DRAGONS TAKE STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION, DESPITE LOSS
The Sandringham Dragons girls team continue to take steps in the right direction, despite a second loss to begin their 2023 campaign.
“We were really happy with how we started and our first half overall. We were able to get on the scoreboard early,” said head coach Martha Cantwell.
Goals from Caitlin Voss and Lani Fyfe in the opening term meant that the Dragons girls kept in touch with the Chargers early.
“Last time we played the Chargers they got away from us pretty quickly, so we were very happy with our improvement.”
Cantwell praised her sides ball movement and believed that the increased organisation at stoppages was key in keeping up with Oakleigh.
“The way we moved the ball was positive and we saw glimpses of what we are trying to achieve.
“We were a lot more organised at clearance, our pressure and accountability around the ground was a lot higher.
“It’s only our second game of the season, but the squad is gelling and becoming closer together as a group. They’re understanding where to be, what position to be in, there’s been heaps of improvement week-to-week.”
Despite the loss, Cantwell couldn’t be happier with the Dragons never-say-die attitude.
“Their attitude has been really positive. We’ve had comments from oppositions even about how positive we have been and the support from the sidelines. The ability for the girls to keep their heads up and keep trying is really important.
“One of the most impressive things has been that the girls are really starting to connect.”
Winger Scout Howden had 23 touches and continues to win plenty of the ball, whilst her ability to help out the backline (five rebound 50s) is crucial.
“Howden had another ripper game and saw plenty of the footy. She plays her role and gets back to support in defence. Her gut-running and ability to create play up the ground is really pleasing.”
Vic Metro representative Judie Goldman (12 touches) continues to impress, and Cantwell is excited to see what the future holds for the South Melbourne Districts junior.
“Goldman built again from round one, we love what she does on the inside and the way she gets hands out. As a 17-year-old we’ve got time to work with her but she’s already giving us plenty to work with.”
Midfielder Cam Millias (18 disposals, nine tackles) kicked a superb goal in the second term, whilst Ash Van Rooyen (13 disposals, five inside 50s) and Jas Shepherd had solid outings yet again (nine disposals, six tackles).
Issy Bacon made the move into the midfield after playing as a defender last week and did so superbly, racking up a game-high 13 tackles and bringing enormous pressure around the ball.
The Dragons will look to get on the winners list this weekend when they host the Northern Knights and Cantwell says her side will look to keep building on the positives from their past fortnight.
“We’ll look to keep building on what we’ve been doing the last two weeks and trying to get some more consistency in our game. We’ll continue to bring the pressure, which has been a real focus for us, ensuring that when we do get the footy in hand, we open up the ground and play our way.”
Co-captain Annabelle Embelton (nine tackles) was ultra-impressive in defence, and she had her work cut out for her, given the Dragons lost the inside 50 count 20-36.
“We were super impressed by Embelton. She was really solid, and it felt like she didn’t lose a one-on-one all day. The pressure was on, they had a lot of inside 50s and it was coming in fast. She was so accountable on that last line of defence.”
VFLW Southern Saint and fellow leadership group member Georgia Foran continued to showcase her ability and the coaching group loves what she brings to the team.
“She’s got a great kick and is really great at exiting defence. Her pressure and what she can do in the contest is impressive. She either nullifies or wins one-on-ones and her ability to read the play means she gets plenty of intercepts.”
Meg Webster (17 disposals, six tackles) backed up her performance from last week and her hunger for the contest has become a trademark of her game.
READY TO RUCK AND ROLL
Ruck duo Maddi Torpey and Sophie Crofts have been terrific to start the 2023 season and the coaching staff “couldn’t be happier” with the pair.
Cantwell loves that they have an impact both at stoppage and around the ground in general play.
“Both the rucks have been great. Our next step now is continuing to build that connection and communication with the midfielders. Making sure we are getting those hitouts to advantage as often as possible, they’re doing a great job and impacting all over the ground.”
The duo combined for 18 touches and 41 hitouts.
DRAGONS 2.1 3.2 3.3 3.3 21
CHARGERS 2.1 3.4 5.4 7.7 49
BEST: Embelton, Shepherd, Millias, Van Rooyen, Foran, Webster, Howden