Cats drop 20 players
GYMPIE Cats were missing a massive 20 players for last Saturday's game against Caloundra and went down a whopping 28.0-168 to 4.0-24, but unbelievably had their best game of the season.
It was a case of bad timing for the Cats, with a huge number of senior players either down with the flu or out due to commitments.
They called for under-14 and under-16s players to take the field for the home game.
Gympie AFL president and Cats player Glen Warren said his son, U14 Joel Perry-Warren and U16 players Reimarley O'Donoghue, Brendan Westlake and Samuel Stubbs stepped up to the plate, playing the match with the big boys.
"We managed to rustle up a team," Warren said.
He said, with only the bare 18 to field the side, a lot of running was demanded by the young-gun fill-ins as well as their older team-mates.
There's no denying Warren was disappointed with the turnout for the home game, but he said the senior players that showed on the day took responsibility and pushed to keep up with Caloundra.
"A lot of the young guys in the team, who are only in their second season of senior footy, just ran all day.
"I'm really happy with their performance," Warren said.
What killed them in the end was the lack of team numbers, which meant there were no rotations for the game.
Warren said players ran "flat-out" for the game.
He said while the scoreboard didn't reflect the Cat's performance, what happened on the field showed the team gave Caloundra all they had.
"It was a fair old touch-up," he said.
"It sounds silly, but I think it was one of the best performances of the season," Warren said.
Warren said regardless of Saturday's loss, it's clear the Cats have been clawing their way back up the ranks.
Training is on a roll, with the side training twice a week, and improvements are being seen.
"The numbers at training have been starting to rise.
"Things are slowly starting to pay off," Warren said.
Warren had commented earlier in the season that he expected, come mid-season, that things at the team would start to pick up.
He said yesterday that he could see he was right.
"I said things should start looking up around now.
"Things will only get better from here," he said.
He congratulated the team on their form last Saturday, saying they couldn't have done better.
"They were outstanding.
"They were a really good, positive side," Warren said.
This Saturday's at-home meet with the Northshore Jets, is expected to be a whole different story to last Saturday.
The Cats are expected to present with a full-strength side and Warren says, given their improvement of late, the team could well be in for a win.
The Gympie Cats will play the Northshore Jets at Six Mile Oval this Saturday at 2pm.