Drawing first Blood
The girls of the South Melbourne Districts have won their first game in Division four.
After two practice games, a lightning premiership and three grading matches the women of South Melbourne Districts finally got to ‘play a game for points’. Coming off of a pretty spirited draw the week earlier (leveling the scores from 23 points down at the last change) spirits were high around the club going into our first official game in Division 4.
The Bloods came out of the blocks breathing fire, with the ball locked in our offensive half for a large portion of the first quarter. Despite controlling the footy, wayward kicking made it hard work to find the goals which resulted in only a three-point lead at the first break. Lauren Gibbs keeps on growing in stature every week; repelling the ball out of defense with toughness and determination which makes me incredibly happy that I play with her (and not against her!) She played a brilliant first half as a rebounding defender making life tough for the Saint’s forwards.
The second quarter opened up and the cream started to rise to the top. Rach Daymond was moved into the forward line and did not disappoint. Her first of three goals for the game sparked a four goal term for our girls, making it our highest scoring quarter of football so far! Christine “Smooth Criminal” Nunn (the excellent nickname thanks to the girls on the bench during the second quarter) was doing what she pleased – dancing around opponents like she had all the time in the world, composed and fearless when sending the ball into attack. While performing her usual reliable and tough role in the middle, captain Bree Pagonis was sent forward during the second quarter and after applying some brilliant offensive pressure thanks to herself and our forward line, was on the end of two exciting goals as we headed towards half-time. Forward Jess Payne snuck one through from what looked like deep in the pocket, helping the Bloods to an 18-point lead at the main break.
While we only managed to add four points to the total in the third, we kept St Mary’s Salesian scoreless. They came out with a point to prove after half-time, and we neutralised their efforts. Erin Pratt’s tackling pressure around the pack ensured that there was no easy footy to be won for the opposition when they looked like breaking free. Dangerous forward Danni Minutoli read the play unlike anyone else on the ground, and was able to duck and weave around contests while sending the ball forward. With a 24-point margin going into the last quarter, the job was far from completed.
Fearless back Amanda Ventura was swung to full-forward to start the last quarter and after missing a set shot early on, she was able to score her first major for the season after some terrific work locking the ball in after a surge forward. Our mids worked tirelessly to keep on sending the ball into attack, never resting on their laurels despite the commanding lead. All day long they worked to give our girls the best chance at kicking a winning score and their efforts were complimented with our forwards kicking truly. Our back-line stood tall and made it very hard work for the St. Mary’s forwards who were only able manage to add a solitary goal to the score line after half-time. As the match drew to a close, Ventura handed the ball off to Minutoli who kicked truly. We ended the day with an emphatic 45-point victory, five separate goal kickers are a team full of contributors.
While we wait for the draw to drop for the rest of the season proper, we can go into the next round confident of our abilities as a team. If we all work for each other, work together and play to our strengths, then we are truly capable of achieving anything. I’m so proud to belong to this incredible group of women, and cannot wait to see what the season holds for us.
Written by Deborah Konopnicki