Grab a coffee or a stiff drink and take a seat to reflect on the game from Saturday night.
After a long preseason which seemed to go as long as the summer holidays went when you were in grade 1 we finally reached the day of our first game in season 2019. Our opponent was East Brighton who have been somewhat of a hoodoo side for us being beaten by them over the last few seasons.
Due to our strong numbers although six players were unavailable for selection (Shannon, Madi, Kristy, Paris, Tilly and Tegan) we also had to make the tough decision of resting Rhiannon due to a back injury, Sienna, Miki and Kathleen.
We travelled to Hurlingham Park with optimism however prior to the game we received the news that the Devil (Taz) was ill and could not get up to play. We had to put up with delays and mix up with club rooms, but our spirits remained good. As the game drew closer you could see some of the players were getting nervous as they were about to run out for their first game for Bentleigh. They were as Follows: Dani, Erin, Alicia, Rhiannah, Lauren, Stacey, Jaclyn, Grace, Nat and anyone else I may have missed.
The coach’s instruction was to play an attacking brand of football, to not crowd the ball and to keep them running. We felt confident of a good showing and after all the talk it was time for action.
The first quarter went exactly as we planned. The opposition showed they were highly competitive opponent, but we looked to have the answers. Although East Brighton drew first blood by kicking the first score for the game (1 Point) after a few minutes we got into gear when Nush and Catty combined with Catty kicking a great snap shot to post our first major of the game. Catty and Nush soon combined again to post our 2nd goal when Nush marked from a Catty kick and went back to put it through the big sticks. Zoe soon almost kicked our 3rd but had a near miss and then Catty who was purring almost scored her 2nd goal with a near miss of her own. We were looking good and we were in control of the game. Kallisi (Nush) was looking dangerous and almost kicked her 2nd for the quarter but we soon cleared away when Lightning (Lily) and Zizzle (Zoe) combined to post our 3rdfor the term with Zoe taking a great marking and kicking truly. Everything seemed to be going well but the quarter finished with disappointment with East Brighton rebounding with a late goalwhen Lauren tried valiantly to hold out 4 opponents and then with another near that would have made the scoreboard look a lot closer.
Scores at quarter time Bentleigh 3.3.21 to East Brighton 1.2.8
Lily was in everything with a 10-possession quarter and Nat started strongly in the ruck, we had winners all round and things looked good.
Our 2nd quarter looked promising when Nush marked from a Jordy kick but could only register a point. The ball was in our forward half for the first 5 or 6 minutes but then we let East Brighton in the game. We looked good from center onwards but started to look vulnerable in defense. The opposition duo of number 10 and 21 were starting to create havoc. Luckily for us they kicked 3 points in a row however inevitably they kicked their 2nd and soon after just missed getting their 3rd. Suddenly it was game on! On the rebound Christa and Erin combined with Catty who earned a free kick in front of goals and went back to post her 2nd. Late in the quarter in the dying seconds we allowed East Brighton back in when they kicked their 3rd with the last kick before the siren, this was not a good way to finish the half.
Scores at half time Bentleigh 4.4.28 to East Brighton 3.6.24
At half time the opposition showed they would not go away easily, they started playing to their strengths and we were struggling to adjust. Its fine to play attacking football but we need to also learn to respect the opposition and be willing to defend instead of taking the easy option. Our defense was under pressure and our midfielders were influential from half back to our forward line but not there to defend around goals.
Catty was having a great game; (Lightning) Lily was in everything and Christa was starting to make her presence felt. Tara was defending valiantly with Lauren and Jaclyn who was also playing her role.
The game was beginning to become and arm wrestle, the opposition were playing to their strengths and we were not playing with discipline. A couple of players form the opposition were creating havoc and the game was being played on their terms. We needed to make changes to adapt so we were forced to move Zizzle (Zoe) from the forward line to the defensive wing and put Emma Turner on who we felt was the most dangerous opposition player number 21 for the opposition who was running powerfully, creating and kicking goals for East Brighton.
We needed to regroup but it was important not to panic. We knew if we played to our potential, we should have the answers,but East Brighton could also have felt confident of their chances.
The 3rd quarter started with East Brighton almost hitting the front for the first time but could only kick a minor score. We showed resilience by moving the ball to our forward line when Stacey also kicked a point. The game was see sawing with East Brighton again being on the march but luckily for us kicked 3 minor scores in a row. Just when the opposition started to look threatening (Lightning) Lily and Jordy combined with Jordy taking a great mark and kicking a very important goal that allowed us to keep our noses in front. East Brighton came back again with a goal of their own, it was goal for goal but it was Bentleigh who finished strongly in the 3rd when Christa and Nush combined to score a point but just before 3 quarter time Zizzle (Zoe) found Christa who kicked a great set shot for goal to allow us to go into 3 quarter time with a small buffer.
Scores at 3 quarter time. Bentleigh 6.5.41 to East Brighton 4.10.34
The 3rd quarter was a very evenly contested quarter and it really became a test of wills as to who would win the contest. As we discussed at the start of the game sometimes it is not a will to win that is enough to win games but more importantly a will not to lose.
Our backline were holding on with (Dynamo) Radlow and Jules getting into the game and the move of Emma Turner into the backline also was having an influence.
The last quarter was a tense with some horrific decisions going against us and East Brighton were looking dangerous. They scored first in the quarter by kicking a point but soon after kicked a major from a free kick and then 2 x 50-meter penalties in succession. Scores were level but soon after East Brighton hit the front for the 1st time in the game when they just missed. Free kicks against us for not having 5.3.5 zones made us feel like everything was going against us. The game looked like slipping away but in came Kallisi (Nush) who combined with Lily to kick a team lifting goal to put us back in front. To East Brighton’s credit they would not go away and again bounced back. The umpires unfortunately were having an influence on a fantastic contest and were giving free kick after free kick thatwas baffling to the whole crowd. It seemed like they were going to influence the outcome which resulted in what seemed like a match winning goal for them. There was still plenty of time and it was anyone’s game, but it seemed like it was going to be East Brighton’s day. The Bentleigh girls had other ideas and their will remained strong and came to play when it counted. It was justice when Emma Medland received a free kick and then a 50-meter penalty which was like a 30-meter penalty and played on and kicked the critical goal to put us in front with 5 minutes to go. From there on although our lead was slender, we controlled the ball and peppered away at our goals but could only manage another point through Christa however that was enough.
When the siren sounded, we held off a valiant East Brighton with a memorable victory. It was emotional for me to see the team sing the song rocking out the rooms. Wins like these galvanize a team and create a winning culture and is what it is all about.
I want to congratulate the team for their efforts, we didn’t play as well as we can, we were slow to react, we over committed and under committed at various times, we all lost our cool, Jason, Deano and I apologize for showing our frustrations with many decisions that seemed to go against us but understand our conduct has to improve. Although we felt the game was being stolen away from us with some of the most dubious decisions, I have witnessed in my life of football we promise to remain calmand silent if under the same circumstances in the future. The important aspect was when it came to crunch time our will was tested, and we came through with flying colours.
That is something to be proud of!
The Kallisi (Nush)was exceptional throughout but also when it counted and really made her mark on the game, The General showed enormous composure and strength of character and lead the way with some critical pressure relieving intercepted marks and Christa was influential when the game was on the line. Emma Turner was fantastic in her shut down role and Zoe also played her role as our defensive winger. it was so fitting for Emma Medland who was feeling frustrated and down at 3 quarter time to kick the goal to put us back in front.
Final scores Bentleigh 8.6.54 East Brighton 6.12.48
Well done Dee’s.
What we take out of the game
Lauren, The General (Tara) and Jaclyn all played their roles well in defense.
Emma Turner was influential in her shut down role.
Catty had a great game forward of center.
The Kallisi (Nush) was a powerhouse up forward.
Nat showed great promise in the ruck.
Zizzle (Zoe) showed she is very versatile.
Christa came through when it counted and will benefit from the hit out.
Stacey got better and better as the game went on.
Although (Lightning) Lily and Emma played well as they never play a bad game, they also will be better for the hit out.
Things to consider
Enjoy the win but, we did enough to win but we can improve in all areas.
Our reaction time when the ball is in contest or in flight mustimprove
Our voices and talk on the ground need to improve, on may occasions we did not provide a marking contest and looked at each other thinking the other one was going to go.
Our midfielders were fantastic forward of center as they were more inclined to run forward or prepare for the rebound however we need to learn to assist in defense as a rebound won’t happen if we can’t intercept and save the goal.
Let’s get to training and improve.
Wee done team on your first win for the season