The Redtails were invited to play The Port Adelaide Academy Squad at Alberton Oval on Sunday the 21st of February 2016.
Between 9:30 and 10:45am, the team prepared for the game regarding strapping if needed, stretching, warm up exercises, game plans and team speeches. Coach Shaun Cusack had everyone focussed on the job at hand and delivered his game plan and strategy in a structured and positive manner. The players seemed a little nervous but were keen to get out on the field and play for their region and families. There was quite a crowd building in the grand stand to add to the atmosphere and excitement of the looming contest at hand.
It was a game of intensity from the fist bounce. Port Adelaide definitely seemed to have the game under control as the Redtails contingent struggled to remain composed and found themselves fumbling and making small errors that allowed Port to regain possession and take the lead at the end of the first term by 22 points. The second quarter was a better contest as our lads found a bit more cohesion and self belief. The desperate defensive work from Dustin Briscoe and Caleb Hart was inspiring to the rest of the group. Gibson Turner and Rohan Armstrong kicked accurately but we were unable to reel in Port's lead as they increased it to 30 points at the half way mark. The struggle remained tense in the third term as the desperation from the Redtails players intensified with new instruction from Coach Cusack to counter Port's playing style. The Redtails forward movement started to reel back the opposition's lead to 26 points going into the final term. Tom Clarke sustained a fractured thumb near the end of the third session, being our first major casualty followed by Captain Tyson Carmody with a hamstring injury. The battle continued as legs began to tire on the Port player's side, while the Redtails seemed to find their wings and began souring back to life as a result of all the hours out running in the Central Australian heat leading up to the game. Port Adelaide tried to hang on, but the desire for victory was what the Redtails players had more of. The team edged closer to victory as they found Gibson Turner, with his amazing ability to produce goals from nowhere, as well as Charlie Maher, with his great gathering skills and sneaky goal shooting, to allow the Redtails to snatch the win by a mere 3 points. It truly was an amazing game of footy to watch, made even more sweeter with a victory at the end.
A true testament to the Redtails group as a whole that have come together to represent their region/families and show just how special it is to have belief and pride in yourself and your fellow countrymen. If we all work together as Central Australians we can achieve great heights and help others to do the same as we follow the Redtails/Pinktails Right Tracks Program - helping us to become stronger and healthier as one community working together to make our region a better place for everyone.