Ball in Cannons’ court
Written by Jarryd Barca
The Calder Cannons Under 18 girls have kept a finals berth in sight after downing finals aspirant Bendigo Pioneers by 21 points at Highgate Recreation Reserve in the NAB League.
The stakes were high in the Round 8 contest with both sides locked away on 16 points for the season – with the winner to be the only finals hopeful remaining outside of the top four.
The Pioneers managed to score the only goal of the first half, but their slender advantaged was short-lived as a rampant Cannons outfit piled on the only four goals of the second half to leave their destiny in their own hands.
The 4.6 (30) to 1.3 (9) result means the equation is now simple for the 5-3 Cannons – now fourth; defeat Gippsland Power this weekend and qualify.
Female talent coordinator Russell Humphrey said he was proud of the girls’ strength to come back from a dour first half.
“At half time, even though we hadn’t scored a goal and Bendigo were on top, we were only a goal down so it wasn’t panic stations,” he said.
“The coaching staff were very positive with the girls telling them that they needed to work a bit harder and open the game up a bit more.
“Bendigo were really good early in the match to keep it crowded and not allowing us to open it up.
“Once we did we were able to play more free-flowing footy with plenty of run and the result looked after itself.
“Our ability to keep the ball moving forward, to take the game on a bit more by running and ball use really stood out to me.”
The Oakleigh Chargers were on 18 points going into the weekend, but a loss against the GWV Rebels means Calder remains two points clear in fourth position heading into the final round of the home-and-away season.
“With one game to go it’s important that our second half momentum from the weekend continues going into the next four quarters of footy,” Humphrey said.
“We want to finish the home and away season off strongly against Gippsland down at Morwell which is always a hard place to win.”
A serious foot injury to half-forward Gloria Elarmaly in the second quarter ensured that it was a bittersweet feeling in the dressing rooms post-game.
The 18-year-old, who last week signed with Essendon’s VFLW side, unfortunately broke her foot in a tackle and required surgery on Sunday.
“The resilience of the girls to play like they did after seeing their teammate go down with a serious foot injury was really impressive and showed they held the values of the club close to their hearts,” Humphrey said.
“The club wishes Gloria the best in her recovery.”
Midfielders Laura Cocomello (17 disposals and five tackles) and Georgia Patrikios (27 and a goal) led from the front with young ruck Tamsin Crook also named in the best players.
Krstel Petrevski, Isabel Young and Neve Crowley also caught the coaches’ attention with solid performances.
Humphrey said he is looking forward to taking on the Power this Sunday.
“We appreciate the mums coming down to Morwell on Mother’s Day and we hope that the girls’ performance is a tribute to their fantastic support over the course of the year,” he said.