Derby day dawns, and early, for those attending their dawn service. The talk at training and pre-game is about team structure and playing a team game. The new players to the team have their first game nerves out of the way and the more experienced have been reminded of their responsibilities to lead the way.
Fifteen on the field and a couple on the bench looks like being the standard for the season. Elin has taken the flags again and started working on the subtleties of field and goal umpire interactions. The Dockers look a strong team and we will need to use our combinations and skills to keep the ball away.
From the opening bounce Helena knocks the ball down to LilyD who kicks it forward and it feels like someone has flicked the light switch from the darkness of the one out play and clogged forward lines of last week and we are off. The ball is moving nicely, leads are being made, the shepherds are on and all of a sudden it looks like a team game once more. Caitlin takes on the defenders and gets past with strength and Ash is making her presence felt in the middle while the going is still tough.
Martine is playing in the forward pocket and leading nicely in to space. She takes a mark in good space, lines up and kicks a lovely goal. First for the club and the team gets around. Em is having a good game and bags one as well after a nice mark. Jaime is playing forward. Jaime has the speed, strength, toughness and presence of a Buddy Franklin, but well shall we say that kicking in a straight line isn’t her strength. After a couple of marks in the forward line, which might normally result in a goal or two, Jaime takes a different approach and marks two metres out. The crowd is hushed, but with the pressure off, the ball sails straight through. Lucinda is getting involved in the play and starting to get the timing of getting the ball to support. Someone else scored a goal in the first quarter, and the scribe would be grateful if someone would let him know who. LCC 4.5.29 NRD 0.0.0
One name stands out in the second quarter. LilyS gets sent down front and plays “how many ways can we score a goal”. Turns out the answer is “five” as she keeps popping up in various locations and putting them in from all over. Of course you don’t score goals if the rest of the team is looking on. Chops is being a terror up front. Elyssa and Jasmine are finding their feet in the game and starting to look the part. Roija’s presence in the forward line is creating nervousness amongst the opposition and space for her teammates. Tipsy (I’m not a goal kicker) changes the tune for a moment by trying to pass to LilyS and kicking it through the middle about halfway up. Oops. Griebs gets to have another long one-on-one with her opponent as the ball is kept mostly on the forward half. LCC 6.4.69 NRD 0.0.0
With the mercy rule invoked and the Cats bench increasing by two, things even out a bit. Gracieeee decides it’s her turn to play and dominates the forward half, taking on defenders and seemingly running at will. Bags a goal for her troubles. LucyFC is really starting to get the feel for the game and using her speed in the wide open spaces. Running nicely into the forward line, she scores her first for the Cats. LCC 12.11.83 NRD 0.0.0
The last quarter fades as the sting comes out of the game, but Helena, clearly sick of only being mentioned in the match report for her excellent rucking skills, muscles her way forward and kicks the final goal of the game. The last three minutes tick away watching the St John’s crew look after one of the Dockers, but all is well in the end and the game concludes.
A much better game than last week and the team looks to be coming along nicely. Next week’s game is against the team we beat in the preliminary final last year in a heart stopper and it’s probably unlikely that they have forgotten. It will be a ripper.
Final score. LCC 13.13.91 d NRD 0.0.0
Goal scorers: L. Sullivan(5), E. Byrne(2), M. Zeilinga, J. Morelli, E. Halloran, G. Sachs, L. Fairlie-Cuninghame, H. Armstrong, A.N. Other.
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