Round 9: 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 9 VS Hawthorn by Ella
Two weeks ago, in our last game before the bye, our focus for the match was RESPECT. Respecting ourselves and respecting each other. Well this week we took that respect and turned it into PRIDE. We played for those who are proud of us, for those we are proud of, and to be proud in ourselves. And boy did we have something to be proud of two hours later!
Up against top-of-the-tables Hawthorn, we were expecting to be pushed to our limits. Our last encounter with them, a baptism of fire at the start of the season, had been fast-paced and aggressive and Hawthorn had scored heavily against us to take the four points.
A goal to Hawthorn in the first 5 minutes of the quarter threatened to mark the beginning of a other tough day at the office and I’m sure a few spectators might have been thinking ‘here we go again’. But we have come a long way in just a few short weeks, and we were playing for pride. Ruckman Rohanna “The Big Sexy” Crouch made damn sure that the next centre clearance went our way, tapping in straight down the throat of Captain Lauren, who slapped away the hands of the opposing mids to drive the ball deep into our forward line. After some more strong stoppage play led by Vice Captain Cherie Peters, Dru Place managed to find some space, cleaning up the crumbs like a pigeon on the Flinders Street Steps. Except for a well-defended run by Hawthorn resulting in a minor score, we managed to locked the ball away for the majority of the first, and went into the second quarter 7 apiece.
Buoyed by our competitive efforts in the first, our second quarter was one of the best we’ve played. Superior clearance work led by hard tackler Liz and the explosive Emily Johnson saw us dominate most of the play and when Hawthorn did manage to break through to their forward line, our defenders stood up tall and sent them right back where they came from. Small forward Lucy Hall, making her first appearance in the side this year, looked very dangerous on a few quick breaks, and even managed to come out on top in a two-one one marking contest, significantly outsized by both opponents. Wing-woman Harriet also looked likely with some impressive bursts off the wing nicely followed by that powerful boot. But it was The Big Sexy who broke through, sending the wee ball sailing through the big sticks. She makes it look so easy. This saw us into the long break up 16-7 and feeling very confident. As we ran jovially into the rooms, The Big Sexy is even rumoured to have remarked, “If we win I will get slaughtered tonight”.
A good team does not go down without a fight, and Hawthorn came out in the third quarter all guns blazing. Some of their key players valiantly took matters into their own hands and an early goal put them right back in it. They also switched things up with more players running off the wing into their forward line, and their captain cutting off many of our forward entries as a floating defender. The quarter was played predominantly in their forward half and it is a credit to our courageous defenders that they didn’t score more heavily, with only one more goal after a well-executed lead resulted in a set shot 20 metres out and straight in front. One on one efforts from Maddy Johansson and Brooke Pannell, amongst others, were strong and we managed to regain control towards the end of the quarter. We went into the fourth down 17-20.
The message from Zeb at three quarter time was clear and simple. PRIDE.
Every player on the field had the same mindset in the fourth: “leave nothing behind”. Our effort and intensity around the ball doubled and it was clear that we wanted it more. Whenever the ball came close, we made sure to get there first, and have the last say. Mid-way through the quarter our efforts were rewarded when, after a continuous onslaught, Lucy Hall managed to get out the back of a long kick in, bump off a bigger opponent and soccer the ball through for a goal. We were up, and we just had to stay up! For the rest of the quarter we dug in, and played the tough tackling, physical football that is becoming our signature. We locked the ball into our forward line and continued to bring it to ground and lock it in. When the ball did come out, The Wall, superbly conducted by “The General” Hannah Walvravens, orchestrated a symphony of superiority, winning the ball and sending us back into attack. While many individual efforts to lock the ball in stood out in those last 10 minutes, the teamwork and support that we gave each other was what allowed to keep Hawthorn scoreless in the last. When the siren finally sounded we were up by 4.
What I’m proud of:
- Each and every one of my teammates, our coaches and myself.
- In particular, the incredible players from Div 3 who volunteered to play a second game and provide us with a much need interchange, along with all those who stayed to support us during the match.
- The family and friends who support us each week, especially those that we played for on Saturday. Shout out to the naughty boys on the sideline who kept telling Hawthorn’s backline to switch it to the wrong side.
- The fact that when two goals were kicked against us, by the big scary Hawks, putting us behind, we decided to win.
- The fact that we now well and truly believe that we can make a mark on this competition.
DIVISION 3 MATCH REPORT - ROUND 9 VS Preston Bullants by Alice
The memory of a hard-fought game in the heavy hail back in round two set the tone for the clash against the top-of-the-table Preston Bullants at home.
They certainly came out hard in the first term, booting a few quick goals and laying some heavy bumps. It was great to welcome back a few legends for the match – Maria, Tara, Sarah and Hannah. These fresh legs really carried us when we needed it most throughout the game.
The second quarter was a highlight for the Bloods; we settled into the game, restricting their run on the ball and their ability to convert.
Deb told us all to set a goal for each quarter, whether it was laying a hard tackle or taking a strong mark. We certainly out-marked them in the second half and our intensity was really starting to wind them up. We celebrated hard—and perhaps a little prematurely—when our only score came in the third. Alix pulled it out of nowhere to sneak one through the goals, only to find it was touched through for a behind.
The game wasn’t without its cost, losing Erin early on with her knee and Hannah copping a broken wrist after a promising return from injury.
As always, our physicality and endeavour was unrivalled – a point the opposition made in remarking on our level of improvement since round two.
It’s always hard to single out players when the team rallies together to deliver a solid, defensive game. That said how can one go past Anna in the last term, smothering no less than three balls (with her face!) and taking a massive mark when it really counted? Anna’s spirit and tenacity summed up the team’s efforts on the day. A spirit that didn’t go unnoticed by the opposition – noting we have some of the best in the competition! Now that is something to be proud of!