Women Semi Final defeat

The footy gods have been against the Rovers Women’s team over the last few weeks.  Whether it’s injuries, the weather or a combination of the two it has been clear that after a sensational first two thirds of the year, circumstances conspired against the girls to make their finals’ run problematic.

Old Mentonians were clearly a better team on the day.  On their home turf, their big guns all in and firing, they dominated the scoreboard all day and just didn’t give our girls a chance.  But, this was clearly a game where the scoreboard was no reflection of the way the game was played. The difference was when the OMs went forward, they scored, whereas the Rovers just couldn’t seem to get the ball between the big sticks.

You could tell at the opening bounce our girls were on edge.  Still, with Nicky Clarke seemingly all over the ground and with the ball tracking her, she gave Hampton great drive.  Lucy Timmons from the backline was a rock and repelled numerous OM forward drives.  At quarter time, we hadn’t troubled the scoreboard and OM held a handy 7 point lead.

We started the second term with more purpose but with Old Mentonians able to keep the score ticking over, their lead was increasing.  The highlight of the quarter was the great juggling mark by Kiah O’Brien (actually reminded me of some of her great saves with glasses behind the bar!) Similarly, Tash took a great mark at half back and cleared the danger zone with a booming kick forward.  The McLarens (like the Krakouers) were playing well, Chloe, with the Jayden Hunt headband, very solid on the last line of defence and Caitlin, not deterred by her concussion of a couple of weeks ago, was throwing herself into every contest.

At the main break, coach Ned Fallon stressed that the girls had to keep up the pressure on their opponents, to limit some of the run by OMs out of the midfield and move the ball quickly into the forward line.

At the start of the third quarter the heavens opened, the wind increased and the huge band of Rovers supporters present headed for cover.  In driving rain slightly favouring the Mentone end, you couldn’t blame the girls for getting frustrated.  We defended grimly but our backs were under huge pressure as it kept boomeranging back into their zone.  There was great defensive work by Alia Slamet, the McLarens, Brianna Hurst, Sarah Cleary and Courtney Wood in holding back the OM’s attacks.  At the final break things were grim.  No score and down by 35 points.  It was fantastic to see that the girls still maintained the enthusiasm and passion that they had displayed all year and were definitely not going down without a fight.

The coach swung the changes – Rising Star nominee Sarah Cleary went onto the ball, skipper Lucy Timmons went forward and we looked a different team.   Gabby Samkova who had battled hard all day lifted in the middle, our rucks in Sheedi Ferrari and Bianca Lenarcic didn’t let up, and all of a sudden, we in control.  My guess is that we had 90% of the play in the last quarter but just could not hit the scoreboard.  Some great marks by Lucy, some great run and carry by Sarah and we were on top.  The hard work was topped off when Alia passed to Lucy who hit Tarryn Hurst lace out.  She kicked truly and the crowd went crazy!  Overall it was a great team performance, and we kept fighting to the end!

Despite the loss and bowing out of the finals in week one, it has still been a sensational year for the debut of senior women’s footy at the Hampton Rovers Football Club. With almost 50 players taking the field at some point, the enthusiasm has been fantastic and has really added a new dimension to the club. Lock in Thursday 28th September for Presentation Night at the Sandringham Yacht Club – full details to be announced shortly.

Goals: Tarryn Hurst 1
Best:  Gabby Samkova, Nicki Clarke, Lucy Timmons, Sarah Cleary, Alia Slamet

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