Round 2: 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 - Round 2 vs Oakleigh – By Henny Gelber
Saturday of round 2 saw the Senior girls arrive in Oakleigh in a storm of mud, extreme cold and horizontal rain. There were briefly some questions asking if VAFA would be calling off the game, but once the girls accepted their death wishes they got straight down to it. The weather must have inspired the girls to get around even more each other than usual, maybe for warmth and survival, but nonetheless the team completed the sort of intense warm up that had girls saying after the game, ‘it felt like we were going to win before we started’.
The Bloods dominated play from the beginning of the first quarter, but couldn’t get much reward on the scoreboard. Winger Harriet Fitzpatrick was influential from the opening bounce, repeatedly clearing the ball and sending it forward with her trademark long kicking. We went into quarter time with a lead of 3 points, and the second quarter was much the same. Plenty of Bloods girls including Sarah Stocks, Siobhan Giles and Helen Tammiste floated between the midfield and the half forward line and put lots of pressure on the Oakleigh side. We went into half-time 7-1, a scoreline that didn’t truly reflect the Bloods’ dominance throughout the opening half.
Oakleigh started off the third term with a quick goal to Nicole Aldridge, who took advantage of not being tagged by the Bloods’ Dre Garimort for the first time in the match. Dre returned to her side immediately after and stoppered Aldridge’s influence again for the rest of the game, performing a commanding sacrificial tagging role for South Melbourne. That would prove to be Oakleigh’s only goal for the game, as the back line banded together brilliantly throughout the match, the girls both new and old showing amazing nous, repelling entries and stopping goals. Kath Sobey, acting captain, led the girls superbly from half back; yet again demonstrating her remarkable ability to keep calm under pressure, the girls stand taller when she’s around.
The forwards quickly responded and kicked our goals of the game, one to Natalie Robb, a new mainstay in the half forward line thanks to her strong marking and great leads, and one to old hand Rachel Daymond, who put her forgotten boots behind her and played a typically industrious game!
The final scoreline was 2.14-26 to 1.1-7, showing that while the Bloods will be working on some goal kicking practice this week, we took control of the match and bothered the Oakleigh defence all day long. The endeavour of the girls was brilliant in a true team performance, and we were thrilled to get our first win of the season at a formidable away ground. Here’s hoping for another win next week against reigning premiers and old friends Hawthorn AFC at Rathmines Road Reserve next Saturday morning- and maybe for some better weather!
Division 3 Match Report – Round 2 VS Preston Bullants By Nikki Smith
Conditions were not ideal as the Blood’s women’s reserves warmed up for their match against the Preston Bullants on Saturday morning. Strong winds and icy rain promised a challenging game ahead. However, no amount of rain could dampen the team’s enthusiasm, and the change rooms were buzzing as coach Deb gave her pre-game pep talk. The team was joined by four season 2018 debutants; Meg Brydon, Fi Adinata, Hannah Stocks and Ayla Morris, and Captain Elise Mace led a strong team onto the field.|
As expected, the first half was challenging. Fighting against strong headwinds, the Blood’s made some good breaks. You could be forgiven for thinking Meg, Annika McInerney and Hannah had been playing together for years, working well to get the ball up Blood’s end of the field. Hannah put her body on the line and make some spectacular tackles to slow down the Bullant’s attack. Emma Madgwick gave Preston a run for their money, coming out of some scrum-like situations with the ball for South Melbourne. The backline did their best against the onslaught, but by the end of the quarter Preston had a comfortable lead.
The Blood’s kept up a strong intensity in quarter two, as did the wind and rain. Fullback Kate Keighran ran into some trouble shortly into the quarter, coming off the field with a pulled calf muscle, but Captain Elise Mace made sure the backline pulled together to keep up the defence. Meg Brydon, Sarah McCarthy and Sarah-Rose Stoneman were everywhere at once, not letting the conditions slow them down, and Fi Adinata kept the pressure on the Bullant’s backline. The Blood’s focus and intensity paid off in quarter two and, while the Bullant’s managed to increase their lead by one goal, it was hard-fought.
By the second half, the Bloods knew what a monumental task ahead of them, and were ready to give it everything they had. Pressure was on the backline again, and the team was ready to support. Maddie Alessi came back for some great defensive work, and Sarah-Rose proved a formidable opponent to Preston in the ruck. Annika McInerney came out on top in some fierce tackles, showing she will be one to watch this season. Meg Brydon again proved the backbone of the defensive line, getting the ball out to Tracy Bowe and Mikhaela Szep. Mikhaela’s kicks up the wing changed the direction of play, giving the defensive line a much needed break and putting pressure on the Preston forwards.
Fantastic individual performances from Meg Brydon, Emma Madwick, Sarah-Rose Stoneman and Sarah McCarthy were highlights of the game. South Melbourne didn’t come away with a win, but the score line didn’t reflect the intensity of the game. The Bloods never looked like giving in, and put their best feet forward time and again. The communication and focus the team showed on the ground should be the envy of every team in the league, and is a sign of great things to come.