Scores: East Sandy 6.5.41 v East Brighton Vampires 5.6.36

…sorry, that should have been ‘The Battle of Duncan Street’ where the mighty Day/Kerrison Vampire Girls arrived (at various times) to take on their traditional rivals, the East Sandringham Zebras.

This was an epic battle. One for the ages. The Vampires got off to an absolute flyer with a beautiful team goal in the opening minutes – Gretta desperately lunging to keep the ball in play as it neared the boundary then hand-balling over the top to Remy, who passed it on to Eve for a strong mark. Despite being in range, Eve unselfishly centred the ball with a pin-point pass to Alyssa who slotted it through the big sticks for the perfect start. Minutes later Eve, in a move reminiscent of Jordan De Goey, gathered the ball, brushed a tackle, completed a perfect blind man’s turn and snapped what was one of the goals of the year. Unfortunately, Ava had to come off early in the quarter under the precautionary concussion rule (‘if in doubt, bench them out’) after experiencing some dizziness. Lucy D and Captain Flo rounded off the quarter with some amazing tackling efforts, leaving the Zebras in no doubt that the Vampires had come for blood, (perhaps a little inappropriate, but you can see what I did there). I hear that small children have begun having nightmares about the dreaded Vampire Lucy and the ferocity of her tackling. Even the tackle bags at training seem to shudder when she arrives. Come to think of it, I think Ava’s dizziness began when Lucy appeared in her peripheral vision. Whilst the Zebs pegged back a late goal, at Quarter time the Vampires led 2.1.13 to 1.1.7.

Quarter 2 began with a fantastic spoil by our courageous Coco. Minutes later she was forced to come off the ground with an arm that looked a little like a banana, and despite the obvious fracture, she barely even grimaced. They breed ’em tough at the Kara’s and with no ambulance in sight after 20 minutes Coco and her parents had to make their own way to casualty. Word is that they got a flat tyre half way there and Coco is so tough she got out and pushed the car the rest of the way. Then, after getting her arm plastered up, she went home and chopped wood for half an hour before beating up her older brothers. We will certain miss her bravery, skill and leadership over the next 6 weeks or so.

Meanwhile, back at the ground, Abby Dayngerfield put up a perfect ‘don’t argue’ (just like one of Dusty’s, but without the neck tatts…so far) and then drilled a brilliant long pass to Isla who converted a lovely long goal for the Vamps’ third major…the second for the G-sisters. Seriously, they were a bit like the Krakouer brothers in the 80s the way they were working together in the forward line (your parents will know who I mean). I imagine they’re the same with their chores at home. Gretta, Millie and Liv rounded off the quarter with more great tackling pressure. Liv again gave us great drive, following on from her match last week. And in a big weekend for ruckmen, Remy and Claire were absolutely dominating. Their names sit comfortably with the likes of Gawn and Grundy as the premier tap rucks playing AFL this year. They pick out our rovers and hit them with precision at almost every ball up. At the main break the Vampires had extended their lead by a point, leading 3.3.21 to 2.2.14.

Quarter 3 started brilliantly. Florence gave us another of her characteristic running clearances from the centre and delivered it beautifully to Isla, who hand-balled over the top to the slick Summer who was again full of running during her stint on ball. Hard to believe this girl is a first-year player. Summer in turn, fought off her tackler to snap at goal. The ball changed its mind twice before deciding to bounce through, giving the Vampires a very handy 13 point lead. Stella was as solid as a rock in the backline, typified by a fantastic mark, followed by a 25 metre penalty which she took full advantage of with a beautiful pass to Abby who hand-balled to the Flo-train running past. Flo’s long kick at goal just missed but managed to sneak in for a minor score… one of the points of the season! Millie had another solid quarter winning a free in the midfield after another great tackle – her fifth tackle for the quarter.

Unfortunately, the home team were let in with some loose defence on our part and kicked their 3rd goal for the quarter after a mark in front of goal right on the siren. Whilst coach Day nearly burst a neck vein claiming a ‘Siren-Gate’ conspiracy, with a firm belief that the clock had run down before that mark was taken, apparently it had in fact sounded at exactly the same time that the coaches were all shouting ‘PICK EM UP’ and we just missed it. At the final break East Sandy had snatched the lead by 4 points with the quarter’s final kick, 5.3.33 to 4.5.29.

The final quarter began with a great individual effort from Chilli, tackling and then following up with some great shepherding work to clear the way for her team mates. The Zebras however began to win the arm wrestle and seemed to be finding loose players in their forward half much easier than we were…many of them running down from the midfield unattended. Something we need to learn from for future matches – everyone must always be responsible for an opposition player! Unfortunately, the Zebs snuck another goal to put them 2 goals clear half-way through the quarter. Millie continued to run her guts out, leaving a few of them out on the wing, with good body work, slick handballing and ending the match with her typical beetroot face of exhaustion. Under continued bombardment in the backline, Remy stood tall. She was amazing and must have taken at least 4 marks in the last quarter alone, along with gathering the loose ball whenever it came within a 10 metre radius of her. She kept rebounding the ball forward giving us chances to peg the deficit back. It was bound to pay off and eventually did when, with only a few minutes to spare, Abby Daynger snagged an absolute Eddie Betts special from the boundary, threading the eye of the needle at post height. It was almost Daicos-esque (snr, not jnr)…but no one will ever be that good. Whilst that amazing effort got us back to within 5 points and gave us a flicker of hope, the clock eventually beat us, with the Vamps going down in a valiant battle 6.5.41 to 5.6.36.

But don’t worry girls, you were great. I’ve got a very good feeling about this team. A bit like the Pies of 2010, the Lions of 2001 – 2003 and Carlton way back in their salary cheating days, we have very consistent and even performances across the ground and are playing great team footy. Everyone contributes and everyone plays their role. And we’ve become one of the best tackling teams that I’ve seen.

We finished the match with 49 tackles (good, but slightly down from our last four weeks of 52, 63, 58 and 76 respectively) and 22 marks (almost double our previous weeks of 12, 14 and 12). This suggests we’re leading, passing and calling for the ball better than we have before.

Everyone played well this week. Although Holly, Abby F, Dom, Poppy and Mieka each had very quiet games…it almost felt as though they weren’t there. Come to think of it, they weren’t.

WELL DONE GIRLS. WE’LL GET EM NEXT WEEK.

Tim (Assistant Coach)

Goals: Alyssa 1, Eve 1, Isla 1, Summer 1, Abby 1.
Best: Remy, Millie, Abby D, Florence.
Coaches award: Gretta.

Best Players: Remy, Millie, Abby D, Florence. Coaches award: Gretta

Goal Scorers: Alyssa 1, Eve 1, Isla 1, Summer 1, Abby 1