VFLW: Southern Saints B&F showed great signs for the red, white and black.

Last night a friend Melinda and I attended the inaugural South Saints Best and Fairest at Moorabbin. The entrance the players use in season, was turned into a red carpet affair, with opportunities for players, friends, family and supporters like myself to take a photo or be photographed both entering and inside.

I caught up with Captain and now retired VFLW player Georgie Walker. Out at 19 from too many concussions. A return in the future is not off the cards, but meanwhile she greeted us and showed why she will always be captain material. She has also been helping the coaches and even running when required.  She is all in for the Southern Saints.

 

       

 

Yvette and the Red Carpet experience, with with Georgie Walker.

 

Coaches, staff, President Peter Summers and CEO Matt Finnis, and members of the Southern Saints gathered with players in the beautiful new function room at Moorabbin. The decorations made the Saints new home look even more spectacular. A young woman on the guitar helped with the atmosphere.

 

 

I love firsts. This event showed St Kilda’s commitment to it’s women’s program. Women and coaches that I’d last seen from the side lines in their footy gear, were all glammed up. Coach Peta Searle (forever known to me as Pearle now, the name bestowed upon her from her team), and Jamie Cox the Head of Emerging Football Programs shared the excitement and history of the event.  Leigh Montagna hosted.

I loved Jamie Cox talking about how Peta Searle had to help him manage the expectation of a new bunch of footballers with very little AFLW or general footy experience. This was a new team who won 6 of their games and came close in 4 others.  I couldn’t help thinking how much better season these young women had than their counterparts in the red, white and black.

 

 

 

Coach ‘Pearle’ hard at the job and forever Captain Geogie Walker with Caulfield Bears girls

The Coaches award went to Steph Binder (27 year old, 173cm and exercise physiology student), and the Player of the Year voted on by the team taken by Rhiannon Watt. (30 year old,tall 186cm who works for Human Resources at KPMG and a Saints supporter to boot).

Rhiannon then surprised their captain with an award for being an inspiration and a terrific leader even after her playing stopped.  Georgie Walker received a signed jumper framed and tears flowed.

The event had the usual game highlights and results of the weekly coaches votes leading to the climax of dual winners.

The Saints press release said the rest.

‘Dominant Southern Saints midfield due Rhiannon Watt and Ali Drennan haved capped off their remarkable debut season together by taking out the VFLW side’s inaugural Best and Fairest.

Tied at 123 votes apiece, the pair couldn’t be separated after both enjoyed standout years in their first season in red, white and black.

Watt, an ex-Australian volleyballer, has proven herself one of the league’s most dominant rucks and was instrumental in several victories for Peta Searle’s side this season.

The 30-year-old’s prowess in the air and rucking ability was shown on numerous occasions, with her dominance out of the centre acting as the Saints’ springboard to launch into attack.

Just as vital to the Southern Saints’ midfield was Drennan, whose unparalleled athleticism and explosiveness from contest was a major highlight in 2018.

The ex-College basketballer became one of the best contested-ball winners in the league, stamping her name on the competition with a best-on-ground 35 disposals in the Saints’ 30-point win over the Seagulls in Round 2.

Contested bull Samantha Johnson was named runner-up after the 26-year-old was crucial in the Saints’ engine room, her physicality complementing the explosiveness of Drennan and the aerial dominance of Watt.

Leah Olsen and Alison Brown rounded out the top five, with 86 and 85 votes respectively, and can be extremely proud of their seasons.

2018 Southern Saints Best & Fairest Top 10

  1. Rhiannon Watt                   123
  2. Alison Drennan                   123
  3. Samantha Johnson            89
  4. Leah Olsen                         86
  5. Alison Brown                      85
  6. Kayla Ripari                        79
  7. Selena Karlson                   67
  8. Tara Bohanna                    59
  9. Eleanor Brown                    55
  10. Courteney Munn                 51′

 

We left as the team finished their celebrations. The joy and warmth in the room will stay with me forever. There’s such a different feeling involved in women’s clubs and this is no exception. Love and warmth, humor and fun, and a sense of freedom prevailed.

As luck would have it, we sat at what turned out to be an informal media table.  One young woman, a journalist in training, had helped with the video presentation as part of her studies. Another two lovely young women were the ones who volunteered to do the live tweeting for the games and all the match reports for the Southern Saints over the year (as it happened, I often tweeted support back at them!) Their love of the team and of women’s footy, and of St Kilda, matched my own. Loved having the chat with these fine young writers and their guest.

I am all in with the red, white and black, membership and all. Go Southern Saints.

 

 

Read about The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 HERE.
Copies of The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 are available for sale via our online store.

 

 

 

About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says:

    I forgot to add to the story that when Rhianonn accepted her award she said she had to laugh. Being new to footy, she could kick a ball 30 metres into the air and about 1 forward, so she must have done something else right to get this award.

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