Round 2 Ding Ding Ding!
Thankfully – as much as for the supporters as the players – round 2 was played in much improved conditions, with clear skies and a balmy 20 degrees prevailing at Castlefield Reserve.
In front of a rowdy home crowd, against a Port Melbourne (PM) Colts team that had won by almost as many points as we had lost the week before, the challenge was laid for our own fillies to continue the quarter by quarter improvement the supporters had enjoyed witnessing in Round 1.
After a few calming and encouraging pre-game words from Super Coach Josh (SCJ), with an emphasis on “pressuring the opposition”, they were off and racing.
In the first quarter they did exactly what was asked, conceding territory but putting the PM forward line and midfield under constant duress. Matilda Brown and Lola Davis got through a mountain of defensive work including a huge tackle from the later that got the crowd roaring early.
This resulted in just the solitary goal from Port Melbourne and the appreciation of the Rovers coach and supporters.
The second quarter again saw the PM team camped in Hampton territory with a series of behinds eventually leading to a brace of goals. Vivi Buckley, on debut in midfield, got involved early as did Zoe Hewlett while Lucy Inserra and Tiani Whytlaw led a busy defensive line that denied PM as many times as they conceded.
At half time captain Juliet Moss issued motivation words to keep the pressure on and be fearless and they seemed to have the desired effect.
The third stanza started with a great smother from Emma Bloom and strong possessions from Stella Coccaro, Willow Hunt and Phoebe Wilson. Audrey Hanson worked hard in midfield before being replaced, with Ruby Pollio also prominent. A couple of late goals to PM saw them steal back the momentum Hampton had built throughout the quarter.
However, it soon returned in the final spell, the best of the season so far, including several forays deep into PM territory during which it seemed inevitable Hampton would score. Bianca Stewart recorded multiple possessions, likewise Georgia Paterson with Lola Davis scrapping it out on a number of occasions to deny or strip the opposition of the ball.
There was also some lovely interplay between Juliet Moss and Ruby Theobald, Emma Bloom showed great strength to get a kick away under all sorts of pressure and Charlie Bizzel produced a couple of slick handballs reminiscent of her old man.
Nadia Stockwell, in what would be her last act of the match, made a brave smother with her head. Initial reports from Doc Larkins indicate she’ll be available for this week’s game.
On the few occasions Hampton had to defend, Agatha Beare and the rest of the defence capably repelled the PM attack.
Alas, the points weren’t forthcoming and the quarter ended scoreless.
SCJ, in what will be this playing groups last post-match debrief together, praised the effort the team put in, particularly the heroics in the final quarter.
It was great to see big smiles on all the girls faces despite the result. Add to that their attitude is great, there is no shortage of effort and they’re playing hard but fair – everything a sports team should be!
Deserving winners of awards this week were Bianca Stewart, Lola Davis and lead by example captain of the day, Juliet Moss.
A special mention also goes to Umpire Escort, Grant Stockwell, who brought new levels of professionalism to this vital and demanding role. The bar has been set high for future weeks.
Your Reporter at Large,
Grant Stockwell (Nadia’s Dad)