Nomads women versus Gunnedah Bulldogs

Last Saturday football returned to the hallowed grounds of Bellevue with our first home game for 2021. The Armidale weather looked to have turned one on for a fantastic day of football. Coming off a strong effort against the Swans, we were looking to back that up taking on the reigning premiers Gunnedah. This week again saw a few girls debut for the club with a few returning players. Annie Marquison, Paris Stellini, Soph Hadwen, Olivia Moore and Madi Moar made up the esteemed list of debutantes. Despite the best efforts of the girls, the class and run of Gunnedah proved a step too far and we went down 10.7.67 to 2.4.16.

A quick goal from el Capitán Ellie Ryan within the first few minutes of the first quarter had the girls up and about from the get-go. Gunnedah were caught off guard by our ferocious attack on the ball and tackling pressure, two areas that are becoming hallmarks of our game style. The backline led by Caiti D’Gluyas was functioning like a well-oiled machine. With Charlotte ‘The General’ Star being a notable absence, the onus was on Caiti to fill the role. To her credit she took it in her stride and had a blinder making countless goal saving tackles. The ‘Molly Trolley’ made up of Molly Martin and Molly Fraser also did well to repel the attacking entries of Gunnedah. After a fantastic quarter of football, we were well and truly matching it with the Poochettes in the contest and the scoreboard.

The second quarter went much in the way of the first. Pressure at the contest and link up plays kept the fight up to the Gunnedah girls. In the middle Madi Moar was putting on a clinic, busting threw packs like a bull in a China shop and winning the hard ball. Her efforts earning her a well-deserved Player’s Player accolade. Joining Madi in the midfield was Amy Fisher, Darcia McRae and Lauren Nest. The good work of our mids made sure we were giving our forwards every opportunity to score goals. A marked improvement in this area from last week. Although, a few missed opportunities meant we couldn’t capitalise. Conversely the polish of Gunnedah showed as they began to kick away.

After an admirable first half, we had our work cut out for us if we wanted to put some scoreboard pressure on our opposition. Molly Martin found herself in unfamiliar territory having to fill in as ruck as rucking guru Lauren sustained a shoulder injury in the second quarter. After a few centre bounces, Molly looked at home and began to combine well with our midfielders. Lauren played on in the backline and took a few intercept marks (as her brother, Conor does week in, week out). The unpredictable Armidale weather again made its presence known as a storm cloud came out of nowhere and saturated us. This made playing conditions difficult. Gunnedah began to out play us as tired legs meant we couldn’t give chase and were second to the ball. Despite this, the backline held strong and ensured they didn’t get much of a run on in scoring.

After adjusting for the wet conditions and nursing a few girls with niggling injuries the fourth quarter saw the girls finish the game strong. The tenacity shown by Soph Hadwen on the wing prevented Gunnedah blasting away out of their back half. Olivia Moore was also good across half forward (playing out of her natural defensive habitat) getting the ball forward at all costs. Casey Morris tried her best to convert with some agonisingly close shots on the run. Our girls fought the good fight all day, but the extra numbers and finish of the tidy Gunnedah outfit was too good.

Repeating the sentiment from last week, there wasn’t much to fault from the game. The endeavour and effort of the girls were second to none. Massive kudos to the girls who had also played netball beforehand and still donned a jumper. We wouldn’t have had a team without them. Special thanks must also Seamus O’Kane and Xavier Walsh for volunteering their time to run water. Considering we still weren’t at full strength and still played as well as we did, we are definitely building something special.

Player’s Player: Madi Moar
Captain’s Award: Molly Martin
Coach’s Award: Caiti D’Gluyas

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