Luck is sometimes all you need in a game of football – sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t. this week for the U14 it didn’t go our way, but the girls can hold their heads high after putting in a four quarter effort of tough and determined football.
The Rovers had two debutants for the day, with Chloe H and Sarah B donning the green and gold for the first time. Welcome to the Rovers girls! Captain for the day Amelia L won the toss and the Rovers were kicking to the Cornerstone & Co. end. There was a strong wind blowing, but it wasn’t favouring either end, and it certainly wasn’t favouring the coaches’ box, where it seemed to colder and colder as the game progressed.
In what was to be the pattern for the day, East Malvern got a quick break from the centre, and scored the first goal, but for the rest of the quarter, the ball spent most time in the middle or our forward line with our girls not being able to take the ball the last few yards, and we finished the quarter without a score.
Despite no reward on the scoreboard, our girls were all over loose ball, with Elyse K and Lottie G getting plenty of the footy and showing a lot of run. Emma B showed the Rovers spirit with a great chase and tackle to keep the pressure on.
Our girls were moving the ball well, with a number of good marks taken as we went forward, with Emily T and Lilly M taking good grabs.
On one of the rare East Malvern forward forays, Chloe H in her first game got in an important spoil to win a stoppage which then allowed the Rovers to clear the ball and go forward again.
This was the quarter in which we created an abundance of opportunities, but just couldn’t capitalise. We peppered the goals, with behinds to Matilda, Lily M and Elecia W.
Sarah B in her first game really got into the play up forward with a couple of great marks. Ava O’K also took a strong mark as we pressed forward. Matilda C was everywhere, chasing the ball and trying to find a way through the tight East Malvern defence. Elyse, in her first season of footy seems to get better with every quarter, also finding lots of the footy, but importantly also finding confidence to run and carry the ball.
We had all the play for the quarter, peppered the goal for four behinds – but in the last minute, EM we able to run forward and score a goal just before the siren.
We started the third quarter well with an early push forward resulting in a behind to Lily Mac, only to see EM run the ball all way to the other end to score their third goal of the game. After this, our pressure, which had been good all day went up another gear as the Rovers girls dug deep to try and wind in the deficit. Maddie S was great in midfield, and Elyse got on the board for a behind after earning a free kick after a strong tackle and then a 15 metre penalty.
Emma B earned another free from a great tackle, and we went forward again for another behind to Matilda. Amelia’s tackling, which is always fierce, went up another level – there would have been some nervous girls from East Malvern if they got the ball anywhere in range of our version of Byron Pickett.
At the start of the last quarter, the Rovers were still in touch – having had the better of the play for most of the day – being only 11 points behind. The girls came out with great intensity, Amelia continuing to tackle, hard. Tess I was proving hard to get past at half back, Millie C made a great run, and even threw in a bounce as she headed to the forward line! Elyse never stopped running with the ball and driving it forward and creating opportunities – but again our girls just couldn’t convert. Sadly for the Rovers, East Malvern were able to get forward and score a goal against the run of play.
By the final siren, we’d had the play in our forward half for the nearly whole game, had put on enormous pressure, had more scoring shots, but just couldn’t convert our opportunities. With a little bit of luck our way, it could have been a very different result.
East Malvern played a good game, made the most of their opportunities, and in the end were rewarded with a win. Our girls can hold their heads high for never giving up, and for putting in 110% – with a bit of luck it could have been so different. I’m sure that the rewards will come in future games if we continue to show the same level of commitment and endeavour.
Finally, a shout out to our umpires for the day who did a terrific job.
Onwards to Round 6!!