ALTHOUGH the under 18 Parrots went down by 11 points on Saturday at Morwell, there were a lot of great signs and an overwhelming appreciation to be back on the ground.
Some unfamiliar names led the Parrots this week, with a flock of new players joining the side from other non-playing leagues.
Foster’s talented Ryan Angwin was performing where he left off, carrying his Gippsland Power form from last year.
His endeavour was followed by Gippy Power teammate Zach Reid.
Getting around Reid, the 202cm centre half back (CHB) was a bit like dancing around the Eiffel Tower.
Reid played his usual Power position CHB, for most of the game, swapping into the ruck for some more action in the second half.
Out of defence, Reid often found Oliver Callcott (from Foster) who was not afraid of taking the game on from the wing.
A few good passages of play led to the strong hands of Harry O’Brien who kicked two goals.
The faithful boot of Darcy Hume also managed two goals.
But it was hard to overcome Morwell’s skill who had a handful of players who would have been playing seniors showing they wanted the win just that little bit more.
The Parrots fought well, coming within four points at the end of the third, but Morwell finished strong, scoring three goals to two in the final term.
Although the 18s haven’t played a practice match this year, their effort was impressive, said coach Benny Willis.
“The boys were excited, which is great. They struggled a bit to stick to the game plan, but that will come,” Willis said.
“We’ve got a lot of new players coming together this year and the level of footy is super-competitive.
“We’ve definitely got some talent there. I can see the boys finding each other’s abilities soon,” he said.
Willis said there was a new level of appreciation for community sports.
“To have the footy and netball back, just the familiarity was great,” Willis said.
“I guess a lot of us have a new level of appreciation for our sport,” he said.
In the earlier game the under 16s showed they were well on track for some exciting football this season.
They took a convincing win, getting up by 55 points over Morwell.
They were matched early on, but with great fitness their third quarter was near untouchable.
Parrot prodigy Jesse Burns returned from Gippsland Power to play some of his best. Playing out of the middle, Burns kicked three goals and worked well around the ball.
Younger brother of Adelaide’s Xavier Duursma, Zane also managed a gripping three goals.
Coming from the Corner Inlet Stingrays, Oliver Lemchens flew into the ruck and was the spark for some tidy football.
The young Parrots were relentless into the final term, cementing a convincing win.
More football and netball news in this week’s edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.