AFLW Round 4 – GWS v Adelaide: Tackled

I’d marked this game on the calendar as soon as the draw came out. Welcoming the Premiers to Blacktown?

 

Yes please.

 

Come and join us in the outer suburbs of a city where rugby league garners more newsprint than Australian Football. Where horse sports get more coverage than women’s sports, and a bunch of AFLW players, including a vice captain, can turn up as spectators to an AFL trial game and no one recognises them.*

 

GWS Giants take the field at Blacktown

During the week, I got a text: “Seen Sunday’s forecast?”

 

I replied: “Still going.”

 

I’d been at Drummoyne, how bad could it be?

 

The game clashed with a 40th birthday party that was thankfully an afternoon gig. I went along, had a drink and made my leave. The party girl and a lot of her mates are from Adelaide. CARN THE CROWS they yelled as I left.

 

It was sixth v seventh but we all knew those numbers meant nothing. The Giants got their deserved win last week and had looked good in the other games. And Adelaide? Well, Erin Phillips was back and frightening. I was almost torn between wanting the win and wanting to see Phillips in full flight.

 

The Giants settled relatively early, Rebecca Beeson kicking the first goal. It was good to see reward for her effort, she’s worked hard up front but hasn’t scored this season. Her goal was a nice settler for crowd.

 

Erin McKinnon was having a good influence in the ruck. Her game this season has gone to a new level, her groundwork particularly.

 

Courtney Gum was not being given any room, being tagged tightly by Courtney Cramey. Perhaps the South Australians were more familiar with her game. Cramey kicked a goal late in the quarter after receiving a free inside 50 to bring Adelaide level at the break.

 

Then the rain came and the game turned into a midfield wrestle. GWS adapted better to the conditions initially. They seemed desperate not to re-live their experience against Carlton. They kept things simple and their effort high. Gum was still being held but Alicia Eva was racking up the possessions and putting herself in harm’s way with no regard for self-preservation.

 

Both midfields were working their arses off, Ebony Marinoff a veritable machine, mowing down any GWS player with the ball. A couple of times I watched as she came off for a break. She was covered in cut grass, absolutely sodden but somehow not perturbed. If anything, she seemed on some kind of focused high. She would break the tackle record, with 21 tackles, by the end of this game. That’s for women AND men, mind you.

 

The only goal of the quarter was kicked by Cora Staunton.
Eva kicked in after a lasso, Britt Tully crumbed it from a contest and kicked it forward into space. It was a foot race between Gum and Cramey, who took each other out spectacularly, before Staunton slid in to take possession and was awarded a free for high contact. Gum was slow to get up and I don’t think I was the only one who held my breath. This time Staunton’s Gaelic style kick worked.

 

She had another moment later in the second quarter as she kicked off the ground and chased, holding off Stevie-Lee Thompson strongly before taking a shot at goal from the ground. The ball skimmed across the face of the goal, was picked up by Elle Bennett whose shot slammed against the post. These kinds of moments were keeping the crowd tense and for my own part, riveted.

 

The slugfest continued in the third quarter. No goals. Gum continued to be held. McKinnon was carried off, scaring the s**t out of us. Jess Dal Pos continued to be calm but ferocious. Chelsea Randall was almost serene in the Crows backline, her intercept marks a thing of beauty. Phillips dropped marks and missed goals, quite possibly because Pepa Randall was going after her like a terrier with a rat.

 

Adelaide came out in the fourth quarter and something changed.

 

Quick ball into forward and a beautiful goal from the pocket from Ruth Wallace swung momentum. Adelaide had the ball in the forward 50 and they kept it there. Something was going to give, surely. These women know how to win.

 

Thankfully for those of us sitting in the comfort of the stadium, the Giants defence dug in and the Crows could only manage behinds. It was enough to get them one point in front with five minutes to go.

 

Finally, the Giants managed to dig the ball out of the defence and get it forward, managing a rushed behind in the 12th minute to get things level.

 

In the last couple of minutes the ball was locked up in the pocket in GWS’ forward 50. It was one of those moments that seems to go on forever but simulataneously you can feel time flying by, your body tensed for the siren at any moment.

 

Every act in this game was significant. The crowd rode every tackle, willed every kick to reach its target and hoped hands could find some grip on a ball that didn’t want to be caught. It didn’t matter if they were kicking six points or one, this was a game broken down into small, very meaningful things.

 

As Staunton walked down the race a young girl called out to her and held out her hand. Staunton high-fived her. Both of her eyes were black, still healing no doubt from last week. She showed little emotion.

 

That’s where we seemed to have ended: battered, with no real reason to be happy, but for GWS, somehow tighter than ever. Something is being made here, even if there’s not many of us to watch it.

 

GWS               1.1       2.3       2.6       2.7       (19)

Adelaide         1.1       1.2       1.3       2.7       (19)

 

GOALS
GWS: Beeson, Staunton.
Adelaide: Cramey, Wallace.

BEST
GWS:  Eva, Randall, Dal Pos, Staunton
Adelaide: Marinoff, Randall, Foley

CROWD 2,409

OUR VOTES  Eva (GWS) 3, Marinoff (Adel) 2, Randall (Adel) 1.

 

*Thank you to Erin McKinnon and Jess Dal Pos for the footy chat with those of us who did recognise them.

 

About

A Swans AFL member and a GWS AFLW member, quickly developing conflicting allegiances. Trying to finish a PhD but footy keeps getting in the way. Mother to a teenage half-forward who sometimes plays at half-back.

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says:

    Wonderful report. Great u were out of the wet. And wasn’t it tough. Real heroics just persevering .

  2. Hi Georgina
    “A Swans AFL member and a GWS AFLW member, quickly developing conflicting allegiances.”

    Oh dear! Hope those conflicting allegiances don’t mean what I think they mean!!

    Nah! You coudn’t possibly?

    Go the Mighty Bloods

  3. Thanks Yvette. You’re right, heroics across the field from both teams.

    It’s been an interesting season Jan! I went to the Swans trial game and found myself not caring as much as used to, but I certainly wasn’t barracking for the Giants! Is it possible to change allegiances from AFL to AFLW? The end of the latter and beginning of the former will no doubt give me the answer. In the meantime, I am fully paid up member of the Swans!

  4. Georgina: So pleased you weren’ thinking of defecting to the Giants men’s team!

    Yes, it is possible to change allegiances from AFL to AFLW. My hubby is a good case in question. Although he of course loves the Swans (not a fanatic like me, though), he commented the other night after one of the AFLW games “I actually think I prefer the Women’s game!”

    Thanks

Leave a Comment

*