Nomads Women chalk up their first win of 2021

This Saturday, football returned to the hallowed turf of Bellevue oval as the Nomads hosted the Tamworth Swans. The day was made extra special by the observation of reconciliation week with a smoke ceremony performed by Bruce Cohen before the women’s game. Its hard to say whether it was the smoke ceremony warding off any bad spirits, Wulu ‘Choco’ Hall’s expert water running, a divine intervention by the footy gods or a culmination of those factors. What is certain is that the girls put on an absolute clinic and came away with a very deserved win. The final scores were 5.9.39 to 0.10.10.

Like sharks sensing blood in the water, we were sensing an upset win. The Swans were travelling light but still had the outnumber. Playing short on the road will cast doubt in any team. For our girls, its just another day in the office. We knew we were a real chance. We knew we couldn’t start flat like we did against Inverell the week before. When the siren went, our girls went to work. Our midfield of dreams (or perhaps nightmares for the Swans) was combining fluently. Molly Martin starred in the ruck winning a majority of taps. El Capitán, Ellah ‘ET’ Thompson and Madi ‘The Bull’ Moar absolutely dominated in the middle with textbook centre clearances. They are great ball winners and were the engine room for which our attack came from. The backline lead by General Star was setting up behind the ball well allowing us to keep the ball in our forward half for 75% of the quarter. The Swans couldn’t go with us, though unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise to reward all our good work.

Everything in the first quarter was working like a well-oiled machine. All we needed to do was hit the scoreboard. We kicked away in this quarter, with Casey ‘So I can kick goals?’ Morris, Molly Martin and Madi combining to kick one apiece. Madi’s goal was particularly impressive, 40, 50 or 60 meters out (depending on who you ask), slight angle, barrelled straight over the goal umpire’s head. A kick that would make Essendon legend Dustin Fletcher blush. It was the icing on the cake for what was another brilliant quarter from the girls. Abbey O’Neill, a first gamer roped in by Connie Blake was stella on the half forward line with terrific run and carry. Ash Wright was doing a great job of winning ground balls and handballing to supporting teammates for great link up plays. Skipper Ellie, Ellah and Madi were instrumental around the ground, winning the ball at the coal face to get it going forward. We had set ourselves up for a good second half with a handy three goal lead.

In the past we have tended to drop off after half time as tired legs became a factor. Fitness has been a feature of training lately in light of this because ‘If we can’t get the numbers, we’ll just have to get fit’ – Lindsay Brown, 2021. Better match fitness and likely the thrill of potentially running away with a win was enough to keep the girls ticking along. The girls did not take the foot off the gas at all. The Swans came out fighting in the third and began playing on their terms more. Despite this, their kicking on the run and set shot accuracy would likely leave a little to be desired from the Swans coaching staff. They still struggled to kick a major and keep us honest. The backline was a strong defensive unit, supported by some great two way running from the midfield. Molly Fraser was again simply superb as our last line of defence, often finding herself against two or three Swans girls. Still managing to win the ball or at the very least hold the play up until the cavalry could arrive. Connie is in some great form of late and was just fantastic across half back. Her great hard ball winning ability, run and use of the footy is proving to be a real asset to our defence. Another first gamer, Phoebe Biddle (also brought in by recruiting officer Connie) was also doing an absolute bang-up job in the backline. It almost goes without saying but Charlotte ‘The General’ Star on return from a kayaking endeavour the week before, was dominating. A slight role change from previous weeks meant she was a lot higher up the ground than normal and was able to have an even bigger impact on the game.

After what was truly a premiership quarter from the girls, we had 20mins left to grind out. We had held out a resurgent Swans attack to keep them goal less. The game was well and truly ours for the taking. We had done everything right thus far. We were not going to lose now. The late great John Kennedy senior is quoted to say, ‘The psychological limit is a lot closer than the physical limit’. This was epitomised by the acts of the girls in the last quarter. No doubt being buggered from running all day, the girls did not stop. The thought of winning made the girls hungry, they wanted it more than the Swans did and kept battling to the last siren. We did not let up in the scoring. Casey kicked her second for the day with a beautiful set shot from the pocket. Ash added to the tally with a timely goal from the square, her first for the season. Nullifying her obligation to the infamous nudie run. Brianna Spratling was having a blinder across half-forward, sending it long and deep into our forwards. Even getting agonisingly close to kicking her own first goal of the season.

We did it. We finally won. It has been a long time coming. The hard work put in at training has paid off and we, for the first time this season, join the winners circle. There is not a bad thing that can be said about the game. Not a single critique. Everyone was contributing, everyone was fighting, and everyone was playing for each other. There were no passengers. It was truly a team effort and as the old adage goes, a team of champions won’t beat a champion team. The day we had a full team was going to be the day we won. However, the girls have proven that we are good enough to do it without a full team and while being outnumbered.

We would like to extend our appreciation to departing player Darcia McRae. Darcia has been a stalwart of the Nomads Womens team since its inception in 2017 and has racked up just shy of 30 games for the club. A quality player and great person, it is a shame to lose her. We would like to wish her all the best for the new chapter in her life with her new job.

Lindsay Brown
Women’s coach

Player’s Player: Madi Moar
Captain’s Award: Connie Blake
Coach’s Award: Brianna Spratling

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