GAFC BD Cup - Round 4 Review
Vs Terrigal Avoca @ Hylton Moore Oval
For the better part of the past 10 years any clubs fixture against the Terrigal Avoca Panthers AFC has been a daunting and difficult task. They are currently back to back premiers and have 6 black diamond cups since 2012. So successful a team they have become that they have barely been challenged in the past few seasons and certainly out own track record against them in previous seasons has been less than ideal with 100+ point deficits accrued in the past 4 encounters we’ve had against them.
It has been a similar story in season 2021 with the Panthers comfortably takeing care of Newcastle City in round one just as they did in last season’s grand final and coming off a 202 point victory last week against Maitland. They are again in competition winning form and for many involved in our competition the round four match between our Gosford Tigers senior men’s team and the Panthers loomed as an ominous encounter. At least it did for anyone other than the players who took the yellow and black onto Hylton Moore oval and faced them on Saturday.
However the 22 Tigers who faced the Panthers on Saturday were in no mind to be anything other than inspired by the task that lay ahead and what they produced was a team an all round performance as impressive and United as anything a Gosford Tigers first grade side has delivered in recent memory. They were fierce and bold and played with the belief of genuine contenders and despite now securing the 4 points for a win, they gained a confidence and understanding that will prove to be far more valuable in the context of this season.
The game started as unexpectedly one sided to the Tigers who dominated the early minutes with a few early forward entries and the opening goal. It wasn’t long before the Terrigal Avoca machine found a higher gear. Once at speed they created some worry by scoring the next 4 goals of the term. This was concerning in that the Tigers were doing plenty right to suggest they were in good form yet the Panthers were still able to find a line to goal with ease.
At the first change the Tigers were in sound headspace recognising their solid work rate but also knowing a little more was need to kerb the opposition scoring chances. Focus on making more of our forward entry was also fruitful with Hendo again providing the first goal of the term and his 2nd for the game. TA pattern of following with multiple goals look to continue as they booted the next two however that is where the match took a remarkable turn that may very well prove the defining moment of this Tigers playing groups entire season.
On the back of some of the most intense football highlighted by focussed and discipline attack on the opposition ball carrier, ferocious tavkling and swarmin ogansised numbers to the contest the Tigers unleashed an incredible attack on game which saw the kick the next 6 goals straight and leave a very accomplished Panthers team shell shocked and rs rambling for an emergency switch. Full forward Scott Manuelle gave his call sign plenty of Justine Thumping 3 goals of those goals home. He looked dangerous all day and provided outstanding target to hand in his best game of the year.
Bookended by great Scott’s, it was the at the other end of the ground that captain Scott Burkinshaw was also displaying good service of his nick name. The General appeared to have complete control over much that entered his territory. His ‘Back 6 Boys’ were near faultless matching up perfectly on the dangerous Panthers forward line and working in synergy with one another that one would guess had been decades in the making. To think that the average age of this defensive line is under 21 and they have been a unite for less than a season is absolutely baffling as their work rate, courage, trust in each other and output is already as good if not better than any other line of defence in the BD Cup.
The Tigers were able to apply pressure and disciplined attack all around the ground and exposed vulnerabilities in the back to back premiers proven structures that no team has been able to uncover I. I’ve r2 seasons. The Panthers were challenged and the effect was clear with Our boys not only shutting down their fa our quick response movement at first possession but denying them first possession altogether.
It was an enthusiastic and inspired period for our boys and continued until midway through the third. The Tigers were keenly rewarded for their variance emerging with a 10 point lead after 10 minutes of play and garnered a noticeable and uncharacteristic silence from anyone not wearing yellow and black. The intensity at the contest was maintained for the entire four quarters however we were unable to sustain that required level of control or composure in the second half of that industrious 3rd term and with Credit to the class of the Panthers outfit, they responded to the challenge in a fashion expected of such a well accomplished side who met our 6 goal charge with a burst of scoring that snatched them back a 20 point buffer heading into the final term.
The fourth quarter continued the close quarters contest with both teams providing a very even contest, that from the perspective of player performance, was hard to separate which team were the better finishers on the day. Adam ‘Sneaky’ Miller was exhilarating in the last and Jake ‘Cass’ Castelnuovo was most inspired by his 4 quarters of relentless pressure. The Panthers scoreline was flattered by an extra goal on their tally however that was the only factor that really separated the efforts of the two teams in the last period and with that said it would be reasonable to say it was the Gosford team that finished the game with more to be pleased with given the significantly different fortunes of the two clubs in the last decade leading to this match.
On review of the final result and the match as a whole it would be safe to say that the Gosford Tigers players would be far more inspired and satisfied by their loss then the Panthers would be with their win. Where the Tigers will advance from here with the confidence and belief that they now have the capacity to stand tall if not defeat the very top of the table this season, the Panthers are now only too aware that there is a new, fierce and mostly unexpected challenger on the field who bring a real level fire and steel to the contest and will be a threat this year
In rounding off this match highlights to us just how incredible our game of football truly is. Especially in terms of what it provides to the human spirit. So much of any seasons champion teams ability to harness the drive and belief to win their eventual premiership success comes from the moments, the quarters, the events and the results that they experience throughout the year and often long before they even look like earning a place in a grand final match. Should the Gosford Tigers push their campaign to a grand final appearance in 2021 (and they are certainly capable of this) there will be no doubt that this match, despite it being a small loss now, will be one of those significant moments that motivate their drive and belief to win big later.
The challenge is to not only maintain this level of performance but steadily increase it each week...we get that opportunity against Nelson Bay this Saturday and if we achieve this it will be a game to watch.
• Tackling pressure was at first class standards for the Tigers
• The Tigers sustain their attack on the opposition ball carrier
• Gosford Captain Scott Burkinshaw lead the charge in defense
• Our other ‘Great’ Scott - Manuelle finished with 3 goals up front.