WAWFC Round 5 Wrap Up

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - 1:35 PM

RESERVES

Amidst unrelenting rain, the Falcons Women’s Reserves team headed off to Leederville Oval for their clash against Subiaco Lions. The ibis seemed impressed with the oval’s condition, wading happily through the inner-city wetlands, but our players looked warily at the sodden, muddy mess. Challenging conditions build character though, and the Falcons proved to be undeterred by the drowning hazard, running, or at least slidingover the top of the Lions by 21 points.

We started strong with the first clearance and were then able to lock the ball in our half for most of the first quarter. Debut player, Shannen Wynne, combined with rising star, Cameron Dawson, to ruck the stoppages to our advantage, while our hard-working midfielders got numbers to the ball. Despite the ground resembling a Bon Jovi song, it was a delight to watch return player, Bianca Webb, gather the ball off the deck on the run and deliver smoothly to her target. Our first goal of the match came from the efforts of Amber Ugle-Hayward assisting Erin O’Brien to hit the bullseye.

The Lions went into the second quarter with a solitary point on the board, and from there we kept them scoreless while extending our lead. Teal Bennett hunted the ball relentlessly, either moving it forward into our 50, or creating a defensive contest out of the Lions’ kick-outs. She was ably supported by Amy Szeliga with perfectly timed shepherds, and Kelly Keane who can always be relied upon to play whatever specialist role the coaches throw at her game in and game out. 

During the second quarter we had several attempts at goals but the conditions made accuracy difficult until Tracy Gallagher foiled a Subiaco kick-out, allowing the ball to land in Hope Ugle’s safe hands to slot our second. Defensively, we had players, of the likes of Tiahna Scandrett, making the most of the wading pools by putting their bodies, and their snorkels, into the water to halt any Lions surges. At half time the score showed our attacking prowess, but the point count reflected the challenging circumstances.

While we still managed to dominate clearances and inside-50s in the third quarter, the Lions came out with sharpened claws and managed to hold the ball in their den more often. Our defensive pressure resulted in little movement on the scoreboard though, and the only point we conceded would have been a goal had it not been for the mammoth bump laid by Amber Ugle-Hayward to send the Subiaco player flying into the Leederville café strip, spraying her kick. Isabel Strover also tackled like a snare trap, almost collecting an entire pride of lions with her tackle count.

The fourth quarter saw much of the same, but with slightly more time spent in our forward 50. By this point in the match, the players were carrying an extra 10kgs of mud on their uniforms, and even the football was feeling water logged, so the score ground to a halt. The rare occasions Subiaco mounted a comeback were easily cut short by the strong hands of Hayley Merrick, and the supreme cardio-vascular effort of Lily Hayward to save one right on the line by the quick of a lion’s claw. At the end of the match, the teams were escorted off the ground in life rafts, with the Falcons securing the win and moving up to second spot on the ladder.

 

ROGERS CUP

Round 5 needing a win to keep finals hopes alive with a game that could have easily been played at Beatty Park instead of Leederville Oval, given the amount of water around, and our Rogers Cup girls stood up to the challenge and came away with a well-deserved victory, West Perth 2.2 (14) to Subiaco 0.4 (4).

Facing conditions the were worse than the previous week, a heavy ground underfoot and the threat of heavy storms to come, the Falcons started with real intent and with a good early clearance from the retuning Jasmine Kolodynski, but for the slippery ball would have created a goal within the first minute. The pattern for the game then settled in, it was all about gaining territory and then trying to hold it in the forward half, which is what West Perth were able to do for most of the quarter.

With another returning player Jaymee Duke was preventing any opportunity Subiaco had to get forward with plenty of intercepts just back of centre, then feeding out to the quick running Jeevna Heer, who was using her long kicks to great effect to drive the repeat inside 50’s. A crowded forward line making scoring even harder and by quarters end the scoreline was locked at 0.2 (2).

The second quarter began with Subiaco trying to gain momentum with several pushes forward only to be thwarted by the likes of the Ebony Jackson who was continually attacking the ball with speed, Summer Mollross, who had been shifted to defence this week, providing the in and under and Nat Bennett who mopped up everything else. The rebound from the backline was great all day and when Elissa Price goaled midway through the quarter the Falcons got some reward for the effort taking that difference into the halftime break 1.2 (8) to 0.2 (2).

Constant rain meant the style of play was to continue in the second half, Tia Smith who had moved to ruck with the absence of Sarah Henderson was showing she was a good choice, competing well in the ruck, then getting onto the ground balls and providing options around the ground. Tahli Wilkins was certainly enjoying the tough conditions as she worked tirelessly all day ensuring the Falcons first use from stoppages. Mahli Turland was another who just revelled in the heavy going, showing her smooth silky skills, with one-touch pickups and superb foot skills, could stand up as if it was a bright sunny day. Elissa Price playing out of full-forward was certainly the difference between the two sides when she booted her second for the morning and widening the gap to 11 points, a lead which would remain for the duration. 

The massive storm hit right at the three quarter time break, with waterfalls over the steps on the outer wing adding a nice feature to a completely underwater oval, so it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that the last quarter was just going to be a slog and while there were moments where it looked like the Falcons could break clear the conditions just made it near impossible to gain any great advantage. Jeevna Heer was awarded Best on ground for her continued work on the wing, her running ability and long kicks constantly providing the link into the forward, and Tahli Wilkins who has put together a good string of form was the toughness the day required and setup so many of the drives forward. Next week we head back to Arena and hopefully a much drier day.