Our Men's Southern Championships teams wound up for the Easter break with a tough afternoon at the in-form Taroona.
Against the backdrop of Kelvedon Park's majestic water views, coach Glen Roland's plans for the reserves to build on two decent outings in the opening rounds were dealt a blow when three players were declared unavailable on the morning of the game.
The cobbled-together line-up, containing 6 teenagers and 5 over 40s, understandably looked a little disjointed, but they fought gamely and at times we saw glimpses of our potential.
Taroona proved their mettle with a highly accomplished display to run out comfortable winners. On the bright side for South East was a commanding performance at the back from Stolpy, whilst it was great to welcome Geordie and Lochie into the fold for the first time.
Availability issues continued to dog the seniors, who started the main match with only 10 players, until Nick arrived, and with a bench made up from stoic volunteers backing up from the reserves game.
Taroona, for their part, were highly impressive, moving the ball around superbly, and a dominant first half saw the game over as a contest long before the interval.
In the second period, South East dug deep to limit the hosts to only two more goals, with 16-year-old Chris Goodwin deserving of special praise for an outstanding individual performance, whilst Pat, Nick and the Pullen brothers all justified why the club has so much faith in our youngsters.
We may be on the wrong end of some unflattering scorelines just now, but our squad has no fewer than 15 under 21s. It seems to be a case of men against boys out there at times but, once all our senior players are available, we believe we have some really healthy competition for places, and we are looking forward to this being reflected better on the park as we continue to gel. We understand that we are very much at the start of our journey.
The men now have a 2-week break, although Glen will be very keen to keep the momentum going on the training paddock.
The women are in action on Sunday at Metro at North Chigwell.