I’m dozing as I listen to the match. It’s been a big week and a big day, the first round of youth footy in Brisbane. I’m buoyed by the morning’s win. Our Under-13 girls at Wests got off to a flyer and never looked back, trouncing Jindalee by an even ten goals.
As coach, it’s just the sort of start to the season I was hoping for. It wasn’t the win so much but the way our girls took to the task. No matter how tough the opposition, how challenging the conditions, how good or not-so- good we’re playing, there’s an embedded sense of fun and camaraderie about girls’ footy that I’ve come to admire. It’s genuine and I love watching it. I love being a coach. I feel I’m a part of something special.
Despite our great start, my mind wanders towards next Sunday’s clash against Kedron, and what we might focus on at training during the week. Tackling I think. Maybe some set drills under pressure. Our ball movement is good, better than I’d even hoped for. We’ve got some big kickers too, and we’re quick.
But that can wait a bit. I’m resting now, just listening to the footy. For the next couple of hours, I’m allowed to be lazy. It’s still raining outside.
As the final term got underway, the Lions were well in control but like a few of the matches I’ve witnessed of late, something was holding them back, restricting them from landing the killer blow. And well before they had that chance, it was Carlton who managed to nose themselves in front. The first term saw the Blues take the early lead, a goal up at the quarter-time break. Brisbane responded in the second quarter so that by half-time the scores were level, a sign of things to come.
It was during the second half that the radio waves stirred me from my semi-conscious state. The third quarter gave promise with a couple of goals and a couple of behinds kicked. The commentators on ABC Radio assured me the momentum was building, and it seemed as much.
Tayla Harris was being mentioned a lot. We should get used to that. It sounded like Brisbane’s Emily Bates was everywhere. A look at the stats after the match confirmed that to be the case. The quarter’s highlight however, was a beautiful goal kicked on the run by Brisbane’s Kate McCarthy at blistering pace. She’s quick.
Back to the final term and the Lions had edged out to four goals in front and in my mind, they were home and dry. Carlton had other ideas, their plight aided by what appeared to be a Lions outfit putting the proverbial cue in the rack a tad early.
It was mid-way through the quarter when Carlton’s Sarah Hosking kicked a goal against the movement of play to ignite a run of goals. Another was kicked a few minutes later and then a free kick to Carlton’s Rebecca Privitelli saw her side boot three in rapid succession to put the Blues within a kick of an unlikely win. Brisbane had stopped dead.
Perhaps sensing this, Carlton kept at it. When Bianca Jakobsson kicked truly, it seemed certain the Blues were going to run over the top to give Brisbane their first loss of the season. But time was on the side of the Lions and with the sound of the final siren they were granted a draw and the claim to being undefeated all season.
Not bad considering all and sundry had them written off before Round 1.
And so next week the Lions play in the inaugural AFLW Grand Final against the Adelaide Crows, at home. Well, the Gold Coast. Hopefully the draw against the late-charging Blues was the wake-up call they needed.
West’s Under-13 girls play on Sunday so we’ll make the trip down the highway on Saturday to see if Brisbane can make a little bit of history. I really hope they win. It’ll be nice to be a part of something special.
Carlton 1.0 1.0 2.0 6.1 (37)
Brisbane Lions 0.0 1.0 3.3 5.7 (37)
Carlton: Arnell, Downie, Hosking, Loynes, Privitelli, Jakobsson
Brisbane Lions: Harris, Zielke, McCarthy, Frederick-Traub, Gibson
Carlton: Davey, Arnell, Loynes, Gillespie-Jones
Brisbane Lions: Bates, Kaslar, Harris, Hunt, Frederick-Traub
Our Votes: Bates (Bris) 3, Harris (Bris) 2, Frederick-Traub (Bris) 1
Umpires: Jankovskis, Garroway, Strybos
Official crowd: 5,801 at Ikon Park