DRAGONS END 2022 GIRLS SEASON ON DISAPPOINTING NOTE
The Dragons have finished the 2022 NAB League Girls season on a disappointing note, going down to the Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 18 points.
It was just the second win for the Rebels this season, who seemed to have more run and drive than the Dragons on a hot, sunny day at RSEA Park.
It was the first match the Dragons girls have played at the venue this year, after ground redevelopments meant they were based out of Trevor Barker Oval for most home games.
The damage was done in the second half, where the Rebels piled on six majors to the Dragons’ two to run away with the win.
It’s now season over for the girls, but some of the Dragons youngsters and draft hopefuls will get one final opportunity to showcase their skills in an unofficial practice match against the Oakleigh Chargers next week.
It’ll be a double header next Sunday at Moorabbin, with the boys set to kick off their season that day as well.
Georgia Foran has become one of the competition’s best defenders and intercept markers throughout the 2022 season.
She was at it once again in the first half for the Dragons, denying the Rebels on numerous occasions with her aerial prowess.
Foran amassed 16 disposals, all kicks, eight marks and eleven rebound 50s.
The Vic Metro representative moved into the forward line in the second half as coach Wayne Cripps spun the magnets and Foran looked potent in that role as well.
She spent time playing forward throughout her junior career in the South Metro Junior Football League and certainly did not look out of place forward of centre on Sunday.
Two more Dragons debuted at senior level against the Rebels, and both impacted the game in a significant way.
Alex Stranger got her chance with spearhead Mia Zielinski on the sidelines and Stranger presented well all day.
Her effort at the contest and desire to make a lead added a new dimension to the forward line who were without the likes of Bridie Hipwell and Zoe Barbakos.
Stranger moved into the ruck late in the game as well and was promising in a new role.
The clubs second debutant, Emily Bannon, was lively in the forward half.
Bannon often made repeat defensive efforts which put pressure on the Rebels defenders and created scoring opportunities for the Dragons.
Stranger accumulated nine possessions, five tackles and six hit outs, whilst Bannon also had nine touches and three tackles.
Both girls were unlucky not to hit the scoresheet.
MIDFIELD MAESTROS FINISH ON A HIGH
Despite the team falling just short, midfielders Sofia Hurley and Keely Coyne finished their season strongly from an individual perspective.
Both girls featured in last week’s Vic Metro AFLW National Championships fixture against Vic Country and were extremely impressive.
Hurley was one of the most dominant players on the field whilst Coyne’s ability to play and flourish in a range of positions was a highlight.
The girls were able to back up their performances from the Vic Metro outing against the Rebels on Sunday.
Hurley had the ball on a string yet again, notching 29 disposals and five tackles whilst Coyne has been a pillar of consistency this season and had 20 touches, five tackles and six inside 50s of her own.
HITTING FORM AT THE RIGHT TIME
Originally hailing from Western Australia, Pia Staltari has made the Dragons her home since she came to Victoria.
Staltari has played 20 senior games for the Dragons over her four-year stint at the club and she may have left some of her best footy to last.
Staltari began the season as a dangerous forward but has spent more time playing in the midfield and on a wing as the season wore on.
She has had 33 disposals in the past fortnight, eight tackles and 12 inside 50s, and has really hit her straps as the Girls season draws to a close.
One of Staltari’s best attributes is her kicking ability, whether it be roosting a goal from 40 metres like she did on Sunday or hitting targets further up the ground, her kicking is next level.
Her versatility and trademark footballing nous has been a blessing for Sandringham this year and she was one of the sides best performers against the Rebels.
For many of the Dragons girls, the match was the final time they would pull on the Pink, White and Blue colours.
Some girls will realise their dreams and be drafted into the AFLW or VFLW, others will continue to ply their trade at local level whilst many of the Futures girls will be back next season looking to get even better.
The program has had such a positive impact on lots of the girls, who have not only developed their footballing skills but also built friendships and skills to last a lifetime.
The culture at the Dragons continues to grow week on week and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for these girls.