The Rovers girls ventured to St Peters for the last home and away game of 2019. There was close to a full list of 16 girls and Emilie had been busy preparing the magnet board prior to arriving at the game to ensure that the bench was rotated in a fair manner. Tess and Sophie were excited to be announced as our captains for the day and made the wise move after winning the toss to kick into the breeze. The message for the girls pre match was all about applying maximum pressure to the fast running St Peter’s girls and to take the game on wherever possible. Leigh had the group run more laps than down at Tigerland in pre-season and there is no doubt at all that the Rovers were all warmed up for the big game !
Razer Ray Killey pounded the ball into the turf – well he threw it up above the mud anyway – and play was underway. Michaela and Audrey P set the tone early by taking some strong marks. Jazzey C, Jess W and Hannah were throwing themselves into the contest and the Rovers were on top early. Tilly was holding up the defence with some really strong work and was well supported by Jess T, Sophie and Audrey H. After a steady arm wrestle for a few minutes, St Peter’s were able to break the deadlock to kick a goal. Jasmyn B only needed to be given a chance and quickly responded with the Rovers first major after being well supported by Tess, Lealah and Audrey P up forward.
The girls were applauded at quarter time for their really strong play and to have worked so hard to take it up to their opponents. The clear observation from the bench was that St Peter’s players were clearly instructed to play on at all costs and our girls were advised to be very aware of this. Jazzey C started where she left off in the first and swooped on a loose ball to send it long into the Rovers forward zone. Hannah was also displaying her usual dash with Tilly and Audrey H supporting well to give our forwards first use of the Sherrin. Lily was holding up our defence and twice was able to repel some forward thrusts of St Peters. The forwards were working as a team and after some strong play by both Michaela and Audrey P, Jess W was able to kick a big goal.
The girls rugged up at the main break as the sun had vanished and light rain was starting to fall. They were right in this match and showed how far they had come since the last clash against the top team. Bianca, Lily and Sienna led from the front as play resumed and were using the ball well with effective handballs. Tess was rewarded with a free kick in defence and kicked a good pass to Jasmyn who cleared the ball well. Our defenders were now under enormous pressure and Michaela was tackling hard as per usual with Lealah putting her head over the footy. Audrey P jogged off after receiving an accidental close range kick into the stomach which would have taken her mind off the injury to her ankle she had taken into the game. Sophie was starting to get her hands on the ball whilst Hannah and Jess W were running hard like they always do. Tilly took mark of the day in the centre of the ground which was a big highlight for the now frozen Rovers parent group.
The girls were asked for one final effort at the last change and to run until they had nothing left in the tank. The rotations were at an AFL record high with all girls only wanting a few minutes on the pine. Jazzey C was back in the middle and won the first centre clearance once again. Michaela and Audrey H were diving in and Jess T took a great mark. Sophie put in a big second effort and Jazzey T still had run in her legs whilst others were becoming quite exhausted in the trying conditions. Tilly and Jasmyn were doing all they could to stop St Peters from scoring more goals but eventually the constant flow of the ball into their forward line became too much.
The Rovers girls showed how far they have come this year and really took it up to the taller and stronger St Peters side. They were all commended for giving it 110% all day and not shirking any contest. Jess T and Jasmyn received awards from the opposition coach which was really nice to see. The Rovers coaches awards for the day went to Lealah ( tried hard all day ), Jazzey T ( constant run ), Bianca ( very determined ) and Sophie ( great defensive work ). We now look forward to the Lightning Carnival where the girls will meet St Peters and 2 other strong sides but there is no doubt that they are up for the challenge.
U10 Girls Coach