The almost come-from-behind win
A fourth quarter demolition almost got us across the line against St. Kevin Old Boys at home.
Our first home game for our inaugural season was met with a lot of excitement and buzz. After a disappointing loss the week before, our girls came into our round three encounter with fire and determination to set the tone early. Unfortunately for us, the tone was set by SKOB, kicking a goal shortly after the first bounce. We knew that it was going to be a tough day at the office when skipper Bree Pagonis was getting tagged!
The first half was a real grind, with reward for effort not manifesting itself on the scoreboard. There were some brilliant individual passages that turned into great link-up play. Taya Rawson’s work in the ruck ensured that our mids had first use of the football almost every time. Pagonis and Lane worked tirelessly throughout the middle of the ground, scrapping for the ball at every opportunity. Silky-smooth Rachel Daymond played her best game, taking the game on from the half back -flank and repelling attacks with ease. Playing her first game for the year, Danni Minutoli asserted her authority in every contest, playing with poise and flair.
With three points to our name at half-time, a scoreless third quarter and a 23-point deficit to our name, the game could have blown out. SKOB could taste their first victory for the year, but the Bloods had other ideas.
Our pressure on and around the ball exploded, so much so that SKOB failed to have many clean possessions for the quarter. We were relentless! The ball was locked in our forward 50 for the most part, and the constant presses forward turned into golden scoring opportunities.
Our account opened thanks to Hassani, who goaled for the second week running after more of that relentless forward pressure. She was on fire for most of the game, taking the contest on and breaking the lines. Her goal sparked something in the team with fellow goal-scorer from round two Rachelle Guillard slotting one through after being moved from down in defence to the forward line. That would prove to be a move of tactical genius from the coaching team of Kearney and Hibbert.
Whenever the ball did pop out of our attacking half (which wasn’t often!) it was repelled back in thanks to some relentless work from our midfield team. Tough mid Rachel Urquhart laid a bone-crunching tackle after working her opponent towards the boundary line. It was inspiring stuff!
After a few rushed behinds, our momentum ensured that scoring became an inevitability and as if on que Vanessa Oliveira popped up for another major to draw the scores level, sending fans and players along the boundary into absolute hysterics.
Another forward thrust was unfortunately thwarted by the siren, with the scores level at 26 points after four quarters of football. Could we have won if the quarter was slightly longer? Perhaps. Could we have won if we played all game like we did in the fourth? Without a doubt.
As the grading rounds come to a close, the women of the Districts find themselves with one win, one loss and one draw. In a season of firsts, we’ve managed to check all three off our list quite efficiently!
Written by Deborah Konopnicki