We went to Clayton with 14 players knowing we were going to be up against it and as Jason and I got there we saw the opposition who looked like they had their full list preparing for the game.
We negotiated with the opposition to have 2 players per quarter play for us to have 16 playing.
Although our team went out knowing we were up against it we started strong and were matching Clayton goal for goal for the first half.
The only time Clayton got on top was when in a 5 to 10 minute patch in the 3rd quarter Erin went down a after kicking a fantastic goal and then Nicole very soon after went down with a thigh injury.
Clayton loaned us 3 players in the last quarter as Taz had to leave at the end of the 3rd quarter and early in the last quarter Alyse also suffered a shoulder injury which saw our bench look like the bunker of wounded soldiers.
What sounds like a day of disaster could not be further from the truth. Jason and I could not have been any prouder of our team. Even in the latter quarter we matched Clayton even when our resources were completely depleted. The teams will to keep giving against the odds was a testament to all who contested in the game. The performance of the team was truly remarkable. To be outscored only by 4 to 5 goals through the entire game was an unbelievable effort.
I walked off the ground extremely proud of the team as they served it up to the opposition when most teams would have dropped their heads and surrendered, a truly inspiring effort. Well done to all the players.
The game was pleasing in so many aspects, some of our passages of play through the game showed we are definitely on the right path.
Our pressure on the opposition was high the whole game, we didn’t make it easy for Clayton at all. Our tackling was the best I have seen it. We held onto the larger bodied team and gripped on and didn’t allow them to bully us. We kept coming even when we had every right to feel like giving up.
Collectively we played as well as I could imagine.
Individually there were so many highlights as well.
Edith played her first game and before the game she looked like her breakfast was looking for a way out, to say she was nervous was an understatement but when the siren sounded slowly the nerves eased and she had a very competitive first game. It was a very promising debut.
Nicole lined up for her 2nd game and she clearly showed she had benifiitted for her debut game. She definitely showed her competitiveness playing in the backline and was matching her opponent.
Sharon and Lily were the mainstays in the middle throughout the game and both played very well and Lily showed she is well and truly a force to reckon with again in 2021.
Although very guarded and cautious Emma Medland got through the game and as the game went on and although instructed to try to stay away from packs and tackling played very well and showed especially in the 2nd half that when the proper season starts she is set for an exciting season.
The same can be said about Jac, I feel she is set to make her presence felt this year and is poised to go to the next level. Time a time again she showed she is one of the most difficult players to beat one on one even if she is up against 2 or more. I think 2021 will see her regarded as a potential A grader and has the fess tilt your to play back, middle and forward.
Sarah Radlow continued to impress and again put in another solid effort playing in the middle and also in the backline. Her preseason form and regained confidence sets her up for a good season in 21.
Taz and Alyse both primarily played on the wings and both had outstanding games. Alyse was brave and was involved in numerous passages of play that showed she has great potential. Her pressure and commitment and will to win every contest she was involved in time and time again put a smile on Jason and my face, unfortunately a shoulder injure stopped what was looming like a great 4 quarter performance. The same can be said about Taz. Our faith and belief in her and what she is capable of came through in this game. Her tackling was the best I have seen it and she used her speed to win the contested ball, with added confidence and a continuation of the mindset she played this game with Taz may surprise herself but it would not surprise me that she has all the ingredients to be a very good footballer.
Emily kicked 2 for the fake and could easily have been more. She took a few very solid marks and looked dangerous around goals and if within kicking distance proved again that she is a very accurate shot for goals. She was involved in various highlights in the game including our 1st goal where the Robert’s sisters combined in a passage of play when Elyse kicked beautifully to Emily’s lead where she took the mark and kicked a great goal from tte angle. Emily was also involved in a great goal linking with Erin when she felt she was just out of range and sneakingly collaborated with Erin by hand balling to her and Erin made no mistake with a brilliant goal which also resulted in her injuring her ankle. Erin looks like she is is for a great season up forward as one of our most dangerous cowards.
Talking about goals Miki also played very well after recovering from a broken finger at preseason training. Unfortunately for Miki after taking a sensation contested mark in the 3rd quarter about 12 to 15 metres out from goal we all were ready to celebrate with her on what we thought was going to be a goal but unfortunately the perceived pressure in potentially kicking a goal got to much for Miki which resulted in a kick that went off the side of her boot but as she said after the game on the bright side she did kick a point.
I want to make special mention of Tara’s game, in her 1st hit out this season she played a terrific 4 quarter game. Tara can at times go under the radar but played a fantastic game.
Last but not least the player of the day was Zoe. Put at centre half back and advised to be an attacking back to focus on the ball instead of the player Zoe was outstanding, taking more than double figures in marks she proved to be a thorn for Clayton time and time again. She did not shirk any contest nor any opposition player who were no doubt bigger, more solid and a lot more brutesque if that’s a word. No other words to describe her game other than describing it as a sensational 4 quarter effort and against the odds.
There is so much more I can say, there were many highlights and so many things we showed throughout the game that showed great promise.
What this performance showed is that with half our team this is what we are capable of so it’s scary to think what we can be capable of with a full list playing.
It’s hard to gauge what to expect this year, I know East Brighton showed their best and Clayton looked like they had their full list as well and if we buy in and commit collectively in 2021 I have no doubt we have them covered and comfortably but it just won’t happen, we need to make it happen and influence it.
The last practice match is organised now for next Monday which will be a shortened game and then the season proper will finally loom on us. Now is the time to gel together and get back on track so we can have a strong season.