You may recall the mandate the scribe awarded himself, that if players didn’t have good footy nicknames by about now, they would be provided with one. Bad time to appear in the paper, Lily “cover girl” Dorahy.
The mid season reshuffling of the draw means it is Round 8 before we get to play the Grand Final Replay and the AFL has somehow conspired (no, I don’t think that is too strong a word dear) to have the two teams up a division and on the bottom of the ladder. We’re about to go into the midseason break, which makes it an important game on a number of levels; an opportunity to gauge our progress, a shot at a little bit of payback and a potential spot in the top four. The overwhelming memory of the Grannie is of an opposition that was tall, fast and talented – so there is that. The game is scheduled for 4:20 and sunset is due at 4:53, so the lights are turned on, the yellow ball is broken out of the plastic bag and the winter coats make an appearance on the sideline.
Elin’s three and a half thousand goals in the 14s has caught the eye of the grading committee midweek and she is offered the opportunity to have a run in the 16s. Elin brings an uncanny ability to understand the purpose of the large white poles and will no doubt bring another dimension to the forward line. She’s replacing Caitlin, who has joined LucyFC in the wobbly ankle club and is on the sideline.
The Cats are up for this game. The notoriously slow start is nowhere to be seen and the Cats are full of run from the get go. The game is quick, but the Cats look comfortable in the contest. The calls are improving. Lucy’s “mine” can be heard across the river and the mark is taken uncontested. Griebs’ handballs today are a thing of beauty, befitting a 49 gamer. She manages to stay low, on the run, while collecting and delivering the ball in a single motion, consistently setting up her team mates to advantage. The structure is holding up nicely, the ball is being moved around the wings and kicks are being delivered to teammates. The speed of the game means that there is space to run on to the ball and there is plenty of running. The ball falls in front of Elin and she runs on to it, wheels around and kicks cleanly through the goals. Jack Higgins would have given his left, ummm, ear, to kick one like that at the SCG yesterday. The Cats are dominating up front and have a few opportunities at goal, but this is no easy opposition and the Cats are happy to take a one goal lead in to quarter time. Q1 LCC 1.3.9 PWT 0.0.1
The second quarter is the most sublime fifteen minutes ever delivered by this team. Helena is simply untackleable, taking the ball into contact and emerging from the other side to find a team mate running past. Lucy is collecting possessions like Imelda Marcos collects shoes. More importantly, her delivery is exemplary. Eventually she finds the ball in the forward pocket, runs, balances and slots a goal. LilyS is putting her pace to great use, moving the ball with run. Tipsy is in the middle of everything. Bronte and Ash on the wings are seeing plenty of ball. Ash’s mark and delivery to Emma is pitch perfect. Bronte’s run is relentless, every ball on the far wing turns in to a contest. Emma is running into space and having her leads honoured. Martine is playing her best game for the Cats, creating contest after contest in the forward line. Rojia takes the ball on the bounce and handballs neatly to Elin as she runs into space. The Cover Girl leaves her tag on the halfback line, runs forward on to the ball and puts through a lovely goal. More so than the individual performances is the team effort. No ball is left unchased, no team mate left unsupported. Booting the ball down the middle has been replaced by directed passes, but the reason that works is that teammates are positioning themselves to receive the ball. The linking, the passing, the shepherding, its all working. The casual observer would struggle to differentiate between the established players and the new. The Coach describes it as a complete team performance. Bruce Dawe says it even better (do they still teach Bruce at school? if not, can someone get on to that please):
for the leather dove, the run
among mere mortal (wo)men
in time, in place, become
the leap into heaven,
into fame, into legend …
It will be hard to back that up. Q2 LCC 3.5.23 PWT 0.0.1
Hard to back it up, it is. Perhaps its the darkness that has settled, the effort expended, the opposition lifting – most likely all of these. In any event, the Tigers are not going away, the structures deteriorate and the play becomes a little more tangled. The Tigers are seeing more of the ball in this quarter and that gives the defence more to do. Chops takes on two forwards, a total of four times her height, tackles one, intercepts as she passes and turns the ball back in to attack. Griebs continues to attack the ball at every opportunity. The structure may have faltered but the effort hasn’t. Q3 LCC 3.6.24 PWT 0.0.2
The final quarter continues the arm wrestle. Its been that good a game that The ARMO has barely been sighted. Graiceeee comes into her own as she cuts off the attack every time it starts to look threatening. Jaime is still running hard at the end and lays on the tackle of the season right in front of the grandstand, who wince, hold their breath and then mutter their appreciation. The Cover Girl gathers the ball three metres over the boundary line, but its hard to see when council has decided to put the light tower behind a rather large tree. Elin finds space once more and scores a second major. A. Coach is under plenty of pressure to bring her to all the games. Both teams are still running at the end, its been a tough game played in great spirit.
The Cats have come out firing, put the score on the board and then held off a strong and spirited team. This is the sort of game we pay our money to see. Oh yes, we pay.
Final Score: Lane Cove Cats 4.7.31 d Pittwater Tigers 0.0.2
Goals: E. Ladmore (2), L. Yates, L Dorahy
Players’ Player: C. Griebel
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