In the lead up to the game against Lyndhurst the weather was cold and bitter and as a result our Wednesday night became a theory night discussing our game style, what we were currently doing and what we wanted to do. I felt the night was extremely beneficial to all who attended and gave us all a clearer vision on where we were wanting to go as the season got into full swing. The Thursday session was a great lead up to the game, we focused on picking the right option, short kicking and contested drills. Heading into the game Zoe, Christa, Dani, Miki and Maddi were unavailable. Pre-game We headed down the highway to Lyndhurst and after the week of ordinary weather the conditions at Lyndhurst were good for footy, rain had held off and there was virtually no wind. Our instructions were to move the ball in a less predictable way for the opposition to cover us, focus on our short kicking and to kick with intent and purpose and to spread out in the forward line to give our key forwards space to lead into. The midfielders and wingers were given instructions on how we wanted them to play. We were confident of a good showing but needed to get a good start.
As the game started it was revealed the opposition only had 15 players and the opposition coach was not happy that we were not showing the mercy rule by also not playing with 15 on the ground. A few minutes into the game the opposition team manager advised us that if we weren’t going to show mercy then the rules stated we could only have 3 on the bench so in order to give all 6 players on our bench a go we had to take off another player from the ground to do so. Meanwhile the game had well and truly started, and we got off to a great start asserting our authority from the start. From the get-go the night of theory and emphasis on our game plan seemed to be rubbing off. Our movement was the best it had been with the team moving the ball laterally and the use of handball in congestion was terrific to see. It all started with a point to Lily however we trapped the ball in our forward 50 which eventually resulted in Nush combining with Emily to kick the first goal of the game. Seeing Em with a big smile was great to see. A few minutes later we were at it again, but this time Emma Turner and Lily cleared the ball into our forward line where Sienna handballed to Emily who executed a brilliant handball to Nush who was able to kick a great team lifting goal. The handball by Emily under pressure was one of my highlights of the year so far. Lyndhurst were eager to get back into the game and as hard as they tried, they were only able to manage a point. Our defense was holding up well and our midfielders were linking together very well. Our 3rd goal of the term came soon after when Tilly intercepted an opposition forward thrust who then linked with Jules, Emma Turner and Lily to give Nush her 2nd goal of the quarter. Our confidence was growing, and we were playing a pretty good brand of footy, the movement of the ball was as we had asked for, we were chipping the ball around and making it hard for the opposition to get their hands on it. After a near miss to kick our 4th goal for the quarter Nush got her hattrick when Kristy, Sienna and Tilly combined with her where she made no mistake with a great snapshot for goal. Every player made an impact in the quarter and coming into the quarter time huddle we were looking the goods and had sailed away to a 25-point lead. Emma Turner, Emma Medland and Tilly were destroying the opposition, Jaclyn started the game well as did Jordy presenting well at half forward. Sienna was having an impact in the forward half and Emily was highly influential. We had winners all over and Nush had 3 goals by quarter time. We made lots of changes to get as many players involved in the game as possible and having 15 on the ground with 7 on the bench meant we had to rotate players consistently as we felt we had the oppositions measure. Many players were put into foreign positions and our focus for the 2nd quarter was to look for our rock in defense who we swung up forward to try to get a goal out of her.
It didn’t take long for us to post our 5th goal for the game when we won the center clearance when Nat, Rhi and Catty combined with Lily to give Lily her 1st for the day. Minutes later Lily almost kicked her 2nd when Stacy, Jordy and Catty combined with Lily but it was not meant to be. The opposition were finding it difficult to get the ball out of their defence and the frustration was starting to show with some rough tactics being used by the opposition including a brutal attack on Lily who is as tough as nails. The green card to the Lyndhurst player in many ways signaled the end with the opposition down to 14 players. Our team was relentless and were having some great passages of teamwork which saw Rhi take a mark within range but disappointed the crowd and herself when she tried to steer it through instead of super booting it where the ball landed short. Nush eventually kicked a behind but very soon after one of the highlights of the game and year came when Emma Turner and Lily were able to find Rhi who marked and set up for goal again. The crowd was in nervous silence when Superboot went back and unleashed a torp that sailed through the big sticks. The whole team got around her and the crowd went into a frenzy. As the Demtel ads say but that’s not all, there’s more! Rhi got a taste for it and soon after combined with Jordy and Emma Turner to take another mark in goal kicking range. She went back and kick her 2nd and it was party time. Rhi was on fire and moments later when Catty and Stacy combined to find her again, she marked, went back but this time had a near miss. As the quarter was nearing the end not to be undone Rhi finished off a memorable quarter for her and the team by kicking her hat trick when Emily, Stacy and Erin combined with Rhi who was able to finish off the great team work. In an unbelievable quarter of footy, Rhi who had never kicked a goal had 5 shots on goal and kicked 3 goals 1 point in the quarter.
Unfortunately, that was the end of the game. The opposition were down to 11 to 12 players, so the game was abandoned. This was a shame as we were playing good football and our ball use by hand and foot was the best, we had shown so far this year. We showed what we were capable of and it was exciting to watch and by half time we were over 50 points in front. End of the game Although it was only a half of footy, we can take a lot out of the game. For weeks I had been talking about our ball use and how predictable we had been, this half changed all of that. We started scanning and picking good options and made the opposition chase. Our clearance work and spread from packs allowed our runners to have a greater impact. I don’t want us to get to carried away, but it was another step in the right direction. I thought Nush set the tone and Rhi had a day out and a quarter she will be able to tell grand children about in the year 2040. Emily showed again how she is improving all the team and had a great impact in the game, she can gain confidence from her game. We are starting to settle, and our midfield really turned it on and continue to improve. Emma Medland is having a stellar season and Emma Turner showed her quality. Tilly continues to show she could be anything with games under her belt and Nat played a great game at center half back giving us great drive repeatedly. We had winners all over the ground and it was fantastic to see everyone contributing. Our backline lead by Tara looked like they were working well together, and our forward line seemed to be more in sync with each other. Jordy played well again at half forward and is really starting to make that her home. Jaclyn again showed she is on her way to becoming a star and Stacy is simply awesome and doesn’t waste the ball and is lethal with ball in hand. Erin and Sienna are starting to look home in the forward line. It was good to see Alicia the Warrior out there involved in the game and Kristy again showed she can play. Finally, special mention to Lily who continues to lead on game day by example, she gets smashed pillar to post but is simply having an amazing year. Its scary to think how good she can get as there is still so much improvement left in her game. From Grace to Catty, from Radlow to Shannon, Jules to Taz if we keep improving as much as we have since the start of the season, we have the potential this year to think big, but it wont just happen. We need to keep improving, keep learning, keep listening and stay strong together. We have a break and then go up against the might of the Hills team, it will be a test but I have full faith that if we play as a team and play smart football and be accountable we can publicly put ourselves in the mix in 2019. Best Players – The whole Team! Go Dee’s