WPWFC - INDIGENOUS ROUND

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 - 3:46 PM

RESERVES

The ideal weather combined with the day’s spirituality created the perfect conditions for our Reserves team to play some Moorditj football. The players were led enthusiastically onto the ground by proud Noongar girls, Maddison and Jilaya Collard, whose mum, Courtney Collard, Noongar Yamatji woman, is our BGC Housing Group’s Indigenous Ambassador. Courtney is also our champion full forward and her emerging elite snapshot has bagged her nine goals so far this season.

During the first quarter, the ball spent most of the time in our forward-50. While we had four scoring shots, we slotted the middle sticks once only off the precise boot of Erin O’Brien. Which is not to say that the players weren’t hustling hard in attack. If the ball was around, Noongar woman, Amber Ugle-Hayward, was either gathering it off the deck, shepherding for her teammates, tackling advancing Swans, or simply moving it forward in one way or the other. She was ably supported by Kelly Keane whose intensive defensive pressure ruffled the plumage of a few Swans. 

The highlight of the quarter though, came from the Yanchep Districts and Wanneroo Year 5/6 Girls teams who sparked up a Falcons chant in the crowd. Those small but ferocious voices cheering for their older counterparts couldn’t have been a truer sign that female football pathways in our district are essential. Yanchep Districts have also achieved another milestone in female football fielding their first all-girls junior team this year. At the end of the first quarter with our Reserves leading by eight points, it was a delight to watch the girls warm up for their half-time debut, running through drills, talking techniques and receiving encouragement from their coaches.

Having been kept scoreless in the first quarter, the Swans came out flapping at the start of the second quarter, but the threat display didn’t work on elite defender, Amy Szeliga, who repelled every one of their entries. Noongar woman, Lily Hayward, along with Trish Medwin also combined to swoop onto the ball in our defensive-50 and move it beyond the reach of the Swans’ wingspan. At the other end of the field, we had several opportunities in front of goals, but we weren’t able to convert. Courtney Collard shrugged three defenders off like a party crasher during a Swan Lake performance, and managed to put it onto her boot, but unfortunately it was cut short just on the goal line. Tracy Gallagher also showed her versatility this quarter, cutting into the right pocket for several strong marks.

At half-time we went into the break with a 12-point lead, and while we were off the ground preparing a new batch of barbeque sauce for basting swans, the junior girls took to the field for their exhibition match. The Yanchep Districts and Wanneroo teams played a fiercely focused but fair game and both sides slotted a goal each with some fancy footwork. The enthusiasm of the girls was infectious, and their goal-kicking energy stayed out on the ground because in the third quarter we were able to bag three of our own. 

Teal Bennett, who’d slogged it out all day, started us off with our first goal of the third quarter, and this was quickly followed up by Amber Ugle-Hayward. Courtney McDaniel bossed the ball through to Amber who then dodged and weaved to deliver truly. While the Swans actually hit the first goal of the quarter, Hailey Merrick proved her defensive experience during their second foray into goals, getting back behind her player to fist pump the ball away from the goal line to her advantage for a bomb of a clearance kick. Over the course of the third quarter, we had numerous midfielders drive the ball into our forward-50, such as the likes of Noongar woman, Hope Ugle, who also kicked the kind of mammoth drop punt that makes eyes go wide for a big goal square mark. The persistent efforts of the players finally paid off when the ball snuck past the Swans defenders to find itself on the end of Courtney Collard’s boot for her favoured snap and goal.

In the fourth quarter, we hunted the ball relentlessly, with Isabel Strover finding numerous clearances and Ashleigh Greenwell presenting lead after lead, paying off with her first goal of the game. Our debut player, Caitlin Knight, even got in on the action with her long arms waving the ball into her like Boeing ground crew. Courtney McDaniel had a stand-out quarter, making herself responsible for many of our offensive plays. She might look like a Mini Cooper, but she goes like a supercharged V8. Amber Ugle-Hayward secured our final two goals of the match. There must have literally been a toenail in her last goal when she miraculously launched herself a metre off the ground from neutral position, to frontal fly kick the ball for a goal a sheer millimetre away from the line.

The Reserves team ran away with the win by 29 points, fairly roasting a flock of Swans. The end of the game couldn’t have been a more brilliant way to conclude the days very meaningful and memorable Indigenous Round. The Falcon’s women’s teams are very proud to stand together to celebrate Indigenous excellence by highlighting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions to the great game of Australian Football.

ROGERS CUP

We returned home this week and celebrated our inaugural BGC Housing Group Indigenous Round in perfect conditions. The day started with Sharon Wood-Kenney, a proud Noongar Yamatji Woman, the Djinda Bridiya Wellbeing Elders & Djinda Falcons members, and Glenn Williams, who played the Didgeridoo all being joined by players and staff from both West Perth and Swan Districts for a Welcome to Country ceremony. Paige Wood-Kenney also gave us an acknowledgement in Noongar language and with the smell of eucalyptus in the air we were treated to an indigenous dance to complete the ceremony.

With the bad spirits removed from Provident Financial Oval on Whadjuk Noongar land, both teams came out imbued with good vibes and ready to play some inspired football. The ruck division which includes Holly Morris, Tia Smith and the returning Sarah Henderson provided great service to a Falcon midfield that has been one of the best performing midfields this year, the combination of Leuk Nelson-Marsden, Tahli Wilkins, Jasmine Kolodynski and Tarzara Kelly (although missing from this game through injury) have won the centre clearance battles against most opposition this season and they again showed why with great in and under footy creating plenty of supply to the forwards.     Even though Swans were adding extra numbers inside its defensive 50, the Falcons have also shown great intensity in the contested battles and with Sarah Henderson dishing out a quick handball from the bottom of a pack to an awaiting Elissa Price who promptly turned and snapped truly for the first of the day. But, while the Falcons enjoyed the territory battle in the first half of the quarter the Swans showed they were up for the contest and held sway in the second half of the quarter, but the miserly defence of Natalie Bennett, Jaymee Duke, Ebony Jackson, Chelsea Mills-Campbell, Liliana Grassenis and Karla Stagg, who have consistently held teams goalless did so again.

The next quarter was definitely controlled by West Perth and it soon became the Elissa Price show, who kicked three for the quarter, but the supporting cast were just as great creating those opportunities. Chanel Scott and Tia Smith were providing strong marking targets and Summer Mollross and Abbey Boliver were picking up the ground balls. By the half the Falcons had opened up a very handy 23point lead, West Perth 4.2 (26) to Swan Districts 0.3 (3).

The second half was a continuation of West Perth’s ability to win the centre clearances and then retain it forward, although finding an avenue to goal with a crowded forward 50 proved the difficult part, but Swans were finding it just as difficult to clear past the centre line as Jessica Roper loving her new role on the wing worked tirelessly with her counterpart Jeevna Heer stopping them on the other side and the ever silky Mahli Turland just kept driving the ball back inside. Elissa capped off each quarter with a goal to finish off a best on ground performance with all 6 of the teams’ goals.

The Falcons running out comfortable winners 6.5 (41) to Swans 0.4 (4).

Summer Mollross, Jess Roper and Holly Morris were all recognised and rewarded for their high-quality games. The win keeps alive a chance to play in the finals with another must win home game against the third placed Claremont.