Round 8 - Womens Prems vs Sussex Swans
Tim Maguire | 05.07.22
“I like pressure. Diamonds are made under pressure”. Fine words from Australian cycling champion Caroline Buchanan. And a fitting description for the performance shown by our SheDees on the south coast, who glistened in the sunshine against last year’s Conference premiers.
Knowing only a win would keep us in the hunt for an invaluable top-two finish, there was no shying away from the magnitude of the match, against an opposition that had yet to taste defeat. That record, however, had to be taken in context, as they’d yet to face either the Wildcats 1’s or ourselves. So the message was simple… “they’re yet to face a contender, and we’re going to show them what it takes to be a contender.”
Lining up with an unconventional forward line that featured four “talls” in Kelsy, Buckets, Ando and Amber, there was no doubting the firepower of the team, IF the right delivery could be achieved. A strong wind, however, presented Sussex with at least a two-goal advantage in the first quarter… but that’s where their advantage stopped.
Bursting out of the blocks like a Jamaican sprinter, our reigning premiers showed why they’re just that, as they dominated clearance and had the Swans stunned. Led by an immense performance from Prip in the ruck, the midfield offered up silver service to the forward line, with Buckets almost unplayable from the pocket. A goal in the early minutes would prove a sign of things to come from our marking machine, who was relishing the space afforded by good running from Kels and Ando. 12-12 the score a quarter-time, with Cayne also chipping in with one. A great start given the conditions, now it was time to put the foot down!
And down it certainly went in the second quarter, as the midfield of Gemma, Nools and Chloe got to work, feasting on the taps delivered by Prip. Time and time again the ball flew forward, and if not for some slightly inaccurate kicking, a bigger margin would have greeted the girls at half time. Having led with purpose from the first bounce, Kels was rewarded with a goal of her own, as Buckets added a second. The most pleasing aspect of the term, however, was keeping the Swans scoreless, and the reward was a 15-point lead at half-time.
The wind, though, was showing no signs of stopping, so a big third quarter awaited after the break, as Sussex sought to chip away at our advantage. A goal from the first clearance was just the boost the hosts needed, but like they had done all day, our girls responded through fierce pressure and stellar work-rate, and were duly rewarded. With the ball holding up in the breeze, it was a quarter where contest would be everything in the forward-line, conditions made for one Bonnie Johnson. Living up to her nickname, she filled her bucket with two key goals, as the girls again matched the Swans on the scoreboard. This though would not be achieved if not for a brilliant quarter from the defence, with Bec Foster embracing her inner Gandalf and letting no opponent past.
And so came the final term, with composure the key ingredient for victory. Led again by our magnificent midfield, the girls didn’t give the Swans a sniff, and the frustration was clear to see on the opposition bench, as they hurled insult after insult at an umpire they provided themselves. Up forward, Ando was throwing herself at every contest possible, and was unlucky not to kick a goal on what was a brilliant prems debut, whilst Jen kicked her first in the top division having almost had her head taken off TWICE! That major would prove the knockout blow to Sussex, who despite a goal of their own could not close the gap in the final term.
49-31 the final score in what was undoubtedly our finest performance of the season, with Buckets named players player. From front to back it was a joy to watch, and now attention turns to locking up that top-two spot against both the Lions and the Hawks.
Finally a huge shout out to Adam, Leash, Harriet and Big Guy, who helped us out down in Brighton. This footy club is nothing without its volunteers, and you all played your part in what was a truly great day!
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