The Bloods rally to romp into the finals in style
This season couldn’t have been much tighter, and for the Bloods’ women, there couldn’t have been more at stake. Win and we were guaranteed a top two finish; lose and we faced the possibility of missing out on the finals altogether. We went into the game in equal first position on the ladder, set to face a fierce opponent in the Fitzroy Football Club
We were nervous. With our star full-back Henny, and superb goal-kicker Danni out for the week, we knew we were going to have to work hard. We went out onto that ground determined to attack every contest, win every ball, and work our iron buttocks (ref. Lizzy) from start to finish. We did not disappoint.
The strong winds of the previous week seemed like a mere gentle breeze in comparison to what we faced on that early morning in Clifton Hill. Every quarter of play was dominated by the relentless wind, blowing the ball from one tip of the ground to the other.
Right from the first bounce, our all-round defensive pressure gave Fitzroy very little breathing room. When on the odd chance they did manage to get a kick or handball away, we were very quick to shut them down again. Our amazing midfielders and on-ballers were in their element. Time and time again they delivered solid link-up plays down the field. EmJay’s ability to rip the ball out of the packs, and Alana’s timely leading and marking, made an already impressive midfield even more damaging.
Playing against the wind was no easy feat. In the defensive line, we barely had time to breathe as we found ourselves working against both the wind and our opponents to move the ball up the ground and out of danger. Despite the unrelenting wind, our incredibly stingy defenders were cool under pressure, moving the ball around with ease and limiting Fitzroy to just one goal for the entire game. Needless to say, we had the support of our ever-dependable teammates, who pushed up the ground to give us a helping hand. Bless their sweet cotton socks!
A defender’s nightmare became a forward’s dream in the second and last quarters. Our already dangerous attacking line made perfect use of the windy conditions to land us a total of five goals and ten near-misses. Speaking on behalf of my fellow defenders, I would say that our biggest challenge was trying to keep warm as we watched Fitzroy struggle to penetrate out of our forward fifty. Any chance that they did get to advance down the field was quickly put to a stop by our reliable half-backs Kath and Rachelle. The incredible forward defensive pressure so characteristic of our team meant that thankfully, we had very little to do but cheer and yell (something we are very good at, as it turns out).
Now of course, most people read match reports to find out who played well, who didn’t, and to hear the latest insider updates on the teams involved. While we are never short of interesting goss (Hannah, something about poo?), we also never find it easy to pick best players. Every single person played their role perfectly for the team, and that is why we are the sore, tired and happy finalists that we are. One moment in the game today summed up our team best for me- the moment that ferocious Emma “Madgy” Madgwick, small as she is, came flying out of nowhere to bring down a player almost twice her size. Enough said.
This was our last game of the home and away season, and a shining example of everything we have achieved as a team and a club. No matter how great or small the odds (or how bad the weather), the bloods women will be in it for the win. We cannot be more grateful to the generous people (both players and not) who have supported us week-by-week- mud, gale or shine. Onwards to FINALS victory!
Written by Rachel Daymond