed up with another hard-won goal and it was the Warriors who looked a little jittery now. Buma and Simpson rose to the challenge in the centre though Buma had a running attempt only amount to a point. The Irish responded with an over but the Warriors quickly responded from yet another brilliant Winter kick-out that allowed Flanagan to reply with a badly needed over. The Irish, bamboozled by the constant rotation of Warriors players threw everything but the kitchen sink in reply. The Warriors performed a desperate rear-guard action to deny two goalmouth scrambles before the whistle saved them in time.

Third Quarter: Warriors 3.8.7.49 to 3.2.3.27

Any fears that the Irish would stage a comeback were true as they bolted out of the blocks, pumped purely by adrenaline. Pinned down, the Warriors eventually conceded an over. Stocks and Kaminsky linked well and repelled a coupled of efforts, with Simpson roving the packs well. Kaminsky’s pass to Drummond saw an offload to O’Brien that ended nowhere. The Irish defense capitalized on the counterattack and minutes later had floored that Malaysians with another over with their seated cheerleaders thinking a comeback was on the cards. Seriously, it wasn’t, as the boys in purple and yellow emptied the gas tank too in the last part. Kaminsky, the day’s kick specialist, offloaded to Sinclair whose pass to Flanagan fell short of much-needed mark. The last ten minutes degenerated into midfield trench warfare as the Irish continued to push forward. Job’s dogged ball-getting finally won him a crucial free in the backline and the kick to O’Brien resulted in a pass to Flanagan again. A point was the result but gave the Warriors valuable time. A kick-out mis-communication saw Lawson feed of dropped crumbs to score an over and Job’s last behind took the stuffing out of the gallant Orang Eire. The Warriors trundled over the finish line in a game they should have won by a bigger margin. One should never doubt the Irish’s tenacity but a win remains a win. Kudos to the Warriors midfield for a tireless effort that also benefitted from the rotation strategy.

Final Scores: 3.9.8.54 to 3.4.3.33 and Warriors by a convincing 21 pts

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