Round 1: Division 1 + Division 3 match reports
By Deborah Konopnicki
Each week we will be bringing you match reports from the players who witnessed the game first hand.
Division 1 Match report - Written by Maddy Johansen
The South Melbourne Districts Division 1 side had their first hit out of the year against Swinburne at St James Park on Saturday.
After months of pre-season training, the highly anticipated first round of the 2018 season finally arrived. With our Bloods uniforms still awaiting delivery, we instead pulled on VAFA-supplied burnt-orange guernseys. Fashion critics would have been appalled by the clash with our red and white knee-high socks. Nevertheless, we burst onto the field filled with excitement and energy.
It was a busy first quarter with some good momentum to start the match. Nifty back-and-forth handballs between Captain and Vice Captain Lauren Gibbs and Bridget Lane saw the ball penetrate our forward fifty, and we came close to scoring a goal. Bridget’s handy work was unfortunately short lived as she dislocated her shoulder early on in the first quarter. Swinburne gave her the applause she deserved as she was stretched from the field. Loz’s clean clearances from ball-ups were consistent throughout the match, and gave us much of the momentum we needed following Bridget’s departure. A confident kick from Loz to the wing saw Rochelle take a strong mark and kick forward early on.
As the game progressed, the backline could have fooled you into thinking they’d been playing together for years, with Dru Place, Ebony Lesinger and Maya Mackey coming together to really give the Swinburne forwards a run for their money. Maya ‘She’s-a-Keeper’ Mackey was dangerous as the last line of defence, taking some strong marks and also managing to justtttt get a touch on an almost-Swinburne goal as it flew over the goal line. Dru and Ebony held their own down back, picking up loose balls, kicking-in with confidence and putting on strong defensive pressure from start to finish. Kath Sobey’s strong voice and helpful direction also boosted the backline with confidence.
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No - it’s Helen ‘Superwoman’ Tammiste! Digging deep when we needed it most, Helen was an animal playing on the ball and went hard all day. At one point she leapt over and/or tore through (count them - one, two, three, four!) consecutive Swinburne players, breaking free and sprinting down the boundary line.
Congratulations to Grace Cannon, Rochelle de Koning, Harriet Fitzpatrick, Siobhan Giles, Kasey Jaeger, Maddy Johansen, Ebony Lesinger, Maya Mackey, Sarah McCarthy, Dru Place, Natalie Robb, Sarah Stocks and Helen Tammiste who all played their debut games for South Melbourne. We fought hard against a quality side with some talented players. Although we didn’t come away with the result we were looking for, there were countless positives to take away from the game. While the scoreboard showed a 38-point loss at the final siren, it didn’t reflect the tenacity, courage and energy with which we played.
Bring on Round 2!
Division 3 Match Report - Written by Annika
This year the South Melbourne District Football Club is fielding two women’s teams after the success of its first women’s team last season. While our Seniors tackled Division One, our Reserves team faced the formidable Prahran Assumption in Division Three at Basil St Reserve on Saturday.
Anyone who ventured outside on Saturday would have noticed the warmth. It was hot and sunny at Basil St Reserve, with little breeze to provide relief in the middle of the ground. The heat didn’t stop players from both teams going hard and fast.
Tracey Bowe, Captain for the day, lead our players on to the field with everyone raring to go. The first quarter kicked off at 2pm, with Prahran getting the edge early on. Momentum started to swing towards the end of the first quarter with the midfield working hard to get it up forward.
The second quarter saw the high intensity maintained with Brooke Pannell scoring the first goal for South Melbourne after a beautiful mark. The goal was hard fought for and celebrated by the South Melbourne girls.
After a much needed half time reprieve from the sun, our players headed back onto the field. Brooke scored our second goal out of a messy pack situation with the forward line working hard to keep the footy locked in our 50. The forward line was hindered by some unlucky bounces this quarter.
The final quarter saw the midfield and backline pushing through the exhaustion to maintain intense pressure on the ball. The backline was put to the test this game but managed to put consistently strong defensive pressure on our opponents. If we want to stop a repeat score when we face Prahran again, our backline will need to lockdown Simone Saliba who scored an impressive five goals.
Finishing with two goals, Brooke is one to watch moving forward at South Melbourne District. Others to keep an eye on are ruck superstar and best on ground Sarah-Rose Stoneman, and key midfielders Letizia Sammut and Gemma Reynolds, who time and time again got the ball out of danger.
For most of our girls, this was their first game playing AFL and although the final score was disappointing, there were a lot of positive takeaways from the game. Of key importance is the way the team continued to persist, with Prahran having to fight for every goal they got. The future looks bright for the Reserves.