cougars (45.20) run over rhinos (0.0)

IMG_0196 - Version 2

Andre Smith

It was top versus bottom when the Chidlow Cougars travelled down the hill to meet HFA new-comers, the Forrestfield Rhinos.

The Rhinos have taken a pummeling since joining the competition, and with the Cougars at the height of their powers, things weren’t about to get any easier.

Rhinos assistant coach Jason Thompson has been here before. When Pickering Brook Hawks re-entered the HFA, Jason was playing for the Hawks and he remembers a tough year. “When that first sweet victory did come, it was like winning a grand final,” he says.

“The challenge is to take the positives from each game, until the guys get to know each other and the team begins to gel,” says Jason.

So, some of the positives. The Rhinos have strong community support and a squad of over 40 players. As word spreads, the Rhinos will attract even more potential players and draw from a thriving junior club base. There is already talk of the Rhinos fielding a second side.

The Rhinos home ground, Hartfield Park oval, is firm and freshly mowed. Easily one of the best facilities in the league.

There is no apparent shortage of keen, well organised volunteers working at the gate, in the (1st class) canteen and in the Rhinos very own ‘hospitality van’, complete with team colours.

With all of this going for them, it’s hard to imagine the Rhinos won’t be a football force soon enough.

But not today. Out on the park the Cougars were showing why they are considered a premiership threat by only round six. It was a clinical display from the Cougars from the bounce.

As fans know footy can be a game of momentum, minute to minute or, week to week.

As the Cougars have begun to dominate opponents, match practice and success have brought more options around the ball, greater skills, more assertive targets and set plays, and of course, confidence. The better things get, the better things get.

If the ball did spill loose across the Rhinos half forward line, it was swept up and re-launched to a target with laser-like efficiency by 17 year old wing-man, Steven Schorer. At quarter time the Cougars had twelve goals on the board and the Rhinos were yet to score.

The Rhinos kept at it in the second quarter, but when they did take possession there seemed few options up field and the building pressure would often lead to a turnover. The Cougars forwards were marking clean delivery within range, at will. At half time the visitors had added another 12 and lead by 144 points.

Robin Mountford and Jason Thompson know that building a team culture is not an overnight job. “We’re trying to keep the guys heads up and make small advances each week and keep perspective. We’re still getting to know each other. We know it’ll take a bit of time – but it still hurts to lose,” says Jason.

It couldn’t have been easy for the Rhinos to run out again after half time. ‘Character building’ has a pretty hollow ring when you’re under siege and battling to put some plays together. Still, individually at least, the Rhinos fought it out contest by contest.

McKinlay mark

Adam McKinlay marks in range

After the third quarter the Cougars had kicked another 11 goals and the lead had blown out to 227 points. The question now was whether the Rhinos would score at all – and the odds seemed stacked against them.

Adam McKinlay was doing it with his eyes closed and was on his way to a hefty 13 goal haul.  Although the Cougars kicked another 11 for the last quarter, they seemed to lose a little focus and discipline. There were still some sweetly efficient passages, including a series of sharp, ‘play-on’ passes down the left flank to the goal mouth, (the hallmark of the first three quarters), but missed targets and a few ‘long bomb’ ‘hail Marys’ crept into the Cougars game and a few players were a little too easily baited by a frustrated opposition.

It may seem pedantic to complain of a few lapses in the last moments of a convincing (possibly record) victory. But after half time this game was no longer about the Rhinos. It was about the Gidge Bulldogs and the tuning of a team to confront them in a game shaping as a possible Grand Final preview.

At the final siren the Cougars had kicked 45.20 (290). The Rhinos were unable to score and a tough season may lay ahead of them.

The Rhinos enjoy good home crowd support and Hartfield Park buzzed with activity and kids kicking the footy. Community football is about much more than score lines and it’s exciting to have Forrestfield join the HFA – so support your Rhinos, because they will turn the corner.

Hills footy fans are now three weeks away from the blockbuster clash of the two unbeaten titans of the competition. Apart from the Grand Final itself, there may be no more meaningful match up this year. For the Bulldogs and the Cougars, there’s not a moment to lose.

After a slow start the Hawks and the Roos are both finding form. This season looks like the best in years.

If you have club news, corrections or contributions please get in touch via the contact tab at the top of the page.

In other games:

Mundaring Roos 23.16 (154)  def. Bullsbrook 4.1 (25)

Pickering Brook Hawks 30.12 (192) def. Mt Helena Lions 6.4 (40)

Gidgegannup Bulldogs 31.19 (205) def. Wundowie Warriors 1.3 (9)

Next weeks fixtures.

McKinlay kick

Adam McKinlay kicks 13 goals against the Rhinos

 

 

LADDER AFTER ROUND 5

POS TEAM P W L D B FF FOR AGST % PTS
1 Chidlow Football Club 5 5 0 0 0 0 1041 136 765.44 20
2 Gidgegannup Football Club 5 5 0 0 0 0 855 198 431.82 20
3 Pickering Brook Football Club 5 3 2 0 0 0 751 376 199.73 12
4 Mundaring Football Club 5 3 2 0 0 0 559 457 122.32 12
5 Mt Helena Football Club 5 2 3 0 0 0 394 675 58.37 8
6 Wundowie Football Club 5 1 4 0 0 0 241 791 30.47 4
7 Bullsbrook Football Club 4 0 4 0 0 0 181 554 32.67 0
8 Forrestfield Football Club 4 0 4 0 0 0 62 897 6.91 0


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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