Almanac Junior Footy: Fitzroy Youth Girls v Whitehorse Colts

It was a beautiful day for football as Fitzroy Youth Girls and Whitehorse Colts W assembled at Victoria Park Lower in Kew for their semi-final match. The teams have similar styles of play, with fast mid-fields and strong key position players in half forward and back. Everyone knew the match could go either way.

Fitzroy lost their first game against Whitehorse (round 5) partially through fitness, but even more so from a lack of structure. Individual efforts are never enough against a team who work together. In round 5 Whitehorse ran in numbers, protected each other and used their good passing and marking skills to advantage. In round 11 Fitzroy was more focussed, particularly in the third quarter after Whitehorse got a kick ahead at half-time. The Roys used their speed and willingness for second (and third) efforts in contests to take the win.

So with one game apiece during the home and away season and an opportunity to move into the preliminary finals up for grabs, the stage was set for a great game.

The first quarter was very even. Fitzroy had more inside 50s, but Whitehorse kicked straighter, leaving only three points the difference at quarter time.  After a Whitehorse goal, the nerves seemed to settle, and Nell (14) kicked our first goal. Shortly afterwards, Emily (12) kicked a ripper, weaving through traffic deep in the forward pocket. It was a sign of things to come for Emily who ended up with three goals for the day, and was instrumental in at least two more.

Fitzroy 2.4.16 to Whitehorse 2.1.13

Coach Michael urged the players to be first to the ball. The Roys bench was larger than Whitehorse, so while the skills were even, Fitzroy had the opportunity to run their opposition into the ground if they went hard and used their rotations.  However, Whitehorse kept within striking distance of Fitzroy. The inside 50s were more even this quarter, but solid work by the defenders kept the Colts to two goals. Bree (41) raised a huge cheer from the crowd with first of three terrific marks for the day. Overhead in a pack, as strong a take as you will see at any level, I wish there was a highlights reel. Heather (21) and Charlotte (25) were also strong in the backline.  At the other end of the ground the Roys added another three goals thanks to Ruby (19) – twice! and Molly (7) to stretch the lead at half time to ten points.

Fitzroy 5.6.36 to Whitehorse 4.2.26

Fitzroy kept Whitehorse’s hopes alive in the third quarter by kicking 1 goal 8.  They peppered the goals with six points before Claudia (9) finally hit the big sticks (her first for the year, by the way, congratulations!).

Fitzroy 6.14.50 to Whitehorse 5.3.33

Clearances were pretty even until the final quarter, but being able to rotate the rucks, Nell, Abby (11) and Coby (13), made a big difference as the Roys started winning clearances all around the ground. Molly (7) seemed to be receiving the ball from every one and finding space to have a run.  Nell (14) and Maddy (10) both put in excellent second and third efforts. Josie (1), Lola (5) and Bree all had turns too. A couple of sweet set shots from Nasteho (20) resulted in satisfying goals. It was a delight to see Emily (12) collect the ball, put her body on the line and turned to kick as lovely a goal as has ever been seen in Aussie rules. Our indomitable Tess (15) also had her tilt at the big sticks, which helped keep the team’s spirits running high. With quarters running a little longer in finals than during the season, Whitehorse went as hard as they could. While all the players’ legs must have been hurting by then, the Roys’ bench kept up their high speed rotations and kept at the contests to run out the game strongly.

So Fitzroy move on to meet Bulleen, and Whitehorse have to ponder what might have been.

Fitzroy 10.14.74 def. Whitehorse 6.6.42

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