Josh Fraser was proud of the way his Northern Blues rallied in difficult circumstances on Saturday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Murdoch)
“I think one thing about our young group at the moment is that there’s really good fight in them.
“They don’t get disheartened, they don’t get down: they continue to fight and dig in.”
That was the message from Northern Blues senior coach Josh Fraser in the Matchworks coach’s report after Saturday’s home game against Essendon.
Northern fought valiantly in the loss, despite losing valuable personnel and rotations during the first half.
The Blues would play the entire second half with only one player on the bench, and were eventually overrun in the last quarter after sticking with Essendon.
Fraser said the opening three quarters gave the Blues confidence before the “tipping point” arrived.
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“From a coaching perspective, we’re going to deal with the first three quarters particularly, where we were really proud of the way the boys went about their footy,” Fraser said.
“You could see the boys were trying their hardest to fight and dig in throughout the last quarter, but it wasn’t happening for us.
“We’ll learn from those moments and we know there’s a lot we need to review and be better at from the first three quarters, but there was a lot to like as well.”
The Blues have continued to show faith in their young players, having an unprecedented amount of players aged under-22.
Fraser said they would continue to back their youth in, as they continued to build good habits.
“I think we’re getting a good understanding of what our footy looks like, and what our baseline of contest looks like,” Fraser said.
“The fight and resilience of the group was on show. We’ve got a young group and building good habits throughout games, we just need to see more of it.”
Fraser said the way the side spread the load throughout the day was a sign of the togetherness and willingness of the playing group to work for one another.
Jack Silvagni and Jesse Palmer were two of the side’s better individual performers, with Palmer keeping the Blues alive with an inspired four-goal third quarter.
“Jesse didn’t start that well and he’d be the first to admit it, but what I loved about his game was his resilience on the way to making a real impact for us,” Fraser said.
“We were able to structure things up a bit different for him and changed the way we wanted to move the ball, which helped him.
“To kick four goals in a quarter and look as dangerous as he did shows his quality: we think really highly of him.”
The Northern Blues are back at Ikon Park once more this Saturday, hosting Geelong from 2pm.