Travel no issue for young squad

Midwest Times - - FRONT PAGE - Justin Fris

Her­culean ef­forts from Michael Wright Jr and Len Papertalk in­spired the Mid West Foot­ball De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram to record a 14point vic­tory over the Great South­ern Storm in last Satur­day’s WAFL re­gional acad­emy scratch match at Clare­mont Oval.

Deny­ing the Storm space in a bid to flood num­bers for­ward, the Mid West side held all the aces dur­ing the 13.7 (85) to 11.5 (71) vic­tory.

It was a long day for Craig Walker’s side — who left Ger­ald­ton at 8am and did not ar­rive in Perth un­til three hours be­fore the 4pm bounce­down.

The south­ern­ers made the best of the open­ing ex­changes and burst to an early two-goal lead through their abil­ity to gain pos­ses­sions un­op­posed and cor­rectly as­sess their op­tions.

Af­ter ab­sorb­ing early pres­sure, the Mid West were able to con­struct con­sec­u­tive for­ward en­tries and hit the score­board.

Sens­ing their side needed a lift, sev­eral play­ers shifted the mo­men­tum back in the Mid West’s favour. Whether it was Wright Jr’s tenac­ity in tack­ling the ball car­rier, Papertalk’s sear­ing pace through the mid­dle, or Kings­ley Daw­son’s com­po­sure weav­ing in and out of traf­fic, all deeds made for a breath­less six-goal to two sec­ond-quar­ter ef­fort.

De­spite head­ing into the sec­ond half with a 20-point ad­van­tage, the Storm had am­ple weaponry ca­pa­ble of turn­ing the tide. Hav­ing strug­gled to break clear of tight close-quar­ter con­tests at each stop­page, Storm man­aged 17 un­op­posed pos­ses­sions in the fi­nal eight min­utes of the third term — all of which gained 10m or more. Af­ter im­plor­ing their charges to fin­ish the quar­ter strongly, the Mid West coach­ing hi­er­ar­chy could breathe a lit­tle eas­ier when their side goaled at the three-minute mark of the fi­nal term.

This goal was telling, as dur­ing that open­ing pas­sage of play, Storm failed to gather one un­op­posed dis­posal.

The teams can­celled each other out on the score­board in the clos­ing stages, al­though the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the con­test re­mained.

De­spite the vic­tory, ar­guably a greater pos­i­tive for the Mid West was their abil­ity to min­imise de­fen­sive turnovers as the match wore on.

Af­ter con­ced­ing 10 points in the open­ing half, the de­fen­sive group ral­lied and only made two skill er­rors in their de­fen­sive zone dur­ing the sec­ond half, with the other com­ing via a 50m penalty.

Picture: Mid West Foot­ball De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram

Mid West De­vel­op­ment Foot­ball Pro­gram play­ers and coaches.

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