Team Australia Day 5 and 6 at the WILC

Posted: September 23, 2015 by Paul Rai in Vimy Lacrosse
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Yesterday on Day 5 of the Championship, Australia met Finland in a rematch of their opening game. That game was a one goal win for Australia. This time around we were missing some players as Trevor Brennan, the goalie from that game, was out with a broken ankle. Also Tristan banged up his ankle and knee against Ireland and was sitting out. The team took the philosophy of “Next Man Out” and guys were ready to step into the lineup. In long term competitions such as this, it is important that players are prepared to play at any time.

Billy Martin started in net and other players were stepping in throughout the lineup. We knew the Finns were going to be shooting outside a lot. They have a couple of young players that they rely on heavily for their offense and we needed to shut them down, We also reiterated again that penalties could be the difference, It was going to be a game where we had to grind it out and find some ways to generate offense.

We had the lead most of the game, but we could not get that big lead we wanted to. We would be up by two or three and then Finland would cut the lead. We were good at responding with timely goals and even though we were better disciplined we still lost the penalty game. We took several more penalties than the Finns which gave them opportunities to score. I have to give a pat on the back to Billy Martin. He was outstanding, We discussed with him challenging the shooters and he did just that, stepping out on the shooters and giving them little to shoot at. He had a wonderful game. He made some spectacular saves and was just what the team needed when their confidence was a little fragile. It was a great moment for him and the team.

We still, as a team, are making mental mistakes. I think so many of those mistakes are not due to effort, but just experience, making decisions in the box game have to happen fast, if you have played a lot of games at a high tempo then those decisions are instinctual. Understanding the clock management, substitutions, extra man offense, and transitional play are all situations where we make mistakes. I do think this competition will be a learning experience and hopefully those lessons can be shared back in Australia for other players. That would be the bigger benefit.

I do want to recognize Captain Keith Nyberg. Talking to him the other day I learned this is his sixth world championships in box and field lacrosse. That is a lot of commitment, physically and financially and I expect personally. When he scored the other game it was his first international goal ever. That is awesome, Keith is definitely the leader of this group. He is emotional invested into the success of this team and I have enjoyed watching him play and lead this team from up close. I feel honored to be a part of this and be on the bench when he scored a beautiful goal. That was fun.

Today is a day of rest for the boys before taking on Serbia tomorrow. They will be tough as they have some NLL players that will carry the load. We did not do well against Ireland and their pro players. We will hopefully have learned something in that game. The next games are all about our placing in this event. We win and we place higher. Every game is critical at this point.

  1. Heidi Bates says:

    Way to go, Team Australia and Tristan Rai!!! Paul – convince some of these players to come visit us at Vimy – the kids would be thrilled and their dedication to the game is inspiring!!!

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