A coaches perspective: Justin Davies New Zealand Hawks Senior Coach

The AIS vs New Zealand Hawks game has come and gone. The experience was priceless, the lessons valuable and the respect earned, growing.

The team set themselves to:

1. Do the basics consistently and well

2. Be aggressive in their approach to the ball

3. Be accountable for their opponent and their actions

4. And to gain respect.

On review the team got a healthy pass mark in all these areas.

Preparation in the week leading up was great. Messages well communicated by all the coaches and understood and replayed back by the players. Training was approached with great enthusiasm and vigour.

Game day presented perfect weather conditions and ground in the best condition possible.

Last year NZ Hawks won the first quarter. This year the AIS came out prepared and played a scintillating first quarter with roving forward Pickett kicking four of the better traditional roving goals you will see.

Quarter time score: 0.2.2 to 7.1.43

Quarter time the message was to go back to the compass. Do the basics, but be more aggressive and more accountable. The respect meter had not climbed at all at this stage.

The second quarter was much better. Tackling and ball security improved significantly and the Hawks fitness was holding us in good stead and resulted in us having more scoring shots. The only problem was finding the big sticks.

Half Time score: 1.10.16 to 9.1.54

Going in to half time the feeling amongst the team was on the improve. The onballers were instructed on the rotations, the forwards on continuing to present and be defensively responsible and the backs to continue with competing fiercely in the air. The team was also on notice that the AIS would hit back hard from having more scoring shots scored against them.

The third quarter started with promise with Hawks going goal for goal in the first 10 minutes. The AIS was starting to panic with their disposal – a direct consequence of the pressure being placed on them by the Hawks.

Three quarter time score: 3.11.29 to 14.3.87

The final address focused on respect. We had come a reasonable way, however if we did not run out the game the respect sought would not be forthcoming. The Hawks responded well.

The game plan was on display regularly; the ball retention excellent, the tackling and pressure first rate; and impressively our fitness appeared to be better than that of the Australians. A win to the Hawks in the last quarter.

Full Time score: 7.16.58 to 16.5.101

So – in short not the result we were after, but a significant step forward for all the involved. Thanks for the assistance of many and well done to the players for their commitment and efforts.

Best players: Khan Haretuku, Andrew Crighton, Andrew Howison, Shem Tatupu, Justin Clark, James McKenzie

Goal kickers: Brendan Clark 3, Shem Tatupu 2, Khan Haretuku 1, Andrew Christensen 1