Vic Country produced three dominant quarters after a slow start to beat rivals Vic Metro for the first time in Round 1 of the NAB AFL Women’s U18 Championships at Simonds Stadium.
As Mitch Wynd reports, the 27-point win – 8.6 (54) to 4.3 (27) – largely came off the back of Vic Country’s fantastic defence, which kept Vic Metro scoreless for two and a half quarters.
Vic Metro controlled much of the first quarter, keeping possession of the ball in their half of the ground more often and being more effective with their disposal.
Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges) made an impact on the scoreboard early with two goals, the first from a strong one-on-one mark in the goal square and the second from a free kick on a difficult angle.
Vic Country needed to polish up their disposal – while their half-backs were able to gather possession on several occasions, the transition from defensive half to attacking half was lacking.
The second quarter proved to be a complete reversal of the opening term. Vic Country found their run and spread, and used the ball much better as Round 1 Country captain Darcy Guttridge (Gippsland Power) started to impact the game.
Holly Whitford (Gippsland Power) put Vic Country in front with a goal after the half-time siren, capping off a brilliant quarter where Vic Metro were held completely scoreless.
If not for a few shots that fell short and were rushed through, Vic Country could have had a substantial lead going into the second half.
For Vic Metro, Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons) was a key influence. In and around almost every contest, she provided both offensive and defensive efforts for her team.
As for Vic Country, Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers) found plenty of run and dash across the field. She was not afraid to take a running bounce and used the overlap handball to great effect, along with great work from Bridie Kennedy (Dandenong Stingrays) in defence.
The momentum continued for Vic Country in the third quarter, holding Vic Metro scoreless again and stretching the margin out to 22 points.
Eden Zanker (Bendigo Pioneers) started to have a real influence up forward, both as a marking target and playing in the ruck. She had two shots from the exact same spot in the third quarter, kicking one and missing the other.
Vic Metro would have been wondering what had happened since quarter time. Their run stopped, their forward line struggled to get near the ball and their defence was being cut to ribbons by Vic Country’s run and speed.
The final quarter was more of a back-and-forward affair as fatigue from a hotly-contested match began to set in. Vic Metro were finally able to add to their score with a fantastic effort from Maddy Guerin (Northern Knights) who kept the ball in front before picking it up and slotting the goal on the run.
— #TACCup (@TACCup) June 17, 2017
Vic Metro will be disappointed in their second and third quarters where they struggled to generate any scoring chances. Not many teams win matches with two scoreless quarters, and though they started well, they needed to maintain that energy throughout the game.
VIC COUNTRY 0.1 3.5 6.6 8.6 (54)
VIC METRO 3.2 3.2 3.2 4.3 (27)
VC: Jones, Hanks, Zanker, Guttridge, Whitford, Gee, Taylor, Favaro
VM: McClelland 2, Flanagan, Guerin
Watch a full replay below: