U12 Youth Girls: Round 11

U12 Youth Girls Canada Bay Cannons v Maroubra Black

Round 11, Heffron Park

The mighty Cannons traveled for the second consecutive week to Heffron Park, to take on the highly rated Saints Black. The Saints came into this game with a 10-0 winning record, so we all knew this would be a tough game, on top of the home ground advantage.

The first quarter kicked off with a one way surge towards the Saints goals and very quickly they had two goals on the board. The Cannons eventually steadied with a couple of strong marks from Ruby and some great work around the ground from Hannah, rucking and following up with her tackling and kicking. Tahnee showed great presence in defence standing up against her taller opponents and holding ground when she was often outnumbered. Izzy also showed her strong defensive skills tackling and smothering.

The first quarter ended on more of an even keel and the Cannons had stopped the ball surging forward so often – three goals to zero wasn’t such a bad result.

At the quarter time huddle Gabi asked the team to want the ball, start running and to play for each other – and the game suddenly turned on it’s head! Hannah’s presence in the ruck became unstoppable and her efforts to follow the ball forward were eventually rewarded with a great goal from the forward pocket. The Cannons were on a roll and Molly bullocked her way through the packs and started characteristically booming the ball forward. Izzy took a great mark and played on and the Cannons were being proactive rather than defensive for the first time in the game.

India, Ruby and Lucy combined for a string of possession down the left hand wing and the Saints looked like they had some stern competition for the first time this year. The effort from the girls was outstanding, exemplified by Molly’s big unyielding tackle in the centre of the ground, stopping an inevitable goal for the Saints. Hannah was simply everywhere and had taken on the role that Ruby has performed in recent weeks, allowing Ruby to run with taller opposition players. Scarlett was pushing her way through packs and Lila was holding ground.

In the context of the year and after such a one sided start, this was possibly the Cannons best quarter of the year – winning a quarter against an undefeated and highly skilled team. Incredible effort! 1 goal to no goals!

The third quarter was definitely the premiership quarter for the Saints. They applied outstanding pressure and started to get reward for their hard running and precision ball skills. Though they scored 4 goals to 0 for the quarter, there were a number of players than stood tall. Molly was relentless, pushing opponents aside and bombing the ball forward. India took some strong marks and played a new tagging role, Lucy tackled and ran and never gave up, Catriona pushed up the ground hard, Hannah never stopped running and getting to contests, Sienna stood tall and pushed the ball to the Cannons advantage… But the one player who shone above anyone else on the ground was Tahnee. Time and time again, she battled against taller and stronger opponents, often three and four players against her and she didn’t lose a contest. Fierce tackling, hard running and teamwork typified every play that she was involved in.

The last quarter got even better for Tahnee as she started racing the ball forward out of defence. Linking with Izzy and Ruby she ensured that the scoreboard didn’t blow out and that that her team-mates were brought into the game. She gave 3 and 4 consecutive efforts to tackle and harass her opposition players and Ruby dashed the resulting spilled ball down the wing. The Cannons spent the last 5 minutes of the quarter playing in their forward half and were rewarded when Lila launched through an amazing goal. Molly showed the way with a smashing tackle and long kicking to keep the opposition in check.

This was certainly a breakout game for Tahnee and possibly the best game that Hannah has played this year. We also saw glimpses of the future in Sienna, Scarlett, Lucy and Lila with all four showing special skills and determination through the game. We also saw why Molly, Ruby and India have long AFLW careers ahead of them – each showed the same consistent effort that they have all year, even when the tide was against them

In the end, many would see this as a disappointing loss. However, taking on the top team in any competition is always a good measure of confidence and resilience – and this week the Cannons came out in front on both counts. Only one team has scored more against the Saints this year and the Cannons were the first team to win a quarter of footy against them. Well done, girls, awesome effort!