Rockets 2007 Mission debrief: KEEP THOSE PIX COMING GUYS!

2007 and the Rockets are a force to be reckoned with (we reckon).

Once again we've picked up half a team of newbies to integrate - but the initial outcome is looking pretty promising!

Methinks we'll have the best side yet this season.

Another thing is we've changed our 7-a-side game plan from a 3-3 strategy to a tripple-2 one.

Instead of having two triangular formations, one attacking and one defensive, we've moved to three lines of two.

This change has a huge impact on the roles they must play and puts a ton of pressure on the mid-fielders.

But we figure it'll pay off. Time will tell...

When and where are we playing? 10th Grade W1 Anawhata division, fixtures at United Soccer 1

Panthers game, Starling Park - one to remember - (anyone got any photos?)

We played our arch rivals the Ranui Panthers in the 2nd-to-last grading game.
You need to consider here that the Panthers are fundamentally our club's rep team for this grade.
With the exception of a couple of our chaps, that is...
Kindof a sibling rivalry thing goin' on.
It's tradition.

Willie and I know from past experience that the Panthers are one of those teams whose reputation is actually their biggest advantage. Even before a game with them, you invariably hear comments like "we're gonna lose..."
I'm sure pretty-much every team on Earth has a similar problem with at least one rival team...

Anyway we decided to nip it in the bud right before the game.

Willie held up the ball:
"See this thing? It's all about this. Don't let them have it.
If they don't have the ball they can't score.
If they can't score they can't win.
Simple eh? Remember it!"

That's what I like about Willie. He can boil it right down. That's why he's coach.
I really do hope everyone remembers those profound words of his.

Me, I'm into story-telling:
"You all know Isaac's little brother Jake eh - he's the smallest in his team. Well his wee team (a couple of grades below) played the club's hand-picked team this morning and thrashed them 6-nil! And Jake scored two of those goals! When he scored the 2nd one he had got within a few metres of the goal by dribbling the ball through the opposition, when he was knocked over and landed on his butt. With three or four defenders in front of him and no support from his side, he sprung back to his feet and ran at the ball, booted it and scored his 2nd goal! So even if you're out-numbered or on your arse in the mud - NEVER give up! OK? Just remember what Willie said - it's all about that ball. Make it yours. Simple. Just do it!"

Well blow me down, it worked.

We were up 1-nil at half time. In fact we were still up 1-nil with a couple of minutes to go!

"How long to go? This is just too much..."
"Too long!"
- a minute later -
"Aahhhh! How'd they manage to sneak that one in?"
- ah well, y'get that...

It was a good determined effort from the team, though there were several missed opportunities and our forward pack just weren't firing on all cylinders for some reason (at the next training session Willie suggested maybe there had been a bit too much Play-Station the night before ;-)

Put it this way - it was one of those exceptionally close and exciting games where afterwards some folk said they'd been worried they might have a turn for the worse...

But our defense particularly was outstanding and we finished with a 1-1 draw.
This was the best result any team had achieved against the Panthers so far this round - by heaps!
Teegan played with the Panthers last season, so she made a point of rubbing their noses in it and defended exceedingly well. As did Alistair, who was goalie the whole game in Kamell's absence and did a stirling job of it in the face of intense pressure from a renowned and dangerous side.

Dean, the Panthers' coach, came over and commended our team after the game, saying we deserved to have won it.
Good on him. Actually, we agree...

All we can say is, if there's ever a next time... bring it on!

2007 Pix

Click on a pic for a bigger version. Even on (yawn) dial-up it should get to you within a couple of minutes max...
Use your browser's "Back" button to get back to where you were beforehand...

Rockets in action - Singer Park Oratia 2nd June - pix courtesy Mark.

This was an interesting game. The grounds would've made a wicked pool table - you'd sink it in the corner pockets without even trying. Not to worry, even if the lay of the land offered an advantage to the home side (you'd expect they'd be accustomed to it) we beat 'em squarely.

We were up 2 nil at half time but it was clearly evident the team weren't too focussed as yet.
Second half they gave it their all - so we finished with a 6-0 win and grins all around.

Go Rockets!


Left: Alec on defense, played an outstanding game, knocking the ball out of play on several occasions to foil the enemy's attacks.

Right: Alistair, new to the team, is proving to be an exceptional goalie and defender.

    Right : Corey is a long-standing Rockets attacker, playing wing up front. Hungry is an understatement. Like a predatory animal he moves in to strike yet again.  
      Left: Corey bags another one, assisted by Joe.
  Left: Joe is another of our newly acquired assets, always giving it everything he's got and being equally adept in attack or defense.    
      Left: John moves in for a shot, backed up by Kamell, Corey and Timmy.
Opposition scramble to defend...
      Tackled from behind John finds himself on the deck.
He hooks the ball with his foot while down and flicks it toward the goal...
      The ball sails past defenders and goalie to land squarely in the corner of the net!
YEAH! Never give up even when you're down!
  Left: Isaac, playing mid-field, flies like a rocket to set up another goal.
It's essential for a mid-fielder to back his or her forward, covering them if they're tackled to retain possession, or passing to them if the forward has a chance at a shot.
      Left: A mid-fielder in our 7-a-side strategy needs the stamina to cover the entire length of the field, and still be effective once in position.
Here we see Isaac in a defensive role near the back of the field.
    Right: and here's Isaac up front again to help press the attack.
Teegan is also playing mid-field here and Tai is a forward.
If the mid-fielder can take the shot, go for it! Teegan scored one this game as did Isaac. She's also new to our team and an impressive defender with a humungous kick!
Right: Tairan is another new secret weapon in the Rockets arsenal, having already scored a large number of goals this season.      
  Left: Liam joined the Rockets in their second season and has always had a BIG kick.
He's grown into a stalwart of our defense, but can also provide excitement playing any position on field.
      Left: Kamell, also known as "Magic Fingers" has proven his worth as an excellent goalie game after game. We'd have a gaping hole without him!
    Right: Timmy has been with the Rockets since day one, and like Corey, excells at running rings around opposition defenders.  

OK - that's the grading games over with.

Now it's time to get serious!

NOTE how they do the points -

3 points per win, 1 point per draw, losses count for nothing.

So WIN WIN WIN, as a win is three times as valuable as a draw! Even if it's a win by only one goal.

Here's the teams in our wee division after the grading round:

Note that the Panthers have moved up out of our division.
If we almost beat them, we ought to come out on top of this lot!

The West Auckland Pumas, Oratia Stu and Waitakere Black ought to be our stiffest competition.
But then the Oratia Cheetahs and Waitemata Gold are as-yet unknowns to us...
They were both outstanding in their grading games.

Bottom line - we need to play as hard as we can EVERY game!

Go Rockets!

Onwards and upwards... next page.