After a long preseason, where we have focussed heavily on improved performance and growth, it was great to finally get the season started and play a game that had real significance towards our 2021 campaign.
There is always a high degree of anxiety leading into round 1, given there are no real form lines for any team.
Three club debutants in Caitlyn Swanson, Maddie Green and Airlie Schirmer joined six SANFL Women’s debutants in Anja Bancevic, Alice Bradley, Laura Chigwidden, Meara Girvan, and juniors, Piper Window and Sarah Goodwin.
Even if we could have scripted our first quarter of the season, it would not have been planned as well as it was executed. A three goals to nothing start gave us the good start that would have been perfect if not for some missed opportunities.
Chelsea Packer opened the goal scoring for our season with a snap shot under pressure. Caitlyn Swanson then kicked the next two goals from good use of her body in a contest. She gathered a ground ball and kick truly from 25 metres out, while her second was from a holding free kick, which she kicked truly from 30 metres in front.
The second and third quarters became a messy grind. We went away from a few of the things that we were doing well in the first quarter and Sturt lifted their pressure around the ball. We kicked three goals to two in the middle quarters. In the second quarter Madi Freeman kicked a crafty goal from crumbing in the forward pocket and Chelsea Packer kicked her second goal from an intercept. In the third quarter Sam Franson finally hit the scoreboard (after missing a few earlier in the game) which was a result of some good team work that started from a big bump by our Ruck Anja Bancevic. Both the second and third quarters we conceded a late goal, which credit to Sturt for their unrelenting effort, but also a shot in the arm for our drop in concentration.
The last quarter saw us kick another two goals; first was Madi Freeman, who swooped on a ground ball from a marking contest that a much shorter Lucy Armitage was able to contest. Our second goal of the quarter came from a set shot by Chelsea Packer, who took a courageous mark backing into an oncoming pack – this wasn’t the first time in this game that Chelsea put her body on the line for the team. Then consistent with the two quarters previous, we conceded another late goal just before the final siren sounded.
Whilst it is pleasing to have won in Round 1, and we did do a lot of things well, obviously there are a few areas that we will need to tidy up if we are to chase our goals this season. There is a real squad effort in our program and an even contribution from the 22 players throughout the game. Whilst the forwards and goals are typically highlighted, there was strong contributions from the backline, the midfield and especially those who were not fortunate to be selected this week, but have made an enormous impact in our desire for improved performance.
Round 2 sees us take on the reigning premiers, North Adelaide, at 11:55am Saturday 6th March at Hisense Stadium. We are really looking forward to this opportunity.
– Jason Fairall (Senior Coach)
Goals: Chelsea Packer – 3, Caitlyn Swanson – 2, Madi Freeman – 2, Sam Franson – 1
Best: Sam Franson, Jess Bates, Piper Window, Chelsea Packer, Ellie Kellock, Madi Freeman, Brook Tonon, Sheridan Howell