AFLW Round 6 – Collingwood v GWS: What a way to finish International Women’s Day (IWD) Week…
I arrive early as I have a new telescopic lens for my camera so I want time to practice capturing shots – instead I spend time chasing shadows, as the heat coupled by a thundering roll make being out in the open uncomfortable. First aiders are busy handing out squelches of sun block to an endless queue. I ask a first aider if Collingwood is looking at erecting sun cover – the answer is yes! I sincerely trust this is a priority, Collingwood!
First half commences with scrappy ball handling and loads of “airless” kicking from both teams within the Pies 50. It is often debated that the first goal sets the scene, boosting team morale and as if reading my mind Jess Cameron (27) plants the first Pies goal. Can we do three in a row – mentally I check myself to not get ahead of the game unfolding in front of me.
A quick burst of feverish activity brings the game towards GWS’s 50. Am I watching badminton? The ball is bouncing through the air waves seeking open ground every where but in the direction of the goal. A flock of Pies intervene and Caitlyn Edwards (1) scores our second goal – too good!
GWS remain scoreless with play trapped in the north west corner of the ground as the siren sounds.
As expected, GWS storm back onto the field and kick a goal – GWS on the board!
Another distraction ripples through the crowd – is Justin Bieber here? – no free apples are being handed out – yum – much better and healthier for you!
Back to the game – fluidity returns as the ball moves towards an open goal and … not to be, with only a point awarded to Pies Christina Bernardi (6). A toss up fight for the ball sends players somersaulting over each other. Pies Jess Cameron (27) is “Ms Everywhere” as she scarpers forward with the ball, ably assisted by Pies Christina Bernardi (6). Progress is being made as blue sky thunder rumbles ominously in the background. GWS ‘s Clare Lawton (41) launches skyward twisting awkwardly to snatch a mark, thankfully landing like a cat on two stabling legs. Jess Gardner pounces and scores another goal for Collingwood. Wahoo, is this our third win in the making?
Round three commences and finally out of the blinding sunlight I marvel at the cool fluoro green football boots and just like that Rebecca Beeson (6) scores a goal for GWS. Pies retaliate with an awesome mark set up by Alica Eva (2) to her team mate Jasmine Garner (43) who can only take the point. Just in case you missed the trial run, Alica and Jasmine combine again to give Moana the ball for a goal. Hope rules! Well done, Moana, I know you are suffering from a knee injury. Hang in there girl, your team is making history today.
Emma King (Pies 60) strides forward to claim the mark, launching the ball into Caitlyn Edward’s (Pies 1) eager embrace. Bang, the ball hits the post; a huge sigh circles the ground…so close. I am deafened by ‘errr’ constructive coaching from the sidelines. Scrappy play returns to the ground as both sides jostle for possession. GWS Rebecca Beeson (6) is squashed by a swarm of Pies as Lauren Tesoriero (Pies 7) kicks a torpedo down the ground towards the Pies 50… and we score one behind… arrrgghh.
The crowd is buzzing about Nathan Buckley’s appearance on the terrace. Appreciate the support and no disrespect Nathan but this is the girls time to shine.
The final round starts at an excruciatingly fast pace for GWS as the Pies kick two goals from the fluro boots of Sophie Casey (22 ) and Moana Hope (23). Another Pies attempt at goal brings one point and then the “time-wasting” game tactics begin as the Pies run backwards. Nicola Stevens (Pies 21) is tackled sending the ball into the waiting GWS attack. Scrappy play dominates the ground and Pies Lou Wotton (19) drops the catch much to the chagrin of the supporters. The umpire intervenes with the ball sent back to GWS’s Phoebe McWilliams (3) who continues to walk away to find her patch ignoring or oblivious of the umpire’s frantic whistle blowing. Phoebe is re-aligned and drops a goal nicely for GWS.
Again time-wasting ball movements dominate the play though I have to admit the ball handling across the Pies attack is awesome – nice flow. Nicola Stevens (21) intercepts and is moved forward by the umpire. Come on girls, this is too good an opportunity to waste – Christina Bernardi (Pies 6) steps up and boots another goal. This is unbelievable stuff.
The final siren sounds … to date Collingwood has scored the highest win in the 2017 Inaugural Women’s AFL. What a way to finish an awesome week focusing on gender inclusiveness within the workplace and sporting arena.
I stay behind to meet some of the Collingwood players. I admire the interaction with their fans after a gruelling session. The feedback is overwhelmingly supportive. AFLW is here for the long haul.
P.S. – apologies to GWS “orange is NOT the new black”!
Collingwood: 7 13 55
Greater Western Sydney Giants: 3 1 19
Caitlyn Edwards – 1
Christina Bernardi – 1
Sophie Casey – 1
Moana Hope – 2
Jess Cameron – 1
Jasmine Garner – 1
Phoebe McWilliams – 2
Rebecca Beeson – 1
Brittany Bonnici* (Pies 8), Moana Hope (Pies 23), Rebecca Beeson (GWS 6)