WAWFL Round 7 Wrap Up

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - 10:16 AM

RESERVES

After an inspirational morning with the junior girls from the local community football clubs, the Reserves women were reminded of what they were fighting for going into the match against Subiaco Lions. Second place on the ladder wasn’t just a finals berth, it was a milestone to prove that the West Perth Falcons Women’s could provide the elite football pathway that young females in the northern suburbs desperately need. As hard as it is to say, we didn’t secure second position, losing to Subiaco by one point, but the heart with which our Reserves team played out the game sets them firmly above the rest of the pack.

The first quarter was a fairly even contest with Subiaco taking an early lead only to have West Perth peg it back with goals to Kat Bennett and Amber Ugle-Hayward. At one end of the oval Kat Bennett got her talons stuck into clearing the ball and delivering into our 50, while at the other end of the oval Amy Szeliga used her speed to propel forward and cut off the Lions’ advances. We had our first injury of many for the game with Teal Bennett limping off the ground due to knee soreness.

The Lions found their pride in the second quarter and began hunting in packs, putting them in front by 12 points at half-time. Tracy Gallagher swooped hard to attempt to spoil a two-on-one attack in the Lions’ 50, but unfortunately one of the Subiaco players was able to stay just in front to kick their second goal. As always, every time Kelly Keane went into a pack she blinked back out with the ball and managed to move it forward. Subiaco was nearly able to hit a third unanswered goal but Amy Szeliga slowed the attacking player down while Hope Ugle tackled her into the dirt to remind the Lions that they’re land animals only. The ball did spend a bit of time knocking about our 50 and even landed in the capable hands of Rebecca Boladeras. Unfortunately, even her elite boot couldn’t split the sticks.

 

Despite the Lions roaring second quarter, the Falcons weren’t deterred and took flight in the third. Our first goal came from a short kick by Amber Ugle-Hayward to Rebecca Boladeras who trapped the ball in our 30, allowing Courtney Collard to gather it off the deck and goal. The Lions attempted a comeback, but Trish Medwin put her obliques on the line to smother a ball that would have been a sure goal otherwise. Dixie Corcoran found her top flight speed in the third also nullifying the Lions’ attack, and she was ably supported by the clever defensive work of Hailey Merrick. Towards the end of the quarter, every spare body available descended on the ball, leading to two quick goals. Rebecca Boladeras assisted in both goal efforts; the first through Hope Ugle-Hayward onto Courtney Collard to feast on a mighty snag, and the second through Courtney McDaniel who snuck a cheeky one between the hamburger buns.

We went into the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead and feeling Bette Midler’s wind beneath our wings. Unfortunately Subiaco, having drawn on big names , had the greater experience with pressurised situations, and they wore our players down. Two more Falcons came off with clipped wings, and a few others barely made it back to the clubrooms. The defensive load was intense, but we repelled the pouncing Lions time and time again. Of particular note was Zoe Smith with her repeat intercept marks and Tiahna Scandrett’s save by a flight feather on the goal line. If smothering were an art, then Amy Szeliga also painted the Mona Lisa in the last. In the last few minutes, Subiaco snatched the lead by one point, and despite the best run and gun of our midfielders, we didn’t have enough time to even the ledger.

So often people are astonished at the courage and fearlessness of female football players, as if those qualities are out of the ordinary. At West Perth Women’s, courage and fearlessness are an absolute given and they’re far from our most notable qualities. Our Reserves players are demonstrating a deep understanding of structures and systems, they’re developing style along with improved skills, and they’re putting their own stamp on this great game. All the elements are coming together for our women’s teams and it’s an exciting and rewarding time to be a Falcons supporter. 

Even if the ladder position doesn’t show it, with 3 of the top 4 place getters split only by percentage the Reserves team are storming in the right direction. Make no doubt about it, the Lions may have got the better of us this round, but we’ll be ready for some big game hunting at Leederville Oval this Saturday.

ROGERS CUP

Sunday was a day to celebrate the Female pathway within our Falcons District and we did so in style. What better way to showcase how strong female football is than to have all our community clubs join us for a group shot and be part of our sponsor’s appreciation day.

The game started in similar fashion to most this year, when the first siren goes our young Falcons are up and ready to go. We generally hold territory well, however we need to capitalise on those early opportunities. Although Claremont do defend well and have similar structures to us, they were ready. This restricted our scoring opportunities to just 2 points. On the other hand, while our defence was just as good a couple of opportunistic goals allowed them a 10 point buffer at the end of the first quarter.

A quick reset at the short break and the team came out firing, this time with more purpose and higher intensity. There were so many comments from over the boundary as to how hard our girls tackle is testament to the hunger for the contest they have. The best example was Summer Mollross who was all over the ground. Tackling any Claremont player in her sights, forcing numerous turnovers. Jasmine Kolodynski was hard in her tackles, strong in the air out marking her opponents and lightning fast on the ground, she was deservingly best on ground. Tahli Wilkins 2nd,3rd and 4thefforts were outstanding and her pressure caused even the best of players to turn it over. With this type of grunt work being done it only takes the forward line to deliver, which they did. Elissa Price slotted another 2 goals in the quarter; it was the contested marking of Chanel Scott and the forward defensive pressure of Steph Templeton that provide her the opportunities. Alas a strong mark and goal from the goal square did allow Claremont to hold a slender 3 point margin going into the half.

Returning from the half-time break caught the Falcons off task as Claremont capitalised and scored two quick goals in the first 3 minutes. The score opened up to a 15 point Claremont lead and another couple of behinds pushed it 17. Many could have thought that West Perth had done well and it was a brave effort, but again they don’t know this team, they settled and rallied and lifted the intensity back up and it got them back into the contest. A ‘silky’ run around the back of the pack allowed Mahli Turland to get the reward and the momentum began to swing when Holly Morris chased down a ball heading to the boundary earning a free kick in the process and a subsequent 40mtr penalty. Her after the siren goal put Claremont on notice they weren’t getting it easy and the margin was back to within an achievable 5 points.

The team values of Commitment, Trust, Teamwork and Respect were all on show and when a team is 23 Strong they achieve overall success and the last quarter exuded that. Sarah Henderson was competing well against the Tigers taller ruck and winning her fair share of clearances, which allowed the likes of Aker Athoi in her debut game to keep driving the ball forward and that’s where the Falcons proved most dangerous. Elissa Price who again kicked 2 goals and finally put the Falcons back in front by 8 points which was a lead they would not surrender.

It was a great way to finish the regular season, a home game against 3rdplaced Claremont in a fight for a finals position and it delivered. In front of a vocal home crowd the RogersCup game was a tough, hard fought contest from start to finish. In the end only 2 points separated the teams, with our Falcons getting up to grab the chocolates after falling 3 goals down early in the third term.

West Perth 6.4 (40) to Claremont 6.2 (38), the only dampener on the day was to learn that other results didn’t fall our way and we’d miss the final series by only 10 percentage points. In a very disjointed season and with a team which boast an average age of less than 16 to finish 4-3 with two results under 1 goal there are so many positives to come out of this season and even more to look forward to next year.