Girls show poise, eminence against Gippsland
Written by Jarryd Barca
The Calder Cannons Under 18 girls jumped into third spot on the ladder at the conclusion of the 2019 NAB League season following a dominant 31-point win over the Gippsland Power on Mother’s Day.
The 5.7 (37) to 1.0 (6) result at Morwell Recreation Reserve sends Calder into the finals series on a two-game winning streak, now bracing for a clash against the Geelong Falcons in one of two preliminary finals to be played in Dandenong this Saturday.
It was a must-win game for the Cannons with the Oakleigh Charges breathing down their necks heading into Round 9.
With the Northern Knights and Geelong Falcons having the top two spots sewn up, a Chargers victory against the Bendigo Pioneers means the Cannons qualified by two points and percentage, with the Eastern Ranges closing out the four finals spots.
“It’s a true testament to the way these girls have handled themselves over the course of the season,” girls talent coordinator Russell Humphrey said post-game.
“Their form over the course of the year really does warrant a finals spot and I know that we have what it takes to be really competitive.
“They just have to believe in themselves, stick to what they’ve been doing and play with the confidence that they have in the past two weeks and much of the season.”
While the away side recorded just 20 more disposals, their pressure around the ball meant the Power only managed to send the ball inside 50 on 10 occasions – the fewest the Cannons have conceded this season.
Calder took 75 marks and took full control of the ball to dictate all four quarters.
Sixteen-year-old Georgia Sampson, Terira Fry, Zali Friswell, Alana Barba, Zoe Hardiman and Makeisha Muller were named as the Cannons’ best players.
“I thought Sampson was terrific in the ruck and around the ground as well,” Humphrey lauded the young ruck.
“Zali Friswell is another that stood out to me on the day and Terira Fry – particularly her tackling pressure – was fantastic, it was a significant aspect that helped us win the game.”
Captain Georgia Patrikios led from the front foot from the opening bounce and kicked the entire first quarter score of 2.1 – the behind a poster.
Further majors to Muller and Georgie Prespakis meant the Cannons took a commanding 27-point lead into half-time.
The game took a slow turn in the second half. Zoe Hardiman booted the only goal for the Cannons, whose 10 points for the half was enough to consolidate a spot in this year’s finals series.
“Our chances of making the finals seemed quashed a couple of weeks ago when we let a couple of games slip through our fingers,” Humphrey said.
“While we may have been buoyed by other results going our way, all we could control were the games in front of us.
“The girls had two must-win matches and won them both. We’re all very proud of where they’ve come but there’s more work now to be done.”
The preliminary final will take place from 2:15pm at Shepley Oval immediately following the clash between the Northern Knights and Eastern Ranges.
The winner of both matches will meet in this year’s grand final to be played at IKON Park on May 25.