The wisdom of the footy gods is that you need to lose a grannie to win one andit’s clear that the club is keen to test that theory as the fabled “premiership window” opens. Pre-season training starts before the last season has even finished; new guernseys, that actually fit young women are secured; and finally the notorious player agent firm of Birch&Birch is drafted in to make the key position recruitments that make all the difference in September. Of course, anyone that has followed the Swans for the last 30 years knows that the footy gods have a wicked sense of humour. Armo’s season ending injury in the semis goes under the knife and turns into a two season ending injury and LucY celebrates her elevation to the Swans academy by breaking her wrist in the dying seconds of the first trial game. So the team that fronts up to the first game against the Lightning has a fresh look with six new faces, but still the old jumpers.
The 14s have had a forfeit, so the challenge of getting one of the parents away from the cheeseboard and on to the boundary line is solved by Lizzie and Eliza taking half of the boundary each and Elin, donning a rakish attire, finds her happy place with a pair of flags. Along with The ARMO running without further damage and LucY providing adhoc coaching advice, these are in danger of becoming permanent appointments.
At this point, it may have occurred to you that the scribe isn’t leaving much room to actually describe the match. There are good reasons for this, but let’s focus on the positives. The new recruits showed real promise. In the early moments, Jasmine laid a textbook tackle and followed up later in the quarter with a double shepherd that allowed Elyssa to gather at ground level and deliver her first handball neatly to the passing runner. Lucinda showed the uncoachable, but happy knack of being in the same place at the same time as the ball and racked up some early possessions. LucyFC showed a liking for the open spaces and along with LilyS looks like bringing run to both wings. Roija re-introduced herself to the team by being a presence around the ball and Martine gained an early possession and kicked nicely to advantage.
The old girls put in their usual strong individual performances. Helena, strong in the ruck. Ash a hard running game. Emma bringing her strong semi-final form in to the new season. LilyD showing glimpses of the dominance of which she is capable. Griebs the only player to hold position and risking a cold in the final quarter. Tipsy celebrating her first ever overhead mark by lining up the wrong way – the shock will wear off. Jaime’s tackling technique has matured from heroic to effectively destructive. Graiceeee & LilyS bring their GF form to the new season and Caitlin bringing plenty of run into the middle of the park.
Unfortunately not much of this individual effort showed up in the team performance that we are so accustomed to seeing. Structure was something that held the barbecue onto the club trailer, positional play was largely left to the opposition and those wonderful new long kicks that we have been developing were largely collected uncontested by the Lightning players. The last quarter, as we pressed for victory, only one player could be found outside the 50m line. But it is early days and the team will now doubt gel and start to play the way we expect the Cats to play. A good time to remind ourselves that the Tigers started the 2020 AFL season with only one win in the first four starts.
In the end, a narrow loss to a winnable game. LilyD and Em bothered the scorers. A shakeout, a dust-off, a pipe-cleaner, all good preparation for the Anzac Day blockbuster derby against the Dockers.
Final Score: NW Lightning 3.1.19 d Lane Cove Cats 2.3.16
Goals: E. Byrne, L. Dorahy
Players’ Player: E. Byrne
RECEIVE OUR NEWS
Join our mailing list to receive our latest news and support the Lane Cove Cats.
The Family Friendly Junior AFL Club.