VFLW – Melbourne University v VU Western Spurs

After what felt like an eternity studying in the library, but which in fact was only a fraction over an hour and a half, 1.30pm crept up in no time. The (brief) study session was my justification to go out and spend a few hours watching footy on a Sunday afternoon.  I packed up my things and headed out to the back oval on campus to watch my university’s namesake take on the VU Spurs.

 

I love walking out to Main Oval, with the white picket fence encasing the field, and the old college buildings of Trinity, Ormond and Queen’s settled behind it. As I turn around I can see the city skyline rested above the university campus. Growing up around country football grounds, it is still an odd feeling seeing a local football field ‘smack-bang’ in the city.

 

Perching myself on a slight hill opposite the Pavilion, I watched as both teams entered the field to begin their final warmups. It had been an interesting round so far as Darebin secured top spot with a win over Diamond Creek the previous day, while six teams were still very much in contention for finals. I was interested to see how this game between third and fourth placed would pan out.

 

The opening few minutes provided a quick lead to University with a strong chest mark by Berry, who converted the goal. Minutes later a set shot by Edward ultimately fell short just before the goal square, but in the resulting contest for the ball another teammate got their boot to it for the goal.

 

My attention was soon diverted by a meeting with a cute little puppy named Georgie, who practically dragged his owner over to me. After a quick pat, he was seemingly done with me and my attention reverted back towards the field.

 

The Spurs were able to attack into their forward fifty a few times, but University’s defence were good at just ‘getting in the way’. As a Spurs shot on goal couldn’t reach the distance, Stevens out-wrestled her opponent for the ball before passing off to Stephenson. A soccer kick drove the ball towards the fifty-line before it was wildly booted out towards the midfield. It was an ugly exit strategy out of the fifty, but ultimately effective as the ball soon found its way back down to University’s own fifty.

 

It wasn’t until the second quarter that I was reminded that Moana Hope now played for University. Sitting closer to the Spurs end in the first quarter, I hadn’t noticed her down in the forward fifty. My interest soon piqued at watching her play her third VFLW game this year, following a less than stellar turn in the AFLW competition.

 

Lochland soon booted a nice goal from a set shot, while down the other end wind caught Mifsud’s kick for goal, carrying it over for the minor score.

 

Massive pressure around the ball by both teams meant a good contest, but coupled with a few undisciplined acts, the results were several free kicks for high tackles and ‘in the backs’. Though a strong tackle on Ashmore resulted in the umpire signalling ‘holding the ball’.

 

It seemed to be the day for women’s sport as a women’s university hockey game was in full swing behind me. As half time came around, and University held a 26-point lead, I pivoted around to watch a few minutes of the ball and stick game. It was soon back to the football though when the third quarter siren sounded.

 

University continued to dominate. They had a free player continually out in space to pass to or switch the ball across the ground.

 

Hope bagged her second goal for the game, finishing her teammates effort as she received the ball close to the line before quickly kicking it through. While she was getting hands to the ball, she wasn’t in the right positions to do great damage to the goals. Capably she played a team role as she passed it on to other teammates.

 

A massive knock between opponents left University player Bailey Hunt lying on the ground. Looking like she would be taken off on a board, it was a relief to see her finally walk off the ground with help from the trainers. Unfortunately, she was finished for the day.

 

Like a few games this season, I went into the fourth quarter willing the Spurs to score that sought-after goal, though this was something that wouldn’t come until half way through the quarter.

 

Hope returned to her trademark form around goal. Receiving the ball with space around her, she perfectly executed a slight snap for goal. It was quickly followed by another as she marked the goal just off the ground directly in front of goal.

 

It was the Hope/Ashmore show up forward, as University piled on the goals. A big snap by Ashmore was left alone by her teammates as it bounced over the line, while Hope kicked what I could only describe as a ‘freak’ goal. A few days later and I still can’t understand how it made it through the sticks. Following this I was a little surprised to see Hope move down to the back line, but after a few noticeable possessions, she suddenly rushed back into the forward line, taking the advantage from a free kick and slotting a goal on the run.

 

Finally, the Spurs added those six points to the board, as Teasdale slotted the goal, but it was a short celebration as Ashmore followed with another goal.

 

Eva sealed the game with a final goal as the siren sounded. Yet this was somewhat overshadowed by a Spurs player on the ground, who moments before, flung over herself in a tackle. Standing close to the boundary I could hear a crack…

 

While Ashmore shone all around the ground, and Hope dominated on the scoreboard, there were plenty more contributors around the ground for University. Saundry was solid down back, while Eva found plenty of space on either wings and the forward flank, providing a consistent option. Lochland’s speed provided run into the forward fifty, while it was nice to see young Conti get her hands on the ball a few times. I could literally rattle off solid contributions from the whole team; Stevens, Anderson, Berry…

 

While over at the Spurs, Jolly was frequently in and around the contest and getting several nice passes out to teammates, White was prominent around the ground, while Mifsud moved between forward and defence.

 

It was a good spectacle by University, yet it didn’t feel like the scoreboard did ultimate justice to the effort from the Spurs, who just couldn’t convert down their end. It was a shame seeing it was three versus four. With numerous games still playing out like this over the VFLW season, I’m hoping for more closer games to eventuate in the competitions future.

 

Melbourne University             2.1       4.5       5.6       12.6     (78)

VU Western Spurs                  0.0       0.2       0.2         1.3       (9)

 

GOALS

University: Hope 6, Ashmore 2, Berry, Anderson, Lochland, Eva

VU Spurs: Teasdale

 

 

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About Meg Saultry

Studying at University of Melbourne. Keen supporter of the Saints (I’m not looking forward to the day Riewoldt retires), and Womens AFL.

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