Inverell deal out a hefty loss in season finale for Nomads Women

An uncharacteristic break in the August Armidale winter weather had turned on a cracking day for football. The weekend saw the last game of the home and away season against the Inverell Saints. With a finals berth impossible, this would be the last day the Nomads Women would be on the paddock in 2021. The girls were not prepared to throw it away. Every game is an opportunity to improve. Despite being slightly outclassed by a well drilled Saints squad, we wanted to bring a real contest to the visitors. The scoreline left no doubt in the result however it was a gross misrepresentation of the effort shown by our girls. The final scores being 2.0.12 to 17.15.117.

The Saints had pulled our pants down when we played them on the road in round six, so we wanted to avoid the inhumanity on our home deck. We wanted to bring physicality to the contest to make the Saints earn their possessions. We hoped to choke the fast, flow on play of the opposition and turn it into a scrappy contest. From the first bounce we were matching them in the contest and in endeavour. The backline led by our ever gallant Charlotte ‘The General’ Star and Molly ‘Golden Fist’ Fraser, were holding up terrifically against repeat entries, only conceding points early on. However, repeat forward entries do equal goals and by the end of the quarter the Saints had kicked four. It was a quiet day in the forward line as we struggled to move the ball past the Saints defenders who had a rigid set up behind the play. Our first goal came through rampaging midfielder Ellah ‘On ya bike’ Thompson who has made a name for herself as a goal sneak.

Heading into the second quarter we didn’t want to let our pressure drop off. We were doing all the right things around the ground. We were just getting out done by the outside runners of the Saints. It was this quarter the Saints really kicked away to take the game almost beyond contention. Kaitlyn Read was doing a great job of tagging on of Inverell’s best players and made sure she had far less of an impact. A swap between Lauren Nest and Connie Blake would lead to Connie’s first goal of the season getting her off the infamous nudie run. It was Connie who actually kicked the ball deep into our forward fifty and hit Casey ‘I can kick goals’ Morris on the boundary. Casey sent the ball to the top of the square where Connie comes out of the pack after to take a beautiful, contested mark. This gave us our second goal and kept a little bit of respectability in the scoreline.

We were sticking to our pre-game objectives and doing all we could. We knew the Saints were a premiership favourite for a reason and they were proving that. Caiti D’Gluyas and Ash ‘Ash McGrath’ Wright were playing great games in the backline. Ash in particular was having her best game all year, winning hard balls, tackling, and marking. Down the other end, Bri Spratling was applying great forward pressure to try and keep the ball in our forward when we did manage to get it in there. Emma ‘Fast and Loose’ Gliddon was also playing a solid game coming off of half forward, always seeming to find herself in the right positions. The Saints were making use of extra numbers at the contest and routinely used them for run on plays that led to goals.

By the start of the fourth term, the Saints had bested us. The message to the girls was to enjoy it. Enjoy the last 20 minutes of the year and take the game on because it would be a long time in between drinks. The girls played it out to the end and solidified what had been an admirable effort from our girls. Madi Moar was still battling in the midfield in her usual nut fashion causing headaches for the Saints onballers. We continued to do the little things even into the dying minutes of the game and nay the season. The girls had done everything they could against a side that proved to be simply too good.

A loss to the Saints brings an end to our 2021 campaign. Our return season to AFL North West football after a year hiatus could be looked upon as unsuccessful, however this would be false. While we only scratched up a singular victory, there were so many other wins throughout the year. The improvement in every single player individually has been clear and profound. Our development into a cohesive, functioning team unit has been noted by many onlookers and has been awesome to watch. We have started to build a very fun, inclusive, and supportive environment that should see our women’s team flourish next year. We have a good system and over the last few weeks have developed a characteristic and fluent playing style. This was our rebuild year. We have a very strong base to leapfrog off of into next year. We will be knocking on the door of finals next year as we look to be a real threat and as we chase our inaugural flag.

Awards:
Player’s Player: Caiti D’Gluyas
Captain’s Award: Ash Wright
Coach’s Award: Connie Blake

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