I don’t think I could have asked for a better finish to an outstanding season. The game was filled with great team cohesion, fun as well as some magnificent football. It seemed a fitting end to play the team I had my first game against this season. This game is a great tool to highlight just how far these girls have come. Results are definitely not everything but I think it demonstrates how the girls have progressed as a unit as well as individuals. The girls have come a long way from marginally beating Mordi in Round three (1 point difference) to smashing them by 50 points in round 14. It is a testament to their hard work, persistent and team spirit.
In true style, the top goal scorer for the year, Jorjia Haeata (16) started the team off on their frenzy of goals. She worked tremendously hard, being relentless in the forward line. Her ball skills keep on improving. She marked, played on, was quick with her hands and even quicker with her feet. She booted two unreal goals, including a beautiful snap around her body, which concluded the first quarter. Her right hand (wo)man in the forward line is Olivia Williams (6). I bet my bottom dollar she probably has close to the highest assist out of any player. She is such a team orientated person, that with the help of her mad hand-balling and quick thinking she sets up her teammates all too often for goal. She was very unlucky not to get a goal herself narrowly missing several times. The other forward specialist was Chloe Gall (14). A key thing we focused on for this game, which was a game changer, was our in the pack handballs. Gall was a player who battled hard and numerous times, freed the ball up with her in the pack handballs. She laid solid tackles creating many stoppages at crucial moments. She also had great forward pressure, constantly running. Eloise Darvall (5) who spent much of her time playing on the opposite end, defending goals was also creating great pressure of a different kind. She is such a vital piece of our defense, being such a physical, strong presence in the contests. She created stoppages, and showed such desperation when it came to stopping the ball. Darvall along with the other defenders, should be stoked with only one goal (ie one scoring opportunity) for the entire game.
With her electric style of footy it was time for Cyan Van der Merwe (4) to light up the forward line after spending most of her time as a defensive player. She was straight out of the blocks kicking two extraordinary goals within about 30 seconds of each other. She had great speed which she used well to get around opponents as well as clean hands that meant she pick the ball up first go. She was persistent with her efforts and couldn’t stop at two, booting another running goal late in the second term. Persistence was a common characteristic and Ella O’Halloran (8) constantly displays this in her style of play. On Sunday, she was tough in the contest, second and thirds efforts were admirable and she was ruthless with her tackling. You know that O’Halloran can be placed anywhere on the field and she is going to give a contest and an intense one at that. She was great with her handball bringing in players and creating flow on footy. It seems like it was a theme, as Heidi O’Donohue (10) like always, displayed persistence on game day. She had great pressure around the ground with her fierce tackling and second efforts. She took a fabulous mark and booted a weighted long kick, which is something she has been working on. Her quick hands and great positioning allowed her to score a fast goal, 10 metres out, to conclude the first half of footy.
The girls didn’t let up even when the game got tougher, both mentally and physically. The girls kept the pressure on and kept our brand of footy up. Jemima Pitts (7) was one of those that lifted in the second half. She created stoppages, tackled opponents (with the pinned arm technique), handballed, kicked and scored several points. She was persistent with her efforts and was unlucky to not end up with a major score. The other hand-balling machine for the day was Celia Blomberry (3). She too, all day was producing the ‘in the pack, on the way up’ handball that keeps the ball moving forward. Every time she found herself in tight situations, under pressure, she was able to use her kick to clear the ball which is such a great asset to her and the team, particularly in defence. Being great at clearances was another theme for the day as Sienna Briscoe (1) was also excelling at this. She racked up the clean possession count like she always does, which helps her carry the ball through space down field. She seemed to always be a part of the centre clearances in some way, getting the ball out quickly and effectively from the centre bounce. Her great friend and teammate Charlotte Dema (2) was also a star at the centre clearances. She was quick thinking, playing on from the couple of stellar marks she took, which meant she could dodge past players at speed. Much like Williams (6), she was a queen at assists, setting up her teammates well for a shot at goal. Additionally, she is such a tough footballer and took a hard ball to the face like a champ.
It was crucial in the last quarter to keep our intensity and pressure at the same level, if we were to keep building on the lead we had achieved. Anna Smith (13) quickly took the reins. Following on from her momentum at the end of quarter three where she booted a speedy goal, she quickly kicked another one in quarter four. In one of her toughest performances, Smith was so hard at the footy, kicked well and was just hungry for the ball. She was taking marks all day, but there was an extra memorable contested mark directly out from goal. Caitlin Barrell (17) was no different, just dying to get her hands on that footy. She wrestled her way through tackles and came out on the other side with the ball 99% of the time. Playing ruck for much of the match she was great with the taps which lead to many clearances. The whole midfield group work so brilliantly building on each others little successes. We also need to thank Nat Happell (12) in one of her best games yet. She is our super sub that can do anything. She tackles hard consequently winning frees, positions herself well, kicks a great distance, marks and is a great teammate. We all love having her. Last but definitely not least is Kali Humphreys (9). She is a great team player and is always one of the loudest when on the sidelines. But it was her footy that was speaking loudly. She threw herself into the tackles, contested hard for the footy and got a bit battered around in the process. She took some exceptional marks and kicked well. In the dying minutes of the game, from a set shot Humphreys backed herself and slotted a remarkable goal to finish the game off.
It truly is amazing to see how far every girl has come individually, but also how they contribute, as a team. Now it is all about belief and confidence. I know, Dad knows, the parents know and now its time for you girls to know that you are amazing footballers. You are an amazing team. And you definitely have the ability to go all the way. Just play our style of tough, team footy and everything will fall into place. I wish everyone all the best. It is so horrible to not be able to finish the season but it’s not about me, it’s about 14 girls who are awesome footballers but most important great people and close friends.
From Coach Jess