Best Players: L. Daw, R. Azzopardi, M. Spillane, A. Payne, J. Lee, K. Bulluss
Another beautiful but slightly cold morning greeted us at The Snakepit as players arrived for what we hoped would be our third consecutive win against the bottom of the ladder, Brunswick Renegades. After a narrow win against Bulleen Templestowe and a week off, the girls had a very focussed week on the training track and coaching staff felt as though we had addressed a number of ‘deficient’ areas in terms of skills.
We had a surprise guest in the rooms and during our warm to help us get into the right headspace, Australian Netball coaching legend, Joyce Brown (she has also visited us during pre season training to offer her sage advice) who spoke about the importance of unselfish play, of bringing each other into the game, supporting your team mates, working hard for your team mates and of why we chose to play team sport and not an individual sport. The girls (and coaches) listened intently during Joyce’s speech and you could tell from the silence and the ‘sparkle’ in the girl’s eyes as they took in the pearls of wisdom on offer that today was going to be a magical game.
From the opening bounce it was obvious that both teams had brought intent and aggression to the game. There were plenty of big bumps and tackles laid by both teams throughout the quarter. We were a bit wasteful with our disposal in our forward 50 in the first quarter kicking 2 goals 5 but that was also due to Brunswick’s defence giving our forwards cause for concern and putting the pressure on but co-captain Jess Lee was in there working hard to create every opportunity for our key forwards to score. Our midfield group were outstanding in their ability to run and carry from the middle of the ground and deliver into the forward 50 and their positioning around stoppages has improved out of sight.
Second quarter our inaccuracy continued, and we added 12 points with 7 scoring shots. Our backline was once again miserly and denied Brunswick’s one and only set shot in front of goal by touching it on the line. The run of the midfield was hard to catch let alone stop with the 1, 2 running of Lauren Daw and Rita Azzopardi now becoming a feature of play down the wings and the out of nowhere in and under of Mary Spillane also becoming a weekly part of the play too.
At the half time siren we went in 3.11.29 to 0.1.1 feeling pretty pumped. Constructive half time chats with our respective line groups were overwhelmingly positive, with a few RFI (room for improvement) points thrown in to balance everything out too. Joyce Brown was welcomed in to the groups as well and she was able to back up some of the observations that John and I made as further reinforcement.
The third quarter saw a disciplined, focussed team take control of the game and put on a further 4.3 with contributions coming from the mid field as well as the forward line. There was even a particularly memorable celebration between Rita Azzopardi and Nicole McMahon! Staring down the barrel at our biggest win, the girls were pretty pumped and looked to be enjoying their footy a great deal and debutant Emily Papadimitriou set up a couple of rippers with some confident marks and pinpoint handballs to running midfielders who finished off excellent passages of play with goals.
At 3 quarter time the message was simple, “don’t take your foot off the gas”. “Keep running, keep working hard.”
The girls got the message and for the last 20 minutes they were smart, they were the most accurate they’d been all day, they were tougher than tough, they played accountable football, the backline repelled Brunswick’s multiple forays into attack and again touched their shot on goal but most importantly (for John, anyway) we kicked a 10th goal. 3.1 kicked in the last quarter and a Kiera Bulluss mark and goal in the dying seconds gave us the 10th goal that Johnny Boy wanted, but more importantly it gave us a confidence boosting, team building, strong foundation to keep building on for the rest of the year, because now we definitely know that we have been doing the right things for the last 6 months.
Jade Shanahan – Assistant Coach.
Goal Kickers: N. Walden 2, J. Price 2, D. Erdely, J. Coghlan West
Best Players: J. Coghlan West, N. Stogdale, M. Careri, D. Henschel, D. Hutchinson, A. Panjwani
Round nine against La Trobe, today we were looking at having a red hot go against the second top side and working on switching the ball and using the backward handballs to our advantage.
The first quarter we started off well, our intensity was good and we use the ball well out of our defence with Stogdale being one of the main instigators with great ball movement, but felt we just didn’t capitalise on our opportunities. We match them at the stoppages with Hawke, Coghs, Choco, Arun, Dylan playing there part. Pricey kicked our first goal for the quarter and we were only 8 points down at the break, the team had done a good job in the first term.
The second quarter we started really well with Cogh’s winning the ball for the centre bounce and running through their defence scoring a great goal. Two minutes later Pricey scored his second goal and the Mighty Cobras where in front by 4 points. Unfortunately that’s where it stopped La Trobe than kicked the last six goals for the quarter to lead by 33 points at half time.
3rd quarter La Trobe were full of running in this term and were more committed and were running off halfback at will creating a lot of forward opportunities. We were falling down at CHF and we had wasted a lot of our efforts with poor disposal and decision making. Goals to N.Waldren and Glen Erdely gave as something to cheer in the quarter. The defence with Stogdale, Waldren, Gashman, Mangoes were holding up well considering the forward entries and our on ballers were breaking even at the stoppages, the margin at 3 quarter time was 55 points.
The final term we virtually run out of legs and our work rate had dropped off. Our only goal came from N.Waldren who had kicked his second for the game, well done. The final margin was 90 points but we did show signs of improvement this week.
So as you can see we still have plenty of work to do,but if we all stick together and work hard I’m sure we can be rewarded with a win this week against Powerhouse.
Goal Kickers: R. Pearce 2, T. Lowden 2, M. Szabo 2, J. Mreulje, R. Walmsley, S. Murphy
Best Players: T. Lowden, B. Peel, S. Fitzgerald, J. Blakemore, N. Szabo, S. Murphy