Positives out of loss for Cannons

Ryan Eyre (Ljubica Vrankovic) 356244_18

Tara Murray

The Calder Cannons showed some positive signs despite a loss in the opening round of the Coates Talent League boys competition.

There was no easy start to the season for the Cannons, facing two-time reigning premiers the Sandringham Dragons on Saturday afternoon.

For Cannons coach Sam Willatt he was finally in the coaching hot seat after being appointed to the role in late January.

He said it had been very different being the head coach and had taken a moment to take it all in during the game.

“It was good,” he said. “I said to someone before the game that if you had have said to me four months ago I would be leading out the Cannons in round one, I would have said that they were mad.

“It was a disappointing result though.”

Willatt said they showed some positive signs in the 16.14 (110)-9.6 (60) loss, they didn’t show them consistently across the four quarters.

He said it was starting point that they could build on and would learn from the performance and that if they could do it for four quarters it would be really exciting to watch.

“We did some good things in the first and third quarters,” he said. “We did some really nice things and had repeat inside 50s and we’ll take positives from that.

“In the third we kicked 1.7. Had we kicked straight we could have been two goals up going into the last quarter.

“It was equally pleasing and frustrating. It was encouraging showing the group that we can stand up against anyone.”

Issac Kako and Alistair McQuire kicked two goals each for the Cannons.

Willatt said skipper Damon Hollow did a really good job in the middle of the ground, spending time against Levi Ashcroft around the ball.

Jayden Nguyen and Ryan Brodie, who both got plenty of the ball, were among the other standouts.

Willatt said this year’s squad was an older squad than what they had last year.

“We are top age heavy,” he said. “Last year we had been bottom age heavy.

“We have three 19-year-olds as well and will be really important in driving the standards.

“We had three bottom agers play against the Dragons, so it should set strong standards for years to come.”

The Cannons will face the Western Jets on Good Friday in round two.

Willatt said they were hoping to have a more consistent performance this week.