WSL2 BRONZE MEDAL GAME Report by Torben Fink-Jensen
For the Autumn Competititon, there were 6 games scheduled, the last one of which was the play-off games. With Essendon finishing 4th on the ladder on goal difference to Monash Uni, they now played them to see which order they finished in. We also managed to bring 12 players versus Monash's 9, with Dani having the luxury of watching, and Phoebe and Mietta out overseas and with Maria not available. Tonight was also the last game for Sia, who joined us from Sydney and is now heading home after a short stint here in Melbourne. She won't miss the cold nights! It was a measure of Essendon's development over the course of the mini-comp that we have been able to bring in 3 players and were a bit tentative at the beginning of the comp but able to play a pretty flawless game today with defence being a particular positive. Ultimately, this game was a giant arm wrestle with the gap between the teams no greater than 1 goal the whole game. Initially, we struggled to adjust to the speed of the Monash attack and Katie started off strong in goals saving two clear goal attempts. Our opportunities in attack were being marked closely. Eventually Q1 was highlighted by Alex managing to break through on one attack and illegally tackled from behind which gave her the penalty. She made no mistake. Sia and Olivia were unlucky not to score from good shots. Lara too had some handy shots but was denied by good goal-keeping. After all the good defensive work in the first quarter, we had a couple of one-on-ones in Q2 where we couldn't defend. Monash themselves saved a couple of goals through strategic kickouts which meant a 2-2 scorecard with Alex being the one to level it for Essendon. In a case of poor strategy given their limited numbers, Monash had their main defender kicked out of the game on 3 majors, and you could see in Q3 and Q4 their attack didn't have the same verve as they started to run out of gas. The 3rd quarter was frenetic as we tried to push forward our advantage and managed to get a goal through Sarah who was taking a bit of a hammering in CF. Some strong swimming put us in a good position and with a continued regular flow of kickouts we were getting plenty of extra man practice which led to a goal through Alex and a 4-3 lead. Things were equally tight in the 4th quarter as we couldn't nail a goal. Monash pulled one back half way through the quarter to make it 4-4. Finally, Alex scored after breaking through from their centre back with 2 minutes to go. Lisa then had a golden chance to put the game beyond reach, but was again stymied by good goal-keeping. Over the last 2 minutes, we tried to slow the game down, and succeeded as Monash got their hands on the ball with 7 seconds left, but weren't able to advance up the field quickly enough and we kept them out for a deserved 5-4 win and 3rd place in the comp.
Essendon defeated Monash University : 5 – 4 Goals : Alex 4, Sarah 1
BELOW : WSL2 Bronze Medal winning team! See more game photos on FB (Photo courtesy of Torben Fink-Jensen)
WSL3 BRONZE MEDAL GAME Report by Lisa Murray-Segal
Vastly different from last week, it looked like we were down to just 8 players game day morning. Our 9th was confirmed that afternoon, giving us a handy bench and then 15mins before game time we'd snared our 10th. So this week we could swap out as needed. Last time we played StCath's it was an (unexpected on our part!) 8-8 draw, so we knew this game would be tough. Fresh off some swim up training on Monday night, we put newbie Clara to good use and she didn't disappoint. We got the jump on them early, with Isi doing some solid work in centre forward, supported by Clare, Sher and Sally around the cage. She slotted in 2 for the quarter, as we kept StCath's goaless with tight defence and some great saves from Sandra. We lost our edge in the second quarter as StCath's stepped up, and started to slough back on Isi. We switched her out, but were unable to put the right player in at the right time, often leaving the slot empty. It meant our attacks were haphazzard, and the shots we managed to get off from the top or out wide came to zip. StCath's put 2 away, and so scores were level at 2-2 at the halftime break. In the third, we tried to correct our attack, and once more had Isi as a focal point with some other girls moving through to create uncertainty for the defenders. But our focus on attack saw our defence crumble, and we allowed StCath's at least 3 fast breaks that resulted in a one-on-one with the keeper. StCath's scored 2 for the quarter whilst Isi put away her third. So we went into the final term down 3-4. St Cath's were really starting to perk up and slotted in the first 2 goals quickly. Things settled after that, and we scored a nice goal through Clare. A few other shots found their way straight into the keepers arms, denying our scoreline further advancement. A final goal from StCath's sealed the deal and we were relegated to a fourth place finish.
Well done to all the girls for their commitment this comp - especially to our newer players trying to fit into the team. Also a BIG THANKYOU to all our table people - we are so grateful for what you do each week!
Essendon were defeated by St Catherine's : 4 – 7
Goals : Isabelle 3, Clare 1
MSL5 BRONZE MEDAL GAME Report by Sam Brown
The rats fought and lost 3-6 for this last game, ending our warm-up comp and ensuring we’re ready for a ferocious winter comp. The 1st half of the game saw us a little disorganised, without our fearless leader we had to work it out ourselves, we got our groove in the second half but it was too little too late and a few ball errors saw the game out for us.
No highlights from the 1st but the 2nd quarter saw Lucas score a goal - well done! In the third we took advantage of their exhaustion, and used ours to our best ability. Sammy J took an opportunity to swim one straight into goal off a rebound and what a beast he was to get it there. Scared them, and even made Nick a little nervous. In the final quarter we decided to use our better goalkeeper. Mr Cover saved a bunch more than yours truly, and our final goal for the game came from Liam. No matter the score it’s a lot of fun, and I love playing with you legends. Let’s enjoy the break, reset, and kick ass for next season!
Essendon were defeated by Ajax : 3 – 6
Goals : Lucas 1, SamJ 1, Liam 1