Well as somebody once said…it was like deja vu all over again as we traipsed out to Waverley for a replay of our very first game of the season. With close to a full list of 24 players, it was a game the girls where keen to do very well in and finish off the season singing the Rovers song.
This was the third time we had played the Waverley Hawks and on both of the previous occasions we had finished second and only managed to score a maximum of 17 points. They are a well drilled team that had played together for a number of seasons and had some skilful girls.
Our girls were not overawed and were determined to set the tone early. Elisha was working super hard in the ruck getting first hand on the ball and the midfield led by Mia (who clearly wanted to get as much of the footy in the first half as she had to leave to work at one of our valued club sponsors – Coldrock). Mia had an old fashioned dose of leather poisoning and kept moving the ball forward by any means possible. She was well supported by Greta, Ava and Kim and in a tough first quarter we kept the ball in our front half of the ground with Caity managing to add to her goal tally with a great major to open the scoring.
Our back line was incredible, pouncing on the Hawks players every time they went forward. Jess and Eliza – fresh from 3 weeks in Vietnam on a school trip – were impassable. Gabi and Imogen were in everything, Lucy took a number of important intercept marks and Makenzy literally ran herself into the ground tackling anything in that horrible brown and gold jumper!! (Editor’s note: the match report writer is letting his Geelong bias show!)
The second quarter was another tough and tight affair. Phoebe and Maegan were clearly on top in the ruck, Jaida was relentless in her attack on the ball. Tamsyn was using her closing speed to great effect snuffing out many forward thrusts by the Hawks.
Tessa was her reliable self, at worst halving every contest she went into and more often streaming away and kicking the ball forward. Shae, Jaye and Kim had control of the midfield and flanks and it felt like we had the better of the play. Our forwards locked the ball in our half, Scarlett and Sophie were tireless and Caity used her speed and burst away from the pack to slot her second for the half.
The backline again proved impassable with Alex, Tayla and Amelia all paying their part and keeping the Hawks scoreless to half time. It was a great first half of footy with solid contributions across the board.
Half Time Score
Waverley Hawks 0 0 0
Hampton 2 1 13
The half time break reinvigorated the Hawks girls and they came out firing in the 3rd quarter. They kicked 2 quick goals and the game suddenly was a tight affair.
We were still playing really well and doing the things we spoke about – running to space, kicking to the leading player, using our speed to break away from congestion, applying tackling pressure on the opposition.
We had shots on goal but couldn’t convert our chances and only managed to kick 3 behinds for the quarter. The electronic scoreboard died a sudden death and we turned into the last quarter with just a 3 point buffer.
We found our mojo again in the last with Maegan (under physical duress) dominating on the ball. Makenzy, Alex and Tayla (our 3 smallest players) were tackling everything in sight, Lucy, Shae and Ava had control in the middle and it seemed like there were about 3 Greta’s on the field – she would bob up in the ruck, take a relieving mark in the backline or stream down the wing and pump the ball into the forward line – it was clear Greta wanted to sing the song!!
A goal to Shae extended the margin and provided a small buffer – 9 points. From the resultant centre bounce the Hawks managed to snaffle a goal in quick reply even though Soph on the last line of defence swears she touched it (I wasn’t convinced until she showed me her dislocated finger!!)
The scoreboard came back to life and with about 7 mins to go we held just a 3 point margin. The ball seemed to be camped in our forward line and through all the congestion we snuck through 2 more behinds. Margin of just 5 points with less than 4 mins to go.
Our team pressure was simply outstanding and surely something had to give – up stepped Imi who ducked, dodged and weaved her way through and past a number of Hawks and slotted a goal (I think her first of the season).
With 2 mins to go we needed to hang on and that we did. The final siren sounded and 24 Rovers girls went slightly mad – not to mention the parents on hand!!!!
Waverley Hawks 3 1 19
Hampton 4 6 30
Goals: Caitlin 2, Shae 1, Imogen 1
A great way to finish our home and away season and the rendition of the song will stay with me for a long time to come.
Credit to each and every girl that played during the season – with many playing their first ever season of footy, it was pleasing to see the improvement of everybody over the course of the year and the way we played when comparing the first game to the last was simply outstanding.