After a successful outing in a pre-season friendly at Ern Holmes last week, Team Evans returned to the Home of Football on Sunday to face the Balgowlah Suns. With a few more numbers than last week, Team Evans fielded nine players and two loan from the Suns. We also warmly welcomed Isobel to the team for her first game at the Cats, she certainly looks much more at home in the Blue & White hoops than the Purple Haze!
Our game focus was on Team Communication and Kicking, and of course, enjoying the game. Coach Mic was ready to discuss these points and more, but where was the team? They’d disappeared en masse for a last-minute toilet stop, and Coach Kelly had to rush and dig them out. Mila was Captain, and addressed the team, extremely briefly (though effectively), before leading them out in a rush to meet the waiting Suns. Military types will be familiar with the term “hurry up and wait”, because once in the centre, it was a couple of minutes of polite conversation with the opposition before the umpire arrived from the previous game.
The teams were fairly evenly matched in skills, and from the centre bounce the game moved from stoppage to stoppage, with little obvious advantage over the quarters, despite zone rotations. Confusion reigned when the opposition coach was continually calling out to “Lulu”, her and our Eloise (aka Lulu) were even playing on each other in the midfield at one point. Also at one point there was some discussion over the installation of goal-line technology!
All the girls played very well. Eva is learning her trade in the front line, and Verity in the back. The team relies on Robyn’s steady kick and Mila’s ferocity. Collette was in-and-under so many times, that at one point after a particularly heavy tackle her anxious father needed to do a hurried count of her teeth, and Isobel fitted in so perfectly and rucked tirelessly.
Arguably the best play was in the second quarter. It started from the backline, where Collette and Eva worked together to clear it out of defence, into the midfield, where the centres quickly moved it along the wing to the forwards and was converted by Eloise. Coach Mic remarked that he hadn’t seen ball movement that good in the previous evening’s Sydney Derby, from either team!
Our other goal scored was by Isla, from a set shot that just kept on bouncing and bouncing through, cheered and coaxed on by a vocal group of supporters who were assisting that end’s goal umpire. At least one of those supporters had come all the way from Willoughby, decked out in his green and gold, certainly that young man’s trip was worthwhile! In the end, the game was as even as it could be, the coaches, parents and players were tired and happy, and the girls rousing song echoed off the trees of Blackman.
At training this week we will be trying to address some of the weaker points of our game, specifically being aware during game time of where our opponents are and how to effectively mark them. But in reality, it is the first match of the season, and the girls are playing remarkably well.
The Tayla Harris Courage Award was rightly awarded to Isla for her fortitude in remaining on after taking a full-kicked ball to the chest whilst standing the mark in the first quarter. There were understandably tears, but full determination, and do you think she flinched when next standing the mark? Not by a single centimetre! The Darcy Vescio Award for Play of the Day was given to first-gamer Annabel, who despite her small size, was literally growling whilst tackling in the back-pocket!
Team Evans plays again at Blackman Park next Sunday against the formidable Willoughby Wildcats. A number of our young guns are holidaying in Koh Samui this weekend, so it’ll be a slog. Not one which this team will shy away from though!
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