The 2022 SANFL Women’s season is a very even competition, where each team had won a game by round 3 and all teams except Sturt had lost a game in this time. There is no opponent you can afford to take lightly and any team can genuinely win on their day.
The Eagles are much improved in 2022. They have recruited very well, they have a lot of top end junior talent coming through, and they are coached by a familiar name – Narelle Smtih – who I believe is the best coach in the SANFL Women’s competition.
Our lead in to the game wasn’t ideal with captain Ellie Kellock ruled out and one of our most promising young players, Poppy Scholz, needing a spell. On the flip side, Tessa Kohn and Molly Scott made their returns.
Excitingly one of our juniors from Henley FC, Ella Boag, made her debut to become GFC player number 102. We were extremely fortunate to have GFC player number 2 Lexi Edwards, who was back in SA for the weekend from Queensland, present Ella with her guernsey just to add to the excitement.
We started sluggish, but in fairness, the Eagles started really well. Before you knew it, we were two goals down, looking very reactive and in desperate need for someone to give us a spark. Credit to our players, they were able to work their way into the game and head into the quarter time break only down by a goal.
Rinse and repeat in the second quarter. The Eagles intensity and method was outstanding early and was creating a real challenge for us yet again. We were very reactive and not playing with the intensity required at this level. Same as the first quarter, we got ourselves going around the halfway mark as we started to get some control in the territory battle. We headed into the half time break only down by two points and feeling like we were starting to play the game on our terms.
We dominated the territory battle in the third quarter, but disappointingly we didn’t fully capitalise and take our opportunities on the scoreboard. We had seven scoring shots to two, but we only kicked two goals to the Eagles one. We headed to the last quarter with an eight point lead.
The last quarter was an arm wrestle, with the Eagles coming within two points. We were able to grind away for sustained periods of time. We did manage to take one of our opportunities and kick a goal. In the end we crossed the finish line with a 10 point win.
Whilst it wasn’t a pretty game, it was great to show grit and a new level of maturity to respond when we were challenged. We were down by as much as 15 points in the second quarter, but at no stage did we ever feel like we couldn’t get back into the contest. This now equals our best start to a season, matching the start we had in 2019.
Unfortunately our Development team struggled across the entire four quarters and suffered their first loss for the season. The Eagles were very disciplined, put us under constant pressure and comprehensively outplayed us. It was a reality check for our group that has been simply outstanding for the first three rounds leading into this game. I am really keen to see how they respond this week.
Once again, a big thanks to the Tiger supporters who continue to follow and support us this season. There is no better feeling for our players when they hear your roar!
This week we play Central District on Saturday 5th March at Elizabeth – Seniors kick off at 1:40pm and the Development at 3:40pm. As always, it would be great to have our growing army of Tiger supporters there to help give us a spark.
– Jason Fairall, Senior Coach
Goal kickers: Caitlyn Swanson (4), Tessa Kohn (1), Chelsea Packer (1)
Best: Caitlyn Swanson, Sarah Goodwin, Jess Bates, Piper Window, Madisyn Freeman
Final score: GFC 3.0-18 def by WWTFC 2.8-20
Goal kickers: M. Speechley (1), M. Martino (1), E. Moxon (1)