Fortunately, on a wettish weekend, we were away at Cherrybrook and so not subject to the vagaries of the availability of Steve Chisolm oval under a mild mist. We’d been comfortable winners in a trial game against this opposition and so there was some conjecture amongst the socially distanced supporters as to whether the team was “switched on”. Those concerns proved prophetic as the Lightning scored the opening goal shortly after the start of play and their players and supporters lifted in unison.
A tight game ensued, and whilst the Cats may not have been at their best, the opposition simply ran harder, tackled harder and attacked the ball relentlessly as the Cats struggled to find any rhythm. Laces exemplified the out of sorts Cats by picking the ball up on the wing, sprinting away from the chasing pack and booting a glorious kick a good 50m down the wing. Her hands going up to her head signaled that she realized what had been clear to the crowd for some time, that the ball was heading deep into the oppositions forward pocket.
Elin’s positional play continues to develop and in one of the few times that the ball travelled forward, she found space and slotted the first goal for the Cats. Helena was the outstanding player of the first quarter, working hard in the ruck against an agile opponent and often finding herself at the centre of yet another pack forming. An inaccurate and messy quarter closed with a slight Cat’s lead. Q1 LCC 1.3.9 v NWL 1.0.6.
The less said about the second quarter the better, looking more like the Tahs v Reds than Port v Richmond. Ash worked hard in the ruck and Armo took it upon herself to bust the ball out of the packs. On one of the few occasions that the ball did pop out of a pack, Lucy roved neatly at the back and kicked truly off the right to score a goal. Q2 LCC 2.4.16 v NWL 2.1.13
At half time, the Lightning had their tails up and the Cat’s coaches were under pressure. Names were being moved around the white board faster than a teenager’s thumbs on a social media frenzy. Burna was moved to the back to organize the defence and the wingers were told to stand on the wing, of all places. The Cats were reminded that success was dependent on playing a team game.
Clearly the message got through. Suddenly team structure re-appeared, and with it, space was created. Laces found herself some space in the forward line and took a mark close to the line. No need to worry about lining up a kick, just turn and snap and the third quarter had opened with a quick goal. The Lillies of the Field started to run, the D down the middle and the S down the wing. Chops was chasing down everything in defence and turning the ball back in attack, while Burna’s positional play meant that she was intercepting everything that came in and the Cat’s goals were rarely threatened.
As much as it is a delight to write each week about Jaimie’s attack on the ball with reckless disregard for her own safety, it was equally a delight to watch 15 minutes of footy with Jaimie camped on the half forward line. Her first goal, involved bumping two of her own teammates out of the way to clear the path. Her second and third came from marks as the ball found its way more clearly into the forward line and her fourth from a scramble and a kick around the corner. With the Cats looking like the Cats again, the score line looked healthier. Q3 LCC 7.7.49 v NWL 2.1.13
With the game well in hand, the fourth quarter was a mixed bag. Lexie was finding plenty of ball just off the pack and seemed to be camped under every big kick. Charli was getting involved with marks and an early goal. Tipsy was delivering the ball out of the pack to free players and laid on a goal assist for Charli’s second. Elin added another to her growing season tally and Maia cleaned up a bouncing ball in the square and took one for herself. In the final seconds of the game, Tipsy shook off three defenders, kicked directly to Maia in
the goal square, who marked comfortably, stepped back, lined up and kicked it sweetly over the head of her father goal umpire as the final hooter sounded. Not the greatest game this team will ever play, but they found their game under pressure and took away the eight points.
Final Score: Lane Cove Cats 12.12.84 d North West Lightning 2.1.13
Goals: J. Morelli (4), E. Ladmore (2), C. Griebel (2), M. King (2), G. O’Dowd, L.Yates
Players’ Player: H. Armstrong
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