By: Joseph Arthur
FOLLOWING three losses in a row and a season on the brink of collapse, Heathmont kept its Division 2 finals hopes alive in Round 13 with a strong win over Ringwood in tough conditions.
The Jets were quicker to adapt to the wet weather and as a result came out on top by 23 points to reclaim the Parker Family Cup.
Senior playing-coach Kyle Emley said the boys took note of an earlier wet-weather loss to Scoresby and used the experience to improve their efforts when facing the wet a second time around.
“We played in some pretty average conditions a couple of weeks ago against Scoresby and they taught us a lesson about that simple footy and physical mindset around doing the basics really well,” Emley told EFL Sunday.
“It was really just pleasing the boys learnt from that and that’s all you can say if you lose a game of footy – which we did that game – is that you take something out of it and try to improve.
“That adjustment might have been made a little bit quicker by our group which was pleasing but the conditions didn’t make for a pretty game of footy so you just had to simplify things a little bit.”
A second term push was critical in the Jets eventual victory, kicking four goals in a row following a hail-storm and building a lead which Ringwood couldn’t come back from.
The four-goal push ended up being what separated the two sides at the final siren and Emley said the players’ mindset and structure were catalysts for the strong second term.
“I really enjoy those conditions because everyone else slows down to my pace so that’s a positive, but we had a group who bought in really well yesterday,” Emley said.
“That second quarter was really pleasing how we maintained a strong structural set-up but kept our ability to attack and try to take the game on in a simplified way.
“I was just trying to put four quarters together and yesterday our effort across the four quarters was really pleasing so that was great.”
Emley said the game-plan was as simple as they come, numbers around the ball and a physical enough presence from the team to continually force it forward. Putting the pressure on the opponent to match you or risk falling behind.
The upset comes at a crucial time for Heathmont and Emley said he understands just how big the win was as it allows his side to stay in finals contention for the time being.
“You just need representation at stoppages and numbers which was crucial yesterday for us,” Emley said.
“To be able to stifle their (Ringwood’s) momentum at a couple of points yesterday was really great.
“It was a really important game for us in terms of the context of our season, to stay in touch with the group, we’re under no illusion, it’s going to be difficult but we’ve just got to keep winning and try to get better as the year goes on.”
After a bad run with injuries throughout most of the year, Heathmont got through the weekend unscathed and is looking forward to the return of some key players to help galvanise its push for a finals berth.
“We’ve had a bit of rotten luck with injures throughout this year,” Emley said.
“Everyone got through pretty well yesterday and the week off was good to hit the reset button.
“Hopefully (next week) we’ll get our two captains back (Dylan Sverns and Tom Rourke) which will be nice and with a couple of under-19s boys pushing for selection and stiff to be missing out we’re in a good place.”
Heathmont has a string of away games coming up including a huge clash next weekend with the in-form side of the competition and reigning premier, Boronia, after a bye with the split round this week.