Round 2 Wrap Up

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 9:49 AM

Reserves

West Perth took on South Fremantle in its first Home Game of the Season, “Ladies Day”, and they were up and ready to ensure it’d be a successful one, by coming out firing from the outset and securing our second straight win of the season with a convincing 36-point win.

With the rucking prowess of second-gamer Cameron Dawson clearing the ball easily to our midfielders, we hit our first goal within minutes off the fancy feet of Courtney Collard. From there the ball spent a fair bit of time in our forward half but we were unable to convert until Gen Cant turned a strong mark into our second goal. The Bulldogs barked back towards the end of the quarter but their first two forward entries were cut short by the clean skills of Hailey Merrick, followed by the combined pressure of Zoe Jones and Jade Webb. Unfortunately, their third entry of the game resulted in their first goal, but they still remained 9 points behind at the end of the first quarter.

During the break, Coach Edward Beck, reminded our players that team systems will always beat individual talent. While the Bulldogs came out yapping with the first goal of the second quarter, holding fast to our structures ensured we extended our lead to 19 points by half-time. Amber Ugle-Hayward was responsible for one of our goals, finishing off the combined efforts of our forward line who pushed the ball to the goal square. Courtney Collard scored our second goal after being robbed earlier of a sliding mark in prime position.

During the warm-up, Trish Medwin, Reserves captain, told the team that every player on the field is as important as the next, and it all comes together when we play our roles. Our first four goals of the game wouldn’t have landed in our forwards’ hands, had it not been for the hard running of our midfielders, like Hope Ugle who spent most of the game floating past the Bulldogs, and Ashleigh Greenwell who had the safest hands and hardest tackles on the ground. Credit should also go to Teal Bennett who pressured the Bulldogs’ forwards like a Pascals unit.

Tracy Gallagher won the first clearance of the third quarter, delivering truly to Gen Cant who played the Hardanger fiddle for the six points. Clearances continued in this fashion and we held the ball in our forward half for much of the third quarter but we simply couldn’t convert. Despite searching fruitlessly for the middle of the goal posts, our players still had some magic moments. Lily Hayward, having been pushed in the back and driven into the ground without a blow of the whistle, still managed to find her feet, gut-run 50 metres, and beat a Bulldogs player further up the ground to the ball, impressing everyone with her cardiovascular feat.

The fourth quarter saw the Falcons extend our lead to 39 points to secure the win. Two of the highlights being Jade Webb’s flying tackle to lock the ball in our 50, and Kat Bennett’s mark right on the goal line to foil the Bulldogs’ last attempt to score a treat or two. Once it was all over red rover, it was the combined efforts and team play of the Reserves women that sent the Bulldogs yelping back to South Fremantle.

Rogers Cup

After a first round win with half the team debutants, spirits were high this week to face last year’s minor premiers and subsequent Grand Finalists. Our young Falcons certainly knew they were going to need to be up for the game too as South Fremantle jumped out of the blocks and goaled within the first minute.

What followed was a good paced, good skilled, hard tackling game that was brilliant to watch, and it eventually came down to just 1 point that separated the two teams after 4 very competitive quarters.

The standard set in round one was the hunting in numbers and hard tackling and that’s exactly what the Falcons bought again, Jess Roper has quickly shown that her brand is tough and hard, the amount of forward pressure she applies on the opposition backs causing turnovers and presenting opportunities. On the third attempt Jess kicked truly for West Perth’s opener  and after 18 minutes of good contested footy Tia Smith earned a free kick and kicked truly to give the Falcons a 6 point lead on the siren.

The second quarter started very similar to the first with South Fremantle jumping out, although much more aware and a Natalie Bennett touch on the line reducing it to a just a behind. The tackling and intensity rose a level, which suited Summer Mollross’ style.

Sarah Henderson had picked up from her great rucking display and was again giving the Falcons first use and working in tandem with Holly Morris created a +13 Clearance differential and enabled Jasmine Kolodynski to do her best work in the midfield.

The play of the half came from an end to end play starting from Karla Stagg deep inside defensive 50 and ending in a true kick from Mahli Turland, but the Bulldogs had the better of the quarter turning a 6 point deficit into a 6 point advantage at the half.

With momentum appearing to be on South’s side, the script certainly wasn’t read by the Falcons who looked to enforce their own will on the game and with the forwards determined to hold the ball in their half, they created many opportunities, unfortunately inaccuracy prevented the full value for the effort, but Holly Morris proved she’s not just a supporting role with a great tackle resulting in a turnover and allowing her to kick a goal. Alas, with the Falcons up by 5 points after a dominant quarter territory wise, South Fremantle managed to quickly move the ball and score a soft goal against the trend of play, snatching back a 1 point lead.

The last quarter had an epic start with 9 minutes of hard tackling and neither side giving an inch, until South Fremantle again kicked a goal to give the a 7 point lead, West Perth could have been excused if that was to be the final margin given, but this is a team intent on making the most of 2020 and when Elissa Price scored a major and bought the margin back to within a point the game delivered what it promised from the outset, a nail-biter. Time did run out though and the final result was an agonizing single point. South Fremantle 6.3 (39) to West Perth 5.8 (38)

The game should be a good rehearsal as they face the other Grand Finalist and eventual Premier in Peel next week, again at Provident Financial Oval, Joondalup.