After a much-needed rest, Round 4 brought us back home to Hisense Stadium to play Sturt in the SANFLW’s First Nations Round. We were honoured to wear a specially designed guernsey today, designed by Senior player Nicole Hooper and 4 students from Maitland Lutheran School. After a brutal Round 3 loss, we unfortunately went into Round 4 without Captain Madi Russell and key recruit Paige Allan through ACL injuries, and Jess Macolino who missed with a shoulder injury. However, our team was bolstered by the return of Lily Johnson and Gemma Houghton, returning from AFLW duties, Crow Keeley Kustermann returned from a small quad injury and hard nut Zoe Greer returned to the team this week.
Sturt took a bit of control early, putting on a lot of forward half pressure which kept our defenders busy. Sturt lead the Inside 50 count 13 to 2 to score 1.3 for the quarter. Our first goal came half way through the quarter with Port star Gemma Houghton kicking the teams first and her first SANFLW goal. Lucy Boyd started the game strong with 9 first quarter disposals and Iilish Ross was a great support act in the midfield with her elite work rate. Sturt took a 3-point lead into the quarter break.
We managed to steady the ship in the 2nd, despite Sturt kicking the first goal of the quarter after only a couple minutes of play. We were able to turn the tide on Inside 50’s, and remained relatively even in other areas. Gemma Houghton was able to put her 2nd on the board, and Tabby Saville kicked her first of the game and we took a 5- point lead into half time.
The third turned into a bit of an arm wrestle with neither team able to take control of the scoreboard. Sturt kicked another early goal before both teams fought to put themselves in front at 3 quarter time. Sturt took a small 1-point lead into 3 quarter time and the challenge was set for the last quarter.
We came out firing in the first half of the quarter, looking to put a bit of breathing space between us and Sturt. Sturt again kicked the first of the quarter, however Tabby Saville showed off her strength and kicked a goal to put us 5-points in front, and then a lovely look from Lauren Young set up an Asha Dufour set shot to give us some breathing room with 5 minutes to go in the quarter. However, the game was far from done, the girls took their foot off the pedal and allowed Sturt to kick 2 goals in the last 5-minutes and Sturt ran away with the win.
In all it was another frustrating game for the girls, to be so close to taking home the win and falling just short after a 5-minute lapse of concentration. But we’ll take the week to learn and look forward to the challenge of playing Woodville next Saturday at Hisense Stadium.
Georgie Pater, Iilish Ross, Zoe Venning, Milli Gentle, Lucy Boyd
Gemma Houghton 2, Tabby Saville 2, Asha Dufour 1